Do homepage sliders work?

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A slider or carousel are those big images on websites that automatically scroll or slide through in series. They might have some marketing offers on them, some text and maybe a button to go do something.

This week I released a Digital Marketing Tip that I received a few questions about. I basically stated that ‘homepage sliders suck’. A LOT of websites use sliders, and in fact I have developed and probably will continue to use sliders in some way on sites. A slider can definitely make a visual impact on any website. What business owner doesn’t want an impressive website? It’s moving, you can use lots of photos, you can get across multiple messages. But there in lies the problem, too many messages. You may end up confusing your customer about what they should do, or even more damaging, what you do.

So what’s more important to you? Having a fancy looking website, or one that customers can understand and be guided through? There are some amazing studies out there that all point towards sliders being completely ineffective. It’s been shown that only one percent of users click an action in a home page slider. One percent! Then why on earth is it the most dominant feature on so many websites? You can read some more great statistics (and if you’re ever having a debate on the topic) from http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/. Even reading the statistics on that site proves a point.

Why are sliders so popular then?

Because of the mass availability of templates and WordPress themes, site owners have become accustomed to looking for ‘pretty’ themes. The one with the most features, animations and slick tricks. Never mind purpose, conversion goals, user experience.

Identify a conversion goal

Designing for ‘pretty’ is like purchasing a vanity plate for your car. Nobody cares about that plate as much as you do. You should consider what it is you want your website to do for you by setting conversion goals. It might be one of the following:

  • Make a sale
  • Receive an enquiry form submission
  • Receive a phone call
  • Have a user download some further information
  • Have a user sign up to your newsletter

From there you identify a primary goal and can structure your home page, and customer journey.

Now there are some business types that actually benefit from ‘pretty’ over function. Photographers, artists, maybe even some hospitality businesses, you’re off the hook. But the vast majority of businesses will benefit far more from a singular, strong, effective call to action on their home page. Your users will thank you for not bombarding their eyes for the short time they are on your site.

 

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