Have you ever read a newspaper, and noticed the headline on the front page? Of course — that is because the main story is shown across the front and center, where the maximum exposure is. This is so it grabs the reader’s attention. An important news story will not be placed in fine print, on the bottom of the front page…or better yet, hidden in the obituaries. Very few people will read everything inside of the whole newspaper, but most people scour the main headlines and areas of maximum exposure for articles of interest. In this way, website visitors are very similar to newspaper readers.
Website visitors view website design much like a newspaper. The area of the computer screen, before having to scroll down, is called “above the fold” and this is a concept related to having the most important information (that represents your brand) being placed in this maximum exposure area. Likewise, the most important news story will be placed above the fold, across the center of the front page.
So my question for you is: Do you have the most crucial elements of your brand placed above the fold?
First, let’s solve the issue of determining where your fold is. Since there are many different screen sizes, there is a handy website called Foldtester, where you can enter your URL, and this site will actually display a color-coded graphical overlay on top of your website design, as seen on your homepage. This is very helpful, because it tells you what percentage of your homepage layout is actually considered above the fold, and how the majority of the world will view your website design.
Next, let’s discuss what you need above the fold. I’ll give you a hint: You need the most important things that will sell your brand. After all, what you say on your homepage will make – or break – your brand image.
Here are five key items that you want included in your website design, above the fold:
Brand Logo – typically found in the top, left-hand corner of the page. A professional-looking logo is a must! If you need assistance with this, Numinix makes excellent logos.
Navigation bar/link buttons – typically found in the top, center-to-right of the homepage. Poor navigation will deter impatient visitors. Limit navigation menus to seven items at the most.
Purposeful Slogan, Motto, or Mission Statement – This is generally found near the brand logo, in a smaller font. If your homepage lacks clarity, then you will miss the target, which is: meeting the visitor’s needs.
Brand Image/Picture/Banner – This is typically placed in the front-and-center (underneath the navigation bar), and often accompanied by important statements that differentiate your brand. If you sell products, you may want to display your latest product here. This image needs to be directly related to your brand, and it doesn’t hurt if it has a smiling face contained within.
Selling Points – As touched on in the previous point, important statements about your brand are vital to show differentiation from “the other guys”. These are either contained in the foreground of your brand image, or they are usually located to the left of your brand image (lined up as bullet points). Apply the principle here that the brain can only retain five to nine things in the short term memory at a time.
Now that you have learned what is essential to place above the fold, focus on what makes your brand a premium commodity. Please note: Your brand image will be reflected upon the visitor as high or low quality, depending on how professional your homepage looks. Come up with a list of specific reasons why your brand is the best, and proudly tell the world why they should do business with you. Then, design your website accordingly, to project your brand image as one in a million.