Sliders: Are They Hurting Your Website’s Performance?

Amanda Stoneman — April 21st, 2015
While sliders and carousels are growing in popularity on the web, they may be harming your website’s performance. They have been proven to have negative effects on conversion, SEO and page load times. Before you decide to use a slider on your website, read this article.

While sliders and carousels are growing in popularity on the web, they may be harming your website’s performance. They have been proven to have negative effects on conversion, SEO and page load times. Before you decide to use a slider on your website, read this article.

A slider, also known as a carousel, is a design element that displays a collection of photos and moves horizontally or vertically. Sliders are quickly growing in popularity as they are commonly used on most WordPress themes and many website homepages. The rates of slider plugin downloads are rapidly growing and designers are quick to jump on the bandwagon, but are sliders/carousels actually harming your website’s performance?

Sliders/Carousels Are Everywhere
Although you should use standard web conventions like persistent navigation, sliders and carousels are not necessary design elements. Your website can function without them and because they are in abundance on the web, your website will exude more originality.

Sliders/Carousels Don’t Convert
While sliders and carousels may look pretty, they negatively affect conversion rates with users ignoring them completely or finding them incredibly annoying. In addition, sliders have been proven to have dreadfully low click-through rates.

Sliders/Carousels Hurt SEO
In most cases, sliders and carousels are wrapped in an h1 tag and use alternating headings. However, SEO best practices mention there should only be one h1 tag for each page. Every time the slider rotates, the h1 tag alternates. Therefore, having multiple h1 tags will devalue a webpage’s keyword relevance. In addition, some websites use Flash to deliver slider content, but not all search engines recognize Flash content – so, sliders and carousels are once again harming a website’s SEO.

Sliders/Carousels Slow Page-Load Speed
Sliders and carousels complicate a website by packing pages with high-resolution images which slow the loading speed. Slow loading speeds hurt the user experience and raise bounce off rates.

Sliders/Carousels Push Content Below the Fold
Many users are frustrated when they visit a website for specific information and have to hunt to find it. Sliders push all your relevant content below the fold. Content is usually the selling point for any business – not images. Content should be highlighted and users should not have to scroll down to find it, unless the information has piqued their interest and they want to learn more.

These are just a few of the reasons why you should reconsider using sliders on websites. Sliders and carousels can be useful in some instances – such as for testimonials – but in most cases, should be refrained from using.

Alternatives to Sliders/Carousels
•    Use a sign up or inquire form.
•    Use a video because they have higher conversion rates.
•    Use a powerful CTA in conjunction with a compelling image.
•    Use a slider, but minimize the size and move it way down.

Be original and eliminate sliders for the better.
Just because other companies are using sliders, doesn’t mean you have to copy them.