The long-form page

Over the past year or so, I've been noticing some outstanding examples of what I've come to call a “long-form page”. It's a content type unique to the web, and the best definition I can give it is:

A long, elaborate treatment of a dedicated subject with a lot of art direction to carry it well.

Characteristics

By comparing different examples, I've identified a list of properties displayed by most long-form pages. A long-form page:

Most of all, it's a piece of content you'd enjoy away from the screen, slowly and with full immersion (hence print stylesheets for such pages are a great idea!)

Examples

Some great examples spanning a variety of topics — they provided the material for the list of characteristics above:

Movement

Programming

“Programming with Nothing” by Tom Stuart. Minimal art direction, just code sections supporting the narrative. Simple & effective.

Typography

SEO

“How I Would Fix Grantland’s SEO: An In-Depth Audit” by Web Gnomes. A mammoth case study documenting how SEO really should be done.

UX

The last one can be categorized as part design, part psychology, part behavioural economics. Not strictly a long-form page but a series of short summaries that expand into in-depth pages. Brilliant:

Cognitive Lode: Brain Gems for Decision Makers, by the brains at Ribot.

I feel that these examples really push the envelope as to what we regard “a web page”, by blending a high level of conceptual thinking, art direction, and educational value.

As an SEO tactic

…long–form pages are excellent, because they have all the ingredients users value: they are authoritative, helpful, and remarkable in more than one way. This makes users bookmark, engage, and share, which in turn sends signals to search engines about their high value.

I encourage you to experiment with this genre; it's a great option for the treatment of your core topics.