Article post by Travis Jamison
Website Header Design Tactics:
The first thing visitors see when landing on a site is the above-the-fold content. So while your business website might be jam-packed with compelling headings, stunning imagery, and innovative UX features, research data shows that people spend most of their web-browsing time interacting with the elements in the first screenful of a webpage.
In other words, your website header is where the journey from prospect to loyal customer begins. So, to convert casual web visitors into customers, you’ll have to work to boost above-the-fold engagement.
Fortunately, you can use a variety of strategies that can help you achieve the desired result. And while images and videos alone do plenty to capture and retain user attention, remember that copy also produces a visual effect. That’s why you must explore different ways to use it to reach your target engagement rates.
Below, you will find several easy-to-implement tactics that boost above-the-fold engagement, helping you design the perfect header for your website, guaranteed to drive results.
Trigger Emotional Buy-In
What is it that makes consumers decide to purchase a product? The logical answer would be that people take a rational approach to making buying decisions, considering factors like price, value, or convenience when choosing what to buy. However, scientific research and survey results show that there’s more to engaging your audience than appealing to their rational sides.
First and foremost, when evaluating tactics that will boost website header engagement rates, you must remember that 95% of purchasing decisions are subconsciously driven by emotions. But it’s not just their subconscious feelings that inspire people to purchase certain products. The June 2022 PWC Consumer Insights Pulse Survey found that almost one-half of Australians make buying decisions based on personal values, with 34% considering environmental factors, 38% social factors, and 42% evaluating governance factors when choosing brands to buy from.
So, if you’re trying to trigger engagement and buy-in from your web visitors, do so with words, terms, sentences, and visuals that appeal to your audience’s emotions.
One way to go about this is, of course, to evoke positive emotions. For instance, by employing stunning visuals that trigger sentiments like joy, relief, or aspiration, you can instantly drive web visitors to associate your solutions with these positive feelings.
If you check out the Aesop homepage, you’ll see that the header invites web visitors to “sink into […] a sumptuous blend to invoke introspection,” a message that’s perfectly paired with a dreamy header image that makes anyone want to lose themselves in the described scent.
But, of course, buyers don’t only buy products when they feel good. Negative emotions like fear or doubt can be just as powerful at inspiring purchases. So, if you’re trying to instantly boost above-the-fold engagement, why not use language or images that address your audience’s FOMO? If you check out the ATH homepage, you’ll see how effectively the brand does it by asking web visitors whether they are “getting enough protein.”
Address Conversion Concerns Early
One of the main barriers preventing you from convincing your target audience to buy into your offer is a lack of trust.
Research shows that, while businesses are the most trusted type of organization in 2023 — with 62% of people considering it to be the only institution they can trust — there’s still plenty of room for improvement in the confidence department. Especially when taking into account that 18% of buyers who don’t complete a website purchase cite not trusting the business as the primary reason.
So, to get web visitors to engage with your website without apprehension, you must use all available strategies to drive trust.
The header section of your site can be hugely helpful when doing this, seeing that it’s the perfect spot to position trust-building elements that will prove to your audience that they can rely on your brand to deliver on its promises.
When trying to overcome buyer hesitation, one of the most impactful things you can do is present prospects with trust badges and social proof in a spot that’s impossible to miss.
You can do this by showing off product ratings in the header section of your website, like in this example from Lifesum.
Similarly, you could call your prospects’ attention to the successful brands that use your solutions, like on the OmniSend homepage.
Or you could enhance your site’s hero section with trust badges. Apptivo did this by showing off the awards it has won on trusted software review sites like Capterra, G2, and GetApp.
Be Extremely Clear About What You Do and Sell
One of the most commonly overlooked purposes of a website header is its role in informing consumers about your brand’s offer.
If you think about it, first-time web visitors can’t possibly know what to expect from your business. After all, it’s their first interaction with your brand. However, by ensuring that your header communicates the required information, you can inform potential customers about the products and services they can buy on your site.
In other words, the first screenful of your website can be a great place to provide visitors with the context and information they need to understand your solutions, or, if necessary, it can even be a space where you can spell out what your product does.
The one thing you need to remember when doing this is, of course, that you shouldn’t allow the topmost section of your website to come off as overly cute, abstract, or even fancy. Because, yes, a witty value proposition can be engaging. However, the wrong tone or vocabulary can also alienate your audience and prevent potential customers from recognizing the value of your solutions.
To see an excellent example of an ecommerce business describing what it sells, check out Vivion. The brand doesn’t rely on fancy words or complicated sales propositions. Instead, it uses simple, easy-to-understand language to inform web visitors that it sells “safe, ethically sourced, and contaminate free ingredients.”
Or, for a digital service example, you can check out SellerPlex. Offering its niche services, this brand could have used industry-specific jargon to describe its value proposition. But knowing that not all Amazon FBA business owners know about listing optimization, PPC campaigns, or revenue recovery, the brand chose to go in a clear direction instead, promising growth and scaling for prospects looking to increase sales.
Make Realistic Promises that Resonate with Your Audience
As you explore the website header design strategies that can help you boost above-the-fold engagement rates, one of your initial reactions might be to come up with impressive claims guaranteed to get people to consider your products. But while this tactic could boost conversions, at least in the short term, it could also backfire in a massive, brand image-hurting way that you might not recover from.
So, to avoid this caveat and achieve sustainably positive results on your homepage, make sure that your value propositions, unique selling points, and differentiation elements are realistic and presented in a way that resonates with your potential customers.
When choosing which of your solution’s benefits to highlight in the hero section of your homepage, prioritize your target audience’s specific pain points. Say why a product or service is a good choice for them. And ensure that you show off your expertise by mentioning the measurable outcomes you can deliver.
If you check out the Aura homepage, you’ll see how expertly this brand achieves the desired effect by layering its USP. Firstly, to capture web visitors’ attention, it invites prospects to “maximize Amazon sales.” Then, the brand positions itself as an industry leader by pointing out that it offers “the best Amazon reprice & revenue analytics.” And finally, it underlines its expertise and credibility by sharing that it delivers results by using AI and ML solutions that maximize Amazon Buy Box time, which is a proven way to boost profits on the sales platform.
Provide Easy and Intuitive Ways to Engage with Your Website
Although achieving high website engagement rates is about impressing your prospects, you must remember that your audience’s willingness to interact with your site also depends on UX design.
According to statistical data, most people will not return to a site with poor UX. 30% of people will stop interacting with content that doesn’t display well on their current device. And most importantly, research shows that frictionless UX design could lead to a 400% boost in conversion rates.
With this in mind, it’s only natural that you should do your best to invest in your whole site. Sure, an enticing and attractive header is great. However, if you can also make it work seamlessly with the rest of your website, you can effectively trigger browsing and send prospects to high-value pages where they’ll move toward the bottom stages of the buyer’s journey.
One way of doing this is to enhance your header section with enticing above-the-fold links that lead to product or category pages. A great example of this tactic in action comes from Ergonofis, a brand that invites potential customers to “elevate [their] everyday” by discovering the company’s line of standing desks.
Improving your site’s navigation can be just as impactful. If you check out the Nordic Nest homepage, you’ll find that it features a primary navigation element that has a large flyout and contains detailed and categorized link content, making it super easy for buyers to browse the product collection pages relevant to their experience.
And, of course, don’t forget about the search bar. That’s where 43% of consumers first go when landing on a site. Ensure that the web element presents prospects with real-time results, displays products in easy-to-browse categories, and still looks sleek enough not to overwhelm consumers — just like the example below from Net-a-Porter.
Capitalize on Engagement with Smart CTAs
Finally, if you’ve implemented all of these engagement-boosting strategies and created a genuinely captivating header, don’t forget to capitalize on all your hard work. Remember to place compelling CTAs in the hero section of your homepage so that you can transform engagement into conversions without forcing your audience to even wonder “what next” after reading your USP.
To guarantee that engaged visitors turn into customers, design CTA buttons that:
- use action-oriented language that compels people to act
- are easy to read and understand thanks to using a large, easily legible font and keeping the language simple
- provide sufficient contrast with the background so that they stand out from the rest of the content above the fold
- enhance the CTAs with trust-building microcopy, like the “No credit card needed” and “Unlimited time on Free plan” messages on the Monday homepage
There are plenty of website header design tactics you can employ to boost above-the-fold engagement rates. But regardless of whether you choose to implement one or all of the strategies described in this guide, you have to ensure you have a complete understanding of what your prospects want and need from your brand.
So don’t skimp on audience research, take your time when creating visuals and copy meant to appeal to your prospects, and don’t forget to A/B test your choices. In the end, a bit of extra work won’t take up that much time. But if it has the potential to increase conversion rates from 2% to 10%, then it’s definitely an investment you should be happy to make.