When was the last time you read from a newspaper? A week ago? A year ago?  Today, many of us access the news via the Internet. Though the majority of traditional publications have been transferred to online platforms, newspaper editors know how to make a powerful first impression—using principles that could benefit your website.

Successful newspapers always place the most noteworthy headlines from the week on the upper half of the front page (above-the-fold), and rightly so. Well-written, compelling headlines are likely to grab a reader’s attention and draw them in. If that happens, the chances that the reader will purchase the newspaper—or at least open it up to read more—increase.

Online, the term “above-the-fold” is used to refer to the content that is visible without scrolling down the page. This space is very important to both visitors and search engines. Consumers don’t want to work hard to find what they’re looking for—they expect to find it in about thirty seconds or less. If they don’t, they’ll bounce and look elsewhere. Search engines, realizing this (and wanting to please their search users) take the content on this portion of your website very seriously.

Successful websites, like successful newspapers, capture a visitor’s attention quickly by having the right information and content displayed as soon as the site is visible to the user.  Want to increase your traffic stats, click-through rates, and conversions? Make sure you include the following “above-the-fold” must-haves on your home page:

1. Call-to-Action

A website’s main purpose is to encourage the visitor to take action in one way or another.  Even if the step you want visitors to take next seems obvious to you, it is important to tell your visitors exactly where to click, who to call, and how to move forward. Newspapers guide readers with signposts like “Continue Reading on A4”—and so should your website.

If your business hopes to generate phone calls from their website, listing a phone number is a great first step.  Adding “Call us today!” or “Call now!” in the space near the number is even better.  Draw attention to the path you want visitors to take and help them reach the desired destination, beginning with your call-to-action.

2. Your Logo

 

Branding is important.  Potential customers become more familiar and accepting of your company each time they interact with your brand.   Building a brand takes time, but your home page is the perfect place to show your colors— especially since many prospective customers’ first impressions of your company will occur online.

Have you ever read a newspaper without the name of the newspaper printed front and center on the first page? Probably not. Don’t let your visitors see your site without first encountering your professional logo—front and center, above the fold.

3. Navigation

No one wants to have to scroll down and sift through the links on your home page in order to find the page they’re looking for.   Place your navigation bar above the fold, and as best you can, try to ensure you’ve created a natural path for your customers to follow no matter what link they click on.  Creating a site that is easily navigable will make it easy for your customers to quickly find information specific to their needs—resulting in more time spent on the site… and more conversions.

Making a great first impression on your customers will help you take your business to the next level. Start with these “above-the-fold” basics and you’ll be on your way to building the foundation of a successful website!

 

Want more tips for optimizing your site? Get a free website analysis today and better understand how search engines and customers are viewing your website.

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Colton is the Director of SEO Strategy at Boostability testing and defining the products and processes that make Boostability's customers successful. He has been a part of Boostability for over 7 years. Colton loves hanging out with his family and gaming. He runs a personal blog over at www.coltonjmiller.com where he discusses gaming, life, and SEO.

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