The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
STOP THE PAGINATION NOW
There is a problem that many websites seem to be getting away with. Google and other search engine authorities are doing nothing about it, either. It is also causing a huge problem on Facebook and is probably considered one of the greatest time killers, beyond Facebook itself. Websites are doing it to acquire page views from visitors, so that advertisers will be more interested, and as a way to make a few more pennies or dollars than they normally would. This unfortunate web feature is called pagination.
Pagination breaks up articles into several pages rather than display it on a single page. Many visitors to websites hate pagination, just like myself, but there are still popular websites that refuse to do away with pagination, and actually claim that it is more beneficial to their readers, as it breaks up the monotonous feeling of reading constant text in a book. While this is might be a good excuse, it really is not. Having to click next a dozen times in order to see a few photos or continue with the article is more work than it is worth to even remain on the website. Not to sound lazy or anything, but extra clicking is just annoying. The less I have to click, the better.
Recognizing and understanding some of this annoyance, some websites do offer the option to switch from reading a multi-page article to a single page article. While this helps greatly, these websites will usually often put the link to view it as a single page at the bottom of the article, which means you still have to read and get through the first page. Offering the option to view the article as a single page, however, is a great way to keep visitors interested in the website and not turning away simply because they hate pagination. Some websites will put pagination into a single article view when you go to print, though it is not always the case.
Seriously, if I wanted to read a book and flip pages, I would open up a book, but I am on the Internet to read a full-fledged article. An article that should not be bombarded with so many ads or “Continue Reading” links that I am just tired and bored of being on the site. Sure, I want to see your content, but I feel like with pagination, you are trying to make it harder for me to discover. I am mainly a skimmer. I visit at least a hundred or more websites a week, reading articles. I probably read an average of 10-20 articles on the Internet everyday. I read more pages on the Internet than I do books every year.
As a skimmer, I usually read headlines, sub headlines, and paragraphs with the most interesting sub headlines. I know that I would probably be shunned by my college professors for this, but time is precious and I would never be able to read every single article that I open up, but I do mostly grasp most of the main points of the article. I take my own lessons of skimming and on every article of this website exists a great feature called Quick Glimpse. I have even written a confession on the importance of summarizing your article.
Only when search engine influencers like Google decide to penalize websites that use pagination and no longer index any other pages, other than the first page, will these websites that use pagination finally stop the practice. Visitors can also take a stand against pagination by simply leaving the page as soon as possible. As much as you might be bored and looking for something to do, clicking next a half dozen times should certainly not be on your list. If it is, you might need to find something better to do with your time. Clicking away from the page, however, will send a clear message to the website operator that visitors are not staying, and may force them to rethink their website design practices.
I will no longer visit websites with pagination and leave immediately, no matter how bad, or enticing the article may seem. The process of going through websites with pagination is way too time-consuming. The average reader spends about 4 seconds to even become interested in the article. After that, they are gone. Why should pagination be any different? If you are sitting there loading pages, it is obviously taking way more than 4 seconds, and visitors should technically be gone, according to what research states about how long a visitors stays on a website.
If you are on Facebook, often times, someone will save you the trouble of a click, and actually put the spoiler alert in their comment, warning people not to click the link. These people are angels who do this and sometimes I even do it. While we are already online wasting time or passing the time by visiting our Facebook pages, it does not mean we want to click through a half dozen to a dozen pages in a single article. If a website is going to do pagination, two or three pages is plenty. After that, it is just annoying and it is likely that unless it is a really interesting article, no one actually makes it to the last page.
By keeping pagination, the risk is the loss of visitors and even potential visitors. It is likely that websites with pagination have very high bounce rates and unless they are getting millions of visitors, and have an ad system that is counted by the impressions, they are probably not making enough to even keep the website running. More visitors are likely to stay longer with a single page view anyway. If your website has pagination or you are considering adding pagination to your website, please think twice about it. It really is not worth it. Getting visitors to read one page is hard enough. Getting them to read multi-pages is much harder. Focus on delivering a quality article on a single page and everything else will follow.
PLEASE STOP THE MULTI-PAGE ARTICLES.
PLEASE STOP ANNOYING YOUR VISITORS!
PLEASE STOP THE PAGINATION.