It’s okay to scroll on a website

computer mouse illustration

Sometimes clients ask me:

“Is the page too long? How can we reduce the scroll?

And here’s my answer:

Stop worrying that your page is too long. If you’re designing the website strategically, and speaking clearly to the right audience, a “long” page with relevant information can be exactly what your visitors are looking for!

The point of your website

The idea of your website is to clearly share who you are, what you do, and why it matters, so that your ideal clients will self-qualify themselves and take the next step. People need information in order to do this. 

Upon landing on your website, we hope your visitor will have an immediate idea that they’re in the right place (based on what’s at the top of the page)—but most people need to know MORE. 

How much content is necessary?

I’m not saying we bog them down with anything unnecessary, but content is still king. Hopefully you’ve worked with a great copywriter to shape your brand voice and hone your message. In this case, you know exactly what you need to say. 

In the design process, we then share this content in the most beautiful, brand-authentic, engaging way possible. And this is not always possible “above the fold.” It takes as long as it takes.

Website users know how to scroll

Nielsen Group, the industry standard on web research on user behavior, says that people will scroll if they have a reason to. 

Visitors decide to stay on your site based on:

  • how promising / relevant the page is for their needs (which they should immediately know based on what’s on top of the page)
  • how hard it is to access the information

These days, scrolling comes almost as naturally as breathing. Think about it. How many people are scrolling through Instagram and Facebook for hours each day? Scroll, scroll, scroll. Piece of cake.

People make decisions differently

It takes people different amounts of time and information to make a decision. Those who want more info can scroll. Those who are ready for the next step can take it. Providing more information doesn’t mean they have to read it. It’s there for the people who want it! Your calls to action will be easily accessible so they can take the next step whenever they’re ready.

What to do “above the fold”

You speak loud and clear about what they need, and how you can help them. Then, you provide other powerful content that will inform them, draw them in, and help them feel comfortable taking the next step. If they are a viable prospect, they will be hungry for relevant information.

Some caveats about scrolling

  • What about infinite scrolling? When it comes to the concept of infinite scrolling, or a one-page website, this is not necessarily what you want. There is definitely a time for breaking up content into multiple pages. Simply keep related things together; it can be a long scrolling page if it’s all related.
  • Blogs and scrolling. When it comes to blogs, don’t have infinite scrolling, either. Paginating posts (showing 5-10 posts per page) is good for SEO and it’s also helpful so people don’t lose their place and then have to scroll for days in order to find the post they were looking at.
  • Hiding content? You might not want to make everything on each page scrollable. There are some instances when you can hide content until it’s ready to be viewed. For example, maybe the full bios don’t show until you click.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to make visitors scroll for relevant content. 

Don’t just shorten the page and eliminate content, or make more pages, because you’re afraid people won’t scroll. They will if they want to!  If you work with a good web designer and copywriter, they will help you find the most effective way to engage your audience online, so you don’t have to worry.

Want a web partner who is obsessed with user experience? Let’s talk.

About Jill Anderson

Hi, I’m Jill, a WordPress web designer/developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. I’m passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative WordPress websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences.

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