Website sliders, or carousels as they’re also known, were once popular in website design because of the simple fact you could fit more into the space. A lot of theme developers also use sliders in their premade theme designs, so the temptation is really there to use them in your own designs. I think the theory was the more features you could showcase the better and anything moving on a site always looks more impressive. But, it could also be because they all have developer licences for Slider Revolution so need to get the most out of their subscriptions! 😉
What ever the reason was, thankfully, they’re going out of fashion. But why you might ask?
To put it simply – Sliders are bad for website performance and SEO.
But, I’m not just going to leave you hanging without giving you the full breakdown on why your slider could be hindering your website.
Let’s delve into why sliders are bad for your website and how they’re costing you conversions.
Sliders slow your site down.
Your website is basically a bunch of files that load onto someone’s screen when they click on your website link. As common sense goes, the lighter or fewer the files, the quicker the site is to load. If your site is heavy then it will have a slower load time than a site that has less moving parts so to speak. Sliders are considered heavy when it comes to the resources they use to load. Think of it like this. You have one static hero image to load that is 200kb. It’s loading in a few milliseconds. Add 3 or 4 images that are all set to load at the same time in a carousel or slider and you have now added to that same load. Your site is now trying to load 800kb all at once – plus all your other website files.
Now, let’s take that a step further. Consider your website slider images are not optimised before they’re uploaded. So the image that should be 200kb is loaded straight from your iPhone at a whopping size of 2MB. Sure it looks great, but you have considerably more load on your site. Now add 3 or 4 more images and your site is trying to load 8MB of heavy image load before anyone even gets to see your site.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are huge sites with blazing fast load times. The site size on it’s own doesn’t determine whether it will be fast or slow to load, but files on your site that are known to slow a site down, like sliders, should be avoided.
Sliders on your website are costing you conversions.
This is probably the most important and relevant point that you need to know. The purpose of a website is to convert visitors to customers. If your website isn’t converting, then it’s not doing it’s job.
The top hero image or the area “above the fold” is your most valuable piece of website real estate.
So why would you want to divide it up?
While you may think your reaching more people with several messages, you’re actually having the opposite effect. Your detracting all your visitors from seeing your most important message.
The eye is naturally geared to not focus on a slider. Have you ever noticed that you just keep on scrolling when you see too much going on when you land on a website?
Sliders have the same subconscious response as an advert. Most ads on a website are flashing, scrolling, annoying images that we’re trained to ignore. So it’s only fair to think that a slider will also have the same effect. Not really what we want is it?
And if you still think sliders are a good idea… studies show only 1% of people actually click on a slider! – so that is super low conversion!
Sliders are bad for SEO – even Yoast says so!
SEO Yoast are the leading SEO brand in the WordPress world. They have millions of installs on websites around the world, so they know a thing or ten. I also use them on all my sites.
Sliders are bad for SEO because of the reasons we spoke about above – slow website speed and low conversions. Google uses website speed as part of it’s algorithm to rank sites. If your site is slow to load, then it will be penalised.
Another ranking factor for Google is mobile responsiveness and user experience. Some sliders are not mobile responsive or don’t covert well when shrinking down to mobile size screens. This puts your site in the bad for SEO category because most website visitors are now on Mobiles. If your site doesn’t covert well in mobile, then it will affect your ranking and overall user experience.
So, as you can see, the less you have moving on your site the better your site is for performance. Sure, websites that move and seem alive are fun and quirky, but do they really convert or is the message lost in all the animation?
Have a look at your website and see if you can make better use of the prime real estate that is your hero image. Do you have one message that would be better served to go in there?