wasted real estate

Image thanks to David van Dijk of Unsplash

Does your website suffer from ‘wasted real estate’?

Posted on 19/11/2018 by Karen

When a client asks me to look at their website and do a web review, I often need to talk about ‘wasted real estate’. What I mean is… do they have so many huge and lovely photos and banners on their home page, that you can’t see or find any information?

Before you think that I am biased towards words

Now I know that I am a writer, but I have also studied graphic design and I well know the power of a beautiful image. I also know that the best websites (and advertising in general) use a combination of great images and well-written words to get their message across. Neither works without the other.

Yes, there’s often a bit of argy-bargy when you get a writer and a designer working together, but ideally, that should lead to a great collaboration with give and take on both sides, always putting the client first. But for now, let’s get back to that wasted real estate…

Wasted real estate will lose you clients

When someone lands on your home page for the first time, they are looking for something. It pays to make it easy for them — because your website is probably one of up to 10 websites that they’ll look at before they make a decision to purchase or to contact you.

If they can’t quickly find the information they are looking for — and I mean QUICKly! like, within 3 seconds — they will just click off and go to the next website. You’ve missed out before you even had a chance to sell them on your fantastic product or service. It’s the equivalent of someone coming to your shop, opening the door, standing in the doorway and then closing the door and going to the shop next door instead. You didn’t even get a chance to smile and say hello.

How to fix that wasted real estate problem

  • Include words as well as images

If you do have banners, have them say something. Put words on there as well as images. But please, get someone who knows design to do it, otherwise it may end up looking like a dog’s breakfast.

  • Make sure your copy begins ‘above the fold’

‘The fold’ is a newspaper term, and refers to the fold in the newspaper, halfway down the page. The fold on a website refers to the bottom of the screen, what you see loaded, before scrolling down the page. If you don’t have some words that people can see below your image, chances are you will lose them. They may not know that they need to scroll to find words, or they may not bother. Either way, dollars down the drain. Making sure your website shows some words above the fold is the way to go.

Because web design is coming full circle

This used to be the way websites were designed, in the beginning, back in the 90s. Over the years, website design has changed to reflect the way that people search and also because of the evolution of mobile devices, swiping, etc. But I have it on good authority from an Adelaide web developer (who has a direct line to a mentor in the US and to Google) that this ‘above the fold thing’ is really important again. Or maybe, still.

Yeay for me, who has been banging on to all and sundry about having words right up there for decades. It reminds me of my ex-sister-in-law, Sally, who said ‘groovy’ for so many years it was embarrassing… until it came back in again.

Web review, anyone?

If you’re now looking at your website with great suspicion, and you think you’d like a web review, please give me a call. I’d love to help you. Don’t worry, I’m big on recycling — I have saved many clients thousands of dollars by stopping them from trashing their website and suggesting they do some quick and clever renovations on their old one instead.


Karen Zaskolny,

Copy with Cream

0412 322 982