Your website is often the first encounter users have with your brand, and it’s crucial to make it count. Among the many design choices you’ll face, one of the most debated is whether to use rotating or slider images or to opt for a static or hero image instead. While rotating or slider images may seem like an attractive option at first, there are several compelling reasons why using a static or hero image is a better choice for your website’s effectiveness, user experience, and overall success.
Are you thinking of using rotating images at the top of your website or main landing page? This is a feature that is often requested by those wanting a new website or website redesign. Usually, because the website owner is trying to get a message about their business across to potential visitors. But is this the best way to do so?
The First Impression Visitors Have Of Your Brand
Your website’s home page is often the first impression visitors have of your brand. And, it’s crucial to make it count.
Among the many design choices you’ll face, and one of the most debated, is whether to use rotating or slider images at the top of your website or to opt instead for a static or hero image. (A hero image is, essentially, an oversized or full-width image usually located at the very top of the website.)
While rotating or slider images may seem like an attractive option at first, there are several compelling reasons why using a static or hero image is a better choice for your website’s effectiveness, user experience, and overall success.
1. Speed and Performance
One of the drawbacks of rotating or slider images is their impact on your website’s speed and performance. Each image in a rotating or slider element has to load individually, often resulting in a slower page load time. In today’s fast-paced digital world, users expect websites to load quickly.
And, Google has consistently emphasized the importance of fast-loading websites for a good user experience, especially on mobile devices. Slow-loading websites not only frustrate users but can also negatively impact your search engine rankings and bounce rates. “Google refers to a “bounce” as “a single-page session on your site. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that leave your website (or “bounce” back to the search results or referring website) after viewing only one page on your site,” writes Search Engine Journal.
On the other hand, static or hero images load faster because there’s only one image to display. This means that your website visitors can access your content more quickly, improving their overall experience and reducing bounce rates.
2. User Experience
User experience (UX) is a critical factor in the success of your website. When you use rotating or slider images, you introduce a potentially confusing and distracting element for your users. These images often change automatically, making it difficult for visitors to focus on the content or navigate your site at their own pace.
Additionally, users may find it challenging to interact with or click on specific elements in the rotating or slider images because they’re constantly moving. This can frustrate users and discourage them from engaging with your website.
A static or hero image, on the other hand, provides a clean and clear visual introduction to your website. It’s a static element that doesn’t distract users from the content or calls to action. This simplicity enhances the overall user experience, making it easier for visitors to understand your message and navigate your site.
3. Message Clarity
Your website should convey a clear and concise message about your brand, products, or services. Rotating or slider images can dilute this message because each image typically represents a different aspect of your business. Visitors may not have the patience or inclination to wait for each image to cycle through to understand what your website is all about.
A static or hero image allows you to select a single, powerful visual that represents your brand or message effectively. This image can be carefully chosen to align with your branding and immediately communicate your value proposition. When visitors see this image, they instantly grasp the essence of your website, which can lead to higher engagement and conversions.
4. Mobile Responsiveness
With the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, it’s important that your website is fully responsive on all devices. Rotating or slider images can present challenges on smaller screens. The navigation buttons or indicators for cycling through the images might become too small to tap accurately, and the images themselves may not scale appropriately, leading to a less-than-optimal mobile experience.
Static or hero images, on the other hand, adapt more easily to various screen sizes and orientations. They remain visually appealing and maintain message clarity regardless of the device being used. This consistent experience across devices is vital for retaining and engaging mobile users.
5. SEO Benefits
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital aspect of driving organic traffic to your website. Rotating or slider images can hinder your SEO efforts because search engines may not index the text within these images effectively. This means that the valuable keywords and content you want to be associated with your website might not be as discoverable by search engines.
A static or hero image can be accompanied by text and descriptive alt tags, making it easier for search engines to understand and index the content. This can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more organic traffic.
Static or hero images are more accessible by default, as they don’t require complex scripts. This ensures that all users, regardless of their abilities, can access and navigate your website effectively.
In conclusion, while rotating or slider images may seem like an attractive design choice for your website, they can come with some drawbacks in terms of speed, user experience, message clarity, mobile responsiveness, SEO, and accessibility. In contrast, static or hero images can offer a cleaner, more efficient, and more effective way to engage your audience, communicate your message, and drive conversions.