Most themes come with homepages designed with beautiful super-sized slideshows or full-screen hero backgrounds, but aren’t those just like splash pages?
What is a Splash Page?
A splash page is usually a gratuitous welcome page. This page’s sole purpose is to impress you by introducing you to the awesomeness of the website without giving you anything useful that you were looking for (!).
At first, it was a logo and an ‘Enter Site’ button. Then the more elaborate ones started getting animated using Flash movies that you had to endure before landing on a page with content. What were they like? Well, a Flash intro splash page cannot be described. It must be experienced. Most went out of fashion in the early 2000s
What Can We Learn?
Don’t Hide Useful Content or Make People Work to Get to It
It didn’t take long for people to learn that splash pages were a waste of time. They started bookmarking the “real” home page and clicking ‘Skip Intro’. At least now there’s usually a menu.
Make Sure it’s There For a Reason, Not Just Decoration
When installing a new theme and you have no content, it’s easy to just set up a featured homepage slider as something pretty to fill up all that empty space. Don’t do it. Instead, create something with value for your visitors. (Like a blog post!)
Before you add a slider to your site, read “Why Sliders Make Your Website Suck” from ThriveThemes (and weep softly).
Look for Creative Alternatives that Don’t Sacrifice Usability or SEO
The UX struggle is real. As someone who routinely sets up slideshows on sites for work and provides tools for people to create them, I cringe when they’re misused. Even so, they’re just another tool.
There are ways to create effective carousels, but it looks like you can just as easily achieve better results from meaningful static images or using videos instead. Test and get feedback on what works for your content and your site.
The moral of this story is to be more thoughtful about adding features. Stay current, but avoid just doing something just because it’s the trend or the default option.
What do you think? Comment below or @priscillamc on Twitter.
WordPress Developer, Web Support
Priscilla Chapman is a web developer specializing in WordPress working from Gainesville, Florida.