The ClickTale Blog has some valuable insight regarding page length and visitor interaction.
According to ClickTale, total page length is not a strong factor in terms of how many people will scroll below the fold or reach the bottom of page.
This makes me wonder whether the same groups of people make it to the bottom of the page, regardless of where their web surfing takes them. This appears to relate to how different personality types interact with the web. Each type prefers to navigate in their own way, and particular groups, like Methodicals and Humanistics, are more deliberate in their information gathering and decision-making. These types make it to the bottom of the page far more often than their Spontaneous and Competitive cohorts, who demand instant relevance or they’re gone.
As the ClickTale article suggests, people are scanning and skimming a page’s content regardless of its size. Web developers should back away from trying to squeeze content toward the top of a page in order to supposedly make it easy to scan. Using proper amounts of white space, headers and sub-headers, along with bolded text and bullet points increases a page’s scannability for all personality types.
But keep in mind, shorter pages did perform slightly better. “Almost identical percentages of page views (15%-20%) reach the page bottom regardless of page height.” While the data was fairly similar regardless of the page length, shorter pages were closer to the 20% range.*
When it comes to critical elements, like calls to action, you don’t want 5% of visitors not seeing it. Pages have more power when they stick to one main idea per page. And remember, copy should be long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to be interesting. A site will generally get better search rankings by having highly relevant links from page-to-page. So, there are advantages to leaning toward shorter pages, but don’t sacrifice clear page design and layout to squeeze a few pixels off of a page’s length.
Bottom line: If you have good, well-formated web copy, they will scroll.
[*Note to Direct Marketers: Your ridiculously long, heavy-handed sales pages might be overkill.]