You may have heard this term before — it’s been an underground buzzword for quite some time now. But if you haven’t heard of it, no worries! We will fill you in on all the details, and why parallax is the current trend most web developers are participating in.
Parallax scrolling is a specific type of web layout that enhances a user experience through the art of storytelling — essentially, simply scrolling down or across a website brings new, relevant information to the user in a storyboard-like way.
For some great examples of websites with wonderful uses of this design, check out the 20 winners of the 2013 Awwwards. Go ahead, we’ll wait as you peruse through the gorgeous layouts.
Okay, now that you know what parallax looks like, let’s understand the types of websites that would benefit from such a layout. Not all companies need parallax scrolling, even though it’s trendy and looks neat.
It looks like it is all one page. Is that right?
Parallax scrolling really took off because of its ability to make one-page sexy. The idea of putting all of your important information into what’s seemingly one large sell-sheet looks like a nice idea. Your visitor can simply scroll right through.
If you take a good look at most sites with parallax, you’ll notice there are content boxes to separate information, sort of like pages in a book, except it’s all laid out nicely on one plane. This keeps the visitor focused on certain information one at a time. You can employ certain design techniques to help with highlighting certain information that you definitely don’t want a visitor to miss.
So, besides it looking nice, why else would I want this?
As we mentioned before, parallax is exceptionally great at giving you the ability to tell a story. Not only that, an uninterrupted story. A visitor will generally continue to scroll down to see more of what you have to say. With traditional layouts, you would break up certain information and the visitor had the freedom to go wherever they wanted to go.
With parallax, you control the flow of information.
The types of companies who would benefit most from this are those who have services or products that need explaining. Whether it’s an innovative product or a service that people don’t know that they need yet, you’re able to send your prospect quickly down a stream of information that you control.
Of course, that’s not to say that any other company wouldn’t benefit. If you’ve got a story to tell and you feel it would help, then you should try this out. Nonprofits, life coaches, interior design — no matter who you are, you can find benefit in this layout.
Okay, but back to this one-page thing. Isn’t that not good for SEO?
There’s a general consensus that says the more (quality) pages a domain has to offer, the more visibility (in theory) the website has, and the more content (sort of) that’s available for search engines to crawl.
Also, now that you’ve (supposedly) stuffed most of your important keywords into one page, you could be dinged for what SEO experts call “keyword stuffing,” which is generally frowned upon by Google.
And, here’s another kicker: all those graphics, the coding necessary for the scrolling effects and the content on that one page (could) kill your load time. And a site’s load time is another SEO factor (basically, if your page loads fast, it’s a good thing in Google’s eyes.)
Now, if you’ve managed to get through those past paragraphs and read the print between the ()s, then you’ll know that we’re about to give you some work-arounds for these issues.
Before you give me all the details, I need to know, how much will this cost me?
Ah yes, the money question.
Let’s first answer this question: What’s the value in upgrading existing technology to the newest, trendiest and generally more efficient (we’ll get to that in a moment) version? When you look at your phone and computer, you’d probably say it’s invaluable.
That’s the thing about parallax — while it is the new trend, there aren’t that many sites employing this design. So you have the chance to really stand out above the competition and become the mover-and-shaker instead of the late adopter.
Now, on to the heart of the original question.
Since it is rarer than traditional web designs, you’re not going to see many WordPress templates with it, nor many design houses willing to offer it. The graphics and photos needed for parallax needs to be high-quality, because elements that used to be dwarfed in traditional layouts, are now front and center in the middle of your screen.
Gorgeous photos, compelling typography — all of that is needed to make your storytelling come to life. It will also cost you a pretty penny.
(Again, upgrade to the newest technology, right?)
But, here’s some hope. Development-wise, while again it’s not yet common, deploying this kind of scrolling actually isn’t all that hard. After all, it is just one page and a one-column scroll. There are plenty of available resources your web developer can tap into and quickly learn the coding behind parallax.
Then, you, as the storyteller, can draft a storyboard for your developer. Phones these days have great lenses for capturing amazing photos, and many stockphoto sites are upping their ante on photos and vector graphics. Put together your storyboard, from the text to the design elements you want to use, and spell it out, frame by frame, for your developer. He or she will thank you later.
And of course, now you have to take into consideration the framework of the site as it affects SEO.
Great. Now that I know what to expect in pricing, give me the SEO details to help guide my site redesign
As we noted before, much of your content can lie in the flow of the parallax scroll. Create an amazing storyboard, and you’ve got yourself a good chunk of your website done.
Key Tip: With a savvy Word Press developer, you can make a parallax site look like it is all one page, but for SEO purposes, actually break it up into separate pages. This can give you a real leg up on enjoying the advantages of a multi-page site for SEO advantages with the glitter and glitz of a gorgeous one page website.
Keep in mind, too, that because you have parallax scrolling on your main page, does not mean that you can’t have additional pages. And those additional pages don’t have to have parallax scrolling.
Certain tools are available for your site to help the visitor move quickly up or down the parallax, and there are also tools that may display a navigation bar permanently displayed at the bottom or top of the page, no matter how the user scrolls. In that, you can place links to your social accounts or other pages.
Your other pages can be your blog, additional contact info, product FAQs, whatever you want to add that probably didn’t fit in the initial storyboard.
And that idea about needing multiple pages? Keyword stuffing? Don’t worry about that. What you need to worry about, as search engines are becoming more sophisticated, is having important, relevant, engaging content!
Does that mean SEO is dead?
The rules of SEO may have changed, but it doesn’t mean it’s dead — far from it. Search engines like Google are coming to learn that the most important part of search is finding relevant content that fits that user’s needs, from websites that are clean, easy to navigate, and have shown that their content is engaging.
Think about it — a person looking for a local dentist doesn’t care if your website has all the right SEO tactics in place. They just want a website that’s easy to navigate, relevant to what they are looking for, and has content that they can read, share and understand.
This is why they say content is king. Your SEO expert should well-versed in this, and will be able to clear up any confusion you may have in this process.
Alright. I’m convinced, and I want to do this. Where do I start?
To borrow from big pharma commercials, talk to your web developer to see if parallax is right for you.
You may find that with some elbow grease and some inspiration, you and your team can tackle the redesign.
However, if you do need extra help from people who understand all the nuances of parallax design (and know much much more than just about parallax), reach out to our team. Get a free phone consultation, and we can help you determine whether this redesign is a good fit for what you’re looking to do.
Still not sure if parallax is necessary right now? While you’re thinking about it, check out our article on the 3 quick and easy things you can do right now to awesome-ize your current website.