Single-page websites are becoming extremely popular in recent years because they are unique and responsive. On the other hand, multi-page websites are dubbed as the “traditional” and most commonly used type of website amongst businesses.
Now, there is no right or wrong to this. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of websites.
Before deciding on one to adopt, why not read on further to see which is more suitable for your business?
What is a Single-page Website?
A single-page website is where all a website’s content is arranged in blocks on one page. To browse the content of the website, all one has to do is continue scrolling.
Essentially, it looks exactly like a multi-page website. You wouldn’t know until you click on the menu item in the header. Instead of bringing you to a new page, it brings you to a section on the same page using anchor points.
Single-page websites aim to reduce any unnecessary information, leveraging on its continuous scrolling experience to drive users to the final call-to-action.
As such, they are extremely popular amongst people who are planning to build their personal portfolio. Businesses that offer a single service, and do not require multiple pages for content also love single-page websites.
Not sure whether a single-page website is the best option for you? Read on further to find out their advantages and disadvantages!
Advantages of a Single-page Website
#1: They are mobile-friendly
One of the main advantages of having a single-page website is that the design is more mobile-friendly as compared to a multi-page website.
With the increasing number of mobile users, many businesses are striving to ensure their websites are mobile responsive so visitors can browse through the content on their website with ease.
I have previously shared an article on the importance of a responsive web design. If you’re interested to find out more, do check it out!
All users have to do is scroll to read the content on the website. They do not have to click on any links, and wait to be directed to another page with more content. This is what makes a single-page website appealing as the whole user experience is continuous and fluid.
To add on, one-page websites are also easier to adapt to mobile responsive designs.
#2: They are excellent in converting leads
What is the use of a website if it does not help you turn potential leads into buying customers?
Am I right?
Well, single-page websites are excellent in doing so!
They allow you to arrange your content in a continuous and fluid manner (almost like story-telling) that eventually builds up to a call-to-action at the end. The CTA could be to purchase a product or service or to sign up for a newsletter.
With all your content in a single page, users do not have to jump from page to page to learn more about your business. This eliminates any distractions that may stray them away from the very action you wish for them to take after reading your content!
#3: Single-page websites are easy to update & maintain
Besides being mobile friendly and excellent in converting leads, single-page websites are also much easier to update and maintain!
As humans, we cannot deny that we don’t love things that save us time and effort…
And with single-page websites, all of the content is on one page. Any updates or maintenance to be done, are only required on that particular page! As compared to a 10-page website where the effort and time needed is 10 times more, the former is far easier to maintain in the long run.
Disadvantages of a Single-page Website
#1: Users have to scroll a lot
Depending on the amount of content you are planning to have on your website, users may have to scroll a lot just to browse through your content. This could be a problem if they find it troublesome, and eventually leave the site.
To counter this, you may want to make your menu bar sticky so that it is always visible to users. This way, users have the option to jump to “particular block” on the page e.g. services you offer, if they wish to.
Additionally, having a “back to top” button will be useful, so users do not have to scroll so much just to get back to the top of the page!
#2: They may take a longer time to load
Remember, a single-page website has all its content on one page. If you are planning to include many large media files like images and/or videos, it may increase the loading time.
A long loading time is one of the factors leading to higher bounce rates. Consequently, it affects your website’s search engine optimisation.
To minimize these negative side effects, you could use an image compression tool to shorten the loading time. I personally use ShortPixel to compress the images on my website.
As for video files, it is definitely better to host them on an external platform instead of uploading them directly to your website.
#3: Scalability is an issue
Single-page websites may not be the best if you are planning to grow your business and/or expand your content in the future because of its limitations to scale.
If you are planning to run an e-commerce site that may potentially grow to have more products in the next few years, then a single-page website is not feasible.
Recall what we discussed in points #1 (users may have to scroll a lot) and #3 (longer loading time). A growing e-commerce site will result in users having to scroll a lot just to browse through the different products.
On top of that, more products = more images and/or videos than before, leading to a longer loading time.
You can argue that with image compression tools and “back to top” buttons, it may reduce the negative side effects. But it defeats the purpose of having a single-page website in the first place!
#4: Sharing of content might be a problem
Sharing of content on social media platforms is becoming a norm. I for one, love sharing interesting content I’ve read on various websites to my social media platforms.
But the thing with single-page websites is that you only have one URL. As a result, whenever you or other readers want to share specific content on your website to social media platforms, only that one URL is shared.
This means that social media users will not be able to read the intended content that you wanted them to.
What is a Multi-page Website?
I’m sure many of you would know exactly what a multi-page website is. It is commonly used by many businesses around the world. My website is an example of what a multi-page website is!
They are built for exploration, and contain many different pages and or sub-pages of content. To navigate through the site, you have to click on the links in the menu bar to be directed to the rest of the pages.
Multi-page websites hold a lot more content than one-page websites, and are best suited for e-commerce businesses as well as others offering a wide variety of services.
Having separate pages to tell visitors about your business, the different services and/or products you provide, and the different prices, offers a much better user experience than having all content squeezed into a single page.
However, just like single-page websites, multi-page websites come with their benefits and drawbacks. Continue reading to if you want to find out more!
Advantages of a Multi-page Website
#1: They are excellent for Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is important in helping your website rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). As mentioned earlier, multi-page websites have many pages, allowing you to potentially rank different keywords for each page.
This increases the chances of your website appearing at the top of SERPs when customers search for a service or product you provide. Of course, keyword ranking is just one of the many strategies.
To really improve your search rankings, you would either have to learn the ropes of SEO yourself or outsource to an SEO specialist with a great deal of experience.
Firdaus Syazwani is an SEO specialist in Singapore who prides on his methodologies in running SEO campaigns that can achieve the results you want in a safe and proper way!
#2: People are familiar with multi-page websites
As mentioned earlier, multi-page websites have been a common sight for the longest time ever. 9 out of 10 websites I visit are multi-page websites.
And this is definitely one of the greatest advantage as people instinctively know where to look for the menu bar, links, contact form etc. It is ingrained in our minds such that we naturally know how to navigate through different pages once we’re on one!
#3: They allow for scalability
With multi-page websites, you don’t have to worry about not having enough space for more content in the future. So long as you plan your web design for scalability beforehand, multi-page websites allow you to add as many sections, products and categories without disturbing the original layout and design.
This is especially useful for e-commerce sites with a growing number of brands, products and/or categories. If you are planning to venture into selling multiple products online, then you know which type of website to go for!
#4: Content sharing is easy & helps build brand awareness
Unlike one-page websites, multi-page websites allow sharing of specific content to social media platforms.
Perhaps you want to share a new article titled “Single-page Websites vs Multi-page Websites: Which Should I Go For” to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Your followers will be able to view this particular article because the URL is unique to the page itself.
It would look something like this:
Likewise, other visitors who find the content on your website interesting and useful may share it to their own social platforms. All these sharing of content in return, helps to build brand awareness for your business!
Disadvantages of a Multi-page Website
#1: They are harder to update & maintain
Having many pages and sub-pages is a blessing but could also be a curse to some, for it requires a lot more time to update and maintain the content.
Therefore, if you are concerned about the time costs needed for regular maintenance of a multi-page website, you should take this point into consideration.
Though I personally believe that content outweighs time and costs needed to update and maintain a multi-page website.
For instance, if you are a photography agency providing different services and price packages, you should not sacrifice the content and design just to cut down on the costs of updates and maintenance.
My best advice is to go back and look at your content again before making a decision!
#2: Visitors may get distracted
Since visitors are given the option to explore different pages on your website, chances are they may get distracted and end up not performing a particular action e.g. make a purchase.
Conclusion: Single-page Website or Multi-page Website?
There is no one way to determine which is better for you. Taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of websites discussed above, I believe your business goals and content should be the main factors in helping you make your decision.
If you offer a single product or service, and want to drive customers to buy it, then a single-page website is probably the best for you. On the other hand, if you have different categories of products you wish to sell, then a multi-page website is the way to go.
I hope this article has been helpful in your decision to create either a single-page or multi-page website!
If you need help getting started with your web design, feel free to drop me a message and we can discuss further!