Do I need a rotating banner image on the home page of my website?
For many years, it seemed like every website you went to featured a rotating banner image (carousel style or image slider) at the top of the home page. Many of Ecra’s clients still ask if this is a good idea for their site. My answer involves a couple of considerations – as many website features inevitably do.
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The first consideration would be to think about modern trends in website behavior. With the advent of mobile, responsive friendly websites, the home page “banner” is not the same as it was 10 years ago. In today’s modern environments, a large image that looks great in a large, horizontal browser window, might not communicate as well in a smaller square format which tends to work best on mobile viewport sizes – especially if text or graphics are part of the image.
There is also the performance side of the equation to consider. Modern web design tends to feature full screen wallpaper style images with text and color overlays. Combined with the fact that modern displays are often high resolution requiring larger images to look good – this can quickly compound to create a page that is image heavy and slow to load. On top of this, some websites will choose to load a “mobile only” version of the image for each slide which can further add to the total load time for the page.
Page load speed is both a “human” user experience consideration as well as a key component of Google’s page ranking formula.
A web page with a full width image carousel style rotating banner with 4 slides will very likely add noticeable time to the page load – even if all of the images are properly optimized for web use.
Another consideration would be time on page. It is unlikely that the typical website visitor is going to stay at the top of the page long enough to view a rotating banner or have initial interest enough to explore the rotating banner by clicking on arrow navigation before they scroll down the page and learn more about what you do and how you can help them.
An alternative to the rotating top banner is to feature one large banner image at the top of the page for positioning and then work in other feature content lower down on the page. Images that appear “below the scroll” can then load using “lazy load” techniques to only load when the user scrolls down the page – which can further improve page load times by not requiring all of the images on the page to load when the user first comes to the page.
This will improve the overall user experience and help you get your targeted messaging in front of the right audience as they engage with your home page.