Those big fancy home page sliders you are so proud of are creating a major user experience problem.

If they are such a problem, why are there so many websites with a big carousel slider at the top of the home page? I think it is mostly because it is easier for website designers and developers to say “Yes” than explain to clients why it is a bad thing.

I don’t want to go into the potential on-page SEO issues caused by them often using H1 tags on each slide (the H1 tag should only be used once per page) or the increased page load times….let’s talk about how it negatively affects the user experience.

Problem 1: You are hiding content

Let’s assume you have 5 slides in your slider and each slide displays for 5 seconds. There are two issues here:

  1. The visitor has 5 seconds to decide if they should click or not – will they miss out on more relevant content, and if they don’t click how do they get back to the slide they wanted without waiting for the slide to come around again?
  2. Who will ever take the time to wait 20 seconds for the 5th slide to come around???

So what happens when the most relevant information to a visitor is on slide 4. They’ll skip right on by your slider, decided there is nothing for them on the rest of the page, and back to the search results they go.

Problem 2: You are using it because you have not identified the specific needs of your audience

The top part of your home page is prime real estate. Right there and then when people load the page, they are making the decision as to whether they are in the right place – should they scroll or should they investigate further?

The reality is many websites use the slider as a way to highlight different services offered by the business. It is a lot easier to highlight the services you offer, rather than the type of customer you are targeting but how can you expect to stand out when what you are offering is the same as everyone else?.

Problem 3: Sliders are often vague and wishy-washy

This often applies to consulting/coaching sites – bland stock images with generic statements like “Achieve more than you ever thought possible”.

Huh?

Is this a serious business or some kind of woo woo site?

If you want people to respect your business, respect them enough to give them something useful.

Problem 4: Sliders are subject to banner blindness

People are used to sliders being there for the sake of being pretty and most times the information can be found easier by scrolling or clicking a link in the menu. This means that you are wasting real estate above the fold.

So here’s what you need to do – Get Specific

If you really want to make use of the prime real estate that people first see when they visit your website, you need to get clear on:

  1. Identify who your targeting and how you service the particular needs of these customers
  2. Define your Unique Buyer’s Advantage (UBA) – what’s the one-liner that encapsulates what you do for your customers?
  3. How do you deliver on your UBA
  4. Let people know what to do next – your call-to-action (at this point it may just be to scroll for further information or it could be to signup)

Take this example from CampaignMonitor.com:Home page capturing visitor interest

What they are doing right:

  • “Send email your customers can’t ignore” – UBA is a bold statement – no ambiguity about what you are getting, and who doesn’t want to send emails customers wont ignore?
  • Subheading text “Easy-to-use, professional-grade email marketing and automation for today’s fast-growing businesses” – clearly states what the service is
  • Clear call-to-action and “FREE” is definitely not a barrier to conversion
  • They are using a video background – this might be distracting in some situations but it is a video of someone using Campaign Monitor to create an email campaign
  • “Loved by over 2 million people at 200,000 businesses around the world” – this says a lot about how reliable and trustworthy the service is

One little negative is that sometimes the text is hard to read over the video background. Maybe they could add a dark opaque overlay to even out the background and make the text more readable.

So one final message on the use of home page sliders….

 

Want to get clear on who you’re targeting? Check out this article on identifying your ideal client and download our buyer persona template

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