Many clients request a home page slider on their new WordPress sites. There are many good reasons to avoid having a slide show on your home page (or anywhere on your site but especially the home page). Unless there is a good and valid reason to include a slider here are three reasons to exclude them.
Sliders destroy Search Engine Optimization
Sliders slow Page load speed
The time it takes for your Webpage to load is directly related to meeting the objectives of your Website. There are many studies available by the likes of Amazon and Google which shows, for example, how conversion rates fall dramatically as page load speed decreases.
The reason that a slider slows down your Website is twofold;
- For various reasons, images are notoriously slow to load. Each slide is yet another image that needs to load (or each slide may comprise even more than one slide in the case of e.g. Revolution slider). Good Web developers go to great pains to reduce the number of images that need to load on a Webpage by using CSS3 or icon fonts in place of images. Sliders destroy all the good work a Web developer has done in reducing the number of images used.
Sliders destroy the Page content hierarchy
This article that you’re reading right now uses a heading hierarchy. In HTML5 using the hierarchy of headings is important and each heading has a rank with h1 having the highest rank, h2 a lower rank etc. The heading hierarchy describes to search engines the structure of a Page. With HTML5 in particular it is very important that headings aren’t used for styling but are used to describe the structure of content.
Many sliders (most that I’ve seen) use headings for design and not for document structure. Google even specifically addresses this problem in their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by mentioning avoid .. placing text in heading tags that wouldn’t be helpful in defining the structure of the page.
Sliders don’t add to SEO
Another way of looking at using a slider is to ask the question ‘what SEO benefit does having a slider provide’. If you can’t answer this question in the affirmative then you likely aren’t getting any SEO benefits and are probably destroying much of the SEO work that you do (e.g. basic SEO best practice is to include a title and description for each image. Almost no sliders provide the ability to insert data into these fields).
Sliders distract website visitors
When viewing a Website, peoples eyes tend to follow a specific pattern. A well designed Webpage will acknowledge where best to place important content such as a call to action (e.g. a buy now button). Sliders by their design make the viewers eye refocus on the slider each time the slide is changed. As an example, imagine that I have a large flashing image to the top left of this Webpage. Each time the image flashes you’ll naturally look at the flash; this is exactly the effect that a slider has.
High converting Websites such as Apple, Amazon.com, Microsoft, Mailchimp, Dropbox, Google and others don’t use sliders for good reason.
With websites, less is more
Unless there is a good reason, content shouldn’t be included on a Website. Every bit of content on a Website, whether text, images, video or anything else should contribute to the objectives of the Website. It’s pointless and distracting to include content just for the sake of including the content. I don’t recall where I read it but there is a great article on the Web that describes that, when deciding on content for a Website, the content should be halved, then halved again.
The same is true for a slider; unless there is a tested and valid reason to include a slider, there shouldn’t be one.