In about 2010 fancy image sliders started appearing on websites. They looked fantastic — I wanted one for www.hobbsparker.co.uk.
So I set to, hacked some code from codecanyon.net (this is a brilliant resource for all things web), fought with something called jQuery for a few hours, and launched a new website with fancy image sliders for each part of our business. I was impressed with myself.
I then went back to the day job.
In late 2012 some detailed analysis of our website data using Google Analytics (free and brilliant too) exposed the shocking reality of the performance of our website.
Whilst we had thousands of visitors to our website — about 2,000 per day — and they were all fine browsing properties for sale, viewing car auction listings and so on, almost none were doing the two things that we hoped the website would deliver:
The conversion of our website was rubbish and here are the stats to prove it:
For the period July 2010 to June 2011
- Car Auctions Website Visitors: 91,103 – Conversions: 468 or 0.51% (that’s 1 in 194)
- Estate Auctions Website Visitors: 168,788 – Conversions: 102 or 0.06% (that’s 1 in 1,654)
How bad is that? Or put another way, what an opportunity if we could improve this.
I was very frustrated and resolved to understand website conversion. Part of my research led me to informationhighwayman.com run by Bnonn Tennant. Now this chap is opinionated, but give him time, read a little of his thinking and you will soon see that fancy image sliders really have no place on most websites.
Take a moment to think about the way in which you use websites. When did you last pause long enough to view all 5 slides on the fancy banner image slider let alone click any of them?
We don’t. We are so used to them as advertising we just ignore them. In Bnonn’s words they suffer from banner blindness.
So what did I learn? That image sliders don’t work? Yes and you should have a real good look at the data for your website. But, the *really* important lesson was that you need to test and analyse your results. I had just added the image sliders and assumed for 2 whole years that they were a good thing. They weren’t — I only had to look at the data to see that almost nobody clicked on them.
We are building a new website for The Hobbs Parker Group at the moment and we won’t make this mistake again. Every page, every click, every call to action (CTA) button will be A/B split tested, monitored, analysed and improved. This is part of our plan to make our new website really convert.
And there will be no image sliders.