Long scrolling websites have been trending for the last couple years. If you’re not familiar with the term, a long scrolling website design is basically a one page site that uses scrolling as opposed to clicking to view all the site’s information (Here is an example: foodisforeating.org/). Even though they’ve been around for a while, they are still pretty rare and it’s probably for good reason. The type of site that benefits from a long scrolling design is highly dependent on a user that is looking to peruse, without a particular goal in mind. Long scrolling websites tell a story and they pretty much force the user to read your story. They also present issues related to SEO and website data tracking.
Another problem with long scrolling design is with SEO. Basic SEO teaches you that you get one title tag and that it’s best to use just one h1 tag. Within those tags is your keyword and the content of the page is all about that keyword. Because a long scrolling design is one page, you’re putting your entire websites content on one page. For people who have multiple services described on their website, this is a problem because the more topics you discuss on one page the less likely you are to show up in search results for any one of those. As SEO expert, Bob Dumouchel says, “The more things you’re about, the less you’re about any of those things.” The h1 and title tags drive the topic of your page content and adding any information different than that detracts from your page relevancy, therefore lowering your position in the search results. This is fine for large, well-known companies who don’t depend on search results to get business. But for lesser known businesses, long scrolling is not the best option.
Website Data Tracking
Another area that leads to problems is with accurate data tracking. The traditional method of tracking clicks is made irrelevant by long scrolling because there is nowhere else to click to. You also can’t tell which information is causing your users to leave or convert. There are however, some other options for tracking like analyzing scroll depth. Scroll depth monitors how many people scroll through to a percentage length of your site, like if they scroll 25%, of the way down or get all the way through. There are also heat mapping solutions (like Crazy Egg) that track where people are looking most on the page. Using these metrics from the other tools will likely require more inferring than the traditional click-through.
Unless you’re a well-known company that doesn’t depend on search results or you have a really interesting story to tell and present it in an engaging way, then long scrolling is not a good design option for your website.