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A blog about branding, marketing, and design, mostly through the lens of practical psychology, intended to be a resource to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Unless otherwise noted, all articles are written by Nyla Smith, owner of n-Vision Designs. {Subscribe to the RSS feed here: RSS}

The Power of One-Page Websites

Nyla Smith | Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We have all seen one-page websites in our Internet travels, but are they a trend worth latching on to?

One Love

One-page websites (also known as single-page websites) have been around for a few years and are growing in popularity. They’re super easy to use because, rather than taking you to a different page altogether, navigation at the top will scroll you to a section further down on the same page.

For those who may not know what I’m talking about, google the phrase “single-page websites,” or simply visit One Page Love, a site that showcases one-page website designs.

Please keep in mind that when I refer to a one-page website, I do not mean the long-form sales page. That would be classified as a landing page, as opposed to a one-page website that represents your business.

Now that we have our definitions set, let’s take a look at what makes one-page websites an enticing option…or not.

First, the Good

There are several good reasons for launching a one-page website into the world, as opposed to a multi-page website. Pros include:

  • Speed. You’re only building a single page instead of an entire website, so it will be quicker to launch. There are a plethora of templates that can get you up and running quickly.
  • Simplicity. One-page websites are easy for users to navigate because all they have to do is scroll. One-page websites are meant to be straight to the point, with short pieces of content as opposed to an entire dissertation.
  • Higher conversion rates. Because of the simplicity, there usually isn’t that much for a user to do on a one-page site. So, if your entire website consists of a single call to action on a single page, you will have more leads in your funnel, which could mean more browsers converting into customers, since they aren’t distracted by anything else.
  • Mobile-friendliness. Most one-page websites are mobile-friendly right out of the box due in part to their simplicity, pared-down content, and row-based layout.

Now, the Bad

While there are several good reasons for adopting the one-and-done mentality with your website, there are drawbacks. Cons include:

  • Terrible for SEO. To be found in search engines, you need content, lots of good, high-quality content. It also helps to have internal links to other pages on your site. In short, you want a large footprint, and a one-page website is a tiny one. Plus, with a one-page website, you’re missing the opportunity to optimize for many different keywords, which is what you normally would do with individual pages.
  • Limiting. Sometimes limiting is good because it forces you to simplify. However, if you have a lot of content to offer visitors, or perhaps something that requires a bit of explanation or persuasion, a one-page website may force you to limit yourself too much, and ultimately harm instead of help.

What’s Right for My Site?

A one-page website could benefit you if:

  • You have a singular, simple focus with a call to action applicable for most, if not all, visitors to your site. If you have multiple markets with a different message or path for each one, a single page won’t work.
  • You are promoting an event. One-page websites are great for this application, as you typically can include all relevant info, plus a way to register/buy tickets all on one page.
  • You want a résumé or portfolio site. Another great application, and good for storytelling, narratives, or strong visuals.

You should steer clear of a one-page website if:

  • You are established, or want to be. If you have plans for growth, you’ll need a multi-page website. Otherwise, there will come a point where you’ll be trying to cram too much on one page.
  • If your product or service is pricey. When you’re selling things with a higher price tag, you generally need more copy to convince people to buy.
  • You have a lot of content. News sites come to mind, but even if you’re not the New York Times, any content-heavy site will need room to breathe.

If you are still on the fence, consider this:

You can use a one-page concept for the home page, but also have a full website behind it. This hybrid approach offers the best of both worlds.

Parting Advice

Don’t jump on the one-page website bandwagon just because it’s a trend and you want to follow the crowd. If you need an easy-peasy site for your book launch or a local group’s annual fundraising extravaganza, a one-page site will suit you just fine. However, if you run a business with many years ahead of it, don’t try to turn what should be a multi-page website into a one-page website just to save money.

By the same token, if getting found online is at all important to you, don’t opt for a one-page site. Yes, there are best practices to optimize a one-page site for SEO, but it will never compare to having an optimized multi-page site. Ever.

These few points aside, a one-page website can be great, particularly for smaller websites or one-off events. When used appropriately, one-page websites are a trend with staying power.

Nyla Smith is a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Front-End Web Developer and Consultant with over 13 years of experience. She is the owner of n-Vision Designs, LLC in Hampton, Virginia, which exists to provide marketing support and brand consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses needing creative solutions. Contact Nyla if you'd like to discuss your next creative project. She can usually be bribed to a meeting with a cup of green tea and an oatmeal cookie.
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