You May Love Your Nonprofit’s Homepage Slider (but it doesn’t love you)

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You love your nonprofit’s homepage slider — it looks modern and professional

Your designer loves your homepage slider — it lets them show off their high-resolution photos

Your community may even love the look of your homepage slider …

But it isn’t working for your organization…
and we’ll tell you why

While homepage sliders look great and seem like a great solution for displaying multiple options and images in a way that is attractive and versatile, it isn’t working the way you think it is. Our team here at wpCause has known this for years and we have told everyone who will stop and listen to us rant about it. But we didn’t have the hard data to back up what we already knew, until now:

Sliders Don’t Convert Traffic

What do we mean by converting traffic?  When someone comes to your organization’s website you want them to do something, right?  Maybe you want them to volunteer, sign up or open a membership and we all want our visitors to donate!  But your slider is not helping you accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.

Why do we say they’re not helping you?  We say that because no one clicks on those big beautiful sliders!  Here is a statistic you should see from the good folks at Leadpages (we highly recommend you go and read their article Why Home Page Sliders Are Ineffective (And What’s Replacing Them)

Out of the 3.7 million visits the University of Notre Dame’s official website pulled in during a six-month period, only 1% clicked on ANY of their slider images.

And of that measly 1% who actually did click did so on the very first slide, before it scrolled!  So why are you wasting your most valuable “Above the Fold” area on your website with something that only gets clicked 1% of the time?  Need more evidence?  It get’s worse.

Sliders cause ‘Banner Blindness’

One of the reasons people don’t click on your slider is because they don’t even look at your slider.  It is a phenomenon called Banner Blindness and it comes from the prevalence of banner ads that don’t contain anything valuable, so we have learned to ignore them.  The last thing you want is for the most important real estate on your nonprofit’s homepage to be subconsciously associated with something as worthless as a banner ad.

Sliders offer too many choices

The best way to ensure that your community doesn’t make any choices when they come to your website is by giving them too many choices.  For a scientific example of this go check out the famous Jam Study conducted by researchers at Columbia University.  Sliders inherently offer too many choices and don’t provide all of those choices in one place, you either have to scroll to the next slide or wait for it to advance, which is also why the visitors who do click on them only click on the first slide.

Sliders may not be mobile friendly

Over half of internet usage is happening on mobile devices.  So why would you use a technology that is often not mobile friendly?  Sliders are notorious for rendering too large for a mobile screen.  And even if your slider is mobile responsive, that beautiful high-resolution image will shrink so dramatically that all of the emotion you were trying to communicate with it is lost.

Sliders have poor timing

Timing isn’t just important for comedians and air traffic controllers.  It’s important when it comes to sliders as well and it can be very difficult to get the timing right.  And even if you do happen to get your timing just right with enough time to read all the text and take in the image without losing their attention, the load time of your website or a drag on the visitor’s browser could throw everything off.

Sliders slow down your website

Speaking of timing!  Sliders also slow down the load time of your website which is not only frustrating for your customers, it also makes your site less attractive to search engines (especially on mobile).  The slider modules also supply very little information to the search engines considering the large amount of real estate they take up.

What to do instead? The Hero Layout

So what is a Hero Layout?  The Hero Layout is simply replacing the area where your slider now resides with some sort of call to action focused on the primary goals of your website.  Need to build your email list?  Devote that area to an email opt-in box describing all of the great things your emails will give them.  Want to recruit volunteers for your events?  Use that precious real estate for just that: embed a simple form and tell your community why they should donate their time.  No matter what you decide to do with the “Hero Layout” it will undoubtedly be better than a slider.

What is the primary goal of your website?

Maybe you aren’t sure what the primary goal of your website is?  That’s okay, most website owner’s don’t know either.  We would recommend that you go back to your mission.  What is the primary need you meet and how can your community help you move your mission forward?  Or another way to think about it is, what do you need a visitor to do to begin a relationship?

Focus on that and if you still aren’t sure, use that space to capture email addresses. Even if you aren’t using your email list to its full capability, you will be glad you did when you do start email marketing and fundraising.

So what do you think now about your homepage slider?

Tell us below in the comments.

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5 Reasons Your Homepage Slider is Hurting Your Mission
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