Written by: 19 Digital | 5 Minute Read
More South African organisations, businesses and start-ups are opting for one-page websites. So, why all the fuss? We at 19 Digital have taken the time to look into some of the pros and cons of a one-page website design here and try to shed some light on the topic.
We will begin with the good news, the positives, the pros regarding one-page website design.
The attention span and patience of internet users is becoming shorter and shorter. We don’t want to have to find our way through a maze of complex website pages to find the information or products we need. In fact, an average web user will stay on a web page for just 15 seconds, so the sooner you can get your message across the better.
One page websites, are often, aesthetically designed and condense all the most important information onto one page. Allowing you retain the interest of your visitors or potential clients and take them on a journey. Of course, simply cramming everything onto one page won’t benefit user engagement if it’s not designed well.
One-page websites are usually designed and structured well — this gives you control over the order in which the user/visitor consumes and interacts with the information (often times) better than on a multi-page site.
Making use of a single page, you can direct website visitors flow along that conversion path. Being able to direct visitors through the information on your site in a predetermined order is one of the major perks of having a one page website.
The design and development of one-page websites are inevitably much quicker and tends to be cheaper than the traditional multi-page sites (which usually are around 5 pages), but it also gives the web designers the chance to make sure that the design of that page is on-point with user experience in-mind. The website designer can focus on delivering a consistent and immersive user experience, helping to boost engagement and hopefully conversion rates too. Less is more!
The drive towards responsive mobile friendly website design has eased navigating websites on a mobile devices significantly, but sometimes it can still be less than ideal on a smartphone with a small screen.
With a growing number of people (Fun Fact: 60% of South Africans) accessing the Internet from their mobile phones, web designers have to think with the visitor in mind. One page sites offer an easy experience for users; all they have to do is simply scroll through a site without clicking around on a small screen to find the information they need. All most all of today’s users are used to scrolling due to social media platforms (like Facebook & Instagram) are utilizing the same principle.
One page sites are not the norm which automatically gives them a unique flare. Don’t get me wrong, well-designed multi-page websites are amazing as well, but if a designer only has to focus on creating one page, they get creative and fast. The layout of a one-page website allows for the designer to maximise the use of colour and imagery, when used creatively can keep a user engaged.
One key advantage of having a straightforward and easy navigation system is that there is usually only one action to be taken by the user. This study shows that a single page can lead to increased conversions (>37.5%) than multi-page sites because users begin the process sooner and move through it more quickly, with nowhere to get lost or distracted by another offer. With a narrow focus and well designed one page website you are able to guide users along your conversion chain and this is definitely a key part of the pros.
Unfortunately, now we will look into the disadvantages of having a one-page website design.
In my opinion this is one of the key cons or disadvantages of one-page website. They are not big on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In fact, a one-page website could hurt your chances of ranking with Google and result in decreased conversions and user engagement. Offering around 3 keywords to be targeted on a one-page website, any more could come across as being spammy.
With so little content, target keywords often get neglected and you only have a single title tag, meta description and URL to make use of. Moreover, siloing (the practice of structuring your website by main areas of interest to demonstrate authority in those areas) is unfortunately, not achievable on a one-page website.
Blogging is one of the most effective methods of driving traffic to your website by giving you the chance to rank for more niche searches. We realize that handling a blog on a single page site could be rather challenging. If having a blog is going to be a main component of your site then a one-page website may not be the right layout for you.
With too much information on a one-page website that would otherwise be spread across many pages is on just one — custom designs, animations, videos and graphics etc. — it could become pretty large. The more content and data a browser has to download from the server, the longer it takes load and Google confirmed in 2010 that site speed was a ranking signal, and this could be another speed bump for single-page websites.
Depending on your industry or trade, some businesses or organisations need a lot of content to explain their offerings and if this is the case for you then a single-page website might not be suitable. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information all at once.
It is also tricky and difficult to share your content (particularly individual content, sections and posts) on social channels etc, because all of the content on a variety of topics exists on one page with the same URL it’s hard for visitors to share specific content from your site. Everyone will always land on your website the same way on the same page.
Google Analytics is used by the digital industry to track goals that you set up on your website, while it can also show how users navigate your website, which pages they exit on and which are proving most popular. With a one-page website many of the insights will not be available to you. If you’ve got a high bounce rate or low session duration, how do you know which element of your web page is causing the problem?
A one-page website isn’t the ideal candidate for a growing brand, business or company, as its ability to scale is limited. As we’ve already highlighted how, one-page websites tend to have a narrow focus and are therefore are not suitable for websites that require large, complex, and/or varied use of content.
We hope that the above post has been able to shed some light on the topic of a one-pager website. Yes, there are some downsides to one-page websites, but the positives shouldn’t be ignored for start-ups or smaller enterprises.
A one-page website design is perfect if you’ve got narrow focus or you’re encouraging users to perform a specific task/goals. It’s also ideal for mobile-first design. On the other hand, multi-page design allows you to widen your reach potential, sticking to traditional systems and allows for you to optimize your SEO.