Learnings from a website review – 3

Learnings from a website review – website hero area

Carrying on with our series on website review revelations, in this article, we’ll look at several issues which we discovered in the hero area.

Hero Area

The ‘hero area‘ refers to the bold area of tone-setting content which tends to appear near the very top of a homepage. It typically contains a mix of content: images/video/text/links etc. The aim is to quickly orientate the website visitor – making it clear who you are – so that they can quickly form a succinct mental modal of where you fit in their busy world.

Here is an example of a hero area from one of our clients, Mark Schaefer (note: this is not the website being reviewed here):


Fig 1 – example of a Hero area – not taken from site being reviewed.

In Mark’s site (pictured above), we see a prominent hero area – featuring a strong image of Mark on stage, and a bold statement about who Mark is and what Mark does, that is then backed up by proof (“expertise you can trust“). 

[adrotate banner=”3″]

However, on the website we were reviewing, the hero area had serious issues……

A central premise of the website in question was a medical product that was being promoted. An immediate, glaring issue was that the product photography was poor – the shot was badly composed, and very badly lit. Whilst anyone can take a photo, it takes an experienced specialist to deal with product photography (e.g. look at the stunning work of a specialist food photographer).

The text in the hero area was also questionable, it was jargon littered and felt like it had not been tuned to the target audiences needs. The opening text on a website hero area is a golden opportunity to say ‘hello!‘ to your target audience – to greet them and to make them feel welcome – that opportunity was being badly squandered here.

The missing link?

The opening lengthy text contained no links to other key website sections – even though there were obvious opportunities to do so. This happens all too frequently where website copy is hastily prepared, with no consideration for how people navigate websites (i.e. people click links) – this can make for a very frustrating user experience (as well as missing easy SEO opportunities).

Note: one link in the text which was along the lines of “if you want to know about x, click here” (‘click here‘ being the clickable link). If this was re-rewritten as ‘Click here to find out about x‘ or ‘find out about x‘ (i.e. more useful words in the actual link text), then this would be:

  • better for users (as the language & call to action is clearer)
  • Better for users with visual disabilities
  • Better for SEO (more on that in a later article)

Image Carousel

The hero area was actually a carousel (sometimes called an ‘image slider’) which transitioned between two images – the first image being the poor product shot we mentioned earlier, and the second image being a generic shot of people.

I’m not a fan of carousels/image sliders unless used in a very particular manner, and where they solving a unique messaging situation.

In the case here, the main point of the website was about showcasing their new product; so allowing the image carousel to quickly transition to a non-product image seemed dubious.

[adrotate banner=”4″]

We have found that sometimes website admin teams try to cram lots & lots of content into a website’s carousel simply because it will accept more and more content; that’s missing the point: just because you can add some content to a site, doesn’t mean that you should. This is the downside with tools like WordPress – they are sometimes too easy to use.

As a final point on carousels I would say this: if you have key messaging on all the different frames/slides of your carousel – then these messaging points would probably best be unpacked and placed in prominent positions on your homepage. You can’t expect the website visitor to simply sit there and watch everything unfold in sequence.

WordPress Webinar

In our next in this series will take more in detail about some other homepage issues relating to ‘call to actions‘ – what you want people to do.

If you’d like to hear us talk more about WordPress tips etc, feel to jump on to one of our next WordPress webinar – best of, it’s free!

Thanks for your time




p.s. don’t forget to subscribe to our blog if you want our freshly printed articles delivered straight to your email inbox.

No Comments

Leave a Reply