Many websites these days have image sliders. Image sliders are those mini-slideshows you often see on website homepages with different pictures and text messages. Above is an example.
Yeah, those. They’re called sliders, and in 2014, they are terrible for your website, even though you may see them everywhere.
First, in their defense – I know sliders are pretty looking. The different images allow you to have multiple messages on your page. They’re great for people indecisive about their message to prospective clients or people who have many different things to say. They also may seem sophisticated. When you see a slider, you may think, “They must have a really good web developer / have spent a lot of money on this site since it has this nifty looking image slider.”
But they don’t. Even cheap D-I-Y website templates have sliders these days.
OK, now here comes the takedown.
Whether you view your website as a business card or an advertisement, the purpose of your website is to bring in new clients. That’s it. It’s not there to stroke your ego.
“I have a very sophisticated-looking website.”
Let that thought comfort you while you lose out on clients to someone else who has a more effective website design.
Related: 7 Website Mistakes Law Firms Make
If you want to get search engine traffic to your law firm, you want your visitors to call your firm and hire you. If you only want your law firm website to be a place for referral clients to go to find your phone number and learn a bit about your practice area, you still want them to pick up the phone to call you once visiting your site.
The presence of a slider on your page decreases your likelihood of getting a call.
If you’re reading this you’re probably a lawyer and therefore are inexplicably in love with the Latin language. So, ceteris paribus, all other things equal, a law firm website with a slider will likely get fewer phone calls and contact form submissions than a website without a slider.
A recent article discussed why sliders don’t work. The three main reasons are:
1.the human eye reacts to movement and a moving slider takes away attention from the content on your page that matters;
2.with many slides you’re showing too many marketing messages;
3.people skip over banners and sliders look like banners.
The human eye hates sliders
Have you ever visited a website, started reading the page, only to get distracted by the moving parts on the page? This happens when you have a slider. If you have great content around, above, or below your slider, the visitor can’t easily read the content when a slider is nearby. The reader is going to get distracted by the slider and will be less likely to be able to read through your content. It was easy enough for them to click the link to your website. It’s just as easy for them to hit the back button in their browser.
The slider takes away from the rest of the page. It is a succubus, taking attention away from your great content and killing any potential conversion of a visitor into a client.
Too many messages
Let’s assume that someone is on the homepage of your law firm’s website. You have 3 slides set up. Slide 1 has a picture of your attorneys and a tagline like “Attorneys that care” or something generic like that. Slide 2 talks about one of your practice areas. Slide 3 talks about another practice area.
A visitor comes to your site and sees the slider. Assuming that they even read the slider, they have all of 3-5 seconds to pay attention to the slider before it switches to the next message. While they were in the middle of evaluating your firm and your tagline, building an initial opinion about you, the message changes and now it’s about one of your practice areas. Now the visitor is frustrated with your site because it’s not usable for them. Then, the slide changes again, shifting to another message.
Focusing on one primary message is much more effective.
Your message on Slide 3 will not be read
If you have a link on your third slide to a particular page on your website, chances are that the user will not actually see it. They’ll see the slider and keep scrolling. Often, people view sliders like banner ads – we’ve seen them so often that we naturally ignore them at this point. No one wants to wait for a slide to change to see the information they’re looking for.
If the information you have on slide 3 is relevant, it should be on the page itself, not hidden from view.
In 2014, the image slider is part of a dying fad. Be ahead of the trend. Focus on building a website for your law firm that actually brings you clients. Be a leader, not a follower, and reap the rewards of more engaged visitors who want to call your law firm instead of going somewhere else.
You may be using image sliders because you don’ know which marketing message you want to go with and want to try all three. Instead, you may want to try creating targeted landing pages that reach out to the exact type of client you want to get.