It’s no secret: the most important elements of your website should be featured “above the fold” (meaning — the portion of your website which displays upon first loading in a browser without scrolling).
But what are the most important elements of your website?
That can be a tough question to answer, especially when your initial tendency is to want to feature it all: your pictures, your bio, your creative projects, your store, your social media links, your events calendar, and everything else! It’s ALL important, after all.
Well, maybe I can help simplify things for you with a few no-brainer suggestions.
What elements of your website should be above the fold?
1. Your name —
Of course! This is true whether you’re an author, a band, or a business. A visitor wants to know they’ve arrived in the right place. Don’t make them do any extra guessing. If you have a nice logo, feature that alongside your name right there in the top header.
2. Top navigation —
Another no-brainer. Make sure your navigation buttons are neatly arranged, clearly named (no mysteries!), and above the fold. No one wants to have to scroll down in order to visit another page on your site. And yes — we see it happen pretty often; some artist sites have GIANT header images that push everything else down below the fold. Does your picture need to be THAT big? I think not.
3. Most relevant news —
Whether you have a news section on your homepage, or you designate your most relevant blog post “sticky,” or you feature a widget that pulls news items from your blog — make sure that news element is at least partially visible above the fold.
This serves two related purposes: 1) to give you the opportunity to communicate your most urgent message to everyone who visits your site, regardless of whether they scroll down or visit any more pages, and 2) shows return visitors that you’re still alive and well and staying active in your field. If you can quickly show that you’re making things happen in your creative world, folks will be more likely to stay on your site to view more content.
4. Social media like or share options —
You don’t have to be an internet expert to know that social media is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your site. Make it simple for your fans to share your content with others.
5. Wild card —
Well, here’s where YOU get to decide what you MUST feature.
If you could only choose one thing, what is the current purpose of your website? To connect with existing fans? To impress journalists? To grow your email list?
Decide what it is you want your website to achieve above all else, and then put THAT thing above the fold. Are you a new band trying to increase email signups? Give away an MP3 in exchange for contact info. Are you an already established author with plenty of existing fans? Display information about your newest book and where to buy it. Are you attempting to plan a national book tour? Maybe you want to display your extensive history of reading dates on the front page to make libraries, bookstores, and event planners more comfortable hiring you. In the midst of a “record-a-song-a-day” project? Maybe you want to feature your music player. Whatever that most important thing is — get it (or at least the start of it) above the fold.
What elements do you feature above the fold on your website? As a visitor to a new site, what do find most important? Let us know in the comments section below.