We have all, at some point in our lives, been reading something and thought to ourselves: "Can we please finish this up now?" Or the best example is sitting in your chair watching a page load while the scroll bar shrinks to a thin sliver. You look at your watch and sigh ...
How Long is Too Long?
That depends on the interest level of your reader. The more interested your viewer is in your topic, the more time they are going to devote to reading about it. The better you write, the longer you can write and not hurt your audience's attention span.
*Bring up the sound of scary music in the background.* The killer words "excessive scrolling" (*scream*) but if you have a lot to say how do you present it?
First, be sure that the environment is not hard on the eyes. If, after working on your website for a couple of hours, you have a headache, well, you can assume so will your reader.
Second, break up the paragraphs into bite sized pieces and add plenty of section headers to help your reader keep their place. Watch your font size and all the other things that go along with creating a webpage that is pleasant to read.
Third, use this rule: Scroll to the bottom of the page. Rest your hand firmly against the desk and stroke the mouse (without lifting your hand) as if to rise to the top of the page being presented. If you can reach the top, its not excessive. The rule of thumb is three to four screens.
Create Multiple Pages
If your page is longer than three to four screens, make a second page or a third. Quite possibly you can take what you wrote and break it into sections which allow your reader to absorb one page before clicking to go to the next.
The advantage to this is that they can stop when they get tired or interrupted. There is always method to the madness of webpage writers, and you my friend, are just starting to see some of the tricks that make pages effective.