I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent hunched over a monitor with my Web designer while we tweak and tweak and tweak so everything that is critical is above the fold.
I am the queen of paring a word here, changing a type-size there, moving a graphic by a pica or so.
The critical stuff that has got to be above the fold (the spot where viewers have to start scrolling to see the rest of your site) is obviously anything you want people to take action on.
Although viewers' monitors can be different sizes and set at different display sizes, you used to be pretty safe if you made sure your critical content was visible on a 15" monitor (measured diagonally) set at 800x600.
(Nobody's Web designer's monitor is set at that. They usually have huge monitors set at 1024x786 which makes stuff look teeny tiny. Which is why as a marketer, you always have to make sure you view design on a different screen.)
The other day I surfed over to check on one of our old promo sites that I had not visited in several months.
Gasp! The "subscribe" box was below the fold. I began to moan. It took hours to get that darn thing up high enough when we first designed the site. What happened?
The short answer: Google toolbar.
I am a tech-dummy so I did not realize that when you add stuff such as Google's toolbar to your screen, that means the window you see Web sites in gets necessarily smaller. The fold is higher, and higher up the page.
The fold is a moving target.
Moral of the story: Move everything critical higher up than you thought you had to. Watch your click reports from your home page over time to see if there are any trends on which links get clicks, and which are missed.
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