Sliders are cool though right? Well cool doesn’t make you money in the web business. Just about every site you visit these days has a sliding/rotating banner on the home page. They are interactive, cool looking and modern. What’s not to like right? I’m here to tell you what’s not to like. In fact they are overrated and you really don’t need one.
You are probably thinking “Hey, your site has a slider. What gives?”. I will tell you what gives. People buy web design with their eyes. Clients like flashy things and movement. They like to feel comfortable knowing that you can deliver what they want. In this case a slider. So we suffer the downside of having one to let clients know that we can in fact deliver it if they want it. This may change for us in the future though.
Let’s move on shall we?
First thing is you really need to lose the notion that if you don’t have a slider your site is not modern. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Look at Apple’s website (at the time of this writing). No slider and they are a fairly modern company wouldn’t you say? Just because you do not have a moving banner on your home page does not mean it is outdated. In fact, you can have a wonderfully modern website without one. Your message is what’s important not whether your site has bells and whistles.
Next is a sort of 1a and 1b issue that greatly affects users on a website. The human eye reacts to movement. “What’s wrong with that in this case” you may be thinking. It’s bad because now people are focusing on your slider they will never click and ignore other important information on your page. After a while many people start to tune out sliders. Now they are noticing other items on your home page. But guess what? They do this at the expense of your banner.
Let’s take a look at some actual numbers and other facts related to using rotating banners on a site.
Here is a question for you? What percent of viewers do you think actually click on a rotating banner? 80%? What about 75%? Maybe 50%? I have news for you. It’s 1%. That is not a typo where I am missing two zeros after the 1. You read it right, it’s only 1%. Ouch that hurts. What hurts even more is of that 1%, 89% of those clicks were the first slide/banner. Not only are you getting just 1% of viewers to click but the majority are not even concerned with your 2nd, 3rd or 4th slides. That is a horribly low conversion rate for one of the most significant areas on your home page. Especially when you sink so much effort, time and cost into developing it.
They don’t always work well on mobile devices.
If you remotely care about people coming to your site then you definitely care (or should care) about SEO. What’s good for Google is good for SEO. Google doesn’t like slow loading pages. They don’t like heavy JS that ‘hides’ content. It pushes down your content which Google says is not ‘smart’. What they do like are words. Lots of words. Now you have to work harder in other areas to make up for the loss of ranking of your website. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to work less and enjoy more.
There is a time and a place for sliders. Things like photo galleries or showcasing products.
When designing and building custom WordPress sites you find yourself presented with many options. The trick is creating a great site for a client without falling into the trap of throwing everything from the kitchen sink into the design and development. We try to do that and present the client with options. Wether that may be sliders or galleries or other functionality.
At the end of the day it is really up to you. If you prefer cool over people clicking important information on your site then who am I to say otherwise. Sliders are a trend right now. Maybe that trend stops but I don’t see it happening any time soon.