“Wow! How cool is that!” The first time I saw a slider on a website (many years ago), I was in awe. It was a truly beautiful thing. A slider was the scrolling thing at the top of a website that slid photos or promotions across the page every few seconds. I could get multiple messages across in just the one patch of real estate, and surely the movement would grab attention.
So, I added in a slider to my site … along with thousands and thousands of other website owners.
We were all chasing the elusive “spark” to make our websites pop in the eyes of our clients. The problem was we were wrong. Dead wrong.
We were so wrong that I will now never build a small business website with a slider, and all my clients get a stern lecture on why sliders are worse than sugar addiction.
Why are sliders bad for your website? Here are 7 reasons why we need to send all website sliders into the fiery pits of hell, along with pet rocks, safari suits and mission brown fence paint.
1. No-one clicks them!
As the online world has developed, and scammers have moved into now lucrative interweb, our brains have developed to be aware of their tricks.
If you think of a typical dodgy site, the top section of the site was filled with flashing, moving images that enticed you with some too good to be true offer. After a few years of seeing these banner ads, people mentally stopped noticing them. They either became blind to moving, colourful things at the top of the page, or they associated clicking on them with danger.
As a result, clicks on banners and sliders have diminished to nothingness. In fact, only 1% of people will click on a slider image, and then they generally only click on the first one.
1%. Really focus on that statistic for a moment. You create a flashy slider trying to promote something and beg people to click on it, and only 1% of visitors click on it. Not exactly ground-shattering results!
If you want to hide something and not have people see it or act on it, stick it in a banner or slider! If you want someone to actually read or take action, then don’t use a banner or slider. Sliders are bad for your website!
2. Sliders slow down your website
Google loves fast websites – the faster, the better! If you want Google to love you and show your site in returns, your site needs to be faster than a hummingbird on speed.
Sliders are beautiful. They are filled with lots of gorgeous photos (often that are uncompressed making them super large and slow), with heaps of code to make the sliders move, stop and dance.
Heaps of code and lots of pictures = S-L-O-W. SLOW = Google poison.
If you want to keep Google happy – click delete on your sliders!
3. Sliders suck on mobiles
The code that drives sliders is designed for nice computers that sit on desks. To get to code to go all Transformer on you and reconfigure what you see into something that renders nicely on mobiles, is beyond many of the slider plugins or website code. You end up with something that is pin small or too big to be seen and gets all cut off.
Want a website that looks great on mobile devices – nuke your sliders.
4. They confuse your clients
Say, just for a moment, you get a client to focus on your slider. They start to read one image when “Whoosh” it disappears only to be replaced by something totally different. They just start to read it when “Whoosh”, another quick change.
It is like talking to a pre-schooler. “Today we made mud pies; they were big and sloppy. Mary stole the skipping rope. I really like raisins. I got mud on my dress. I tripped when skipping. I don’t like prunes.”
Any parent of young kids will tell you that they struggle to understand the conversational leaps of their kids, and either tune out or get totally confused about which bits go together.
In your business, if you have different thoughts or services on a slider, you are asking people to rapidly change mental gears to keep up. Just because you know what you are on about, doesn’t mean your clients do.
There is a saying in psychology and marketing “A confused mind says no”. If you want to confuse your clients and get them to say no to your business, add in a slider. If you want to get clients to say yes to your business, then shred your slider.
5. They are discriminatory
Are any of your clients getting on in years and have eyes not as good as they once were? Do you have any clients with slower reaction times or poor motor skills? Do any of your clients speak English as a second language or have low literacy? Congratulations! Your slider will be impossible for them to read or use.
If you want these people as potential clients, you need to make your website accessible to them. Ditch your slider.
6. They reduce your conversions
A website should be all about getting people to call you or take action. Split test studies (where you compare the same content plus or minus one thing) showed up to a 23% increase in sales when the slider was removed (with no other changes made to the web page).
If your business could do with more sales, then eliminate your slider.
7. Sliders stuff your SEO
If your slider has text, nice big friendly text, to point people to where you want them to go, chances are you have used the Header 1 (or H1) tag in your code to make it look consistent.
The problem is that every page should only have one H1 tag to help Google identify the most important topic of the page. Have more than one, and you suddenly go from one clear focus to a blended smorgasbord.
Sliders also push your all-important content down the page, reducing its impact and making Google unhappy. If people have to scroll for ages to get to the meat of your site, then you are hurting your business.
If you are trying to improve your search engine rankings, then abolish your slider.
Alternatives to Sliders
If you have looked with horror on the damage those seductively pretty sliders are doing to your business, and want to yank them off your site, you have alternatives.
Go static. A single, beautiful, evocative image will deliver more powerful results than your slider. Take a breath and allow yourself to be still, and then congratulate yourself on getting through the web version of a pet rock.