The Pros and Cons of Infinite Scrolling

Creating the best possible content strategy for your company is coming up with the perfect way to display that content. Many companies focus on what the content says and how it looks on the page, and while this should definitely be your first step, how your content is displayed on your website is also important. You want to make sure people can access your content easily, and once they find your blog or hub or whatever you’re using, they need to be able to navigate to specific articles as well.

Lately, more and more companies are installing infinite scrolling to their blogs to help improve their presentation and accessibility. However, infinite scrolling isn’t the ideal path to take for all businesses. You have to ask yourself a few questions: Is infinite scrolling something that will benefit me, or is it just the latest trend?

How Infinite Scrolling for Your Content Works

The best examples of infinite scrolling are Facebook and Pinterest. You notice that when you visit these websites, you can just keep scrolling down and down and the content is always loaded immediately. You never have to hit “next page” to read more—it’s never ending. More and more company blogs are also beginning to use this trick, CopyPress included. Even Google Images uses infinite scroll for better engagement from viewers.

The Pros and Cons of Infinite Scrolling for Your Content

As discussed above, there are pros and cons to infinite scrolling, and whether or not this method works for you depends on the goals of your website (which we’ll talk about later). Consider some of the good and the bad:

The Pros

  • Great for mobile touch screens. It’s much easier to scroll through a page on a mobile phone than it is to click on a link to move to another page.
  • Keeps your attention, especially for photo-driven sites. As you might have noticed, most websites that put a focus on images use infinite scroll. It helps users stay focused and not get distracted by having to click a link. In other words, it capitalizes on a viewer’s constant need to be entertained while reading (or looking) at things online.
  • Piggybacking on the last point, you’ll get better exposure regardless of the type of content you are offering.
  • You can manage large amounts of data easier with infinite scrolling.
  • Real time information benefits greatly from infinite scrolling. If your website has real-time information coming through, infinite scrolling helps keep everything updated (one of the biggest reasons it’s so popular with social media sites).

The Cons

  • It can be overwhelming for viewers to have to always scroll down to find what they want. Having no sense of a stopping point can be distracting and exhausting, which is a big reason Google hasn’t employed infinite scroll on its search engine.
  • Infinite scroll makes having a footer very difficult. Oftentimes companies will have important links in their footers and customers know exactly where to go. With infinite search, you either won’t have this option or consumers will have to quickly scroll down and try to “catch” the footer.
  • It makes it hard for your viewers to skip any information. They have no idea how many pages are on your site and there is no skip option, so it’s essentially impossible to jump around, which can be considered a navigation issue.

Deciding if Infinite Scrolling for Your Content is Right for You

In general, e-commerce websites don’t do well with infinite scrolling because it asks users to find certain pages in order to find a result. These types of websites rely heavily on users being able to navigate around the page and find what they want as opposed to mindless scrolling for entertainment.

If your website offers nothing but content and/or images, infinite scrolling might work. Typically with these types of websites everything is of equal importance, and the visitors coming to these sites just want to read about a certain topic and discover new topics. In other words, they aren’t looking for anything specific.

Whatever you decide, however, it’s important to also always be thinking about SEO. We talked with Adam Heitzman, managing partner of SEO Company HigherVisibility, who explained that infinite scroll poses a few concerns when it comes to the Google bots. He says, “You always want to make sure you are building your infinite scroll on top of paginated pages, such as your archive pages, so that the Google bots can still crawl your site. Google does not crawl most of JavaScript, which is a mistake we’ve seen many clients make when trying to use this approach. Without a little bit of work on the backend you could be in for some big SEO trouble.”

If you do decide that infinite scrolling is something that would work well for your website, you can download the Infinite-Scroll plugin from WordPress or visit this page from Google that explains how to get started and get it installed.

Have you used infinite scroll on your website? What are your thoughts about infinite scroll as an Internet user? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below.


This post originally appeared on CopyPress, and is re-published with permission.
Featured Image: Ditty_about_Summer via Shutterstock