It’s a popular design choice and lots of websites use them. So you might not realize that the rotating carousel of images at the top of your homepage could actually be hurting, rather than helping, your business.
Marketers and web designers like image sliders because they allow you to showcase multiple offers, locations, or photos in a small amount of space.
The problem is that rather than drawing attention to whatever it is you’re trying to highlight, these sliders end up doing the exact opposite. Extensive research shows that people completely ignore image sliders.
Why Image Sliders Don’t Work
It seems counter-intuitive, right? You put this big, moving image right at the top of the home page? How can people ignore that?
Well, you can blame all the marketers who came before you. These sliders have been used so frequently--and they are so often full of useless information--that they induce what’s known as banner blindness. In other words, people look right past your banner because they perceive to be just another ad (even if it isn’t).
Furthermore, by filling the space with several competing messages, you split the readers’ attention. Instead of sending a clear message, “this is really important, that’s why I put it at the top of my homepage” you’re now saying “here’s a bunch of different things that are all equally important” thereby devaluing them individually in the reader’s mind.
And lastly, image sliders are annoying. Because they move on their own, the images may shift before your customer has had a chance to finish reading it. This interrupts their focus makes it less likely they will click on your offer.
Another good reason not to use an image slider on your home page
Any time you add more stuff to your webpage--especially fancy, moving, high-resolution images --that stuff has the potential to slow down your site. This is bad for 2 reasons
- People are impatient and if your site doesn’t load immediately, they move on to your competitor’s website.
- Google knows about number one and will therefore punish your site by pushing it further down the search rankings.
So in other words, your image slider could potentially be damaging your user experience and your SEO, two of the most important aspects of your website!
OK, if not an image slider, what should you put at the top of your homepage?
The top of your homepage is premium real estate. Use it to establish your brand and quickly move people toward booking with you. This might mean having one large image that shows off the beauty of your location plus a simple “book now” button. Or, it might mean putting a search bar or an inquiry form at the top of your homepage.
It’s Ok to change up what’s at the top of your homepage to fit the season or any promotions you’re currently running. Whatever you choose, just be sure it helps visitors find what they are looking for and book with as few clicks as possible.