Friday, August 22, 2008

"Above the Fold"

One of the fun things about "high technology" industries nowadays (like e-commerce, online marketing, website design, etc.) is that we develop our own languages.

When I say "Placing products and incentives above the fold can help increase your conversion rate," it may well sound like gibberish to many of you. So let me go into this specific piece of advise, and let you know exactly what it means.

Let's make this as simple as possible. Ignore everything else you know about what each part of the website is. When I say "above the fold" I mean "everything that is immediately visible to the naked eye on your website without scrolling down or clicking on any links." To complicate this just a little, I also mean "visible to the naked eye when your search engine browser (Firefox, IE, Safari, etc.) is maximized, and you're running in a normal screen resolution."
For visual learners, here's an image of the site that may help.

Everything you see on the image above is "above the fold." Now, if you've been to the Thrive Website (you can click on the image above to go there now), then you know that this isn't everything on the Thrive LI home page. There's plenty more information when you scroll down. So what you see above is "above the fold." Anything else is "below the fold."

So, why is this important? Well, there have been a lot of major studies researching how long people stay on any given website when they're trying to find something. The results have all been pretty similar -- your potential buyers will stay on your website between 4 and 8 seconds. If they haven't found something that interests them by then, they're leaving for the next Google result.

4 to 8 seconds! That's all your e-commerce website has to catch someone's attention. They're probably not going to scroll down and see what else you're saying before deciding whether to stay or not. So everything that is going to grab the attention of your potential buyers should be above the fold. If what you have above the fold doesn't win the customer, chances are they will never even scroll down to see the rest of your website.

So, let's look at the phrase I said above. "Placing products and incentives above the fold can help increase your conversion rate." So place your products and sales, discounts, offers for free shipping, gorgeous images, etc., in a place where they are immediately visible when visitors come to the website. Doing so can increase the percentage of people who decide to stay on your website.

Conversion rate is incredibly important to any website. The difference between 2% and a 3% conversion rate can mean the difference between $70,000 and $100,000 per year. In addition, a lower conversion rate means you're wasting your online marketing investments and losing potential return customers.

When it comes right down to it, there are literally hundreds of things to keep in mind in order to keep your conversion rate up. For more information on how a quality coaching company can help you achieve better results for your online business, or how we can help you start a successful online business, simply visit