Ok, the title of this post sounds a bit harsh. It’s link bait, I’m happy to admit it. It’s a small part of my traffic plan but read the subtitle and you’ll get a better sense of what I’m going to be writing about in this post.
It’s tough love. I want your site to succeed. Putting random images of your kids in a main page slider (or carousel, or rotating offer) doesn’t make sense for your business. I’m going to tell you why.
Sliders don’t work
When sliders became widely available in the form of WordPress plugins, everyone jumped on the bandwagon. And why not? Sliders do look great. They add a visual element to otherwise boring pages.
But guess what? The data shows that most sliders (not all) simply don’t work for getting your average visitor to navigate through your site.
Rather than rehash the fine details of these findings here, there are a few epic posts on the subject:
- Home Page Sliders are bad for SEO – Search Engine Land
- Carousels and Accordions Annoy Users and Reduce Visibility – Nielsen Norman Group
- Don’t Use Automatic Image Sliders or Carousels, Ignore the Fad – ConversionXL
That’s the point here by the way, to get more pageviews by holding your visitors attention and getting them to engage with more of your posts, pages and other content.
Images of your kids don’t prompt user actions
It’s all about conversions. That can mean pageviews, clicks to your product pages, purchases, or click throughs on your affiliate links. Whatever action you want your users to take when reading your articles or viewing any page on your site, especially the home page.
What does a photo of your beautiful children tell your visitors about your site and where they should go next? Probably nothing.
Sure, they know you love your kids. We all do. My kids have been the most wonderful thing in my life. Bar none. Wanna see?
I don’t mean to pick on people using images of their kids, it’s just that I’ve seen a lot of recently and on sites with really great content. The problem was that the awesome content was hidden below “the fold” because of those damned sliders.
The purpose of this site and I dare say my purpose in life, is to help others achieve success with their own online blogging businesses. Success does not come from image sliders and carousels. It’s been proven to look cool, but also not to work. At all.
Ideas for slider alternatives (and how to use images of your kids more effectively)
Here’s a great article by Joyce Grace on ManageWP about alternatives to sliders. I’ve included a summary of her suggestions below.
- Use a single “hero” image with a call-to-action.
- An illustration that gives a succinct overview of what your site is about.
- A single product promotion. This could be an ebook, course, or some other product you want people to know about.
- Your value proposition statement. Why people should read your posts and pay attention to what you’re doing.
- A simple signup form. Remember, success starts with the list.
- Video. This could be a representational background video or something more direct like you introducing your site and it’s content.
- And finally, if you insist on using a slider at least reduce the height so you don’t leave your other great content for only those who scroll.
I’m trying to follow my own advice on the main page of this site and have been testing several main page content layouts to see which one performs better. The jury is still out but there’s one thing I know I’ll never use again (even though it’s really pretty).
What do you think? Are sliders and carousels a waste of time?
Let me know in the comments or in the forums here.