So you’re considering going with a single page design for your website. Like most things this design approach can have it’s limitations but done well and for the right purpose it can be great!
The trick lies in knowing when to make this design choice. Understanding when it makes sense to use one page and when you need more space to work with will save you time and can help you create a more engaging website.
A single page site can be very useful for certain types of content. Landing pages, single product offerings, storytelling and portfolios for entrepreneurs are perfectly suited for this type of layout and it’s not uncommon to see them laid out this way. On the other hand a one page design would not be suited for an online store or membership site.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantage of this type of layout and when you should consider it.
One of the most obvious advantages of a single page design is maintenance. It’s easy to design and update going forward because you only have one page to deal with.
Making a responsive version of the site is pretty easy. It’s just one page and can stay the same and be perfectly suited for mobile devices.
Simple to Navigate and Use
Single page sites help to keep your audience in one comfortable web space. With only one page it will be simple to navigate and the limited space makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for. For a visitor to “get lost” it would be pretty difficult because there is only one page to scroll through.
Controlling Order of Content
If order and uniformity is important when displaying your message or content then this might be the best way to go. Visitors will always land on your website the same way each time. You can arrange the information in a way that the visitors discover them in the exact order you wish them to because they have to scroll through the page from top to bottom to find what they need. Along this scrolling journey they will have to likely pass through all the sections of content that you place on the page. Single page sites immerse the user in a simple linear experience and there is a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Big Header Elements Command Attention
Although this is not exclusive to one page designs bold header elements are even more noticable when used in this type of layout. Headings help to pull visitors in and capture their attention. With this it’s easier for you to keep the focus on content sections.
Possible Higher Conversions
Since there’s less information to sort through, chances are your visitors will pay more attention to your content. Some will argue that this can translate to higher engagement and possibly more conversions. This means sales and more revenue for you.
One page sites are not “the norm” on the web because most sites do require multiple pages so this makes them unique. They have become more popular over the years but for the most part they are still a unique web design layout choice.
The biggest obstacle is trying to stuff too much information on one page. Single page websites can’t hold everything all the time. You will have to do an analysis of all the information you want on your website and decide if it can all fit together on one page or not.
Everything Becomes One
Because all your content is on one page everything is packaged as one under the same URL. This can make sharing specific pieces of content that you want to highlight difficult.
Piggybacking off of a previous point here. Since there will only be one URL your analytics reports might not be as thorough. It won’t be able to tell you much about the specific types of content visitors are seeking because there isn’t a specific page URL to link their searching to. You could have a hard time finding out what is attracting visitors to your site because everything is identified as one under the same URL.
Limits on Growing Content
As your content categories grow (e.g. blogs, services, products) the harder it will be to keep all your content on one page.
With a lot of content and images on one page it is possible that your page can start to load slower and maybe even start to lag when scrolling. This means all content, especially images will have to be optimized. You might be limited to the type of content you can include and have to leave out some videos or interactive elements that carry a large file size.
This type of layout requires visitors to scroll...a lot. It could become annoying for some people who are used to multi page websites with small bits of information where they don’t have to scroll too much. If your site requires an absurd amount of scrolling people can get annoyed and leave.
Ultimately the design approach you choose to take when building your website is up to you. Grab a pen and paper and write out exactly what you want to include on your website before you start working on a design. Map out a rough sketch of your site and outline the types of elements you’ll need and their location. When you do this you’ll easily be able to figure out if staying single with a one-page design is the best approach for you.
For some one page design inspiration visit One Page Love. I promise you will like what you see.
Now let’s dance! Whoop whoop shake it shake it!