Photo sliders, also called carousels, display several images in a slideshow that either automatically advances or can be clicked forward by the user or both. Usually placed at the top of your homepage, sliders started out by just showing images that weren’t clickable. Today, most sliders are also hyperlinked to a page or blog post inside the website.
A few years ago, when we just opened the Curren Group, we used to encourage our clients to do slideshows, because we thought sliders would help their sites stand out from all the other websites that didn’t use sliders. Yet.
Fast forward four years. Now, our clients are asking us to put in sliders. Of course, sliders are much more common these days. That means they no longer make your site stand out.
But there’s a better reason why we are less enthusiastic about website sliders than we used to be. After years of slider use by millions of sites, researchers are now able to say that photo sliders do two things that don’t help, but actually hurt your website.
Few clicks, slow performance
First, sliders take up valuable real estate on your home page above the fold but produce few clicks in exchange. They’re a bad return on investment. According to the search-engine experts at Yoast, “Only 1% of the people actually click on a slide, which almost always was the first slide. People simply ignore your slider,” because they think that your slides may be ads.
Second, and even worse, sliders slow down your site, negatively impacting your SEO and conversion rate. And, as Yoast also notes, sliders:
- Don’t always work well on mobile devices
- Push your content down, which Google recently mentioned yet again is not smart
- Dilute your message, because suddenly there are multiple messages on your homepage
That’s why we’re no longer encouraging our clients do use sliders. Now, we’ve started doing the opposite — discouraging sliders.
You may have reasons why you think your site won’t be hurt by a slider (“I don’t sell anything online”) and might actually need one (“I’m a photographer”). But if you have a website, by definition, you want it to attract traffic. And once there, you want your visitors to click around and view your content. A slider could prevent both those things from happening.
As to your need to engage your visitors at the top of your home page, there are other ways to do that more effectively.
Consider slider alternatives that give more value to your visitors and your business alike such as a big static image, a call-to-action, a sign-up form or even a video.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group