If you have an older website with an image slider on the top of your home page, or if you’re considering a new website design, here are 10 reasons you should not add an image slider, image carousel or a video to your home page.
1. Moving images distract and confuse your reader from your message. If a pro photographer offers weddings, senior photos and family portraits they may think an image carousel with three images showing their different types of work is a solution. The truth is, most viewers will see the first image. If it doesn’t apply to them, they will click the back button.
2. They take too long to load. Google penalizes websites that are slow loading, and customers on smart phones will click the back button if a website doesn’t load in less than 3-5 seconds.
3. If a background video is hosted by a 3rd party (most are) you’ll get the blame if it loads slowly even if it isn’t your fault.
4. Full page images with white text is a trend. It already looks dated.
5. Autoplay (automatic video start or image scrolling) is a terrible time waster for the user who just wants to go to your website and find a phone number or email a message.
6. No successful websites use them.
7. They have no SEO value. You won’t get ranked higher on Bing or Google.
8. Only 1% of people click on a moving slide or image. Studies show that most people subconsciously consider them to be an ad.
9. They push your text content down on the page “below the fold” which Google doesn’t like.
10. Over the years, many studies have shown that sliders should be avoided. Same with videos.
A better solution: clickable button images
If you offer more than one kind of photography (who doesn’t?) a better solution combines buttons with real images that show examples of the different kinds of photography offered. Each image on the website draws clients into the kind of photography that interests them. The advantages of this design are:
1. Each kind of photography is represented by a clickable button image. These let the user click them without waiting or scrolling. The 3 images link to the same 3 pages as the text menu options in the top left corner, one for each kind of photography. If a photographer offers more kinds of photography, they can add more (but smaller) buttons.
2. The size of the button relates to the importance of the kind of photography offered. People read from top to bottom and left to right. In this example, the photographer is highlighting his or her wedding business over the portrait and product photography business.
3. In addition to the clickable image buttons, the user can also select different types of photography from the top of the left menu. Since the top left corner is the first place users look on a website, it makes it much more likely they will find what they’re looking for. No hiding the different styles of photography under a menu option called “portfolio” and trying to get a potential client to click twice. Everything is front and center.
4. The large amount of empty color space around each image and white space around the left menu reduce visual distraction and make the page load much faster than full-size images or carousels. Google gives extra credit to websites that load more quickly, and users are more likely to stay on a fast-loading website on a smart phone.
5. Website pages made of smaller images with a simple menu are easy to make resolution independent. This means they will look great and load quickly on a smart phone, tablet or desktop.
When to use videos, image sliders and image carousels
Videos are still the best way to tell a story. You should use them – just not on your home page. Also, make sure they don’t start until the viewer clicks the play button.
Image carousels are a great way to showcase your portfolio of images. Instead of forcing the viewer to click one image at a time, a carousel can create a slide show that makes it convenient to see your best images. Just remember to keep it short – no more than 10-12 images in a single portfolio.
Image sliders are a great way to show 3 examples of the same product, for example 3 sizes of a wall portrait on the same wall.