Since the early days of the internet marketing and website development, the mantra has remains quite the same – to keep every essential element, including CTA buttons, above the fold. Apparently, this specific section has become a valuable aspect of the website’s real estate. Hence, giving rise to above the fold optimization.
Apart from this, everything that falls below the fold gets lost in the no man’s land or the abyss of the no-scroll area. However, since the last decade, things have changed significantly. A majority of internet users know how to make the best out of a web browser.
On top of that, the availability of tablets and smartphones has persuaded an average user to scroll and swipe seamlessly and endlessly. According to the changing trends, even web designs have evolved enough to incorporate a variety of modern-day aspects, such as multi-device responsiveness, mobile optimization, and more.
This raises a vital question – does above the fold area still matter? Let’s find out in this post. However, before that, let’s understand a bit more about this term.
Origin of Above the Fold:
The business of a newspaper is liable for the origin of this term. Above the fold referred to the newspaper content that was printed before the fold. Whenever newspapers were displayed on newsstands, vivid imagery and catchy headlines that were published above the fold obtained more attention.
This convinced more and more people to buy newspapers. Gradually, newspaper publishers realized that publishing leading headlines above the fold helped them sell more papers.
Although the business tactics evolved and a majority of owners shifted their brands online, the term still maintains its existence with grace. As far as a website is concerned, above the fold simply means the section that appears on a device before you scroll the website. It’s important to keep in mind that the information showcased above the fold can vary based on the screen orientation and size.
Importance of Above the Fold:
In a website, the layout and placement of content hold utmost importance. This is because content that is published above the fold catches visitors’ attention the moment they land upon a website. This section is the primary real estate that gains most of the attention from visitors.
Considering high visibility, the content that you publish above the fold should be important enough to help you achieve your objectives. Also, it should be catchy enough to grab visitors’ attention instantly and should compel them to find out more instead of bouncing to another website.
Having said that, placing ads in this section of the website can enhance visibility and can also create more ad revenue in comparison with the ads published in the less popular area of the site.
Measuring Above the Fold Optimization:
In reality, it’s quite impossible to define an individual fold placement for your site. The perfect location of the fold may vary, owing to the different screen sizes, of both laptops and desktops, browser plugins, screen resolutions, and different sizes of tablets and phones.
While determining a typical fold placement, a majority of designers conclude that the fold line should be 600 pixels tall and 1000 pixels wide. Surely, it can be the best choice for common browser/monitor combination of 1024 x 786 pixels, with no toolbars installed at the top and maximized window browser.
Moreover, by tracking the website analytics, you can find out the most common screen dimension used by your visitors. Although 1024 x 768 has been the most common dimension traditionally, there are many that are gaining popularity with each passing day, such as 320 x 568 and more.
- Considering for Mobile:
The accumulative usage of a myriad of mobile devices for internet browsing has further complicated the above the fold optimization process. As if a variety of screen sizes wasn’t enough to tangle up the procedure, the fact that most of the users even browser in landscape mode, which turns the traditional design of the page sideways, can create more hassles.
With people accessing websites across a variety of devices, the present web designing practices comprise making use of a responsive design that can help keep the layouts, style sheets, and images flexible.
When you use a responsive design, you wouldn’t have to keep any fixed layout for your web page. Not just that, but the content keeps reflowing, irrespective of the screen size. With responsive web pages, your website will be able to react to the environment in which it will be browsed.
Although the best practice is to publish important content on the top of the page, you may also consider designing your website in such a way that every aspect of it compels visitors to scroll so that they won’t miss anything available on the site.
- Thoughts Concerning SEO:
Though it’s a good practice to publish ads above the fold area of the site to gain a maximum number of views, however, taking ads overboard can have certain negative impacts as well. Over the past few years, Google has come up with several algorithm updates, meant to penalize websites that put an excessive number of ads above the fold, resulting in essential content being pushed down.
If you place tons of ads at the top of your web page, know that this activity will not only provide bad user experience to your visitors but can also result in the decline of traffic. To prevent this problem, you can use SEO optimized WordPress templates to maintain a balance between user experience and maximized number of ad views.
- Optimizing Ad & Content Placement:
Optimizing the placement of ads and content on a website is a periodic process that includes analyzing data, testing, and experimenting. While optimizing the layout, one of the primary starting points should be to have an idea of the analytics to comprehend the demographics and behavior of users.
This procedure should include analyzing a variety of data, such as screen sizes, browsers, device type, scroll depth, engagement rate, bounce rate, and more. With this analysis, you’ll get a set of standard metrics so as to how your visitors are interacting with your website.
Once you’re done with the initial website audit, then comes the time to move on to hypothesis generation and testing. To execute this task adequately, you can come up with certain ideas for ad and content placement, and use A/B testing to finalize the placement based on the layout preferred by most of your users during the test.
And then, by combining the analytics and A/B testing data, you can easily optimize your website to generate better revenue and high results.
As it should be clear by now that the importance of above the fold design is important but complex. Keeping this in mind, you should be wary of such advice that talks about perfection. Certainly, users’ habits have transformed tremendously over the past decade.
In the past, because of slow internet speed and laboriously slow websites, it was a common practice for most of the internet users to avoid below the fold. However, today, with SEO optimized WordPress themes, quick loading sites, and super-fast internet connection, people don’t hesitate when it comes to scrolling the mouse.
This has led to the commencement of minimalist and elegant designs that use the entire real estate of the website to publish essential information. However, this doesn’t make above the fold strategy a thing of the past. So, even if you’re contemplating to use this strategy, make sure you are forming a balance between the subject and context. That’s the primary thing that can help you obtain success from your above the fold strategy.