1001 Newbie - Friendly Tips by Bob McElwain - HTML preview

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Website Baseball - You're Out!

Beethoven was a genius of the first rank. Even if you do not care for the kind of music he created, you probably agree it is great.

Fundamental to music is form. There are strict rules associated with each. To break the rules, is to break the form. The result will sound odd to the untrained ear. It will be broken, unacceptable to listeners who understand the form.

The true genius of great musicians is the creativity they demonstrate within the forms acceptable in their time. Beethoven faced rules as stringent in his day as Scott Joplin faced in his.

And It's So In Baseball

"Strike three. You're out!" cries the umpire. The form and rules which guide a baseball game are simpler to see, perhaps, but no less fundamental to the game than those of the sonata to Beethoven or ragtime to Joplin.

Form Also Rules The Web

The Web is as close as we can get now, to the wild, wild west of yesteryear. It's exciting, exhilarating, and seemingly without bounds. And many believe it to be without form or rules. But they are quite mistaken.

I built my first website in 1992. While I was not aware of the rules back then, they were there. And the site failed almost before I got it finished because I did not follow them.

No, there will be no rehash of the rules just now. I will settle for one example. The human eye can not correctly register the image of red text on a dark blue background. It is a matter of physiology, not opinion. So why put red text on a blue background? While other rules may not be so soundly based, break them at your peril.

Commonalities Exist

Reasons for building a website differ greatly. Some are built just for the fun of  it.  Others  are  put  together  in  hopes  of  making  major  bucks.  Most  fall somewhere  between  these  extremes.  But  whatever  the  purpose,  there  are common needs among all sites.

If  you  want  to  cheer  the  NFL,  you  want  visitors  to  hear  your  cheers,  to support your efforts, and add their own. If you want to be the web authority on goldfish,  you  need  visitors  who  demand  your  content  and  contribute  to  it,  else your authority means nothing. And if you want to make bucks, you need visitors who believe in you, who buy, and who return to buy more.

What  is  common  here  is  the  need  for  visitors.  The  target  varies  with  the purpose. If you're cheering the NFL, you don't want goldfish lovers (unless they also love NFL football). But all need targeted traffic.

Since  people  are  pretty  much  the  same  the  world  over,  what  may  offend  or annoy  one  person,  will  likely  do  the  same  to  others.  That  is,  red  on  a  blue background will offend NFL fans, goldfish enthusiasts, and potential buyers.

Beating The System

The way to win big time on the Web is to tenaciously follow the rules. And yes,  there  are  lots  of  them.  They  range  from  those  that  dictate  site  design  to others which guide a business to success.

Speak of joy, if you wish. Or sell, sell, sell! But do so within the constraints of the form. Whatever you present must flow from the form. Your creativity is tested within the form, not in violation of it.

Remember the battle for the home run record between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire?  It  was  really  something,  that's  sure.  But  as  great  as  these  men  are, they were out on a call strike three. Them's the rules.

Your website may strike out too, even if you know the rules, and follow them. But if you don't follow them, it will never come to bat.

If You Want A Website, First Comes HTML

HTML  (Hyper-Text  Markup  Language)  is  the  language  in  which  website  pages are written, and the language used by browsers to read pages visited. So unless you have scads of bucks, enough to hire someone to create and manage your website, you will need to learn the basics of writing HTML code.

Some  may  disagree,  for  there  are  some  good  web  page  editors  available  that handle the HTML code for you. I use one. And likely you will too. But it is unwise to do so until you have a good understanding of the fundamental code structures. At  some  point,  the  best  editor  will  fail  in  some  way.  When  that  happens,  your option is to toss the page you are working on, else dig into the code itself, find where it broke, and fix it.

Besides it's not all that hard to do. It takes a little time, is all. And patience. It isn't obvious at first.

But  you  will  come  to  discover  it  is  really  quite  simple.  Almost  primitive,  in  fact. When  you  come  to  this  realization,  you  can  turn  to  a  web  page  editor  with confidence.

So  how  should  you  start?  You  need  nothing  more  than  a  text  editor  such  as Notepad, a browser, and some notes about HTML. You write the code in your text editor and use your browser to load the page to see what it will look like on the Web.

You might like to begin with my Web Page Starter Kit. It takes you step by step though the basics of HTML and helps you build a practical web page template. About a hundred public domain graphics are included. Lots of links to additional resources are provided. The price is right; it's FREE! You can download the file by  pointing  your  browser  at:  /files/pagekit.exe (MAC  users  can  use  this URL, but grab pagekit.zip.)

PageKit.Exe is a self-installing execute, about390K bytes in size. Just run it, then load the ReadMe file into your browser from the directory in which you installed. If you take the default, the directory will be WebSiteStart.

Once you get a good start, you will find it very helpful to look at the code behind pages you find on the Web that you like. Once a page has fully loaded, click on the  option  in  your  browser  to  view  the  source  code.  Copy  any  part  of  it  that interests you, load it into your editor, and experiment to find out how it works.

Note  you  can  not  actually  use  what  someone  else  has  written,  for  that  is  a violation of the copyright laws. Worse, it's dishonest. However, there is nothing wrong with copying a piece of code so you can try it yourself to see how it works. It's no different than writing down some problems from a math book to see if you can figure how to do them. If in doubt about something in particular, drop a note to webmaster@whateversite.com and ask for permission to use the code. 99% will say yes, and a surprising number will offer to help.

At some point you will become quite bored with all of this, and want to see your pages on the Web. For real! Now what?

First  you  need  a  host  for  the  pages  you  create.  Check  with  your  ISP  (Internet Service  Provider)  through  which  you  have  access  to  the  Web.  Most  offer  free home pages to their customers. If that doesn't work, look around for free hosting service. Geocities.Com, recently bought by Yahoo, will do . (A Caution: A freebie hosting  service  is  great  while  getting  started;  it  won't  do  at  all  for  a  serious business site.)

Next you need a way to load the pages you create to your new site. If your ISP has provided a free site, check with them first. They may have a program that will do the job. And some free site hosting services also provide adequate software; just now no name comes to mind. But even if you have to buy a program, it's a good investment for you will need it later when you build a site for real.

The  two  most  popular  programs  for  handling  FTP  (File  Transfer  Protocol)  are WS_FTP  ($37.50)  at  Wsftp.Com and  Cute  FTP  ($39)  at  Cuteftp.Com. Either of these programs will provide efficient transfer of your files to and from your site. I happen to use WS_FTP, but Cute FTP is also an excellent program.

Only when you feel comfortable with your HTML coding skills is it appropriate to  consider  building  a  business  site  for  real.  And  this  would  be  the  time  to consider a web page editor. However, you may find you do not need one at all.

A client of mine operates a very successful business centered at his website which  he  created  and  maintains  by  writing  his  own  code  with  Notepad,  and checking  his  work  with  his  browser.  HomePlanSoftware.Com This  site works very, very well, and so can yours! Check it out.

I will wrap with an offer tough to beat. When you get a page loaded and you get stuck real good (and I guarantee this *will* happen), send me the URL. I'll take a look and see if I can fix it. Have you had a better offer today?

Here's to happy site building!

UPDATE: The HTML Editor may serve your needs now, and into the foreseeable future.  I  wrote  the  guided  tour  included  based  upon  my  very  successful  Web Page Starter Kit mentioned above. Click here to learn more. And if you buy from the Deals page on my site, you will save $15.00!

 Conventional Formats Work

Books have a lot in common, regardless of the writer, content, or publisher. The covers  are  of  sturdier  weight  than  the  inner  pages.  There's  a  title  page.  Some credits  on  the  reverse  side,  or  on  the  next  page.  Maybe  a  dedication  by  the author. If appropriate, there's a table of contents next. If there's an introduction, it follows. And if there's an index, it's at the back of the book.

So why not be creative? Put the index up front and the table of contents at the end? Why not?

Habits Are Helpful

We are all creatures of habit. In fact we benefit from them. What a chore it would be to get out of bed in the morning and get to work if we had to think our way through each step, and be sure we did not overlook one. We need our habits. And we don't want to change them. A book with a title page at the end of it would be unsettling.

The  form  and  format  of  most  magazines  is  even  more  consistent,  and  rigid. Would a magazine be successful with classified ads up front and letters to the editor at the end of it?

Newspapers are even more similar, one to another. The emphasis is on the first fold  that  shows  on  the  newsstand. Headline creation is  a  major  task.  The  way stories are written is the same, with the key points up front in case the reader does not continue.

Take  a  look  at  your  bookcase.  Hardbound  books  are  pretty  much  the  same  in height. Paperbacks are even more likely to be nearly identical in this regard. You can  generally  mingle  pages  from  different  newspapers  and  find  the  edges  are pretty well aligned.

And  what  about  the  type  font?  In  9  of  10  cases,  it  will  be  Times  Roman,  or  a close cousin. And the printed text is bound to be black on white.

Rigid Uniformity

Publishers    of    books,    magazines,    and    newspapers    follow    conventions relentlessly. Why?

They  want  their  readers  to  focus  on  the  content,  not  the  logistics  of  getting around in the publication. And content is the only significant difference between competing books, magazines, or newspapers.

Since  competition  is  really  a  contest  between  contents,publishers  do  not want deviation elsewhere that might interfere with the impact of that content.

Web Publishers Must Follow Suit

The conventions for a website are also clearly defined. Fast loading pages that are easy to read. A navigation scheme that is crystal clear in a glance. The same format on every page. The same format? Hey, that's boring!

Maybe.  But  it  is  conventional.  As  with  printed  publications,  let  nothing  on  your site  detract  from  content.  It  works  for  the  "Wall  Street  Journal,"  "The  Atlantic Monthly,"  and  Random  House.  And  it  works  for  other  successful  newspaper, magazine, and book publishers. It also works on a website. Let nothing in your pages detract from content. Then beat the competition with that content, It's the only way to go.

Boring Is Best

In sorting accumulated bookmarks recently, I found I could not recall why I had saved  some  of  them.  After  clicking  on  a  few,  I  was  struck  by  the  fact  that  so many sites looked so much alike. Boringly alike.

I sense that more and more webmasters are coming to understand that site content and expertise available is what makes the site. Not bells and whistles.

If you have not embraced these notions, you are losing ground. But as in so many things about the Web, there is no need to take my word for this. Check it out and see for yourself. You will find that in site design, simple is a good idea. And that boring is best.

The Test Sample

I  began  with  a  set  of  43  bookmarks  recently  collected.  Some  I  recognized  as resources  to  be  added  to  my  newsletters.  Others  were  sites  someone  had suggested or requested I visit. But for many, I was no longer able to recall why I had saved the address.

While I wanted the sample to be random in the sense of checking the entire set, I did not want to examine this many sites in any detail. After looking at several, I found a criteria that allowed my to eliminate a whole bunch. And that proved to be a great time saver. Here it is.

What's in it for me?

I omitted 14 sites that did not respond adequately to this fundamental question asked  by  every  visitor.  (One  exception  is  included  below  to  make  a  point.)  In each case, before making a hasty retreat, I noted additional flaws. Since it is not my intent to play critic here, I simple ignored them. The sites listed below had at least  an  adequate  answer  to  this  question  for  their  visitors  in  the  first  fold (screen). Does yours?

First Fold

Since I eliminated sites that did not adequately answer the question above, all the sites listed had at least a good first fold. Note I said good, not great. In many cases there was room for improvement. (For more info, click here and read, "

The First Fold Makes Your Site.")

Simple Navigation

While   some   sites   were   better   than   others,   navigation   seemed   pretty straightforward throughout.

Load time

All but two sites had good download times on my system. Less than 30 seconds in  all  cases,  most  were  under  15  seconds.  One  took  2:47  minutes,  which  is much, much too slow. Regards the second slow site, see the following.

Splash Screens

Only one site had a splash screen. I left after 3 minutes, before it had completely loaded. This is the exception included, simply to make this point. I never did see the first fold.

I really hate to see this, for it is so easy to demonstrate that this kind of page simply will not work. Just compare the hit count on the entry page to that of the page it links to. It is highly unlikely there will be even half as many hits on the second page. In this particular case, I'm not sure anyone ever has stuck around long enough for the entire page to load.

Horizontal Scroll

Only 4 sites forced me to scroll horizontally with my browser screen width set to 640 pixels. One had the table width set to 660 pixels, which makes little sense to me.

Another  had  the  table  width  properly  set  to  600  pixels  but  still  forced  scrolling about  50  pixels,  probably  due  to  a  graphic  in  the  page,  but  I  did  not  check. Another site was using a table width of 100%, rather than 600 pixels; this leaves things to the browsers to position the page wherever. Of all sites visited, only one had a greater width: 812 pixels, an odd choice that forces almost every visitor to scroll. If you assume visitors are using 800 pixel screens, the better choice is 760 pixels.


Only one site used frames. And a bit of scrolling was required in each window. Not good. Since 28 of 29 sites did not use frames, you can do without them as well.

Text And Background Colors

All but three sites use black text on a white background. Two used black text on a background Windows calls moneygreen. (A very pale green.) It worked for me. Only one used a bold combination of colors.

I was not taken with it, but it will not likely offend anyone. Clearly the work of an artist who knows web colors. The bottom line, though, is that 26 of 29 used black text on a white background. How much thinking does it take to figure this is the best way to go?

Font Face

Only 5 use Times Roman. There are those who maintain this is the way to go because it is what people are accustomed to reading in printed material. But in taking this position, they may be overlooking a key point.

Text on a computer monitor is much fuzzier than it would be in print. Fuzzier by something like 25%, even when compared to news print. This slows reading by about  20%.  The  serifs  in  Times  Roman  add  fuzz,  which  slows  reading  even further. Most sites use Arial or Verdana. Either choice is the best available.

Line Length

The amount of readability research available is enormous. Believe it. The basic concern of parents and schools  in the early grades is  improving  reading skills. Better readers do better in school; there's no question about this. Long before the Web  was  born,  it  was  clearly  determined  that  the  ideal  length  of  a  line  in characters  is  60,  and  that  65  is  the  maximum  acceptable.  Only  2  of  29  sites ignored this rule. Can you afford to do so?

Pop Up Windows

Only  two  sites  had  a  window  that  popped  up.  While  popular  with  some webmasters, most visitors are annoyed because the new window blocks part of the page they came to see. Are you into annoying people?


I found animation on only one site. As a reminder, though, I only visited a couple of pages on each site. Further, I ignored banner ads. It may not be reasonable for a site to reject animated banners if revenues depend upon them.


No site offered sound.

The Wow!

I was surprised to find such commonality in a set of my bookmarks, collected for a variety of reasons. But the real wow came later, as I was adding up numbers and making counts.

Of  the  29  sites  included,  14  followed  every  one  of  the  implied  rules  above.  7 others faltered on only one point. Thus at least 21 of these 29 sites agree that boring is best in site design. That content is indeed what it is all about.

See For Yourself

Many newbies embrace the freedom of the Web, but then carry this same sense of freedom into their website. That is, they do it their way, without regard to the  norms that exist. It's a bad move. Your site design must be acceptable to your visitor. They are the only people who matter. Follow the "rules" most often used. Be creative in your content and products or services.

Don't take my word for this. Or the word of anyone else. Take the time to check for yourself. It's easy.

Go  to  your  favorite  search  engine  and  enter  "site  promotion"  as  a  search term. Remember these are people into making a site sell effectively. Briefly visit the first 15-20 sites listed. See  how  many  you  can  find  that  ignore  the  "rules"  above.  When  I  checked  at AltaVista, I did not find any break in the first 10 listings.

The Sample Set

I did not include the URLs of the sites visited. However, I have them handy if you want     to     check     things     out     for     yourself.     Just     send     a     note     to TIPS@sitetipsandtrick.com. -- Bob

Make Your Own Rules!

Must you annoy your visitors? Is there no way to avoid this?

No, there is not. But you only need to do so once. When you make your sales presentation.  Of  course  the  better  it  is,  the  less  it  will  annoy.  But  in  general, people do not rush into a sales pitch for the fun of it. There is at least hesitation. And often a sense of, "Darn. Here we go again."

In order to assure your visitors "agree" to read your presentation, all else on the site be clean, simple, and positive, without anything that may offend or irritate.

Discovering The Rules

Do you like blinking text on a website? Flashing banners? I don't. But what you and I think about them is meaningless. The question is what do our visitors think about them.

There   are   lots   of   rules   about   website   design.   Lots   of   dos   and   don'ts. Unfortunately, on almost any point you are likely to find a considerable difference of opinion. Probably the best approach is to develop your own set of rules. It isn't all that hard to do. It requires honest thought, is all. By honest, I mean you must take yourself out of the picture, and think only of your visitors and target.

Collect Check Sites

Begin by checking your bookmark or favorites file. Move the URLs of those sites you believe your target would enjoy visiting into a separate folder. How many is enough?  Hard  to  say.  If  you  feel  you  need  a  couple  more,  go  find  them.  And when  you  stumble  upon  another,  be  sure  to  add  that  URL.  Whatever,  these become your check sites. State a rule, then see if most of these sites follow it. If so, then live by it. If not, restate the rule.

Building A Rule

Back to blinking and flashy elements, it is clear many do not like them. Visit your check sites. Do they use them? Again, this takes more pondering than work. And again, it's a matter of looking at all from your target's point of view.

In  this  case  you  will  probably  note  that  blinking  and  flashy  are  not  used much, if at all. If this is your finding, then your rule may be stated as: Don't use them unless you must.

Checking Colors

Consider colors. If you approach this honestly, you will find white or off-white is  the  preferred  background  color.  Does  this  mean  your  rule  should  be  to  use white?

Not really. But it does mean that if you choose a different background color, you will need to be extra careful elsewhere.

Making Your Own Rules

If you work at this a bit, you can come up with some neat notions of your own.  For  example,  I  was  recently  struggling  to  find  a  third  shade  of  blue  for  a page template. I spent more time at it than I would care to admit.

While I do not know it is true, I suspect three shades of the same color on a web page means at least one will clash with one of the others.

Am I right? Can't say. I can say, however, that for me the rule is to not use more than two shades of the same color on the same page. I'll stand by this rule. But also remain open to changing it if I discover something better.

Don't Buck The System

Readability of content is an area often overlooked. It seems odd to me that this is so. Given all the drive behind getting youngsters to become good readers, be  assured  there  are  mountains  of  research.  And  that  mountain  has  been growing for scores of years.

To not follow these rules is a great mistake. Don't listen to me on this point. Check it out with your list of sites and see what they are about. Do they use red text on a blue background? If not, you should not do so either? Do they have 100 characters in a line? If not, you should not either. (Incidently, the answer to this "quiz question" is 60!)

In short, use rules demonstrated to be correct.

Let's Get Comfortable

Forgetting rules and building good ones for a moment, let's look at comfort and such. In your list of check sites, you undoubtedly have some you like better than others.  Pick  a  time  when  you  are  feeling  aggressive  or  creative  or  both.  Then visit each in turn. Try to answer questions such as the following.

* Why do I like this site?

* Why do I feel comfortable here?

* Why do I want to stay a while?

* What is it about this site that makes it special to me?

* What makes me think these people are successful?

* Why do I feel I can trust the business behind this site?

It's  easy  enough  to  add  several  dozen  such  questions,  but  hopefully  the above gives the idea I had in mind.

To the degree you can answer such question and determine guidelines to be used on your site, you will be making great gains. I find this very difficult to do. But  I  also  find  it  very  enlightening.  For  me,  it  leads  to  ideas  common  to  good sites. And these ideas lead to very helpful guidelines or rules I follow.

An Example

Visit some sites offering merchant account services, or some way of taking credit cards. If you have struggled as many do in trying to find such a service, there's no reason to look again. Nothing has changed.

Now visit WellsFargo.Com. I don't know what your reaction will be, but I immediately  felt  several  positive  things.  These  people  are  for  real.  They  are successful. And within seconds, I felt I could trust this operation.

All  quite  appropriate  for  a  banking  site.  Also  appropriate  for  mine.  I  spent quite a long time at WellsFargo.Com, trying to figure all the little bits and pieces that gave me such an immediate positive feeling.

What It Boils Down To

A lot of the rules we hear remind me of political sound bites. They don't give us a sufficient understanding without the context. I'm certain a lot of "rules" we hear, come from trying to answer questions such as those above. But there is not sufficient time or space to give the reasoning. So what we get is a rule without the context.

Rather  than  blindly  following  any  rule,  we  can  check  it  out  and  decide  for ourselves. And in doing so we build our own set of rules. A set that collectively forces us to produce pages we are confident our target will enjoy.

When we then introduce them to our sales presentation, any annoyance that may  arise,  will  quickly  fade.  If  we  have  been  bugging  them  since  they  arrived, they will never see our pitch, for they will have long since clicked off the site.

The First Fold Makes Your Site! (Or Breaks It.)

Visitors to your site are not looking to make a new friend. They don't want to chat. And  they  don't  give  a  darn  what  you  think  about  anything,  least  of  all  your product. They only want to know:

1) What's in it for me?

2) Why should I believe you?

3) Why should I buy from you?

They will answer the first two questions to their satisfaction within seconds. Only if they like these answers will they even consider the third. And at least a partial answer to it must come easily

Provided your page downloads quickly, visitors will stick around until it does. But as it starts to load to the screen, the first fold (screen) must fill rapidly. It must immediately provide information that compels the answers you want your visitor to decide upon. (If there are any graphics on the page, be sure dimensions are included in the HTML so text will quickly load up top.)

In the first fold, answers to the above questions must flow from ...

1) Benefits, benefits, and more benefits

2) Demonstrated professionalism and expertise

3) Clear statement of the USP (Universal Selling Proposition)

More About Benefits

They must be presented with words. While not easy to define, they are the only tool available to trigger the answer you want to the question, "What's in it for me?" This part of the message must be crafted as carefully as an ad central to a major advertising campaign.

On a single product site, the home page headline shouts the major benefit of the product. As with a good sales letter, each word draws the visitor more deeply into the site. All is benefits. And all points to the order form and a sale.

Most  sites  offer  a  variety  of  products  and/or  services,  which  means  the simplicity in a single product site can only be approximated. The home page is the  entrance  to  corridors  leading  to  the  sale  of  different  products.  (Or  to  great information, free stuff, etc.)

This requires even more judicious use of the top fold. The benefits presented must be specific to products, rather than to features of a single product. In the  first  fold,  introduce  those  products  most  likely  to  be  of  interest  to  an  unknown visitor. A possible alternative is to work with the products you most want to sell.

Professionalism And Expertise

Demonstrate these as the first step in answering the question, "Why should I believe you?" The way in which benefits are presented goes a long way toward achieving  this  goal.  Given  a  sharp,  professional  presentation,  your  skeptical visitor  is  likely  to  say,  "So  far,  so  good."  And  to  withhold  final  judgement, particularly as to trustworthiness.

In this regard, the appearance of the site is fundamental. Again looking at the first fold, all must support well stated benefits. Even enhance them. A garish or cluttered page destroys any credibility that might flow from the content. Likewise for  any  graphic  that  does  not  enhance  the  appearance  of  the  site  *and*  the message.

About Your USP

When  a  visitor  answers  the  question,  "Why  should  I  buy  from  you?"  with, "Okay,  you'll  do,"  he  or  she  is  ready  to  buy.  And  the  option  to  do  so  must  be handy. Throughout, however, the content must continue to provide solid reasons for buying, for you don't know when the decision may be made. It is not likely to happen in the first fold. The initial response, though, needs to be at least, "Okay, I'll tag along a ways." A good USP is sufficient to bring this response.

The  USP  may  be  incorporated  in  a  logo,  offered  in  a  colored  cell  within  a table,  or  maybe  as  the  last  line  on  the  screen  at  the  bottom  of  the  first  fold. Where it is positioned is not important. But the visitor must see it and easily grasp its meaning in the first or second scan of the first fold.


The best single product site I have visited is SiteSell.Com. Ken Evoy, author of "Make Your Site Sell" is a master at this. Check out his sales pitch and see if you  can  keep  yourself  from  buying  the  book!  Even  if  you  have  multiple  profit centers, a corridor to a sale within a given center can be developed in this way.

UPDATE: Ken now offers several products, and I wonder if his new home page layout works as well as the original.

I don't have an example of a great multi-product site. Most I visit seem too cluttered,  too  busy,  too  pretty,  or  they  just  have  too  much  stuff.  My  own  site  suffers some from the latter malady. I continue working to improve it along the above lines.

But What About The Rest Of The Site?

Pieces  of  cake.  Really.  Some  may  argue  the  most  difficult  task  in  online marketing is generating targeted traffic. I don't agree. While it takes a good deal of time, effort and often dollars, it is largely a 1-2-3 sort of process. Do this, that, and then that. Others have clearly defined the steps that need to be taken, and the order in which to take them.

For me, the greatest challenge in marketing online is building the first fold on the home page. If your visitor scrolls down or clicks off into the site, you have a potential customer. In fact you have one who is likely to grant you a little slack. Thus perfection is not demanded throughout the site. Top quality is sufficient. But the first fold must be absolutely perfect.

Think of a newspaper. What part of it is assembled with the greatest care? The  top  fold  of  the  first  page.  It's  what  shows  in  vending  machines  and  on newsstands.  How  many  millions  have  bought  a  newspaper  because  a  single headline grabbed hard? Many, that's certain. Is the first fold on your website less important?

I have a strong hunch I can not demonstrate. Of those who click off a site never to return, ninety-some percent do so without leaving the first fold. Get it right and those who arrive with, "What's in it for me?" will say, "This might do." It's a giant step toward a sale.