Why Your Website Shouldn’t Have Sliders, and Alternatives to Them

Sliders (AKA carousels or rotators) have become incredibly popular on WordPress websites, and websites in general. Sliders commonly display images, but can also display text and video. They are frequently used on home pages, but can appear on any page. More often than not, clients ask us to put them on their sites. The problem is, research shows that sliders are generally much less effective than alternatives.

I read research conducted by several industry experts (linked below) who recommend against using sliders, and distilled their points into this post. I'll explain

  • why you shouldn't use sliders on your website,
  • alternatives you can use instead, and
  • tips for if you simply must use a slider.
Meta Slider screenshot

Slider example (Meta Slider plugin)

Why You Shouldn't Use Sliders

  • Sliders decrease conversions (for many of the following reasons)
  • People ignore sliders, often assuming them to be ads
  • People rarely click slides
  • Sliders can distract from important content
  • Sliders annoy people who can't read the slides fast enough
  • Your message loses focus, because several slides vie for prominence
  • Sliders sometimes don't work well on mobile devices
  • Sliders can slow down your site
  • Sliders can negatively affect SEO

Alternatives to Sliders

  • Show a single, static message/offer in text, possibly complemented with static images
  • Show a single, static call to action (CTA) in text, possibly complemented with static images
  • Show an engaging video
  • On homepage, show main message/offer/CTA, and below it show other messages/offers/CTAs in static featured areas
  • If displaying photos, use static photo galleries

Remember, even if you use "static" content, you can still change it regularly so that visitors see different content every week, month, etc. Or you could show static content that differs based on visitor if you're doing A/B testing (split testing) or multivariate testing.

If You Must Use a Slider

  • Use the same message/theme for all slides in the slider
  • Don't automatically scroll; let people manually scroll
  • Use few slides (2-5)
  • Make navigation obvious and simple
  • Make sure it loads quickly
  • Make sure it's mobile-friendly
  • Use simple transitions

 

Further Reading

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