We recently encountered a website development situation where we chose to use long, scrolling web pages to accomplish our objectives. During production, we learned a few things that we would like to share here.
Long web pages have become more commonplace of late, probably due to the fact that, for savvy web users, scrolling is not only accepted but, in some cases, is preferable to clicking between multiple pages. In relation to website design, the concept of the fold is losing its meaning.
Long pages are particularly suitable when multiple pages of content on a subject are difficult to produce for any reason. In this situation, more traditional approaches to website navigation and page construction fall down. Typical scenarios might be either when you offer very few products (or just one), or your products are aimed at non-technical users who are only interested in what your products do, not how they do it.
Objectives of your long web page
If you've decided that a long page is the right way to go, don’t rush in to producing it as you need to give your content some serious consideration.
Your aim is to get your prospect to read all the way to the bottom, or to contact you before they do - and presenting a long list of features is not going to do it.
Start by writing down every key question that you think a prospect asks themselves about your product when building a short list - what could rule yours in or out? These questions, known as critical success factors (CSFs), are what your prospect needs to see answered when they read about your product.
The objective of your long page should be to answer every CSF questions. List your CSF questions in order of priority and you'll have the basic layout for the bulk of your page.
Make it all very easy to read
Readability and navigation are key concerns that can kill your long web page if done wrong. Visitors have to feel that the page is inviting, easy and rewarding to read - they have to want to keep scrolling. Thus, when designing your page, the content, typography and visuals need to be carefully tuned:
Keep copy succinct with clear headlines and plenty of negative space
Choose images carefully and consistently - make the page visually rich
Use calls to action (buttons or text links) to provide punctuation and to introduce welcome splashes of contrasting colour.
Bear in mind that the best way to answer each CSF question may vary. While carefully crafted copy may be right for one, a pricing table, testimonial or chart might be right for another.
End with a clear call to action
By the time your prospect reaches the end of your long page you really want them to be ready to contact you, so this is the time to ask them. We advocate including calls to action at regular intervals throughout your page so that prospects are never far from one - but the end of the page is the place where you really need to push for a response.
Consider creating a large, clear call to action that is hard to ignore. Better yet, include a short contact form right on the page - this way you save your prospect a click and increase the chances that they will enquire.
Need some inspiration?
While we were developing our long web pages we looked to some great examples for inspiration. Two are worthy of special mention:
KashFlow - www.kashflow.com
KashFlow's home page is a near perfect example of the long web page in action. Here's what we like most about it:
They answer what they consider to be the CSF questions about their product
They have great page layout with plenty of negative space and fantastic illustrations
They combine a variety of content types to make a highly attractive page.
The only thing we think they could have done differently is to make the final call to action a little more prominent.
Mailbox - www.mailboxapp.com
Mailbox's home page is another great example of the long page. It features:
Excellent use of negative space - the page feels light and airy
Extremely clear headings helping to guide the reader around the page
Consistent illustration style that is easy on the eye.
Show us yours...
We hope this helps you when you decide to create long web pages for your project. If it does, we'd love to see the results. Or, if you've seen other excellent examples of long web pages in B2B marketing, we'd love to see those too.