Want to learn how to easily get your first 5,000 subscribers? Download this free eBook to learn how.

Does Your Website Fail The "Header Removal Test?"
Last Updated May 7th, 2011

head removal

Answer this question FAST:

If you remove the logo and tagline from your website, will people still know what your site is all about without scrolling?

Or better yet, will people know exactly where they need to go to find the content they want?

I’m guessing no, and that’s a huge problem. You only have a few seconds to grab visitors, and if you’re relying solely on your logo, tagline, and your latest article, you’re losing out on leads and sales.

You need a backup plan.

The “Feature Box” Method to List Building and Sales Generation

Have you seen the Social Triggers home page?

If yes, you’ll know that I have a box that spans across the top of my content on my home page.

If not, it looks like this:

This box is great for two reasons:

Reason #1:

When someone randomly visits my site, they know exactly what my site is all about, and if they’re into it, they can sign up for updates (which essentially builds my email list).

If they’re not ready to subscribe, they can continue to peruse my content by scrolling down.

However, here’s why it’s so great:

This feature box generates a TON of my subscribers.

Think about it…

Why does this Feature Box generate so many subscribers?

The answer is simple. If the copy resonates, people enter their email right away because they know exactly what they’re signing up for.

And the best part?

They don’t have to “look” for it. It’s right there, front and center.

Reason #2

If you’re running a site, you know you don’t want just any kind of traffic or subscribers. You want qualified, highly targeted traffic and subscribers.

So, when you use a Feature Box like I have on Social Triggers, you essentially qualify your traffic as soon as they hit your home page.

If it’s the right traffic, you get the email. If it’s the wrong traffic, they either browse your site for more information or leave all together.

How cool is that?

Spread the love!

Join OVER 200,000 subscribers


Click here to sign up

Need more? Choose your path below

54 comments Leave a comment
Matthew Oxborrow

Hi Derek,

My browser is full of tabs to read from Social Triggers & I watch every email you send to my inbox.

I sell high-end men’s custom clothing. Do you think a feature box at the top of my homepage would be appropriate for what is a luxury image?

Kind regards,

Matt, England.


How does this apply to an internet retailer, Derek? We are adding an email subscription pop-up, but I like how you add much more info in your feature box. What types of info would benefit a retail company without seeming too salesy?

Yassin Madwin

I know that the feature box generates 38% more emails. I’ve been seeing it all over conversion-a-holics but how and i really hope you’re going to reply, how to have one like it?


    Hey Yassin,

    Ok, so I’m not Derek, but I was wondering what you mean when you say you were wondering how you could have a feature box like his. I guess it depends on how your site was built and how you manage leads.

    For example, there are many plugins for WordPress that accomplish the same thing and they tie into Mail Chimp, AWeber, etc.

    I don’t know how long ago you posted this so if I’m way late and you’ve already figured it out, then never mind and carry on!

John Russo

You have a niche here that has brought all the important facts abut blogging under one roof. I was researching some of the very subjects you discuss and found your link.
I have a situation that needs a delicate approach, promoting an amazing product that works but using a medical blog to promote it. honestly for the past week I’ve been spending every spare minute looking for a way to write a blog that will psychologically gain their trust.
Only 10 minutes of reading and I found some good ideas. Hpoping to learn how to capture the toughest audience I’ve ever encountered.

Hallie Freedman

Derek – I decided to take on my website and do it all myself. I know NOTHING about this so I have been using youtube videos, and tutorials re: my website theme (elegant themes: aggregate), etc to learn how to make my site look the way I want it. Most of the backbone is in place but I have noticed that people are actually putting their email opt-in into their header. What are your thoughts on that? Is it essentially the same thing you have done by using the “feature” spot. I moved my aweber opt-in form to a feature spot but it’s all out of sorts now on my ‘home’ page. (be patient with me and don’t freak out if you look at my site! I have more work to do! Just wanted to get the backbone in place so I can start getting some subscribers to start building a list).

Also, would you recommend DIY Thesis (and if you do, which package?) OR elegant themes aggregate (what I have now, liked it for the slider but took it down because I felt it took up too much unecessary space and wanted my opt in to appear toward the top of my website space)??

Thanks so much for your feedback. You have some extremely useful info. I have subscribed!


Question.. how do you put a feature box on your website, is there some kind of plug in for this? (Can you tell i’m new to web design).


Coach Comeback

Just discovering you Derek. I know… I must have been under a rock the past 6 months because you are EVERYWHERE!!!

When I find a new mentor I totally dive in.

So I will going through archives here with a fine toothed comb for the next couple weeks or so.

First things first……….. Add feature box


Hey Derek,

Another awesome article. I’m running thesis on my site, and have tinkered with the idea of putting the feature box up, but I haven’t made it a priority so it just hasn’t happened yet. I think this week I’ll have to set aside the time to make it happen.

Also, I’m publishing an article this week about email marketing that mentions you and the way you gain email subscribers, it links to social triggers, I’m assuming that’s cool? Let me know, thanks!



Totally agree with this post my friend! Matter of fact do you have any suggestions or can you direct me to any of your resources on how to create a capture page just like this for my target niche???

To tell you the truth, your works so well that I instantly subscribed as soon as I landed on your page lol!

Gail Richardson

Hi Derek, Thanks for such a great post. I really love the information you provide. I have been wanting to use the feature box but wasn’t sure how to use it. I didn’t realize that, that was a feature box at the top of your site. Thanks for sharing.


What Chef Gordon Ramsay Can Teach You About Building A Highly-Trafficked Blog

[…] Can people figure out what your blog is all about? Make sure you have a great tagline to keep people, and make them scroll down. Also make sure your site passes the header removal test. […]

Etre Heureux

It’s a great idea for sure, and it looks efficient, I’ll test it
I’m wondering is it on purpose that at first glance on your site, we don’t know what you sell or if you sell something?
my home page explains what i sell, but i’m not sure if it’s the best idea
Would love to have feedback
and by the way thanx for having added me on google+


I am a fairly new Thesis user and just starting to get “comfortable” with it. (It is completely different from any other theme I have used.)

Cut to the chase: I have been thinking about using the feature box as an offer/opt-in across the top of my home page. What I don’t understand: is there specific css code for what you wish to include inside the feature box. Example: “welcome”. Or, can I copy/paste stuff inside?

Neil @ Looking Towards Home

Using the feature box correctly – I really should do this! Thanks for the tip.

7 ideas for the next step after a product launch

[…] Follow the linking advice of one expert to the next – Derek has a web-site Social Triggers with lots of great articles like Does Your Website Fail The “Header Removal Test?” […]


The home page header opt in is a real killer. I have on on my blog too.


Sounds like a reasonable argument, but how do you apply this on a gadget blog where readers come to see what’s new everyday and you’re competing with tons of other gadget blogs for the same content?


Derek, I’ve been reading your stuff for a while now going back to DIY and Thesis (ok, I don’t know how far back that really is…digress), and continually find your articles popping up in my Evernote searches, Delicious bookmarks and tweets. You could call it content stalking perhaps, in an “absorbing-this-love-it-doing it” way that keeps me coming back.

I bought thesis back in 1.0 days but never discovered how powerful it is until recently with v 1.8 (thank you Chris Pearson for all free updates w/ membership). Obviously you make excellent use of the feature box. I’ve tried email sub in header but it never converts anywhere near as well as when I hook it in after posts (if they’re good posts, right? :’).

I’m also passionate about psychology with a shelf or two or three of tomes (just finished Influence by Cialdini). I really like where you are heading with this site because you are helping make me hone what I do best. Cheers!

Rick Henderson

Great article Derek. I got here through your recent email about signup zones. I’m so excited I want to get started now, but I still don’t really have a product or collection of emails to send out yet 🙂

    Derek Halpern

    You should always collect emails, even if you’re not offering an incentive. The more emails the better. Start early.

The 7 High-Converting Places to Add Email Sign-Up Forms to Build Your List

[…] It’s no secret. I absolutely love using a Feature Box. Not only does it convert well, it also passes my famous “Header Removal Test.” […]

Sinea Pies

This is very important information for me. What I don’t want to do is lose readers. Thank you.

Google Panda Update: Content + Design = Usable, trustworthy websites

[…] tips include: Cluttered, busy layouts (Less options, higher conversions) Problems (See the header removal test) Boring web design (Yes, this one is aesthetic) Slow load times (People are impatient online) Small […]

The “Content is King” Myth Debunked

[…] is confusing)2. Cluttered, busy layouts(Less options, higher conversions)3. Navigation Problems(See the header removal test)4. Boring web design(Yes, this one is aesthetic)5. Pop-up ads(Don’t mistaken ads for […]

Joakim Ditlev

Good quick test – I will keep that in mind when evaluating websites. Thanks for sharing!



Brilliant post – and depressing too. I’m afraid most of my sites fail the header test. I suspect that making the changes you have outlined will also reduce bounce rates – which is also a huge problem I have with some of my sites. Thanks for the post!


Anton Amoto

Hi Derek I stumble upon your great post. How do I get the tuturial details about making The “Feature Box”? I’m currently using Thesis theme and would love to use the same tricks.

Link Journeys for May 14, 2011 – The “Did you miss me?” Edition - Remarkablogger

[…] Does your website fail the “header removal test? (Yes! I win!) […]

Jason - Muscle Building and Fitness Workouts

I like your approach but as you mentioned it is hard when you have many different sub topics. I cover every thing from bodybuilding to fat loss so it hard to use that method.

I will see if I can use it some how on my sub pages.



Great site you have here, how did you get started with it? You have a psychology background?

    Derek Halpern

    Yes, I studied psychology in college, but most of the stuff I learned and write about, came after the fact.

    No joke, I have over 200 books in my house right now. I also read scholarly journals regularly.

    It’s an ongoing learning process. As Michael Port says, I’m what you’d call a Learn-ER instead of the Learn-ED

      Brian Clark

      Someone must have told you to start reading all those books, I bet. 😉

        Derek Halpern

        You know I give you credit for that, everywhere.

        Did you hear about my SOB Con presentation from Gardner? I tell everyone you set me on this path back in early 2007, with that one quote…

        “First I’m going to build a list, and then I’m going to sell them stuff.”

          Brian Clark

          That’s it in a nutshell. 😉

Ana | Increase Website Traffic

Interesting approach. Something to think about.

    Derek Halpern

    Eh, I find I don’t think about much these days. I come up with ideas, test them, and if they work, stick with them 🙂

      Ana | Increase Website Traffic

      How do you test things? Any posts on that?


        No posts on it, really… I use a combination of Google Analytics, Visual Website Optimizer, and eyeballing, heh.

Ana | Increase Website Traffic

One question, Derek:

Why do you choose to display it only on your home page (or at least not on your post pages?

And isn’t your opt-in form essentially your header/tagline then?

It definitely stands out; not question about it.


    Derek Halpern

    Hi Ana,

    I only show it on the home page, because, most traffic hits my single post page. I assume, if they go from single post page, and then navigate to home page (which is how my traffic usually works), they’re already primed to subscribe and I wasn’t “too aggressive.”

    Mind you, I have nothing against being aggressive with my marketing. I just keep the blog less aggressive.

Lee Hughes

I would but i’m going traveling in 2 weeks for 2 years so have to reduce my internet time somewhat.

Lee Hughes

Woaah.. you’re alexia rating has shot up since I was here! Nice work man.

    Lee Hughes

    Alexa even 😛

      Derek Halpern

      Heh. I don’t really check Alexa at all, but yea, traffic is soaring. Pretty cool, considering I don’t update that often :-).

        Lee Hughes

        Content is king 😉

          Derek Halpern

          Eh. Good content is king. Especially when you convert the traffic that content generates into subscribers. That’s where this whole psychology thing comes into play :-).

          Did you sign up for Authority Rules? If not, you totally should. Yea, I get a commission, but even if you don’t do it through my link no problem. It’s going to be a great event.

Dave Higgs-Vis

Now that I follow you via e-mail, this isn’t so much of an issue, but it used to bug me to have to scroll past this every time that I visited your page.

It’s not a criticism, though, since you obviously converted me into a subscriber. Good work! I’ll probably use this on my own site, or at least test it out.


    Derek Halpern

    I hear ya… I only show it on my home page, and not any other page. But yes, it was either that box, or a pop-up. That box converts well, and is much less invasive.

      Ken Faw

      I would have preferred the RSS as my first option, but am glad to get the emails. The box got me to subscribe as well, and I think while the RSS option would have also worked in my case, it would have cluttered the feature box and maybe lost some people.

        Jason Wiser

        I agree that i prefer RSS sign up. Derek, Why Email vs RSS subscriptions?

Brandon Yanofsky

Just signed up.

I definitely need to consider this for my site. I need some form of feature box or start here page.

Anyways, looking forward to your presentation.

    Joe Hage

    Brandon, I went to your site and was turned off by the pop up. I thought, “I haven’t even had a chance to read what he’s about and he’s already selling me. Let me close this box so I can get back to what I was doing.”

    Perhaps wait a few more seconds, at least? How is the pop-up working for you?

    Derek Halpern

    Glad you signed up. It’s going to be a great conference, for sure.

Leave a comment