My website is mostly a collection of things I've written, ranging from short to long; the very shortest are a large screenful and the very longest are the length of a short book. Most of the longer ones are broken into pages.

One Alertbox column said basically that pagination was very common practice, but it's better to have all of one logical page located on that one single page.

Basically I wanted to get a usability and other purposes suggestion on whether I should depaginate works so that they are one single page, and redirect the other pages to the combined page. If it's a judgment call, what are the pro's and con's?

1 Answer 1


You want to balance how long it takes to load the first page so that users can easily get started with the hassle of having users interrupt their reading to load the next page.

From my experience with SEO, you want your first page to load in under 3 seconds. Longer than that and users start clicking back out of your website and looking for another site (which causes your Google rankings to fall).

The HTTP archive tracks average web page size. The current average total page size (including images) is 1311 KB.

I downloaded a small book: Earnest Hemmingway's Old Man and the Sea. I saved it to a text file. It has 26,582 words. Uncompressed it is 133KB. Compressed with gzip (as you might have your website configured to serve it) it is 45KB.

Even a small book is going to negligible compared to size of most web pages (including images). Including the full text of a small book is about equivalent to adding a single new picture onto the page. If putting the full text of a small book on one page pushes your site over 3 seconds to load, it would be better to remove images from the page than to paginate.

For content the size of a small book, you should put it all in one page and not paginate.

  • 1
    Separate pages are easier for (non-technical) users to bookmark. If you include a "small book" on one page you'll need to provide plenty of internal anchors/ids for users to easily bookmark - but this will be harder for some users to manage.
    – MrWhite
    Mar 15, 2013 at 10:16
  • "which causes your Google rankings to fall": it would be caused by the long loading time itself, but not by the user's visit duration, right? (anyway, Google would know this visit duration only for sites that host Google scripts like Analytics)
    – unor
    Mar 16, 2013 at 20:56
  • I haven't seen any evidence that Google looks at user duration as a ranking signal. They do look at how many people use the back button from your site and look at other sites in the SERPs. Mar 17, 2013 at 0:19
  • 1
    Related to this, you can put the entire text on a single page, and then use Javascript to paginate it, e.g. jQuery pagination. Search engines and users both win! More info can be found on Stack Overflow or Google. Apr 14, 2013 at 19:24

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