The top 5 reasons you shouldn’t have a slideshow on your website

Written by Nadin Thomson

 

The top 5 reasons you shouldn’t have a slideshow on your website

Stop the website slideshows…

You are looking for a chiropodist in your area and finally find a website that opens and then you’re presented with a slideshow of the treatment rooms and someone’s feet. Nice!

Slideshows on websites today are like cassettes, records, or CDs.

Even though they cause some of us to be a tiny bit nostalgic, they don’t run the show anymore.

Website slideshows should be on that list.

Every time I start work on a new website, many clients ask to have a slideshow. The client is always right, right? I want their website to be successful, attract customers and not bore people. So I explain why slideshows are bad.

Here are my top 5 reasons, why you shouldn’t have a slideshow on your website:

  1. Slideshows slow your website down – the images are usually bigger across the whole screen and the whole slideshow needs to be loaded. This can mean a vastly reduced website load time which in turn affects your google rankings.  If you want to know your website speed, check out the Google Page Speed tool. Your mobile page should be way above 50 and your desktop should be close to 100.
  2. Slideshows are a poor way to present content on the homepage, they annoy users and reduce visibility of the content (check out this blog for more information).
  3. Because it moves, people think it’s an ad and they ignore it.
  4. Too many messages confuse your visitor – especially if every slide has a button or talks about a different service.
  5. Your website visitor has no control over how they read the content.

When did you last lean back and watched a slideshow?

Thought so…!

Just because you can, or just because you want to, doesn’t mean you should

Most WordPress themes or website builders come with pretty solid slideshow options these days. You can do all sorts of fancy things, add slideshow buttons on mouseover, automatically animate the slideshow, have the pictures rotate and much more. But that doesn’t mean you have to use this feature…

My little web designer heart just whimpers and says NOOOOO, please NOOOO!!

Let’s look at the numbers 

When I develop a website, I use my big computer screen, but any website these days MUST be developed for mobile first and bigger screens second.

I checked some of my customer’s visitor statistics and especially those with more than 3000 unique visitors a month. In September 2020, the numbers looked like this:

Website Visitors Mobile vs Desktop September 2020

(Please see the video at the bottom of the article explaining where you can check your own website statistics in Google Analytics)

I was really surprised to see that the B2B websites had an even higher percentage of mobile visitors than B2C. 

Slideshows are impactful on a big screen, but we are all moving away from that. We want to scroll when we’re ready, swipe when we’ve had enough or want to see the next picture. We just don’t want to wait anymore. 

More reasons why slideshows are bad

  • The web designer decides the speed each slide should be displayed, to give you enough time to marvel at the photograph or read the text on top of a photograph (please don’t!!)
  • What if it’s too slow and you get bored – but on a mobile phone the next button isn’t displayed? 
  • What if it’s too fast, and you couldn’t read it all – this is particularly the case for international or low-literacy users. 

There are clever ways to display a slideshow on a mobile phone, and do you know how? By not displaying it. I have checked a few websites of businesses that I know have a slideshow that works on a PC, but on the mobile phone the slides are displayed as images below one another. 

Who should have a slideshow?

No-one. Nada. 

Unless you don’t care about your website performing well in Google and you use a slideshow to do some cool branding displays.

I wouldn’t even recommend a photographer having a slideshow!

Allow your website visitors to look at your work (photos, products etc.) in their own preferred time. Let them swipe or scroll when they’re ready. Don’t tell them HOW they have to enjoy your website.  

If you really really want one, put a video in place, but no slideshow.