I’m reading this article, “Keeping Your Credibility While Changing Your Mind” article because I have changed my mind about sliders. I feel a little bad since I do believe a small group of people may consider my opinion when it comes to web design, which I am grateful for. Even though I am not a politician, I hope you might consider these five points on why I’m reconsidering the value of sliders on a website home page, especially if you are thinking about switching platforms, or starting a new site.
- “My thinking has evolved.” My last blog post signing the praises of sliders dates back to the fall season of 2015, three years ago. I don’t need to remind you how fast tech changes on the web. Back then; we finally had these new responsive templates to work with after talking about how important responsive layouts are going to be until we were blue in the face. These new templates had one ginormous image taking up 70% of the layout. In order to not scare retailers into deciding on one photo/topic for the whole site, sliders helped minimize the pain.
- “I am in your corner.” I realize this may seem like it’s a 180-degree change, but in the scope of all things web, it’s not that big of a deal. We made it through the death of flash; this should be a walk in the park in comparison.
- “A change in tactics is not a change in intent.” I am changing my mind because I want to make the best websites for our retailer’s customers.
- “This new action was born of necessity.” We really should be able to track clicks, ALL of them. These clicks should count so your site gets shown more in search engines.
- “I hear you.” This may cause some discomfort. I’m a little uncomfortable just writing this.
Here are my reasons for not being into sliders like I was:
- Sliders use plugins commonly called “carousels” which make the sliders move. Using a carousel makes the slider images have no SEO value. For example, an image with an alt tag of “Fresh Meat” on your site can help your site to be listed in a browser search if someone does a search for “Meat”. However, if that image is a slider, forget about your site getting listed. Hopefully you mention meat somewhere else. By the way, I just did a spot check on a traffic report on one of our retailer’s sites, 66% of the customers found the site by using a search engine.
- Less than 1% of your customers will click on a slider with a button that says, “Click Here!” Here’s is a study to prove this: https://searchengineland.com/homepage-sliders-are-bad-for-seo-usability-163496
- Sliders trigger “banner blindness”. Think about how many ads you ignore on the web. Sliders typically look like ads. Generally when I see an ad I didn’t ignore, my first thought is, “I wonder if the site owner has any idea of what I’m looking at here?”
What should be done if you have sliders on your website?
Take a look at your website. Is the message on your sliders repeated somewhere else on your site and expanded on? Maybe it links on another site and you’re fine with that. For example, say you have a slider with, “Did you know vegetables are good for you?” and a button that says, “learn more”. If the page you land on after clicking the link explains why vegetables are good for you that’s good. Search engines will pull the vegetable content from the landing page. Now remember, how many of your customers that do click on that slider won’t be great. I wouldn’t suggest any pop quizzes on vegetables in your store.
What if I don’t have any content on my site to backup a slider?
Ask your web designer to find a place for the content. Many times you can add the content to an all ready existing page, or create a new one. Put a link to the content in your nav bar. Ask for a new button under the sliders. WebStop sites have an option for rows of 2 “Promotion Blocks” under the sliders. Brick sites can add rows of three buttons under the sliders.
I realize eyes will roll after reading this. Mine did when a board of 5 local experts in Search Engine Optimization, and website development evaluated one of our websites. However I let it sink in, and did some research. One reason why sliders are so popular is they can be easy to make and upload. When you’re busy and the boss asks,
“Is this on the website?”
“Yep, we made a slider from a screen shot on our ad”.
I’ve done it, and will keep on doing it if specifically asked to after listening to my reasons why I don’t recommend it. What we need to consider instead, do we REALLY want your customer to know about this? If you do, put in some extra static content instead of a slider.