Why Sliding Header Images Are Costing You Enrollments


Most marketing professionals have their own set of tried and true practices; their favorite tools and methods for promoting clients’ products and services.


However, there’s one marketing tool in particular that appears to elicit an almost visceral response when mentioned to the pros – sliding headers. Image sliders. Carousels.


Whatever you call them, conversion rate experts across the board agree under no uncertain terms that you should stop using them immediately.


They’re simply BAD for business. In fact, your sliding headers are hindering efforts to increase enrollment at your school. Here’s why.


What are sliding header images?

First, to be sure we’re on the same page, sliding header images are those rotating images on your website’s homepage.


Web developers tend to favor them as a fun or useful feature that allows you to showcase multiple images of your school above the fold on your homepage.


The location of your sliding header images is just one of its many problems, but we’ll get to that shortly.


Why do some schools use sliding header images?

Montessori schools use sliding headers for a few reasons.


Perhaps your school’s website has a carousel that highlights students working on different projects, the environment at your school, and so forth. It’s intent is to convey the wonderful Montessori atmosphere and attract new students.


Other times, maybe you use one of the spaces in the rotating images to remind visitors of an important upcoming deadline or a school event.  


It all seems like a good idea, and what harm could it do to show a variety of aspects of your school as soon as a visitor gets to your web page?


Surprisingly, quite a bit.


How are sliding headers costing you enrollment?

Let us count the ways.


Research shows that flashing multiple images in front of viewers’ eyes in a matter of a few seconds actually divides viewers’ attention and makes them feel like they’re watching advertisements.


When prospective parents feel like they’re watching ads of some sort, their brains tune out, and they focus their attention elsewhere, potentially to leave your site without exploring any further.


There’s a name for this reaction: banner blindness.


It’s a real thing that may be making your website visitors quickly move on to explore another school’s website instead of sticking around to learn more on yours.


Sliding headers take up valuable space above the fold.

This is where location comes into play.


The most important information on your website, like a call to action (CTA) to schedule a tour of your Montessori school, should be in the prime location – above the fold.


Your website visitors shouldn’t have to scroll down for engaging content or the CTA. It should be where those pesky rotating header images are instead.


To make matters worse, only 1% of website visitors will actually click on your slider images to get beyond the first image. ONE PERCENT.


That means that the other 99% of people visiting your website see the first image (or a bunch of flashing ones) and, you guessed it, quickly move on to another website without learning more about your school.


Sliding headers have no SEO value.

Since sliders push your main content down, often below the fold, it negatively affects any of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts within your stellar content.


Only problem is, if nobody scrolls down to read this content, they won’t know how stellar it is, and most likely, how stellar your school is either.


Multiple rotating images are slow to load and don’t work well on mobile platforms.

Each high-resolution image you have in your slider takes time to load into the homepage. The slower the loading page speed, the faster your visitors bounce. Any longer than two seconds negatively impacts user experience, because the average website visitor spends less than 15 seconds on a website.


If too many of those valuable seconds are spent waiting for images to load to the homepage, your visitors become impatient and go somewhere else.


As for mobile phone website visitors, when your images are having trouble loading on a computer, they are certainly not optimized for mobile platforms, either.


So many aspects of sliding headers work against your website and any potentially interested families, that it’s no wonder those of us in the marketing biz are a bit passionate about this valuable use of web page space.


Without a carousel, this homepage, first-impression space could be much more effective at providing visitors with engaging content and a CTA that ultimately converts them into school tours and into becoming newly enrolled students.


When it comes to sliding headers, be a leader in Montessori marketing and remove them promptly from your school’s website. Replace them with engaging content that prompts visitors to keep reading, and increases interest in your school. That’s a much better way to increase enrollment.


We’d love to help your Montessori school shine through all of your digital marketing channels. Join our free online community of professional digital marketers and Montessorians today.


Camille Campbell

Interesting! I'm wondering if the same principles apply to video? We have a short looping video on our homepage with short message and a CTA button overlaid on the video. Would a single image with the message and CTA be more effective?

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Kasim Aslam

Hi Camille - great question! Your site's video is perfect. In fact, it qualifies as a "hero banner" since you have a consistent message and consistent call to action. 

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