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There Is No Fold: The truth about website conversions, Part Two

Hearing people talk to about how information on their website needs to be  “above the fold” is almost as annoying as hearing how a design needs to “pop” more (The Oatmeal has a great comic on the subject that also hangs in our office).

In Part One of this blog post we took the red pill and discovered that overloading content “above the fold” does not increase conversion rates (in some cases, it may cause the exact opposite!) and that “the fold” varies so much from device to device that it’s a terrible way to position content on your website to drive conversions.

So if “the fold”doesn’t drive conversions, what does?

Using the appropriate amount of copy

Using the correct amount of copy before your call to action can have the most significant impact on your conversion rates. This is because your visitors will be at different stages in your conversion funnel and will require different amounts of copy before they are ready to convert.

“But Matt,” you say, “how will I know how much copy is the appropriate amount?” According to KISSMetrics, there are three types of prospects and offerings you should focus on, each requiring a certain amount of copy:

1) Presold prospects who already know what your product or service is. They already know they want to make a purchase/inquiry/etc. so give them a call to action immediately so you can guide them through your conversion funnel! A call to action above the fold would be most appropriate.

2) Uncertain prospects who need a small amount of clear, concise copy to demonstrate the value of your product or service. Coincidentally, your call to action may also be above the fold.

3) Uncertain prospects who need a longer amount of copy that offers a detailed explanation of your product or service. The amount of copy necessary here will depend more specifically on your target audience and the details of your product or service. A call to action for this type of prospect would be on an inner page of your website the fully describes your product or service.

Asking for a commitment (Sign up now! Buy this! Call us!) before making the value of your offer clear will most likely lead to a no for uncertain prospects and can actually rub people the wrong way, as it may come off as sales-y or pushy.

Certain pages should be tailored to different stages of the conversion funnel. Let’s say you own a company that sells a monthly subscription to office supplies (boring, but just bear with me).  A page describing the types of office supply packages should be tailored for someone higher in the funnel, because they are still doing research about your service. This page should have more copy to describe, in detail, what the service is about. A “Sign Up/Purchase” page, however, would have significantly less copy because it is for visitors who are lower in the conversion funnel are ready to make a purchase. No need to bore them with more copy when they’re ready and willing to buy your product!

Using more action verbs

The most effective Call to Actions (CTAs) use clear, concise action verbs. A call to action without an action verb will most likely leave your reader with no direction on what to do next. In this case, less is more – using fewer words that have a clearer, more precise meaning should be the goal when creating Call to Action copy. Some words to consider using:

  • Discover
  • Explore
  • Click
  • Learn
  • Examine
  • Download
  • Find
  • Uncover

Limiting and prioritizing your CTA’s

A common mistake is equally weighting your call to actions. If you have multiple call to actions, be sure to define a clear hierarchy on what you want the user to do. For example, if you have two call to actions on your web page- “Schedule a Demo” and “Download a Free Marketing Report” – one should be prioritized over the other, depending on the goal of the page. If you want the user to schedule a demo, then that call to action should be the priority. The other should be featured less prominently and would work better as a secondary call to action.

Secondary call to actions provide an alternative conversion opportunity or to site visitors. For example, if your primary call to action is to schedule a demo of your product but your visitor isn’t ready to take that action just yet, a secondary call to action, such as “Download our Free Marketing Report,” is a great way to reconvert them. This works well if a visitor is not ready for the next stage in your conversion funnel.

Alternatively, secondary CTAs can be used to progress leads to the next stage in your conversion funnel by giving them the opportunity to skip over steps if they’re ready. For example, if the primary call to action of your page is to download a free marketing report, a secondary call to action to schedule a demo can help progress a lead that doesn’t want the report and wants to schedule the demo.

Secondary call to actions are extremely beneficial, but having too many call to actions can confuse your visitors and will ultimately reduce conversions. Even if they are weighted appropriately, too many call to actions will leave your visitors without a clear direction of what to do next. The number of call to actions you have on your page will depend on the context, but generally you shouldn’t use more than 2 or 3.

To summarize:

  • Understand your prospective buyers and place your CTA’s after the appropriate amount of copy for each prospect type
  • Use clear, powerful action verbs in your CTA’s
  • Limit and prioritize your CTAs based on the goals of your web page – and use those secondary CTA’s!

As we can see, conversion rates have almost nothing to do with the fold and everything to do with the right amount of copy and calls to action. Use that to your advantage!


5 common call to action mistakes
Call to action errors
Red Pill / Blue Pill
How a long ugly page generated 274% more revenue
Secondary Calls to Action
Why the fold is a myth

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