The Definition of Above the Fold

Above the fold refers to the top section of a website that is immediately visible to a visitor without the need to scroll downwards. It is a concept that is adopted from printed newspapers, in which the top portion that draws in readers with headlines and other important information is pertained to as “above the fold”. The term stuck as publications took space on the Internet.

The value of the above the fold has diminished in time especially with the advent of mobile shopping and varying monitor sizes, but it still is a consideration in creating an engaging eCommerce experience for customers.

Top of Revival Rugs’ website that is immediately visible

Why It Matters

First impression matters in eCommerce. The above the fold comes into consideration because it is the most seen section on your website. It is important that this portion contains important content that tells visitors what your brand is all about and harmonious visuals that catch customers’ attention. Otherwise, shoppers would not be inclined to scroll or click for more, and perhaps even leave. Irrelevant and unimportant content ideally should not appear above the fold.

Typically, the above the fold contains the logo, a slogan, a call to action, and the navigation bar that gives a glimpse of what to expect from the rest of your web pages. Since shoppers heavily engage with this section, the space can be utilized to direct visitors to other important destinations in addition to the homepage, for instance.

A screenshot of a site's above the fold layout
Atterley’s above the fold

Above the Fold: Best Practices

Here are some things you can do to optimize the top portion of your website:

  • Place calls to action, but do not overdo it. You can use these to entice users already familiar with your brand or services to start the customer journey. When done strategically and persuasively, calls to action can lead to more conversions.
  • Add informative content. Not everyone who visits the site is familiar with what is on offer. This is one of the first opportunities you have to introduce new shoppers to your brand and your products, so it pays to have something of value in this section.
  • Put ads in moderation. Advertisements that are above the fold have improved visibility and increased revenue. However, too many ads negatively affect customer experience and SEO. Brands should aim for a balance.
  • Have a responsive web design. Your website should appear great regardless of the kind of device and size of screen a user has. With a harmonious website, users are more likely to engage with your brand longer and be motivated to convert.
  • Explore personalization. With only a few seconds to attract shoppers and leave a lasting impression, you can customize the content above the fold according to users’ previous browsing behavior or real-time intent, especially when they come from external search engines that can give you an idea of what they’re looking for.

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