What's in this session?

  • Recap (0:49)
  • #1 - Sliders Make Your Website Slower (2:15)
  • #2 - Sliders Are Ignored By Visitors (4:16)
  • #3 - Experts Agree Sliders Suck (6:32)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Nucleus, a new kind of website builder for churches. From single click templates to advanced integrations, Nucleus is unlike any thing else. Nucleus opens on March 20th. Head to nucleus.church to join the launch list. Why just have a website, when you could have a Nucleus?

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. And today we’re talking about three more reasons that you should delete your slider immediately.

Brady Shearer: On Episode 42 of Pro Church Daily, we talked about the singular most important reason why your church’s website should not use a slider at the top of your home page. And just to do a quick recap a slider is, also known as a carousel or a slide show, that box at the top of a website that automatically auto rotates through a number of different slides, and churches love sliders. We looked at the 30 most popular church website themes on themeforest.net, one of the most if not the most popular website marketplace in the world, and 25 out of the 31st most popular website themes for churches had sliders at the top of their home page.

And in our case study of more than 1000 different church websites, 76.1% of those websites did not include a primary focal point. Not all of them had sliders, but if your church website did have a slider, you would fall into that camp of websites that do not have a primary focal point.

Now the single biggest reason why we think your church should not use a slider as the primary above the fold segment on your website is simply because the performance of sliders proven empirically through multiple studies is abysmal. They average less than 1% click through rates and the average click through rate across all industries is about 3.5%. And so the primary call to action on your church’s website, if you’re using a slider, has a click through rate of four times less, performing four times worse, than the average click through rates across all industries.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Now if that’s not enough, if that reasoning isn’t enough.

Alex Mills: It should be enough.

Brady Shearer: To get rid of your church website slider, I wanted to take it one step further in this episode. First reason, first additional reason, why your church should not use a slider at the top of your home page is that your website will become slower if you use a slider.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Sliders generally include a number of high resolution images, auto rotating. And they also often have bloated java script in there, and some still even have flash code, which is now just archaic when it comes to web code. And that can significantly decrease your website’s load time. You know one of the biggest factors for page rank in search engines is your site’s speed.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Google, Bing and other search engines want to send their users, their searchers, to websites that perform well. And if you’re sitting, waiting for a webpage to load, that’s a poor experience.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And you’re more likely to leave that page never to return.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: And when that happens, it signals to a search engine that, hey, this website was a bad user experience, maybe you should rank it lower. And sliders just make your website that much slower, because of the java script, because of all the high resolution images. But not only load time, speaking specifically to SEO, sliders hurt SEO in a number of different ways.

To quote Search Engine Land, a platform that is much more sophisticated in search engine optimization than I am, they said this, “In most cases, the headings in sliders are wrapped in H1 tags. A basic SEO best practices state that there should be only one H1 tag per page.” So the H1 tag is like the title tag.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It’s like the biggest heading, indicating what the page is about. You really should only have one on each of our pages. And to continue Search Engine Land’s quote, “It should appear before any other heading tag.” The problem with using H1 or any heading tag in the slider is that every time the slide changes, the H1 tag changes also. A page with five slides in the carousel will have five H1 tags, which greatly devalues the key word relevance.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Just another impact on the SEO in a negative perspective that your slider will have. Second reason, additional reason why your church website should not employ sliders at the top of the page. In 2013, Nielsen ran a really cool study, where they were looking at website sliders and they had this user and they asked the users to answer the following question. “Does the brand Siemens have any special deals on washing machines? So that was the task-

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: -that Nielsen gave to their users and without much trouble, the users were able to navigate to the Siemens home page.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: You know, Siemens.com or whatever it might be. Here’s where things get interesting. At the top of the Siemens website, in 98 point font, which is massive font.

Alex Mills: Yeah, it’s pretty large.

Brady Shearer: By far the largest section on the website was a promotion for washing machines with a discount code. Like this is our big sale, top of the home page.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: Despite this massive promotion at the top of the Siemens home page, the user failed to find it because the panel auto-rotated instead of standing still. To quote Nielsen and their findings from this study, they said, “After an extended visit to the website, including much time scrutinizing the home page, the user gave up and assumed that Siemens didn’t have any special deals.”

How could this be possible? How could they miss the most giant thing at the top of the website? Well, the first is that it auto-rotates.

Alex Mills: Yeah, it literally left the page.

Brady Shearer: So someone lands on the page, if they don’t look at that section of the website in the first one, two, three, four, five seconds.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It auto-rotates to another promotion.

Alex Mills: It’s gone.

Brady Shearer: And thus, disappears for that user. Interestingly, the user claimed that this wasn’t the reason why they missed it. What they said, and what Nielsen conclude was a term they coined called banner blindness. And there have been other studies that have proven this, that basically anything that looks like an ad to us online, on the web, we have now conditioned ourselves to automatically disregard.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Banner blindness. You know, if you go to a website, let’s say you land on a news website, like a CNN or a Fox News or even a sports website, like an ESPN, they have these banners all over.

Alex Mills: Everywhere.

Brady Shearer: Right? That’s how they make their money. Lots of page clicks, banners, so maybe Lexus pays for an ad for their car. We see those so often that now we’ve tuned ourselves to automatically just be blind to them. And website sliders look very similar.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: And so it’s very often that we tune ourselves out to those as well.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Which is what happened in this case. Third and final reason, experts agree, hey, sliders suck. So don’t just take it from me, I’ve compiled a number of different quotes, from experts that know a lot more about web design and conversion than I.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: So this is from Carl Gillis, owner of AG Consults, really a conversion legend, he says, “Sliders only exist because web designers love them. And because they make the life of the web team easy.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: “They can give every department or product division a place on the home page.” Like we talked on episode 43.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It makes the internal operations of your church happy, but doesn’t help the visitor.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Carl goes on to say, “It’s not your job to make your colleagues happy. It’s your job to make your visitors happy.”

Alex Mills: That’s right.

Brady Shearer: “That’s the biggest problem with sliders, they don’t convert, never did, never will.”

This is from Brian Eisenberg, the author of Be Like Amazon, he says, “Sliders suck 99.8% of the time. We once did a test with a client where we changed their slider to a static image with three core benefits and lifted conversions by a nice amount.”

Tim Ashe, CEO at Site Turner says, “Sliders are absolutely evil and should be removed immediately.”

Finally, Lee Duddle, Customer Enablement at User Zoom says, “Carousels are effective at being able to tell people at leadership and other departments that they’re latest idea is now on the home page.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: “But, they’re next to useless for users, and often get skipped because they look like advertisements.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: There is an alternative. We have detailed it at the Nucleus blog, blog.nucleus.church. Find the sliders article. We don’t want to just crucify sliders here.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Wait, we do want to just crucify sliders. But we also want to provide an alternative.

Alex Mills: There’s a better way.

Brady Shearer: You can find it at blog.nucleus.church.

Alex Mills: Yeah. And look, this is our second episode on sliders, maybe tomorrow we’ll chat about it again, but we’re not just here to just tear down sliders and talk about how much we hate them and how much they suck. There’s a better way.

Brady Shearer: Yeah.

Alex Mills: And the reason we’re so adamant about finding that better way is because what we’re trying to accomplish with our church home page and our church website altogether, is first impressions on people who don’t know Jesus. Right?

Brady Shearer: Yeah. So important.

Alex Mills: There’s so much at stake here.

Brady Shearer: So much at stake.

Alex Mills: And there’s a better way. So let’s just do it.

Brady Shearer: And we want to help improve your church’s website across the board and so we’ve also put together a free download called The Ultimate Church Website Page Template Library. And inside there you’ll find seven different page templates, pre-written, pre-structured copy that you can copy and paste directly to your church’s website. One of the page templates in there is the seven part kids ministry template.

Alex Mills: Sweet.

Brady Shearer: That walks through the seven necessary sections you need on your kids ministry page. Super helpful for new visitors again.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Helping them make sure when they’re asking that question, “What does this church have for my kids?”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You answer it effectively. And when they’re like, “Man, is it safe for me to leave my kid with these strangers?”, and being able to put them at ease, using this pre-written framework.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Pre-written copy. Prochurchtools.com/nucleus is the URL to get those free downloadable templates. Thanks for watching today’s episode of Pro Church Daily, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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