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Bad Long Pages

One of the sins committed by many inexperienced webmasters is the creation of very long pages. I’ve seen this most often on sites created at universities, although it can happen anywhere.

It’s very annoying to run into these amateur sites (although sometimes they look very professional). On one occasion I found a site with a 15 megabyte page! No graphics at all either – just one long, long, long page. I remember surfing to the site (it was a list of jokes) and I just waited and waited. I could see from my internet throughput meter that massive amounts of data was being received so I waited … but it was ridiculous! I’m very glad that I have a 1.7mb connection – otherwise I would hit the top button long before.

Another place that I’ve seen this is when someone simply posts some large text files to the internet. They don’t even bother to convert the file to HTML – just link the text file directly.

Okay, here’s the problems with this practice.

  • The majority of people on the internet use normal 28.8 or slower modem connections. If you have a page which requires over a minute to download on this kind of connection you’ve almost guaranteed that your visitors will go somewhere else.
  • Search engine spiders do not like long documents. Many of them will stop after 100kb or so – it’s anyone’s guess if the spider actually looks at a page that is a megabyte in length.

You have to remember when you are creating a web site that’s it’s a web site. You are not creating a book which goes from front to back – you are creating a web of links from page to page.

The really good webmasters learn how to take supreme advantage of this fact and create web sites that are a dream to navigate. Pages flow from one to the other, with links here and there where appropriate. A good webmaster would never (except under some special conditions) create a huge page of text or graphics – that’s not the way the web works.

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