Going Below the Belt

Last week I weighed up on the debate of how long a page should be. The next step from that post is to look at how to make those pages salient enough for visitors to actually scroll down below the fold and read on until they are convinced to buy, register or place an enquiry with you.

The first thing to do is to make sure your pages are compelling, relevant and useful. This can be achieved through engaging content, use of pictures/video/multimedia and a varity of information. Look at a typical page from Amazon. Apart from the standard best-practice stuff about the price, images, product availability, calls to action, shipping information, they list:

  • Combo deals
  • Similar products to buy
  • Reviews
  • Author information
  • More reviews

And after all of this information convincing the reader to buy the product? Well, by now if you haven’t decided to buy the book, it’s unlikely that you will. So, they follow up with a host of similar products, lists, search options and suggested alternatives. All of which guides readers on to stay on the site and look around some more. It’s damn good and, not that I have looked too closely into it, I can’t help but feel that Amazon has used and manipulated me multiple times over the course of my life. As any conversion-friendly site should do – that’s why they’re so successful!

Those are the basics – but what about the little technicalities that will help? The bits that aren’t just common sense? Luckily for me, I don’t have to think too much – the lads at Conversion Rate Experts have done some excellent and thorough research into factors that will encourage scrolldown. I present to you the bite sized takeaway from the excellent (and recommended) conversion rate optmisation article below.

1. Break Up Your Horizontals

Any horizontal band near the fold of a page can be mistaken as the bottom of the page (hilariously, it’s called a false bottom). One way to avoid this is to to have page elements end at different heights on the page. This will take the guesswork out of worrying about where the fold will be on different browsers and ensure that at least one page element will “straddle” the fold.

Simple Tip – Using the inch of a video or image will tell the user that there’s more to look at in a nice, intuitive way.

2. Use Different Colours in the Background

This one’s interesting – make the top banner and the left and right borders of the content pane a different colour scheme to the actual content pane. Apparently this works because of the Gestalt Effect – but who really cares? It works, get it done.

3. Tell Them About It

Urge the reader to read on in the content above the fold – duh! A nice subtle way to do this is to have contextual links within your text that link to # bookmarks lower down the page.

Alternatively, use an image near the bottom of the page. This will be more obvious but may get lost with users with smaller resolutions. That’s OK – you can’t please everybody. Just make sure you look at your web analytics to get an idea what screen resolution you can afford to triage out of the design. If you want to get really fancy, you can make it so that the graphic is clickable and does the scrolling for them.

The Takeaway

There’s some pretty funky things that you can do with the design of your pages to ensure people scroll down. Really though, the first thing to do before you even pick up the phone to call your webs designer is to look at the fundamentals. Look at the content on your page with a critical eye. If you need to, get an average user in and get their feedback. Then implement some compelling content and make the user experience enjoyable and helpful. At the end of the day, that’s 20% of work that will get you an 80% benefit.

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We’ve been in the digital marketing field for over 18 years and worked with hundreds of Australian (and international) businesses to grow their web presence. Specialising in SEO, search ads (PPC), social media, content marketing, email marketing and conversion rate optimisation.

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