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The Pros and Cons of One-Page Websites

Are you looking for a new website theme and wondering if you should choose a one-page design?

Maybe you’ve seen a classy one-page site and you’d like to have that same ease and elegance on your own website.

Whatever your reasons for looking into a compact design, building any website requires careful planning.

Before you buy a theme or hire a website designer, take the following points into consideration.

The Pros and Cons of One-Page Websites

Pro: One-page websites are highly mobile-friendly

Today, it’s impossible to run a business without having a website and your site needs to be mobile-friendly. Even if you only sell products in a physical store, you still need a web presence to capture mobile users looking for your services.

mobile website experience

According to statistics published by Tech Jury, more than 80% of people use a mobile device to access the internet. That’s a large number of people using smartphones and tablets to get online. Another interesting statistic is that 83% of mobile users expect websites to be flawless. That’s a high standard, although it’s not hard to meet.

Today’s website platforms and themes are responsive and smooth, and reputable theme developers know they have to build mobile-friendly designs, or nobody will buy their themes. Ever since Google launched mobile-first indexing for search results, there’s no way around creating a website that is one-hundred percent mobile-friendly.

Con: Blogs don’t do well as a one-page element

You’ve probably seen blogs that utilize endless/infinite scrolling. At first glance, this looks like a perfectly acceptable way to create a one-page website for your blog. However, infinite scrolling causes slow load times. Unfortunately, the more content you add to your blog, the longer it will take to load.

For desktop users, infinite scrolling creates a misleading representation of how much of the page is left to scroll through. This isn’t necessarily a huge deal, but it will frustrate many users, especially users who rely on website accessibility.

Pro: You control how visitors see your content

When a visitor lands on your website from search results, you can’t control where they’ll go from there. They might click around on your site in a random order, even when it’s ideal for them to click on certain links before others.

When your website is just a single page, you get to present information to your visitors exactly as you’d like them to see that content. You won’t need to hope they read your instructions regarding which links to click on. They’ll get the information exactly as you wish.

Con: Visitors need to scroll, and scroll…

Let’s face it, scrolling can get annoying. On mobile devices, it’s just sliding up the screen, but having to scroll and scroll and scroll can quickly become annoying and cumbersome.

It won’t take long for users to start asking themselves how much longer they’ll need to scroll to get to the end of the content. By then, their attention will be diverted from your website, and they might bounce.

Pro: With images, your content will be easy to digest

If a one-page website turns out to be correct for your content, adding images will make your content easy to digest. Although too many images on a single-page website can backfire if they’re generic, too large, or irrelevant to the content.

The key to making images work is to be intentional when you choose the images, compress your images with an image optimizer, and don’t use large images unnecessarily. Unless you’re a photographer or graphic artist, your images should complement your content, not be the main attraction.

Con: One-page websites load slowly

visitors abandon slow websites

One of the biggest problems with one-page websites is they load slowly when there’s plenty of content. Granted, if you only have a small amount of content, you can get around this issue. However, most people have enough content to slow down their site.

User experience is the biggest reason speed matters. If your website loads slowly, visitors will bounce. You can decrease your bounce rate by increasing your load time.

In terms of search engine optimization, speed is a priority. Page speed has been a ranking factor since 2010, but it’s even more important than ever. Page speed contributes to determining whether a site is mobile-friendly. If your site is slow, it won’t rank well.

There are several solutions to this problem. First, you can load page elements asynchronously, like JavaScript, which means the elements won’t all load line-by-line, in order. This is beneficial because when elements load in order, a user won’t be able to access elements further down on the page until the first elements have completely loaded.

So, while you can make a one-page website load faster, it won’t necessarily load at the ideal speed. Although, if you don’t need a ton of content, you might be okay.

Pro: You can lead visitors on a specific journey

If you’re trying to sell a product or service, having a one-page website can help you bring visitors through a specific journey. When your website is a single page, you control what visitors see and in what order. This is something you don’t have control over when your site is full of links to separate pages.

When a user lands on a one-page site, they’ll need to scroll to continue accessing the information. This allows you to use advanced marketing and sales techniques to capture their attention and guide them through your sales funnel.

Con: It’s hard to share a variety of topics

Do you need to share a variety of topics on your website? If so, one-page isn’t likely a good idea. For example, say you want to discuss five topics on your site. On a normal website, you’d create one page for each topic and link them all through your main menu. On a traditional layout, having five separate links would be considered minimal. However, five topics will be overwhelming on a one-page site.

When a visitor lands on your site, they’ll need to scroll to consume your information. If you present them with all five topics, one after the other, they might bounce. Not all visitors will be interested in all of your topics, unless they’re somehow connected, and you can tell a sequential story as people scroll.

Pro: Simplicity will support certain marketing strategies

The simplicity of a one-page website will support certain marketing strategies, including PPC ads. For example, if you build a one-page website that exists solely as a sales page, you can link your site in your PPC ads as a landing page. Normally, you wouldn’t want to link your homepage in a PPC ad campaign, but when your entire site is one page, it can work.

Although your site can be an ideal landing page for paid ads, you’ll need to craft it intentionally using the same strategies you’d use for a traditional landing page on a larger website. For example, you’ll need to present the important information above the fold and craft a specific flow of information to guide visitors through the sales process.

If you’re going to use your one-page website for a landing page, it must be created with the same marketing principles you’d apply to any other landing page.

Con: Analytics become a little difficult to decipher

It’s hard to figure out what parts of your website visitors prefer most when you only have one URL. Normally, your analytics reports will tell you which pages are visited most frequently, and you’ll be able to tell which pages are ranking better in the search engines.

Having a single page means not knowing which elements, if any, are capturing – or deterring – interest.

Pro: One-page sites are great for authors

One-page websites can be great for certain professions, like authors. If you’re looking for a theme to sell your books, a one-page site can be beneficial to you. For instance, you can capture emails at the top of your site, present your book above the fold, and offer the opportunity to preview your upcoming book(s) as people scroll.

As a site reserved for selling your book and capturing email addresses, a one-page template can be the perfect solution. However, as stated earlier, it won’t be a good choice if you want to add a blog to your site.

Con: One-page sites aren’t great for SEO

The importance of strong SEO cannot be emphasized enough. However, infinite scrolling is terrible for SEO and can cause problems with how your site is indexed in Google.

If you want your website to rank in the search engines, it first needs to be indexed in Google. Googlebot is the bot that visits websites and indexes the content it finds. However, there’s one thing Googlebot doesn’t do: scroll.

When you have a one-page website, especially one that loads content as people scroll (infinite scroll/lazy loading), Googlebot won’t be able to access much of your content. It will only crawl, and therefore index, content that is immediately visible.

This is another reason blog don’t work as one-page websites. With infinite scrolling, each blog entry will either have no URL or will have an anchor appended to the end of your URL, for example:

https://www.yoursite.com#blog-entry-title

Although some of your content will be indexed, all of your articles need to have individual URLs to be fully indexed in the search engines.

There are some technical workarounds to maintain infinite scrolling and support SEO at the same time, but it’s probably not worth doing if you have to think about it in the first place.

If you’re trying to devise ways to maintain infinite scrolling, you’re probably better off ditching it for traditional navigation.

Do you need a website? Not sure if you should build a one-page site?

Are you weighing the pros and cons of building a one-page website? If you’re not sure you should, we can help. Contact our development team today and we’ll help you figure out what type of website is best for you.

Whether you need a one-page site, ten pages, or thousands of pages, we can do it all. We can meet all of your needs whether you need a complete custom theme or you’d like to customize an existing theme. Either way, we’ll get your website up and running quickly. Connect with us today – we’d love to work with you!

Ryan Nead
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