The header area and the area “above the fold” are some of the most valuable real estate on your website. According to web usability icon Jakob Nielsen “Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold.”
“Above the fold” means basically above the scroll line. It’s the part of the screen you can see without having to scroll. What’s above the fold on your website will be a little bit different depending which computer and browser your visitor is using. If someone is using a phone to view your site, well, they’ll see even less.
Because “Above the fold” is a measurement that changes for almost every user, the best we can do is to take the principle behind it – getting your opt-in form as far up on the page as possible – and apply that. Fortunately, there’s already a name for this principle. It’s called “the golden triangle”.
The “golden triangle” is where people look. There’s an example of it below. The middle and bottom boxes are outside the golden triangle. Many visitors will never see those signup prompts.
Squeezing in above the fold
If you add an email signup box to the header area, it is going to mean you can’t use that space to promote other parts of your site. You’ll have to decide what the priorities for your site are. Is growing your email list your #1 priority? Is getting 10% more email subscribers this year more important than showing people a free shipping promotion, or putting your social media icons in the same spot? That depends on your business strategy. But if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided.
If you’re on the fence about putting an opt-in form in that very valuable real estate, I’ve got a case study for you. In this example, moving the opt-in box from below the fold to above the fold generated 30% more email signups over the course of a year. Note that this signup box isn’t even in the header area – it’s just much more visible than it was before when it was down near the bottom of the page.
The second best part of this case study is that moving the opt-in box did not hurt sales. In fact, the new designed increased sales by 27% for this online retailer.
I looked at where marketers were putting opt-in forms on their sites when I surveyed ecommerce sites. To simplify how I described where the opt-in boxes were located, I used three locations: top, middle and bottom. The pie chart below shows where I found the opt-in forms.
This is less than good news. Most of the sign up mechanisms are in the bottom or the middle. Ideally, they would be located in the top part of the page.
Given that most websites have a conversion rate between 2 and 3%, that means that more than 97% of visitors leave without ever ordering. By getting an email address, those losses can be mitigated because retailers can continue the conversation with the people who leave without buying – IF they can get their email address.
Here’s a page optimized to capture email addresses while still selling plenty of products.