I dramatically increased my time on site and page views per visitor by deploying infinite scroll on my sites. The results are beyond mind-blowing.

Table of Contents

This article steps you through every aspect of how I did it.

What is the infinite scroll?

Infinite scroll is when visitors can keep scrolling to more posts on your site without clicking any navigation button.

There are two types:

Automatic scroll: Automatic is when the user doesn’t have to click anything for the next post to come into view. It does so automatically as they scroll. This is the type I deployed.

Load more button: The other option is a visitor must click a load more button for the next post to come into view. Note: When I refer to infinite scroll, I’m referring to infinite scroll for your blog posts, not your home, category, or tag pages.

Is infinite scroll good?

The infinite scroll is a hotly debated topic. Most people you talk to and most bloggers you read will say it’s bad for user experience, SEO, and ad revenue. Hence I didn’t bother with it until a couple of months ago.

Here’s the problem. Most bloggers who talk about it do so from the perspective of one type of blog and that’s their blog where they talk about how to blog. They don’t know anything else.

I suspect for “how to blog” types of blogs, infinite scroll is not ideal. Visitors to these types of sites prefer to have control over navigation because they’re looking for very specific information. I enjoy 2.5 page views per visitor which is way higher than other niche sites (without infinite scroll).

What bothered me about the ”common wisdom’¹ out there preaching against infinite scroll is that a lot of big sites I visit daily (news sites for example) have the infinite scroll./t occurred to me that if the infinite scroll is supposedly bad for users, SEO, and ad revenue, why do these huge sites have it?

I’ll tell you why and that’s because they discovered that infinite scroll is indeed good for users, SEO, and/or ad revenue.

Another barrier for me and many others to using infinite scroll was the fact most ad networks don’t work with infinite scroll. However, in January 2020 my biggest niche site was accepted into the AdThrive ad network which does work with infinite scroll. Ironically, AdThrive told me infinite scroll wasn’t good for ad revenue. I decided to go ahead anyway because, despite their view, they do have the tech to display ads on sites with infinite scroll.

SEO

For Niche site 1, my search traffic has grown since deploying infinite scroll but I can’t say with any degree of confidence that it’s because of infinite scroll. I suspect infinite scroll is not the reason, but maybe a bit. Who knows?

What I’m very happy about is my search traffic has not gone down. Some folks preach that infinite scroll is bad for SEO. I’ve found no evidence of that. However, the Bimber theme is set up so that when the next post comes into view, the URL changes. This is important for SEO because it’s telling Google search that it’s another page instead of all 6 posts in infinite scroll being the same page/content (which could result in duplicate content problems).

Ad revenue

Because AdThrive’s ad revenue reporting isn’t all that great there is no way I can determine whether ad revenue improved or worsened as a result of infinite scroll. Moreover, Coronavirus plummeted ad revenue, but on the flip side, traffic grew considerably which grew overall traffic (despite ad rev. per 1,000 visitors dropping considerably). There are way too many factors in play to conclude whether infinite scroll helped or hurt ad revenue. The bottom line is I’m very happy with ad revenue levels. Like SEO, ad revenue didn’t plummet from deploying infinite scroll so given the huge site metric improvements, it’s very much worth it for me.

How to add infinite scroll to your site

You can deploy infinite scroll in one of two ways: a plugin or a theme.

Plugin approach

There are several free plugins that can turn your site into an infinite scroll site. However, some themes will not work with these plugins. That was my issue. I was using MyThemeShop which does not work with infinite scroll. Hence, the plugin option was not for me. Accordingly, I can’t recommend one over the other. If you wish to go the plugin route you may have to try a couple or few.

Themes with infinite scroll

My only option was to change themes. I really wanted to deploy infinite scroll so I spent 3 days researching themes with infinite scroll. I played around with demos endlessly deciphering the nuanced differences.

At the end of the day I settled on Bimber theme (sold at Envato Market) and I’m very, very happy with that choice. Tm still running Bimber theme on the site with infinite scroll.

Other themes that made my shortlist include and are worth checking out:

  • Newspaper theme by Tagdiv
  • Soledad Theme
  • Gridlove
  • Coolist Theme

There are others out there. These were the few I narrowed down for my shortlist.

Caution about all of the above themes: They are all sold on Envato Market Historically, I’m not a fan of buying themes there because the support is not nearly as good as larger theme developers like MyThemeShop, GeneratePress, Elementor, or StudioPress. Bimber support is TERRIBLE. It really is. I’ve submitted a few tickets and they take forever to reply. Moreover, they don’t give out CSS tips or help. I can’t speak firsthand about the support from the other themes, but generally support for themes sold on Envato is lacking compared to MyThemeShop.

Ad Networks that work with infinite scroll

This is the biggest hurdle to deal with is getting your ads to work on a site with an infinite scroll because many ad networks like Ezoic do not work with an infinite scroll. I love Ezoic, but I think it’s a mistake that they don’t set up the platform to work with infinite scroll given the significant benefits infinite scroll can provide SOME sites. Ad networks that I know of that do work with infinite scroll are:

AdThrive

AdThrive will handle it for you. 100,000 monthly page views per month minimum required. Must apply.

Mediavine

I contacted them and this is what they said: “We should be able to work with infinite scroll just fine for in-content ads. You are welcome to apply and we can review everything!”. Note that I have never used Mediavine, but have heard good things. 25,000 monthly sessions minimum required. Must apply.

Monumetric

As far as I know, no minimum traffic requirement As for working with infinite scroll, yes they can but it takes a bit of configuring on their end.

Ezoic

Ezoic tells me their ads will work on infinite scroll but only the first page that you land on. Users that scroll into the next post will not have ads displayed. However, if users click on another page that refreshes, the ads will display.

There are very likely others out there, and if you use a different ad network, ask them.

What types of sites/niches is infinite scroll good for?

That’s impossible for me to say but I can’t help but think infinite scroll can be good for many sites (despite what many other folks tell you). All I can say is to test it out If you get visitors contacting you telling you they hate it, then remove it

Likewise, if your time on site, page views per visitor, and/or search traffic drops, remove it.

If your ad revenue plummets, consider dropping it IMO, if your site metrics and search traffic improve, those improvements may be worth a drop in revenue.

In my experience, I did not suffer any revenue drop but enjoyed much-improved site metrics (time on site and page views per visitor). I have not had one visitor complain about the infinite scroll.

Set-Up Tips

One big argument against infinite scroll is that visitors can’t reach the footer to access links to the About, Privacy, and Contact pages. I agree that’s an issue, but it’s easily resolved by putting links to those pages in your main navigation menu or

Archive pages

My home, category, and tag pages have loaded more buttons which means visitors can quickly access the footer on those pages.

Cap the number of URLs in the infinite scroll

My theme (Bimber) offers the ability to cap the number of URLs that will show up in an infinite scroll. I set the cap at 6 posts which means at the end of 6 posts, visitors reach the footer.

Return to the top arrow

I have a return to top arrow in the bottom right so visitors can quickly return to the top of the site.

By making your navigation menu sticky, users remain in control of where they go on your site. Bimber theme and most other themes offer the option to make your main navigation menu sticky. Moreover, it’s helpful to add a home button in the sticky navigation so visitors can navigate there if they wish.

By category

Bimber theme (and I suspect others) offers the option to restrict the next posts that scroll in to be in the same category. This is a hugely important feature because the subsequent posts will be related to what your visitor is reading and more likely to continue scrolling.

URL Changes

This is the SEO consideration. You want your infinite scroll set up so that as each new post comes into view, the URL changes in the browser to those new posts’ URL. This tells Google search that it’s a new article instead of all articles in infinite scroll being the same article. Here’s a good article explaining the SEO angle of setting up the infinite scroll.

Should you deploy infinite scroll?

That’s up to you. I can only share my data. Please note that you may NOT enjoy the same benefits I have. The good thing is it can quickly be turned off if it’s not for you.

Am I putting infinite scroll on my other sites?

My other sites don’t have as much traffic so I’m not sure the net benefit is worth the effort, but my long-term plan is to have every site run with infinite scroll.

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