Single page design v multi-page websites

Years ago, thinking about the format of your website would have been a straightforward choice - the tried and tested multi-page site. Things have moved on very quickly since then, the internet grew, social media, mobile devices became hugely popular and people wanted access to and consume information in a much quicker and convenient way.

The decision between single page and multi-page websites can be problematic - straight-forward, quick and responsive single-page websites make up some of the more accepted web trends to date. In contrast, multi-page websites, structured by conventional navigation and design systems are well-known and trusted by companies and end users.

So what is the right fit for you - multi-page or single?

It’s a nice problem to have. It gives you an opportunity to reflect on the content of your website, which will in turn determine the navigation and flow. It poses the question; is your content concise and easy to digest or is there a lot, which needs to be carefully placed in places users will naturally navigate to? A content-first approach to in choosing the right platform, you’ve a much better chance of choosing the right design system for your next website.

The single page site

A single or one page website is simply that, a webpage that has no additional pages such as about, services, meet the team or contact. A single-page site will fully load the content, giving a more fluid user experiences - navigation is still present but will allow the user to jump to different places on the page, or use a continuous scroll to reach different sections of content.

The main purpose of a single-page site is to provide the optimal amount of information in order for a user to fulfil the purpose of visiting the website; usually to make a decision, a purchase or another goal driven outcome. This is the reason why we see a lot of one-page designs which are used as landing pages - typically for selling a particular service or onboarding, portfolios and event-based sites. The minimal approach separates the more important information and calls to action from the noisy interference, focussing the user on the purpose of the visit.

The pros

#1 A linear flow: A story can be told, with a clearly-defined beginning, middle and end.

#2 One user action and higher conversion rates: Some experts have argued that single-page sites have higher conversion rates, compared with conventional websites as the user is there for one reason and one reason only. In some cases a single-page site lead to 37.5% rise in signups compared to the original multiple-page version.

#3 Quality over quantity: The designer can focus on one high quality page rather than having to create multiple templates. With much less content it can be organised much easier, an uncomplicated and clear approach combined with a great story really does guide users through the journey towards the end goal of the site. It is certainly a more focussed approach.

#4 Cost effective: Creating much less content is obviously going to cost less - single-pages sites require less maintenance and amends.

The cons

#1 Poor SEO (Search engine optimisation): Not great when it comes to SEO. In fact, they could hinder chances when it comes to the SERP (search engine results page) which could lead to a decrease in user engagement which would result in less conversions. These sites are built around one or two keywords that describe the nature of the business, service, event etc - for example, if you’re targeting “Plumber Jersey”, it’s doubtful you would appear in searches for, “Boiler repair Jersey”.

#2 Scale: Are you planning on expanding your product range or services? Single-page sites tend not to lend themselves for scale. Before choosing the single-page option you need to think about how your business will grow, it could just be a short term solution.

#3 lack of up to date content: Google likes new content, it’s an indicator that the site is up to date and relevant - without it, the page could be seen as outdated and flagged that the content is no longer appropriate.

#4 Only one URL: A single-page site has only one entry point, compared with multi-page sites that offer a magnitude of ways in through multiple pages and keywords. The advantage of this is that your site will build up a reasonable page/ domain authority but will only give one search result and one link to share on social.

Making your choice

We now know that single-page sites can be a dynamic way to engage users and ultimately convert them into leads. On the flip-side, this depends on the type of business and the purpose of the website. Ordinarily, one-page design is best suited for single-action sites, app downloads, one off purchases, etc. There is no real rule of thumb, we just need to remember to put our content first.

The question is: do the cons outweigh the pros?

If the business has a limited focus, with a specific goal - with concise and succinct content then a single-page website may well work best for you.

Alternatively, if you’re involved in e-commerce or offer multiple services you will need a multi-page site that can grow as you do.

Come in and see us, we can work through your goals and objectives, what you want to accomplish through your website and work out what is the best option for you and your customers.

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