Checklist for Choosing Plugins For Your WordPress Site

Tacky pink leopard spots

Tacky pink leopard spots

Yesterday I saw several articles touting great plugins for your blog or WordPress site. Unfortunately, some shouldn’t have made the cut. A few are known resource intensive speed killers, while others are not compatible with the latest version of WordPress. A couple of them were even unattractive looking, which is definitely a cardinal sin!

Fortunately, I have your back. I’ll share how folks in my field typically evaluate plugins and avoid server resource hogs and style disasters.

Consider the Source

You see an article entitled "Plugin Must Haves For a Successful Blog" (I made that up, but I’m sure it’s been done) by a prominent leader in social media or marketing. Sounds like a winner, right?

Well, social media gurus and marketers are not typically in the web design/developer field. They see the shinier aspects of a plugin, read that many of their colleagues recommend it, and from a marketing perspective, it looks effective.

However, with the huge push for faster downloadable sites (ahem, Google!), some of the popular plugins are slowing your website. Not to mention that some are stylistic mismatches and look about as in sync as stripes with plaid.

Checklist for Evaluation

To determine if the latest popular plugin is right for your website, use this list of criteria:

  • What is his/her expertise? Check out the author bio recommending the plugin. If it’s a non-technical expert, he/she may not have checked with technical colleagues. Same for technical people, have they checked UX and marketing experts?
  • Compatible with the latest WordPress version? The issue I see most often is out-of-date plugins being recommended (even on leading publications) — those with known technical problems. Also, old plugins are a security risk and may cause conflicts with other plugins.
  • Check WordPress.org for reviews. For those listed on the repository, looking at the reviews is an excellent barometer. For premium plugins, search for issues.
  • Google for performance issues. Surprisingly, some of the plugins I saw yesterday are banned by several webhosts – they are huge resource eaters. Hello, slow website!
  • See if other fields of expertise like it too! Digg Digg may be the defacto sharing plugin of the marketing field, but what are the web developers recommending? If both fields like it it’s a safe bet, but be sure to do your homework. Technical information is like bread; it goes stale fast.
  • Does it make web designers wince? Once in a while, a popular plugin has the design community scratching its head. Style-challenged or out-of-date looking plugins are not going to fly with that industry.

Check your existing plugins with the above list and install p3 to check performance. It might be time for a bit of housecleaning.

Is there a popular plugin you have your eye on?

Posted in WordPress Plugins

Are Slow WordPress Plugins Costing You Potential Clients?

snail pace

Snails are slow

It’s hard to read an SEO article without hearing about responsive (mobile-friendly) websites. But did you know your Google ranking is also based on how fast your website downloads?

"…website loading speed has become one of the biggest determinants of your site’s value and ranking position" Search Engine Journal

Most speed reductions are a bit technical, but no worries. I have your back with one thing you can do on your own if you’re comfortable with WordPress. Or you can ask your web designer or developer to give it a try (keep in mind he/she may already be using other methods).

The Need For Speed

You may not be particularly concerned about Google rankings. However, you may want to make sure people stick around long enough to read your website to potentially become a customer. If your website is taking too long to download, potential clients won’t even stick around to see what your company has to offer.

Curious how your website is doing? Check with Pingdom’s speed tool!

How did you do? I’ll summarize the articles I have read on the topic to give you an idea.

  • 1-3 Seconds – Excellent, people will stick around
  • 3-4 Seconds – Foot tapping – they are losing patience and some folks have left
  • 5+ Seconds – Ciao baby, I have better things to do!

If you were in the three seconds or more category, don’t despair. Here’s one of my tips for tracking down guilty culprits that slow your website.

The Hunt for Slow Plugins!

GoDaddy makes a wonderful plugin for WordPress called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). P3 is a simple way to evaluate your plugins in WordPress and how they might be impacting your download speed.

  • Once you install this, you can run a scan. It is a bit hidden.
  • On the Admin dashboard in your WordPress website, click on the "Tools" tab on the left;
    Click on "P3 Plugin Profiler" to display the P3 dashboard;
  • Click on the button "Start Scan."
  • For your first scan, I recommend "Auto Scan." A window will pop up and show you its progress.

This might take awhile. Once the scan is done, you can look at the results. Although they can be influenced by many factors, it will give you some idea of the plugins you might need to replace or pull from your website.

Analyzing the Results

Okay, you’ve done a scan, and now this lovely pie chart is displayed. Be aware that it’s fairly general. First look at the total time your plugins are taking; if it’s more than one second, you probably need to see which plugin is adding to your time. Remember that three seconds is all you have before "Hasta la vista, baby!"

For specifics, check the "Detailed Breakdown" tab to see if any plugins stand out. Just hovering your mouse over the colored vertical lines will display the plugin name. If one or two plugins are time eaters, do some checking.

Plugin Slow Pokes

Here is a checklist for those with a snail’s pace to get you started.

  • Is the plugin up to date? Is it compatible with your version of WordPress?
  • Is your plugin configured properly? Something as simple as a plugin trying to connect to an API to a plugin license can send it into a tailspin.
  • Visit the WordPress.org reviews. Do people complain the plugin has problems, especially website speed?
  • And, of course, Google the plugin’s name along with slow to see what pops up.

When I tested mine, one of my plugins was out of date and no longer maintained. I’m on the hunt for a replacement. See, that wasn’t too technical, was it?

My Plugins are Fine – But My Website is Still Slow!

Egads!! How bad are we talking? Four or five seconds? Do several tests on Pingdom tools; results will vary if you are on a shared web host server. Other culprits are:

  • Images not resized for websites (large resolution image used for a small-sized picture, for example, is a frequent mistake);
  • Slow web host (the cheaper they are, the slower they are);
  • Too many connections to social media. For example, counters on social sharing plugins are known to slow sites.

If this is above your technical level, ask a developer to do a website optimization. I hope these tips help. Speed is very important, so keep in mind you may be losing clients before your site finishes downloading.

Did the P3 Profiler Plugin help you find slow plugins?

Posted in WordPress Maintenance, WordPress Plugins

Choosing Great Images for Your Blog Posts

shocked reader

shocked reader

It Was Like Witnessing a Train Wreck

Last night, I was on my iPhone going through the latest tweets and finding articles to read. A popular blogger shared something he found interesting. I followed the link and then… the scrape of the needle echoed through my head.

The blog post images were so unappealing, all I could do was stare, simply stunned. I’m sure they were intended to convey a message but they did not instill confidence; instead I became concerned about the quality of the information.

Well enough ogling! On to the next tweet. Ciao, baby!

Why You Should Choose Quality Images

A well-written article is a must for your newsletter, blog, and other mediums. Informative pieces that help the reader are the way to go. But they aren’t going to read what you’re sharing if the image isn’t pulling its weight.

Poor quality images and illustrations will cause the reader to:

  • Question the professional level of the information (or worse the writer);
  • Be distracted by the image rather than engage them;
  • A poor performing image/illustration will not move the reader; and
  • Leave the blog post before reading a single line or look any further on your website.

You’ve heard about Google showing bounce rates in website analytics, right? With great pride, I can tell you that Arts Assistance’s bounce rate is a single digit. Although I’d like to think I write well and I’m sharing valuable info, I know my images are an important factor.

Great images with your blog post will:

  • Look professional and subconsciously communicate your competence as an expert;
  • Engage your readers and get them to start reading;
  • Set the tone of the article or pique their curiosity; and
  • Better yet, (when appropriate) move them.

Yes, "move them," because fabulous photos will have an emotional impact. If your post is something serious like childhood brain cancer, clip art won’t work.

Looking for the Holy Grail

There are some wonderful articles about free photos. Cool, but be prepared to spend some serious time looking for those that will do the job. I see a lot of stunning photography, but finding something that fits is rare in the freebie zone. And what’s with all those pictures of desktops with Macs? Enough already, dudes!

Most of us are fairly busy, so spending a buck for a properly licensed photo is worth it. I frequently find what I’m looking for in much less time with the paid photo vendors.

Also don’t begrudge photographers the money! They have bills to pay, too. If you want quality images to rock your newsletters and blog posts, remember that you get what you pay for.

How I Choose Photos or Illustrations

First off – notice I have mostly been referring to photos? Why? Illustration seems to be waning in popularity. Quality photos are on the rise, emphasis on quality.

Choosing a great photo.

  • Repeaters. Avoid overused stock photos (lady with arms raised in victory for example).
  • Too obvious. Avoid hitting them over the head with imagery communication; be a bit more subtle if you can.
  • Homemade. Words in an image takes finesse. Most tend to be way too wordy and resize poorly for mobile devices. If you need a strong marketing message with wording, hire a graphic or web designer professional. Keep in mind – Google doesn’t read text embedded in an image – save it for titles and your text.
  • Subject. Consider the subject of your blog post. What do you want to communicate?
  • One idea. Keep your communication simple. Don’t try to fit multiple concepts into your headline photo for your post.
  • Emotion. Is it an emotion you want to share with your reader? Your image does not have to be the exact subject of your article, just nail the emotional connection.
  • Communicate a concept? Is it to reinforce an idea? Did you notice I used a tugboat in my last newsletter (also blog post)? I mentioned early on in it that logos should more than "pull their weight."
  • Provoke their curiosity. A photo that leaves them wanting more is perfect for your blog.

Whatever you decide, choose a quality image that pulls the reader in. After all, images are part of design, and effective design is part of your marketing.

Posted in Formatting Posts and Pages

Top 6 Signs You Need a New Logo

Tugboat pulling a freighter

Tugboat Pulling a Freighter

Is Your Logo Pulling Its Weight?

Two weeks ago, I shared tips to determine whether your website needed some updates or a total redo. If you’re redoing your site, look closely at your logo first.

Do You Need a New Logo?

When you first started your business, you may have designed your own logo or had a friend who could do nice PowerPoints help you out. Maybe it was impossible to afford a logo.

But now that you are more established, your original logo may not be on par with your business growth and success. You may be hurting your image with a logo that doesn’t represent the level of service offerings.

"A professional business should look professional." Smashing Magazine

Logos are powerful. They communicate your business identity and your professionalism. A poor quality logo can work against you and send the wrong message to prospects. But how can you tell if you need a new one?

Checklist to Determine if You Need a New Logo

  1. Was your logo created by a professional graphic designer, or preferably a logo specialist? They are the ones who draw from scratch.
  2. Have your clients ever complimented your logo? You are appealing to them, they should like your logo.
  3. Does your logo have a stock image or stock illustration? If so, you will not be able to trademark it because it is already copyrighted. This is a sign the quality of your logo is probably low; get something unique that markets like a rock star for your business.
  4. Does your logo use legal fonts? Sometimes new designers or amateurs do not properly check out copyrights; it’s possible they just Googled the font.
  5. Are you happy with your logo? Does it communicate your brand effectively? If not, hire a graphic designer to evaluate it.
  6. Have your services or product offerings changed significantly? Using a logo that reflects your old business model may be confusing prospective clients.

If alarms are going off in your head while reading these criteria, it’s time to start asking business colleagues for their logo designer recommendations.

Steer Clear of the Crowdsourcing Logo Websites

Logo design (and website design) is a consultation process. You want your designer to know your business well. Also there are a number of copyright infringement horror stories resulting in bills for illegally used images, etc. It can be a crap shoot. Quality takes time, so skip the shortcuts.

A high quality logo is a fantastic marketing tool that tells clients who you are and makes a great impression.

How do you feel about your logo?

Posted in Web Design, Website tips

Don’t Let WordPress Trick You into Thinking It’s Easy

Climber

Are You Still Doing Your Own Website?

I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary of blogging. One issue that keeps surprising me is why so many established business owners think they need to be going the DIY route?

Most businesses are strapped for cash at the beginning and hiring out is not possible. WordPress fortunately makes establishing an online presence possible. Learning WordPress may take awhile, but if you have an ounce of tech knowledge, you can probably get a theme setup and populate it with some content with an off-the-shelf template.

However, once your business is more established and you have some moolah in the bank, it is time to revisit the DIY approach. And I would state this would be more than just your website (I include myself in the finger wagging). The more successful you become, the more expensive it is to lose time on tasks that are not your skill set; after all, how many of us can quickly do our own bookkeeping?

This is where WordPress and other accessible content management systems can be misleading. The ability to post and edit content on a website does not mean you are a professional designer and coder.

Advantages to Letting the Pros Design Your Website

  • Website design and publishing is a fast-moving industry. It isn’t possible to keep up on all the trends (or trends you should give a pass). Web designers will steer you towards appropriate solutions.
  • You are never done learning to code, staying up to date on latest standard techniques, and configuring for constantly-evolving devices websites are accessed from. However, your web designer probably knows HTML5 is the latest version for today’s technology.
  • Web design is similar to graphic design for the web, except it isn’t static and you can’t think like print. Many web designers are former graphic designers that learned advanced HTML, CSS, and more. Their job is to make sure your design is not just decoration but communication!
  • An effective web designer will take the time to learn your audience and translate that information into a design that is part of your marketing. A template does not know who your audience is or what is appropriate.
  • Web design is an expertise. As fun as it is to do it yourself, an established business is better off hiring a professional to make sure its website is its most effective presence on the web.

Remember: a prospective client who wants to learn more about your business will go to your website first.

Posted in Web Design

Start of the Year Website Checklist

2015 Website Checklist

2015 Website Checklist

Things to Consider

Some of you are thinking if it’s time to redo your website, or if there are aspects that need updating? These tips will help you determine whether to tweak things a bit or to redesign your website completely.

The Tweaks

  • What is your copyright date – is it 2015? We’ll wait while you check (cue Jeopardy music). Hopefully it auto updated for you (PHP sites usually do, but not all). If it isn’t, this is a fairly simple coding fix depending on where it resides – hire a web designer or developer to help.
  • Does your contact form work? These do go bad, so it’s worth checking.
  • Is your WordPress version 4.1? Backup your website first, then update. Security is the main reason you want to have the latest. Malware fixes due to out-of-date software are $$$ or $$$$. Ouch. If you are uncomfortable doing this, get a web designer to help. Don’t be an ostrich now – security will nail you. It is not a matter of if, but when!
  • Are your plugins up to date and working? Login to your dashboard and install Better Plugin Compatibility Control, which will show you what versions of WordPress your plugins are working with to help evaluate.
  • Any broken links? Use Broken Link Checker to scan your site, but if you install this plugin, be sure to remove it once you are done – it is a bit of a resource hog for your server and slows your website.
  • Check individual pages – everything look ok? Video links broken, images not showing?
  • How about your content (text)? Is it up to date? Does it answer questions for potential clients? Reading through it is worth an hour or two to be sure.
  • "Powered Proudly by WordPress" in the footer? Yikes! You are a business, you don’t want it to look like "cousin Joe the tech wiz" did your website. Remove it.

Web Trends and Tech Changes – Time for a Redesign?

Here are some points to consider when deciding if it’s time for a redo or refresh to stay current.

  • Text size. You should be using at least 16 pixel font sizes (not points) for best readability. If you are on 12, your site is hard for folks to read for retina screens (most things Apple) and mobile devices. If they have to squint, they may leave.
  • Outdated web trends. Do you have a content box that has large rounded corners (vertical rectangle with all your website text)? This technique was really overused in recent years and about as current as those bell-bottom pants in the closet. (Oh and skip sliders – they are trending out because they don’t convert site visitors.)
  • Has it been more than three years and you have a desktop-only website? Responsive design (mobile-friendly) is now marked by Google in search results on mobile devices. It is the standard. If you aren’t mobile friendly, you’re frustrating website visitors. Mobile usage surpassed desktop usage in 2014 for websites.
  • Okay, enough about mobile – if your site was produced more than three years ago, the bottom line is it’s old! Flash has "left the building," web browsers are constantly updating, computers and devices are always changing… yikes! Functionality may come into question with outdated code and expired web trends like an embossed button just look like you don’t care about your online presence. Remember: people go to your website to check your business out! Time for a refresh.

If you are an established business, consider hiring a pro to redesign your website. After all, you wouldn’t hire a plumber to do your taxes, would you?

Web designers can customize design solutions that best fit your audience. They know all those pesky trends, and will keep you looking professional. Make 2015 the year your website design is part of your marketing toolkit.

Will you be updating your website this year?

Posted in Website Threat, Website tips

WordPress 4.1 – Backup, Double Check, Then Update

WordPress 4-1 Dinah

WordPress 4.1

Before you get all excited and install the new version of WordPress, do some housekeeping to keep your website safe. It isn’t 4.0 with a huge change, but it’s always possible your theme or plugins may not be ready for you to upgrade to WordPress 4.1.

Step 1 – Backup Your Website

Do a full backup of your website. This way if you need to do a recovery you can without lost time and angst! I use Backup Buddy (40% off right now – affiliate link) but it can be fussy; VaultPress is probably the easier solution if you aren’t a techie. Whichever your method, backing up your business website is a necessity. If you aren’t already doing this, give yourself peace of mind and get this setup (or contact me, I’ll do it for you).

Backup your website to a separate location (off your webhost server). You can even download it to your computer.

Step 2 – Check Your Theme and Plugins for Compatibility

  • First check your theme. Hop over to your theme developer website and check to see if your theme is compatible with WordPress version 4.1. It’s not unusual for a theme to age out. If yours is older than two years, DO NOT skip this step. Hopefully your theme developer has that information posted (or you can put in a support ticket and ask.)
  • Check Your Version of WordPress. If it’s been a while, check in the lower right-hand corner of the WP Dashboard to see what version you have (or go to the Update tab.) Before you upgrade, be sure to backup your website!
  • Check Your Plugins. I use Better Plugin Compatibility Control to save time. Once you have installed the plugin, go to the Installed Plugins tab under Plugins and check which version of WordPress your plugins are compatible with. You will see the info displayed next to "Edit" under the plugin name.

Plugin

  • Update Your Plugins. If any old plugins need updating, it might be wise to do this now. Also after you update WordPress to 4.1, some plugins will need to be updated again with newer versions that work with 4.1.

If you have done the above, on to the fun!

Step 3 – Update to WordPress 4.1

OK, you did a full backup of the website and downloaded it to a separate location, you have checked the theme and plugins are compatible (if not, hold off until they are). Cruise on over in your WP Dashboard to the Updates tab at the top and click on "Install Now." Happy dance!

Now before we go all disco, look at the front of your website and make sure everything is okay. If there’s a problem with your dashboard or a plugin, hopefully that’s evident at this stage. That is why you need a backup; restore the backup and figure out what might not be ready for WordPress 4.1.

Dude – Not My Scene

If you find the above overwhelming or simply don’t have the time, sign-up for our Security maintenance plan. It includes backups, updates to plugins and WordPress software. Get peace of mind today!

Posted in WordPress Maintenance

Shiny! New Tools For Your Blog

Blog tools

Blog tools

Yes, I admit it, I’m a Firefly fan – if you didn’t know where the quote "shiny!" came from… there you go.

Speaking of shiny… lately there have been some new plugins surfacing that can help you be more productive with your blog. For those of you maintaining a blog – automation and enhancements will get you those "shiny" responses!

I’ll share some of the things that have me excited.

Automate Posting to Social Media

Don’t you love time savers? Here are three worth considering to cut down on your social media tasks when promoting your latest blog post!

  • Twibble. Twibble will tweet your latest blog post title and URL to Twitter WITH your featured image. The latter is particularly important since having a nice big photo in the Twitter stream brings attention to your blog post. Similar to Dlvr.it, Twibble uses your RSS feed to grab your latest post. Unlike Dlvr.it, you can schedule what time your tweet is posted. I love solutions like this because it means no plugin that has to be updated.
  • Post Promoter Pro – I finally purchased the plugin for myself (have a client using it). For those of you who want to work on Tweet phrases etc inside WordPress instead of an outside service, this is for you! Once you have published your blog post, you can go to the Scheduler tab of Post Promoter inside WP. You can edit the times and titles (phrases) to what you prefer. Post Promoter works with Twitter and LinkedIn with Facebook coming out in the next release.
  • Dlvr.it – I keep discovering new gold with this service. Dlvr.it will auto post your latest blog post title with a URL to your social networks. Although it isn’t clear in their instructions, they do offer posting of photos too. It isn’t turned on automatically to post photos; go to the pencil icon for your RSS feed (on left) to bring up the Source Editor and click on "post photos." In addition to posting your title and URL to social networks, you can customize the text to be added such as "via @YourTwitterName," which is nice so people know who it’s from. To post to Google+ you need the premium plan.

While On the Blog

I’ll be honest – many social share plugins are eyesores, taking too much attention away from your content. Design tip: keep it simple with icons! Fancy is out, simple is in! This is one of the web trends that has definitely changed, so don’t go to fussy with the social media share stuff.

  • Simple Share Buttons Adder – still loving this plugin. Social sharing without the bloat of the popular ones which really kill your website download speed (turn off counters, though!). I wrote a post last month if you want to check it out and it has a pro option, too.
  • Related Posts for WordPress – trying this out. Showing related posts at the end of an article you enjoyed is a nice feature. Not only that, but Google counts reader time on a site as part of your bounce rate. My related posts plugin nRelate is closing its doors this month so I am trying out Related Posts for WordPress. Has a premium option if you want more control. Still working out the kinks but so far pretty nice – let me know what you think?

I hope that helps you be more productive with your blog post sharing needs.

Have a time saving tip for your website you want to share? Do tell!

Posted in Social Media, Website tips

The GRAMMYs and Going Mobile!

Paquito D'Rivera website

Paquito DRivera Website

Congrats to my client, Paquito D’Rivera, on his second GRAMMY win for the album "Song for Maura" with Trio Corrente. First with the GRAMMYs and second one with the Latin GRAMMYs.

I was caught off guard by an informal email, "We just won a Latin GRAMMY… we need something good online!" It was 6:00 pm and I was getting ready to sign off for the day. I didn’t realize it was THE DAY!

Artwork – so what are the Latin GRAMMYs using to promote their stuff? Off I went because if you are going to announce winning a GRAMMY, you need something in sync with what they are using. The website itself was still airing the broadcast and the only sign of the win was the updated web page. Obviously they still had a long ways to go. No help there. Next stop was Twitter – yikes! The updates were way behind. It took until 9:30 pm, but finally I had something I could use (screenshot of the win announcement) and a style I could go by. In the meantime, I quickly created some artwork they could use the next day for a blog post announcement and fired off to the client for approval.

Working with such a talented client and management, is fun because it keeps me on my toes!

Website in the Queue

It hit me after all the excitement – Shoot! The new website is just hours from being finished! We were converting the Paquito D’Rivera website at Arts Assistance to a brand new responsive (mobile) design. Traffic to the website would be spiking and wouldn’t it be nice to have the new website live?

I don’t know how my client’s management survived my many emails – but we got the proofing done and went live within 24 hours. WAHOO!

Google Favors Mobile In Searches

It has been four years since the last website design update for the artist. You might not be aware, but there has been a fundamental shift in website development. Responsive design (mobile friendly) has become the new standard since 2010 (some may say even 2009). Even Google is trying to push for everyone to convert. But we needed the right image and design that reflected the personality of the artist and finally we had the perfect picture!

Within three days of launching – Google had indexed the new website. Wow!

What You Need to Know

Google now identifies mobile-friendly websites in search engine results to mobile users. Why? Because no one on a phone wants to squint at tiny type!

Check out the screen shot I took of Google search results.

google search result

Google definitely favors mobile sites. For businesses, desktop-only websites that aren’t mobile friendly are losing to competitors who made the switch.

Make 2015 the year you switch to a responsive design so your site is viewable to all device users. After all, doesn’t everyone use their smartphone to surf the web?

Posted in Mobile, Web Design

A Dying Trend – Sliders

Slider Sample

Slider Sample

In web design, trends come and go and you learn to keep an eye out for them. The life span of popular trends can take a nosedive rather quickly with websites. Sometimes trends start to die out for good reasons.

Let’s take sliders, for example. They’ve become so ubiquitous with sites it’s hard to avoid them. If you were having a site designed, you wanted one because doesn’t everyone? It’s the thing to do.

In the last two years, I have had to talk many clients out of the idea. If you weren’t a heavy picture-producing company with a portfolio, why would you need one? They require a lot of maintenance to keep them fresh. Yes they were pretty, but were they appropriate?

Sliders Don’t Sell

I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the notion that "sliders don’t sell" since they do benefit certain people, like interior designers. Obviously they have a lot of photos to feature and the judicious use of sliders might be a good introduction. Just don’t make it the only way to view pictures; don’t overwhelm the content, and keep in mind they have usability problems (can’t use the keyboard to access, for example).

Banner Blindness

Most companies have content or offers they need to feature to entice the user to venture further into a website. Unfortunately, sliders (a.k.a. carousels) haven’t lived up to the promise of engaging users. They seemed to have developed "banner blindness."

Wednesday, industry leader Jeffrey Zeldman tweeted a link about sliders from his leading web design conference "An Event Apart." The tweet shared a link to the website "Should I Use A Carousel?" produced a year ago. It was the first time I’ve seen it, but I was already aware of other articles indicating that people simply ignored them. They were used too much; it made sense that people skipped them to get to the content – you know, information we actually want and need.

Here are some quotes from "Should I Use A Carousel?"

"1% clicked a feature. Of those, 89% were the first position. 1% of clicks for the most significant object on the home page?" nd.edu stats by @erunyon

Ouch – 1% for a site that has over a million hits! Here are more:

"We have tested rotating offers many times and have found it to be a poor way of presenting home page content." Wider Funnel in "Rotating Offers, the Scourge of Home Page Design"

"Carousels are effective at being able to tell people in Marketing/Senior Management that their latest idea is on the Home Page. Use them to put content that users will ignore on your Home Page. Or, if you prefer, don’t use them. Ever." Lee Duddell

"Carousels pose accessibility issues for keyboard and screen reader users that simply cannot be adequately addressed by markup or hacks. Carousels are this decade’s <blink> tag." Jared Smith

The data has been pouring in on the ineffectiveness of sliders, which means this trend is dying. Ineffective techniques get the boot by those making websites. So for your next website – give this a pass!

FYI – a word to the wise with looking at theme sellers. Since people love the look of sliders, you’ll see them as the last bastion of website makers promoting sliders. They target the uninformed buyer who most likely doesn’t have a developer to clue them in.

What do you think of sliders? Do you notice them or simply continue scrolling to get to what you’re looking for?

Posted in Web Design

Web Design Insider Tips