Web design trends come and go, but one that seems to be sticking around is websites that consist of only one page. Popular with companies that offer a single product or service, like apps or consulting services, these super streamlined sites aren’t for every business.
Whether a single-page website is right for your business depends largely on how much content you have. Is it too much for one page? If so, then you might want to consider a different layout. Beyond content, however, are several pros and cons you should consider before you jump on the one-page design bandwagon.
Pros of One-Page Design
Simplicity: It doesn’t get much easier than offering a visitor everything they need on one page. There’s no learning curve for navigation—everyone knows how to scroll, and the rise of mobile has made scrolling second nature to most users.
Mobile-friendly: Single-page websites are easy to adapt to mobile because their design will remain largely the same. Most one-page templates are responsive, and usually look as great on smartphones and tablets as they do on a desktop computer.
Higher conversion rates: Whatever your conversion metrics are—newsletter sign-ups, sales, subscriptions—single-page websites get the job done. With every step of the conversion funnel on one page, customers begin the process sooner and move through it more quickly.
Easy to maintain: It’s one page. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Cons of One-Page Design
Scalability: If you decide you want to start creating more content, whether it’s occasional articles or a full-fledged blog, you won’t be able to do it with a single-page website. You’ll have to do a complete redesign so you can implement website navigation elements and style sub-pages.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engines like content, and single-page websites don’t have that much of it. Also, having all of your content on one page makes it more difficult to hit all of the keywords that might be helpful for search traffic. You might be ranked highly for the main keywords for your business, but you’ll likely be missing several sub-topics and phrases that could be addressed with more robust content offerings. Learn more about how to make your web design SEO friendly.
Social Sharing: It’s easy to share a single-page website on social networks. What’s more difficult is sharing specific content on that page, because all of that content is housed under one url. Implementing share buttons in individual content sections on a one-page site can be done, but it may require workarounds that may not be worth the effort.
Meaningful Analytics: It’s much harder to analyze the performance of a one-page website than a multi-page one. With a multi-page website, you can look at page views and conversions to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. With a single-page site, if a visitor arrives and immediately leaves, there’s no way to figure out why and reduce your bounce rate. And it’s hard to refine strategy when you don’t know where you’re failing your users.
The Best of Both World: The Hybrid Approach
Let’s say you love the look of single-page websites, but think you have too much content to make one work for you and your business. Think about utilizing a one-page template for your homepage and moving your conversion funnel there. Then, create separate pages for your FAQ, blog and company information. You can use sections of the homepage to drive traffic to those other pages. Here are some great examples of the hybrid approach:
- Vimeo: The long homepage mimics the one-page design approach, but the featured videos all play on separate pages. A footer at the bottom offers links to more pages.
- Uber: Site navigation is tucked away in a hamburger menu so that the site can visually resemble a single-page template.
- Airbnb: Infinite scrolling—where new content populates as you scroll down—is a common feature on one-page websites. Airbnb utilizes it on their homepage, along with links to content on other pages.
Most websites need a redesign every so often, to accommodate not just design trends, but emerging technology and user needs as well. It can be difficult to figure out if new website layouts are merely fads or lasting changes in how we consume content.
At the end of the day, making drastic design changes comes down to answering this question: What does my website need to have in order for me to be successful? For some people, it’s one page. For others, it’s 50. For most of us, it’s somewhere in the middle.