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The Myth of Homepage Sliders: Why They Don’t Slide the Way You Want

May 10, 2023
Matt Southam

Homepage sliders – they seem like the perfect way to showcase all your great content in one place, right? They look sleek and flashy, and they give you the feeling of having a dynamic, interactive website. But, like a bad magic trick, all that glitters isn’t gold.

The reality? These sliders may not be doing you or your website visitors any favors. Let’s explore why.

Firstly, let’s talk about the “illusion of choice.” Your website isn’t a buffet. It’s more like a curated dinner where you, as the host, want to guide your guests through the best experience possible. With sliders, you’re basically laying out all the dishes at once and saying, “Pick whatever you like.” But here’s the kicker: visitors don’t have the time or patience to sift through all the options. They’re looking for clear, concise information. Give them that, instead of overwhelming them with a smorgasbord of slides.

One of the critical responsibilities of your website’s above-the-fold content is to quickly answer two pivotal questions for the visitor: “Does your product solve my problem?” and “Can I trust you?” A slider may seem like an efficient way to convey this information, but the reality may be quite different.

The Reality of ‘Banner Blindness

You might argue that sliders are visually engaging. But are they, really? The truth is, most visitors perceive sliders as advertisements and tend to ignore them, a phenomenon known as ‘banner blindness.’ Moreover, auto-rotating sliders can be annoying and distracting, especially if a user is trying to read information on a slide that suddenly disappears.

A study by Notre Dame University revealed that only 1% of visitors click on a slider. Moreover, 84% of those clicks were on the first slide. So, the remaining slides get very little attention. Another study by Orbit Media showed that sliders have a lower conversion rate (1.66%) compared to a single static image (4.85%). These findings suggest that sliders may not be as engaging or effective as they seem.

Think about mobile users too. With the world increasingly using smartphones for internet browsing, sliders often create a poor user experience. They’re typically hard to navigate on smaller screens, and excessive movement can eat up mobile data.

Lastly, consider load time and SEO. Sliders, particularly those with high-resolution images or complex animations, can significantly slow down your site. Remember, a speedy site isn’t just about keeping your visitors happy – it’s also a key factor in SEO. While sliders themselves aren’t inherently bad for SEO, a slower website due to hefty sliders can indirectly impact your rankings.

Alternatives to Sliders: The Power of a Single Image

So, what’s the alternative? Instead of a slider, opt for a single, powerful hero image paired with a compelling headline and a clear call-to-action. This static approach can guide visitors, provide clear messaging, and ultimately, lead to higher conversion rates.

While sliders may work for certain industries like e-commerce (Amazon and eBay, for example), it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your website isn’t Amazon or eBay – at least not yet.

Challenge: If you’re currently using a homepage slider, why not conduct some A/B testing? Compare your slider homepage with a version featuring a single hero image. Monitor the bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rate. You may be surprised at the results!

Remember, as with any rule, there are exceptions. There might be scenarios where sliders work well. However, they should be the exception, not the norm. Our goal is to create websites that are user-friendly, efficient, and effective – not just flashy.

In the end, a slider might look good, but looking good is different from doing good. And we’re here to do good, right?

We’re here to ensure our website not only looks appealing but also efficiently serves its purpose. And if the data suggests that sliders might hinder that goal, it’s worth taking a step back and considering alternatives

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