These essentials that every local business home page must include above the fold will help you rank better and get more customers.
Making assumptions is a dangerous faux pas for any website. Going through these essentials and making sure your home page sticks to them will help your local business website succeed.
There are several goals a local business website must accomplish, and the essential pieces here will help it achieve those goals. Getting your local business above the fold content right can lead to the following benefits.
- Higher ranking in search engines.
- More visitors to your website.
- Website visitors better understand if you can help with their needs.
- More action taken by your visitors to do business with your company.
Those are a few of the benefits you’ll see if you spend the time to get these essential pieces in place for your website’s above the fold content.
Before we go any further I want to make sure I don’t make any assumptions. That means I’m going to even cover what “above the fold” means. Skip to the next section if you’re already aware.
What does above the fold mean?
Above the fold is a term that originated from newspapers. The most valuable position in a newspaper is the content before the fold, where everyone looks first.
You don’t even have to unfold a newspaper to see the most important content, it’s just there.
That terminology has made its way to computers, tablets, and smartphones to describe the content that’s on a screen without having to scroll. The content above the fold on a website is what’s on the screen without the user doing anything.
That means if your website visitors can’t get a good idea of what your business is all about and if you’re right for them then your website didn’t do its job.
The meaning of above the fold varies from device to device. Before the essential pieces, let’s look at what above the fold looks like on different devices.
Device-Specific Above The Fold
A local business website is going to be seen very differently by each user. Some people are on a slow internet connection on their smartphone, others might be relaxing on the couch with their tablet.
The only steady you can be sure of is that visitors to your website are hopefully looking for something that you do or sell. Your only hope is that they choose you rather than your competition.
That means you should understand the difference between what above the fold means for each device. For a local business, there’s a good chance visitors are going to be on a mobile device. That means less information fits without scrolling.
As you can see immediately below, a desktop view of this affordable local business website we built shows a lot of content to visitors. There’s a lot visible and many opportunities for visitors to convert.
There’s room for it all on a desktop but on a tablet, there’s a bit less (depending on how the tablet is being held. On a tablet being held vertically, there’s nearly as much space as a computer but much less when being held horizontally.
On a smartphone, there’s a lot less space to fit content on the screen. There’s significantly less space on a vertically held smartphone but even less when being held horizontally.
It’s important to be aware of these different sizes and make sure you have a responsive local business website that takes into account each size.
Without accounting for different sizes, then the following essential pieces of above the fold content could become lost too far below the fold.
The 8 Essential Pieces
Now it’s time to take a look at the 8 most essential above the fold pieces of a local business website. These are ordered from most to the least important, but you should try to touch upon them all.
If you spend a good amount of time on getting each of them right then you’ll have a better chance at ranking well in local searches.
Google knows where users are located and every local-relevant search from users will show locally relevant business listings. Google only knows if your website is local to its searchers (your customers) if you tell it.
Many of these essential pieces will help you tell Google and your customers that your website is relevant to them.
Let’s get started!
1) What You Do
Nobody but you knows exactly what you do and what you’re good at. Be specific and tell in 3-5 words exactly what your expertise is. Some good examples of being specific are
- HVAC Repair & Installation
- Web Designer
- Graphic and Brochure Design
- Garage Door Repair
- Toyota Auto Repair Shop
The point is to be concise and stick to your main focus. Don’t try to list everything possible that you CAN do. Only write in 3-5 words your expertise and specialty. The rest of your website can cover some of the other things you do or even get into more detail.
If a visitor to your website doesn’t see exactly what you do at the top in large letters then they’re never going to know. Nobody is going to dig and search to figure out if you do what they need.
If a visitor sees that in a general sense what you do, and it matches somewhat what they’re looking for, they’re going to search deeper or contact you. Either way, it’s a win-win for you.
2) Where You Do It
This one is often overlooked because it’s so obvious to the business owner. It’s not obvious to your visitors, and it’s also not obvious to search engines.
The more specific you can be about where you do what you do the better off you’ll be. It doesn’t mean you can’t say that you do it in the surrounding areas (and list those surrounding areas). Your focus for above the fold on your website should be your main city and area.
If you serve San Jose, Mountain View, Cupertino, Santa Clara, etc. don’t try to name them all above the fold. Stick to the main city and focus on optimizing for that one city. If your office or home base is in San Jose, optimize only for San Jose.
The more area and city names you try to cover the less successful you’re going to be in search results. Search engines are smart, and they can extrapolate to the surrounding area. If you try to cover them all then search engines will have a more difficult time putting you in any relevant search results.
Be definitive and precise with where you do what you do. San Jose HVAC Repair is a lot better than Silicon Valley HVAC Repair.
3) Call To Action
What do you want visitors to your website to do?
If you can answer that then you’re halfway there. Now you just have to tell website visitors what you want them to do.
Give them the next step to take action and call it out. That’s your call to action. Your call to action has to be obvious, visible, and easy to do too.
A large button is great. Or maybe just a single line of text that says Call 555-555-5555 Now.
Here are some good examples of what a site owner might want visitors to do and simple yet effective calls to action to get visitors to take action.
- Request or schedule service – Request Service
- Call on the phone for a consultation – Call For A Consultation
- Make reservations for a table – Reserve A Table
- Get driving directions to your store – Get Directions To Our Store
Whatever your goal is for your website and what you want visitors to do most should become your call to action.
Convert your desired goal into an action visitors should take.
It should be short and commanding and sometimes can also include a line below with the benefit your website visitor will receive.
A call-to-action button that’s above the fold might look something like this:
Schedule A Consultation
Get a free plan of action that will grow your business within 6 months.
4) Search Optimization
There’s too much to write about search engine optimization even for local businesses. I’m not going to try to do that here.
My goal here is to point out the importance of getting your title tag and meta description right.
This isn’t really above the fold but rather before the fold. That’s because your title tag and meta description aren’t actually visible on your website at all (aside from in the browser tab). They are visible in search engines, though, which makes them just as, if not more, important than above the fold content.
Similar to the text that needs to be above the fold on your website, your title tag should tell visitors what you do and where you do it but in 55-60 or fewer characters.
A good title tag might look something like this:
24/7 Emergency HVAC Service & Repair In Buffalo, NY
I added a bit more useful information that a potential customer might be looking for, but it has the most important info.
Some website owners even include the phone number right in the title. That’s helpful for those customers who just want to call someone quickly.
Sometimes, search engines use the meta description you provided in search results. That can provide valuable information to potential customers before they even get to your website.
Reiterate some information from your title tag but phrased slightly differently or using different words. It’s a valuable way to rank better in search and build trust early with potential customers.
5) Social Proof
Showing is more powerful than telling. That means the more you can show above the fold the better off you are.
How does social proof play into that?
Social proof is all about what outsiders from your business think of you. Do your customers love you? Then make that known by including some sort of social proof above the fold or as close to it as possible.
Post some great comments your customers have left you on Google Business Profile or Yelp. You can even use an award your business was presented.
Anything that can prove to potential customers that your current customers love what you will help your business seal the deal. Social proof will make it that much more likely that action will be taken on your call to action.
6) Unique Brand
Someone trying to find the right company to work with isn’t just looking at one business. They’re potentially looking at dozens of business websites and trying to widdle that list down to a few.
What if every business website you looked at looked exactly the same? If your branding above the fold isn’t unique then you’re inviting your business to be forgotten. You’ll be just another boring company among a sea of boring companies.
This is precisely the reason a well made, unique, and professional custom website is always more valuable than a cookie-cutter website.
I was looking at websites for a business in a specific city and 99% of the websites I looked at were a generic Google Website provided free with every Google Business Profile. Those websites weren’t winning any new business for those companies.
A unique website with unique branding will always stand out. Things that stand out get a special place in potential customers’ minds.
Your business won’t stand out with a website that looks like the following if every other business has one that looks identical.
7) Simple & Clear Navigation
A lot of information needs to go above the fold on a successful local business website. Yet it still needs to be simple with the right information standing out.
That means your navigation needs to be simple and clear. The most important items that people will be looking for should be visible and nothing more. Ideally, your menu should have no more than 3-5 items.
Keep your navigation visible and obvious too. There’s no need to hide it in the name of keeping it simple and clear.
The hamburger menu (the three horizontal lines) isn’t a good option for desktop. Even on a mobile device, it should still be obviously labeled as a menu or navigation. Hiding information makes it difficult to understand your website, so keep it visible and simple.
8) Set The Stage Visually
This one is in the background which is why it’s last. Even though it’s last it’s still important to set the stage for the rest of your website visually.
What am I talking about?
Some sort of high-resolution image that sets the stage for what you do, where you do it, or something relevant to your business visually. If you’re big on you representing your business and a good personal relationship, go for something with you and your team in it.
Every business is going to be different, but every business can be represented visually with a high-resolution image. It helps set the stage for a unique and professional website and makes understanding what your business is all about quicker.
Just be sure that no matter how you set the stage visually with a background image, make sure any text on the image is readable.
Catch Attention Quick
That’s all there is to creating an amazing above the fold for your local business website. We follow these rules relatively closely for every affordable website design we do.
I say relatively closely because these aren’t rules that must be followed rigidly and without exception. No rule is. But they are a great rule of thumb that you should generally stick to.
Keep in mind that visitors to your website have no idea who you are, what you do, or even where you do it. In fact, they may not know Google is sending them to a business that is local. Because they don’t know you need to educate them on even the basics that seem obvious to you.
Write to someone that knows absolutely nothing and start from the beginning. No jargon, no assumptions, just simplicity in its most basic form.