Stop Making This HUGE Mistake (Short Blog Post I Promise)

Last Update: September 17, 2021

Okay, I’ll get straight to the point.

I’m seeing a lot of websites with massive header images and logos.

When reviewing someone’s website the first thing I typically do is to check the site speed.

I use Google PageSpeed Insights, but there are plenty of other options.

I am generally seeing mobile site speeds of 30-50 and this especially true when the website has a huge header image.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the two main ranking factors for an article are relevance and visitor experience.

So, how relevant is the article to the searcher’s query and what type of experience is the searcher having when they visit your website?

Be honest, you know yourself, if you visit a website and it takes longer than a few seconds to load you usually click the back button and think, “Well, I can’t be bothered to wait for that to load, so I’ll seek the information I need elsewhere”.

What makes you think that your website visitors aren’t doing exactly the same thing when they visit your site?

I think we all tend to look at our own websites the same way we look at our children.

It’s that look of unconditional love, and you can never seem to spot their faults (or you simply ignore them).

If your header image is wrecking your page speed, get rid of it.

Plain, boring, and fast loading websites will definitely receive more traffic, and make more money, then flashy, beautilful, PAINFULLY SLOW loading websites.

Above the Fold

There is a phrase in the online world, “Above the Fold”.

This simply means what you see on a website before you have to scroll.

If I’ve searched the query, “Why Do I Always Eat a Whole Packet of Biscuits in One Sitting?” and I decide to click on YOUR website in the search results, I immediately want to see something that will answer my query.

Or at the very least, something that shows me I’m in the right place (the article title, a featured image with biscuits, etc.)

The last thing I want to see is a 2000 x 1500 image of your face (I don’t care how pretty you are) or some inanimate object that is NOT relevant to my query.

So, I want to see something relevant to my query “Above the Fold”.

If I or any other visitor has to scroll to get first sight of what I want, then I/we are likely to leave.

People are fickle, we will ALL cut one’s nose to spite one’s face.

We typically throw a quick hissy-fit or tantrum.

I don’t care how great the information MAY be on this website, I’m not seeing what I want immediately, so I’m going elsewhere.

My suggestion if you do have a header image is to go to Google PageSpeed Insights and check the mobile speed of your homepage (and individual articles if you want).

If the speed isn’t at least in the 80s you have some work to do.

Scroll down and check “First Contentful Paint” and “Largest Contentful Paint”.

If these are either red or amber I’m willing to bet that it is due to your header image.

Slow page loading will scare your customers away.

Plus, it is definitely a ranking factor.

Google and the other search engines will view a slow loading page as a “poor customer experience” and will rank you (lower down in the SERPs) accordingly.

Be Honest With Yourself

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stereotypically phrase about “Looking Beautiful But Lacking Substance”.

Does this describe your website?

Stop looking at your website through rose-tinted glasses.

Start looking at it as a potential visitor.

When you first visit an article on your site, are you immediately seeing something that “answers the searcher’s query”?

Are you having to wait ages for the page to load?

Are you seeing a MASSIVE header image and being FORCED to scroll to get to the information you want?

Be Honest.

I told you this was a short blog post.

See Ya

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MSinfosvg Premium
ParthaB you are so on point here.
I HATED HATED HATED (I don't use this word very much in life) Yahoo in 1997. Everybody loved it and used it. I thought it looked like Times Sq. on LSD and Jolt cola. It hurt my eyes. It ate up my download allowance and had so many pop-ups! Oh the flipping POP-UPS! I knew very early that Yahoo and hotmail were no place for serious business.

I designed websites back then and my style was crisp and clean with a sprinkling of java jewels that made the nav bar efficient AND pretty. Graphics were used sparingly and subject appropriate so when they were they were relevant and they popped. Back then the trademark that I did your site was the absence of blue underlined links all over the page (there were usually colored links that became underlined only when you rolled over them.) I picked a small pallet of colors and no more than three fonts (Heading and body text were easy to read and the third (if needed) was used to make custom label gifs (static). I know I sound like a proud mama talking about her kids, and they were in some ways. But while not perfect, they were on the honor roll; didn't do drugs; played an instrument and a sport (of their choosing) and really made me proud. I've always kept that basic design in mind when I think of a site even today.

My search engine woes were quickly alleviated when a friend sent me a link to help beta test a new site "google" I instantly LOVED LOVED LOVED it! White screen with simple non-serif font in primary colors. Beautiful. Twenty-three years later still the same great layout (well with neat-o graphics that make it fun). LOVE IT.

(yeah yeah I wish I had bought some stock when I had the chance....)
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CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
Guilty as charged, Prince Partha!!

In my early day's training, I followed the suggestion to always have a header banner/image.
I have been studying your website - yes, stalking - and realised that this was not the case for you.

I understand why now.

Lots of updates to get done!

Cassi ALOTI
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Hanneke1970 Premium Plus
one thing i learned a long time ago is that even if you use a large image or header you should make sure you use a decent plugin to compress i have been using WP Rocket and Imagify for years and yes they are both paid plugins but they work great when I do a check and it gives a pagespeed of 42 on mobile and I let WP Rocket clear the cache then it pulls it through to mobile between 80 and 90 and desktop is often above 90 this morning 99
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ParthaB Premium
Snap!!

Yep, I use both WP Rocket and Imagify too.

As you say, speed is never an issue.

Partha
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Dhind1 Premium Plus
Images are important in today's world as many people rely on images to keep them entertained.

However, the points you raise regarding large images and page load time are very valid.

I will not wait for websites for more than a few seconds (if that). I will move, or at the very least open another site in a different tab while waiting for this one. This means I may not go back to that site if I find my answer on the other site.

Alex
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smben69 Premium Plus
I enjoy reading your posts Partha, they are quite informative and invariably the truth. What bothers me is the fact that I find things in your posts/answers that I need to know or should know I guess I'll say.

Nothing irritates me quite as much as discovering I need to study further in order to understand something.

In this post, I discovered that I need to understand site speed a whole lot more.

That takes time and patience with me and that's time that I could be spending on writing another article on my website.

I'll just get busy and write your article and get it over with and then put site speed on my reading list.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
Steve
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