Never use carousels on webshops
So I’ve been doing a lot of research on Webshop Conversion and found that carousels (or sliders) get a lot of hate, like a lot. This made me curious and that’s why I did some more research to why it gets so much hate.
Carousels can be a lot of fun… at the fair.
Click Through Rates
Click through rates are quite terrible except for the first slide. Take this study from Erik Runyon on ND.edu. We see that click through rates are around 1% for an slider after the first.
Any slide that comes after the first may have information that is just as important but people will not see it. In the end there it would have been no different if you were to just have one picture with one bit of content.
One reason why many users do not click through each slide is because they have no idea what is going to come next. There may be arrows that indicate there are more slides but if the first slide didn’t catch their attention, why would they bother with the next slide?
Or perhaps the first slide moved too fast, not giving the user enough time to read what you had to say. What would be the point of reading the next slide if it’s just going to happen again?
If you really want to use a carousel slider there are some better ways to design it. Take this image for example.
Instead of having arrows, make some buttons which identity what is coming next.
Say you have a clothing store. You could label each button something different such as:
- New Arrivals
- Sale Items
This way your customers know what they will be looking at next.
You should also get rid of Auto-Forwarding (When the first slide automatically changes to the next slide after a few seconds). Users should be the ones deciding when they will look at the next slide.
Carousel sliders are also extremely bad when it comes to SEO. There are a number of reasons why.
It is SEO best practice to only have one h1 tag per page which should come before any other heading tag. When you have 4 or 5 Carousel slides with h1 tags, it devalues keyword relevance. This is because every time the slide changes, the h1 tag changes as well.
Slow Loading Times
Statistics have shown time and again that a users attention is distracted very easily. Search engines will now penalize you if your site is taking too long to load. Search engines name it as one of their top determining factors on whether a page will rank well or not according to website optimizer.
One example that will affect load time is if you have a full width carousel slider that features high resolution images.
Not only does it hurt your SEO but it also affects your conversion. In fact, 2 seconds is actually too slow and will affect your conversion rate by 7% says econsultancy.
What should I do instead?
Focus your homepage on your primary offer
Put your best foot forward. Let your most relevant offer catch the attention of your visitors. And add on a few offers that consistently perform well for you throughout the year. You can see how Ben Sherman implements this on their homepage:
In the above image, only the blazer offer is what the visitors can see above the fold.
Don’t make your website look like a promotion hoarding. You need not hold onto every offer that you have promoted earlier. Like Paul Phillips mentioned in one of his articles, every offer has an expiry date.