We rearranged some pages today, which got me thinking of this. We have several categories of products on our ecommerce website, and a few of these categories have up to several hundred items each, and these categories are broken up into several different pages (think a "Widgets: Blue Widgets: page 1" sort of hierarchy).
Now, recently, we've been designing pages so that we have more items on each page, thus cutting down on the number of pages (since there's a significant number of visitors that don't go on to page 2, page 3, page 4, etc.)
Then again, when you're looking at 50 product thumbnails per page, it can take quite a while to download the entire page, so it's entirely likely that more visitors see more pages overall, but perhaps not all the items on each page.
Is this the best way to do it? Is there a happy medium between number of pages and number of items on each page?