When organizing website content, there is an ongoing debate among experts as to what location on a page really is best for presenting your most impactful information. You spend good money on marketing and advertising to guide potential customers to your website, and once they arrive, in mere seconds they decide if it’s worth their time to stay. With that said, it’s understandable that the prospect of readers having to take the extra step to scroll for information is slightly unnerving, but in an era of constant swipes and scrolls, it could actually be impactful. Strategic and well-thought organization of content is essential in providing an experience tailored to the customers you are hoping to connect with.
Since the dawn of Internet web pages, when the design pioneers had a past in print, there has been a strong attachment to the concept of organizing important content “above the fold”. When dealing with print, this meant localizing the most important headlines and information above the fold of a newspaper, to encourage readers to open the paper and further delve into the stories therein. While there is still importance in displaying impactful, attention-grabbing content towards the top of a webpage, it’s not necessary to try and cram every precious detail in the first visible screen your visitor lands on. In fact, doing so may lead to a less desirable user experience.
Web browsing is much different now than it was even a few years ago, when most pages were sliced and diced into individual single-page units. The vast majority of visitors to your website now have the desire and instinct to want to scroll down and view the rest of your content. Think about the last site you visited. If you are like most web surfers, while your eyes were taking in the headlines and page navigation, your index finger was already poised and ready to scroll down and see what else the page had to offer out of your immediate viewable screen area.
It’s a little bit like a first date. You definitely want to woo the other person up front with some of your best moves, but you have to be able to back that up and maintain their interest with rich, interesting experiences to really create a lasting relationship. Likewise, your website headlines and first-page visuals play their part in catching your readers’ interest, but you won’t maintain it post-scrolling without beefing up the subsequent areas of your site with worthy content.
If you aren’t sure what content on your site would be the most attention-grabbing, and what serves more of a supplementary, informative purpose, it’s always helpful to bring in a set of fresh eyes from a third party to review your current content and offer suggestions. Tackling the content reorganization monster can be a daunting task, and it’s always easier when you make it a team effort.
Leave worrying about the fold to the publishing world. Since your website visitors are used to cruising down a web page after taking in the first few blocks of content, don’t fear tucking valuable nuggets of information further down in your site. It will make for a robust and rewarding user experience. Scroll on.