Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about developing a profitable blog strategy. We’ve gone over things like what a strategy is and why it’s important, how to set high-value goals, how to get your blog cleaned up, and how to optimize your footer. Today we’re staying on the blog strategy topic and talking about why your above-the-fold content is so important and how you can best utilize that space.
What Is Above The Fold?
Above the fold is the are of your blog that people see immediately upon loading. To take it a bit further, if you include static content in that area (things that stay the same from page-to-page), visitors will see that content each time they move to a new page on your blog.
Why Is It So Important?
You’ve probably gathered the main reason that this space is so important. Each and every person that visits your blog will see that content. And depending on how interested they are in your content they may see it multiple times.
People place judgments on your blog very quickly. If I visit a new site and don’t like what I see, I often move on before I even scroll down. So it’s important to include interesting and eye-catching content in that area.
I’ve seen articles that say up to 77% of visitors only see your above-the-fold content. While that seems like an extreme number, I’m sure you can see why we want to make the most out of that space.
There are a few mistakes I repeatedly see people making with their above-the-fold content. I’ll go over a few of these mistakes here so you can avoid them for yourself.
The #1 mistake I see people making with this space is including ads. I firmly believe that you shouldn’t have ads anywhere on your site (unless you’re getting hundreds of dollars per month). But please, oh please, don’t put ads above the fold…ever.
If the first thing someone sees when landing on your blog is an ad you’re immediately going to lose some trust. Ads have become known as one of the more spammy ways of making money through blogging and you don’t want that to be someone’s first impression of you.
Ads also stray from your brand. Unless you’re advertising your own material, the ads you include won’t match your colors, fonts, and messages. This will make your blog seem unorganized and less professional.
Moral of the story? Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Not Making Use Of The Space
The second most popular mistake I see is that people don’t use this space at all. I understand that many don’t realize the importance, but if you’re reading this you do!
I’m sure you can think of a couple of sites where all you see when you arrive is a logo, menu, and title of a blog post. There’s no informative tagline, no call-to-action, and nothing interesting to get you off to a good start.
While many people will still scroll down to see what’s going on some certainly won’t.
While this isn’t harmful, like ads, you’re underutilizing the space if you do this. Wouldn’t you rather include something to get your readers excited immediately? Or get them feeling the way you want your brand to make them feel within a matter of seconds? I know I would!
Multiple Calls To Action
And the last mistake I see is including multiple calls to action. Again, while this approach isn’t particularly harmful like ads are, your readers will start out in an unfocused (and possibly overwhelmed) state.
Should they start by reading that blog post they came for? Or should they sign up for your email list? Or follow you on social media? Wait, what did I come here for again?
You get the idea.
While your regulars will get used to whatever you include in this space, I find it more effective to include one main call-to-action along with your main menu, logo, and tagline.
Best Ways To Utilize Your Space
Now that you know which mistakes to look out for let’s go over some of my favorite ways to use your above-the-fold space.
Advertise Your Main Lead Magnet
A popular way I see people using their above-the-fold space (and the way I use mine) is for their main lead magnet.
In case you’re just getting started with the infopreneur approach to blogging, a “lead magnet” is a valuable piece of material you offer in exchange for an email address. Popular lead magnets include courses, workbooks, worksheets, and checklists.
A lead magnet seems to be most effective when it’s put over an eye-catching and on-brand image.
I got my image from a photo shoot, but Creative Market is full of amazing photos, some of which are sure to fit with your brand. Sites like Gratisography, Pixabay, and Negative Space are some great options for free stock photos as well.
Besides being on brand, your photo also needs some open space for word placement. Or, if your picture is busy, like mine, and you’d still like to use it you can place a darkened square over it to make your text stand out.
Make sure that you include the following three things on top of your image:
- A catchy title for your lead magnet, even if it’s just a workbook or checklist
- My course is called Jumpstart Your Blog Blueprint
- A tagline with a little extra information
- My course’s tagline is “A free 8-day course on creating a profitable and focused blog strategy!”
- A button in a contrasting color with a strong call to action
- Make sure that your button doesn’t say something like “Sign Up”, because no one wants to do that. Have something more enticing such as “Download Now”, “Get Started!”, or “Heck Yes!”.
Let People Know Who You Are And What You Do
I’ve also seen people use this valuable space as a way to give new readers a quick idea of who they are and what they do. They accomplish this by including a full-width picture of themselves and including their brand tagline over the image.
This is another great option, especially since humanizing your brand has become so important. With all of the competition that’s out there it’s beneficial to let your audience know who you are so they can come to know, like, and trust you personally.
When choosing a picture, make sure that it matches your brand. You’ll want to have a nice, welcoming smile (if that’s your thing) and an outfit that fits well with your brand colors.
And just as with an image for a lead magnet, make sure there’s empty space left for you to place text over.
Amanda Genther does a beautiful job of this on her homepage!
Landing Page For Paid Products + Services
The last option we’ll go over today is especially useful when you’re advertising a new or upcoming product or service. When you’re in launch mode, you want to make sure that people see what you have to offer. So adding a landing page or “welcome mat” is a great option.
Again, you want to be sure that your page has an eye-catching, on-brand image and plenty of room for text. Over your image make it clear what you’re offering and what benefit it has for your audience.
Under your text should be one button with a strong call-to-action leading to a related blog post or sales page and a second button bringing people right to your blog. Make sure that you don’t attempt to hide the blog button. While you do want to encourage visitors to check out your paid content, you don’t want to add an additional barrier to getting to what they’re looking for.
Melanie Craft currently has a wonderful example of this in promotion of her Revive Your Brand ecourse!