Why you need to ditch the slider at the top of your website

I know you might think they look cool, but in this post I’m telling you some very important reasons why it’s a bad idea to have a slider at the top of your website. I will also tell you when a slider might be appropriate.

Resources mentioned in this post:

hands typing on laptop

Have you ever been left hanging?


In order to be successful on Instagram, you should post reels every…

Email marketing is the most important thing you can do to…

If you want to…

SEO doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You just need that…


Was that annoying? Were you frustrated that I just didn’t finish my sentences? This is how people on your website will feel if you have a slider right up top.


If you need extra motivation, let me tell you that studies show that only 1% of people click on anything in that slider.


What is a slider?


What do I mean when I say that slider at the top of your website? A lot of times, it’s an image carousel. There are four or five different images and every few seconds it changes and you see a different image. Sometimes it’s a slider of products. Sometimes it’s a slider of different calls to action. So every slide has a different call to action, ‘if you want to go to my about page, click here’ {slide}, ‘if you would like to purchase a product, click here’ {slide.}


The 6 reasons why sliders are a bad idea


That’s what I mean by a slider. There are 6 reasons why it is not a good idea to have these on your website. It’s a myth that sliders will help your website. A lot of people think they will. In fact, I would venture to say that the majority of website themes have sliders at the top of the website. But there is not one study out there that I can find that says that they benefit your website in any way.


People think that they’re good because they consolidate information. They make it so that you can put lots of information in one little space. You might think, “oh, well, people won’t have to scroll as much.” There’s all sorts of reasons why people think that sliders are good. But they’re not good for these six reasons.


REASON #1 – You are giving people too many choices.



This is actually the reason people say they want a slider. I want to give them lots of choices. But as one of my very favorite marketers, Donald Miller says, “If you confuse, you lose.”


It creates analysis paralysis. If it takes them five seconds to make a choice between two options and then you give them a third, now they have to make a choice between A and B, B and C, then C and A. So now it’s going to take them 15 seconds. And then if you give them a fourth and a fifth and a sixth? It just continues to create more time that it takes for them to make a choice.


I’ve talked about this before but people don’t spend that much time on your website and they’re simply not going to make the choice that quick, especially in the five seconds before your slider changes.


REASON #2 – Sliders are frustrating.



Maybe they do make a choice and they decide they want to click on it, just like I did in my intro. “If you want to make money from your website, you should”… And I go to click and all of a sudden, now this slide says, “in order to be successful on Instagram, you should post reels at least”… And I go to click and the slide moves. This is the second reason that sliders are bad. They will frustrate your audience.


Most of you probably get frustrated when you go to a website and audio or video automatically starts playing. You will create the same frustration in your visitors, especially in the visitors that are interested in what’s on your slide. If they aren’t interested in what’s on your slide and it moves and they don’t care, that’s not going to be your target audience.


Your target audience should be interested in what you’ve written on your website and if they are, and they go to click and it moves and they can’t figure out how to get back to it, they’re going to be frustrated. You’re going to lose trust with them.


REASON #3 – Sliders feel very similar to advertisements.


People have become blind to advertisements on our websites. They become blind to sidebars and any sort of moving or carousel type advertisement. So if you put a carousel on your website, they’re going to subconsciously see it as an ad and they will skip it. They will just not even read it.


If you have some of your most important information in there and they don’t even read it, or what if you have some really important information in the second slide and they never get there?


REASON #4 – The don’t work well on mobile.


They can be frustrating and hard for somebody to slide it. In addition, the slider becomes very difficult to see all the details because it  becomes very small on mobile. Unless you turn your phone and make it a landscape slider, but then all you can see is the slider.


A lot of times, when you do that the controls, that allow you to move from one slide to the other, disappear. It can be really, really hard to get a slider to work well on mobile. 


If you need a refresher on mobile responsive vs mobile friendly, check out this post.


REASON #5 – Sliders slow down your page.


They are very resource heavy. You want your website to load as quickly as possible, the longer it takes for your website to load the more people will leave. And the more people that leave, the less people that join your email list and purchase your products.


REASON #6 – Sliders affect your SEO.


We talked a little bit about this in this post about what search engine optimization is, but this is how easy it is for you to get found in search results.


Google doesn’t like sliders. Guess why. Because they don’t create a good user experience. Google really wants to send traffic to websites that will give people a good experience. So sliders will affect your SEO negatively.


Why too many choices is a bad thing


I want to jump back to the very first reason I gave you with the too many choices and analysis paralysis. A lot of people get hung up here. They really feel like, “I want to give people choices. I don’t want to take away their choice,” but what you’re really saying in this situation is, “I don’t know you well enough to know what you really need so I’m just going to guess and let you choose.”


But what people want to hear is “I know you really well. I know what it feels like to be you. And so I know exactly what you want and exactly how to help you.” That’s what people want. They want that security.


We learn, as mothers, that boundaries make our children feel safe, right? This is the same thing with your website visitors. When you guide them one small step at a time, instead of overwhelming them with choices, they trust you and they’re much more likely to take action.


In my opinion, sliders make it easier for you, not your website visitor.  It makes it so that you don’t have to really study your ideal client and figure out exactly what problem they have and exactly how you can help them.


Instead, you just throw up a whole bunch of information – you just guess, and you let them choose. That’s easier for you, but it’s not actually serving your ideal customer. I want you to build your website in a way that serves them.


If you still want to fight me when it comes to sliders, I want you to go to: ShouldIUseACarousel.com. There’s some great statistics there and a great experience waiting for you there with sliders.


When it’s okay to use a slider


There are a few times where I believe sliders are appropriate. Never, ever, ever at the top of your website. Never, ever, ever with calls to action that are going to slide away. But if you have a large portfolio of images, you can showcase that in a slider. If you want to give a tour of a digital product and you’re wanting people to see inside of it through image instead of video, use a slider.


I use a slider on the sales page for my Get Stuff Done workshop and showing people all the different rooms of the Airbnb we’re going to stay at. They can slide back and forth through those images and just look at them. 


There are situations where it might be a good idea to use them.

  1. If you do use them, do not ever use auto-play. Let your user have control of when things move and change. They may not be done looking at that image. Let them finish.
  2. Make sure the navigation is very obvious. There should be arrows on either side of the slider, dots down below it so that people can navigate through that slider. Remember that they’re going to be navigating through that slider with their thumb on mobile. I think there are extremely rare situations where you should have a slider on mobile.
  3. Make sure you make your images as small as possible. Not visually tiny, but small digitally, as in how many megabytes or gigabytes that image is going to take. You want it to be as small as it can possibly be so that it doesn’t slow down your website as much. 


Okay, I hope that was helpful. Today would be a great day to go swap that slider at the top of your website for a static image.

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