Learn why sliders will hurt your website or blog and why you need to turn them all off now. Sliders can look completely amazing on a homepage design and that is part of the problem. At the time of producing this feature article, sliders are found everywhere all over the web.
These pesky slidersÂ mainly crop up on home pages in big unwieldy carousels. They occupy huge swathes of preciousÂ design real estate on primary site pages. Sliders are particularly evident on desktop computers and tablets and come prepackaged with many themes and templates.
On mobile and responsive themes they can completely obscure your premium content which is amazing when you consider how valuable space is on a mobile site. So why on earth would anyone ever contemplate using a slider? Yet they do and in their many thousands.
Carousel based image sliders are by far the most widely used design element in the majority of WordPress themes. They are highly visible on most websites in one form or another.Â Slider plugins for WordPress are being downloaded by the millions and sold by the tens of thousands on design resource hubs such as TemplateMonster and others. In the plugin and theme arena they are big business.
We don’t use a content slider on DesignBump, save for a small featured bar on the top header. We use the magnificent Bimber WordPress theme which certainly supports a sliderÂ but we don’t use one.Â If you’re currently using a slider on your WordPress site, you shouldÂ dump it forcefully in the bin as soon as you possibly can.
Why Homepage Sliders Will Hurt Your Website or Blog
Sliders are everywhere, they are bundled with themes by the dozen. Personally I think that sliders are an easy quick way for developers to impress their clients. One of their few saving graces of sliders is that they can carry a lot of ‘WOW’ factor in place of any real content or substance. If they didn’t hog so much space then they wouldn’t be so bad but they do and that is part of the problem.
The other issue is that people really do not scroll left and right nearly as much as you might like them to. So sliders are not actually driving that many clicks while completely filling your home page. Now you might be starting to see why slidersÂ are not nearly as cool and awesome as you first thought!
While it is certainlyÂ possible to find new WordPress themes that don’t feature a huge slider at the top of the homepage, it is certainly a lot easier to find WordPress themes with a significantÂ carousel abundance. The very best premium and free themes will have an option to turn them off completely or simply use them much more conservatively than smack bang in the middle of the page.
Outsourcing Web Design to Agencies Equals Sliders
One problem is that a lot of popular sites in all sorts of niches are designed by web agencies. This is understandable, setting up web sites to run on WordPress and other CMS types may have got easier in recent years. Yet it can still be a real headache and you do need lots of skills to manage all the hosting, themes and plugins that come with.
Even for those that know what they are doing its all well, so darn time consuming. You can forgive a company or creative professional for outsourcing. Design agencies however think that sliders look great. So when they demo your new site be sure to expect a slider or three!
Another problem is simply that most of the popular themes on Envato Market place and other top design hubs use sliders or carousels. Take the widely popular and amazingÂ Newspaper theme for example. It is little wonder that users consider using sliders on their sites to be good practice.
We don’t use a content slider on DesignBump, save for a small featured bar on the top header. We use the magnificent Bimber WordPress theme which certainly supports a sliderÂ but don’t use one.
They see sliders in the theme demos so think it is what they should do also. However remember clearly that a great programmer or theme designer may not be skilled at conversion testing and analytics. These are the data sets that tell you what is working well on your pages and what is detrimental to conversions and good traffic flow across your site.
Sliders Do Not Help Users Reach Conversion Goals
Lets be honest when you land a new web site visitor we all want them to take action. Taking action means adding a product to cart, or filling in a web form to request information. Or clicking on an Adsense ad, affiliate link or display banner, anything like that.
There are natural traffic flows that deliver your visitors to any one of these desirable actions. A slider simply disrupts this traffic flow in a very detrimental way. One reason that sales pages and action funnels exist and flourish such as LeadPages or ClickFunnels is that they do away with all the distracting fluff and clut that you find on a regular web site.
However we don’t want our actual web site to be completely useless at channelling visitors around and driving sales do we? Sliders simply obstruct the natural, logical flow of traffic around the most intuitive and useful areas of your site.
Whatever you may think about how sliders may look awesomely pretty or add a dynamic and lively element to your site is irrelevant. You designer may proudly say how good your homepage looks. Yet if the slider doesn’t really help funnelÂ your visitors towards your conversion goal or contribute to ad revenues then what useful purpose does it really have?
The Proof is in the Data : Sliders Completely Suck
It is no coincidence thatÂ there’s a very tall mountain of insightful data that shows theme sliders having a very negative impact on traffic flow and conversion rates. Here are some further helpful readings on the subject and a few thoughtful highlights:
- Chris Goward from WiderFunnel says that homepage rotating slides are a scourge. To be preciseÂ “the scourge of homepage design” and details of exactly why are foundÂ in this article.
- Erik Runyon ran a slider performance test on ND.edu and witnessedÂ abysmally low click-through-rates.
- This interesting post by SearchEngineLand confirms the really lousyÂ click-rates and also goes into much more informationÂ on the real reasons why sliders are so detrimental to your site’s SEO.
- Jakob Nielsen discoveredÂ that slidersÂ are either ignored entirely or, if they aren’t, are perceived as very annoying by web users. So sliders could easily be the new popup that we love to hate.
Look at the Competition to See What Works
Expert opinions from gurus and even putting exact science and data to the side. I find it very interesting to see which reputable bloggers and authors choose to use sliders on their main sites. Look at websites run by people who are known for a lot of testing and optimization to see who if any are really using them to any degree.
There are lots of great digital marketing resources such as Digitalmarketer and AuthorityHacker. These guys may run big traffic driving marketing sites. Yet they also run niche sites where they apply a lot of the design principles that they teach on their marketing blogs.
We could keep going but in reality you do not need to speak to a load of experts or gurus. Instead quickly hop over to any of your favorite digital marketing blogs and take a close look at their sites. Even look at some of their niche sites to gain a broad view of how and where sliders are being used.
The guys at Authority Hacker mentioned above for instance run a health style blog. Here sliders are nowhere to be seen. In general for those in the know you will find that sliders are thin on the ground and that can only be a good thing.
Is There Anything Good About Sliders?
Well sliders taste really good! Yet seriously like I said at the beginning of this article sliders look very pretty, they have a certain WOW factor on some premium themes. However the negative elements vastly outweigh any positive factors.
Do not be swayed by great looking sliders and image carousels. Hence my recommendation is to remove them from your blog entirely or use them subtly such as in header or below the scrollÂ navigation.