We all love a good homepage. Making a memorable first impression for website visitors is a common goal among marketers, web designers and web developers. One design trend in particular has taken the B2B website world by storm – rotating image carousels.
Rotating carousels, banners, homepage image sliders, rotating offers. Call them whatever you want, just think before putting them on your website.
Here’s the thing – The job of your homepage is to quickly show critical content and ideas to a user. A visitor to your website should be able to tell with just a glance what you do and who you do it for. Rotating web banners can dilute your key message by hiding your most important content.
Not all rotating image carousels are created equal though, so they’re not always a bad thing. But, as far as a main message content block on a homepage goes, they often do more harm than good. In this post, we’re answering two common questions that are posed when considering rotating image sliders.
What’s the Harm?
Sliders provide multiple messages and if you present the most critical message first, what’s the harm?
The harm here, quite frankly, comes from the fact that you don’t have a unified message that needs to be seen by 100% of your visitors. If you don’t consider the other messages critical, you shouldn’t give them prime real estate on your website or bury them in a tool that is statistically proven to be underused.
Many marketers struggle to manage website expectations within their organizations. Various departments have differing opinions about which messages are most important, and believe that if their message isn’t shown in the carousel, then it isn’t seen at all. But, this is simply untrue.
Another detrimental side effect of this homepage functionality is that most carousels require large imagery, putting a dent in your page load time. Remember, every KB counts when it comes to performance optimization.
From an SEO perspective, image-based messaging that lacks text is nearly impossible for search engines to index. So, if you absolutely have to use rotating image carousel to appease a certain department, avoid making all of the headlines H1s to establish a messaging hierarchy.
Create concise messaging for your main panel, and feature secondary messages on a stationary panel. Then, the rest of the homepage can unpack those key messages with the option to dig deeper.
Here’s an example of how this approach works on Zynx Health’s website. There’s a single message on the main homepage panel: “Vital Information for Healthier Lives.”
Users then have the option to scroll and learn how Zynx specifically helps with patient outcomes, financial performance, clinical engagement and technology performance.
But What About…
How do I adequately represent each of our products, solutions or industries we serve?
While this is a valid concern, there’s no need to overthink it. Make it the goal of your homepage to get a user to self-identify with an industry, solution or product you offer. Then, direct them to the content that’s most relevant to them.
The quickest, most user-friendly way to do this is to provide a direct link to that page, instead of making users wait for a new image and another paragraph of text to load.
Avoid forcing users jump through hoops of seemingly endless CTAs to get to the right content.
Use content cards on your homepage. You get to share all of the same content, but users get to consume it all at once. Plus, it eliminates the negative impact on performance.
Or, if the content needs more attention than what’s possible on a single website without sacrificing overall user experience, create microsites that are dedicated to specific products or solutions you provide.
Here’s an example of how this approach works on Medpace’s homepage. The main message panel presents a single brand message: “Accelerating Drug, Biologic and Medical Device Clinical Development.”
Their solutions span the product life cycle from early phase clinical research to development and late phase clinical research so their website needed to show that wide span. It also needed to present the various therapeutics areas of expertise in a way that wasn’t overwhelming.
Think twice before a rotating image carousel
As marketers, we love to adopt new trends and make them our own. But, before taking on the latest web design fad, consider its impact on your messaging strategy and most importantly, your users.