When it comes to website format, remember to KAF! (Keep it Above the Fold)
One thing to keep in mind when laying out content for your site is what we in the industry call “above the fold.” This term came from the newspaper industry. In the printed context (like with newspapers), it literally means above the line a newspaper is folded at. Think about it. Headline news and all the important content goes above that fold.
So, let’s think about what “above the fold” means for your website since we don’t usually snap our computer screens in half for an easier read. < — (The manufacturers don’t usually recommend that and it has a funny way of voiding any semblance of a warranty.) The scroll bar is a big indicator to where the above the fold cut off might be. If you have to scroll down (or side-to-side for that matter) to see more information, then you have gone below the folds. In that case, above the fold pertains to all the information you can see on the screen when the page is first loaded, without scrolling.
KAF Rules of Thumb:
1. Keep all really important information above the fold including, contacts, free offers, new services/products, new videos/blogs/etc.
2. Whenever possible, eliminate scroll bars all together. Assume all site traffic has the attention span of a goldfish. (3 seconds in case any of you were wondering.) Your visitors are unlikely to scroll and are more likely to “bounce” or leave your site from your home page (what we fancy web design folk like to call your “landing page” not your “promotional page”) if they are not immediately drawn in by your above the fold content.
3. Keep all titles and tag lines catchy and intriguing. Just remember the goldfish.
4. A good way to track your visitor’s interest in site content is through Google Analytics and some good old fashion trial and error.
Tune in to next week’s Techie Tip Tuesday for more on using Google Analytics.