The layout of a website can be quite important as it affects the overall user experience people will have. Whether the content is visually pleasing and whether the navigation is easy to use are things you should not ignore when you build a website. The number of pages can also be an important factor.

You may have noticed that one-page websites have become popular lately. They are an alternative to the standard multi-page websites that we are all used to. If you want to build a website, you may wonder which option is better. Should you stick to the classic layout, or should you use the more modern one?

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of either one. This way, you can decide which one will be better for your new website.

Single-page website

The single-page design is clean and simple. The home page is the only page, so all the information will be on it. The only exception may be for special pages like “Terms of Service” or “Privacy Policy”. This layout has become a trend lately.

Advantages

  • Easy navigation. One-page websites are very easy to navigate as everything is in one place. You can add a menu on top of the page for even faster access. The links will lead to anchors on the page, though, so there is no chance for visitors to get lost, as it can often happen on websites that consist of lots of pages. Due to the nature of the site, the menu links can be no more than a few.
Menu items link to anchors on the same page
  • Mobile friendly. It is much easier to make the code of a single page mobile friendly compared to making an entire multi-page website compatible. In addition, all it takes to browse a one-page website is to scroll down, which is very convenient for mobile users. The lack of a real menu makes it easier to navigate on mobile devices.

HINT: If it takes more than a few scrolls to reach the end of your site, make sure that you add a “Back to top” button for better user experience. If you use our Website builder, you can add one if you go to Design -> More Settings.

For WordPress, add a button with a plugin such as “WPFront Scroll Top“ or “To Top” if your theme does not come with a built-in option. Alternatively, you can add the following code to your site (this option works for any other platform as well):

<button onclick="topFunction()" id="myBtn" title="Go to top">Top</button>

You will find lots of examples online, so if you want a fancier button, you can just use some example with CSS code.


Clean layout with visible CTA buttons can increase your sales
  • Better user experience. Single-page websites are very user-friendly and it may he more likely for people to check them out as they can usually scroll to the bottom and have a look at all the content quickly. The lack of multiple pages to go through or a large menu to choose from makes the overall user experience much better.
  • Clean layout. Small or no menu, less content, and optimized images to fit on a single page without taking too much space make the overall layout very clean. This way, visitors can focus on the product/service you offer and on your Call to action button. You should make sure that your content is as concise as possible if you want it to look good.
  • Higher conversion rates. You can increase your conversion rates as your visitors will not be distracted by other content on the site or navigation options that will take them to a different page. Landing pages on multi-page websites are usually designed to resemble a single-page site for a reason.
Find out more about creating the perfect landing page
  • Cheaper and faster to build. It takes much less time and money to create a single page compared to building a website with multiple different pages and different types of content.
  • Easier to update. Maintaining one page is much easier compared to maintaining a large multi-page site. Less content usually requires much less time to update and the chance of something going wrong is lower. If you change your branding (name, logo), for example, you will have to edit only one page.

Disadvantages

  • Navigation. If a page is too long, having only anchors instead of actual menu links to internal pages can be a problem as there will be no menu you can use for faster navigation. Scrolling up and down too much can also be frustrating. A search button is not a necessity, but if people are used to seeing one, not having it can also have a negative impact on their overall user experience.
  • Limited space. A single-page website doesn’t give you much space for content, so you may not be able to add all the text, images or infographics that you want to. While there is no convention on the content length for such a website, the more content you have, the less likely it will be for visitors to scroll all the way down. This is why, the growth of your website will be significantly limited.
  • Limited SEO options. Having less content on the website may have negative impact on your search engine optimization. You will have less keywords, so search engines may decide to skip your website in their results. Even if the site appears in their results, it will be with a single generic URL i.e. your domain name, not a topic-specific URL as it usually happens with multi-page websites.
  • Hard to share or track. If all your content is on a single page, it will be much harder to share a link to specific content or to use analytics software to track the performance of different parts of the site.

Single-page layout is suitable for:

  • Landing pages
  • Some types of portfolio sites
  • Event promotion
  • Product launch
  • Small company sites

Hint

Some website owners add infinite loading on their website. This feature is useful for some types of websites such as galleries, for example. You can use a theme that supports infinite loading, but if the feature is not built-in, you can often add a plugin to the platform you use. For WordPress, for instance, you can use Ajax Load More or Catch Infinite Scroll. If you use Drupal, add the Views Infinite Scroll module. If you are more tech-savvy and/or do not use a content management system, you will find lots of code snippet examples online.

Multi-page website

This is the classic design that most websites still follow. Whether it will be a few pages or a large portal with lots of pages, the idea is the same – there is a home page and (usually) a menu that leads to multiple internal pages.

Advantages

  • Scalability. You can add as many pages as you want, so you will not have to worry about the growth of your website. If you want to offer more products, or to expand the content you already have, you can easily do that. This is important especially for e-commerce websites with more than a few items listed on them. A multi-page website allows you to add fresh content with ease.
  • Better SEO. If you have more pages, you can have much more SEO-specific content. You will have many more keywords and meta tags, and it will be more likely for external websites to add backlinks to your site. It will also be more likely for search engines to list your site in their results due to the higher number of pages on different topics that are a part of the site. For better results, you can also add a blog. A multi-page website is much better for building your SEO strategy.
  • Usability. As multi-page websites offer more space, you can add different sections and forms to make the overall user experience better. Such a website is often easier to use as you will not have to skip or limit any relevant content. Multi-page sites are usually well-organized and people are used to them.
  • Navigation. You will notice we have listed this feature as an advantage of single-page websites as well. The reason is that if done right, navigation on a multi-page website can be really helpful. You can add a custom mega menu with different categories and a search bar, so your visitors can always find what they need with a couple of clicks.
Envelopes.com is an example of a large website with good navigation menu.

Disadvantages

  • Maintenance. Larger websites are harder to maintain compared to single-page ones. Updating content across multiple pages takes more time. If you have various modules or different platforms (one CMS for the main site, another for a blog, for instance), it will take more time to update them and it will be more likely for some issue to come up. Search engines also change their algorithms every now and then, so the more content you have, the more time consuming it will be to meet the new requirements.
  • Less user-friendly on mobile. It is harder to make a multi-page website mobile-friendly, as you will have to go through each individual page. In addition, some pages or larger menus simply do not look good on mobile devices, which makes the overall navigation of the site less user-friendly. Even if you decide to make a mobile version of the site, you will have to spend even more time to maintain both the desktop and the mobile versions.
  • More distracting. If there are more pages and more menu links, people will be more likely to get distracted and to browse different pages on the site, staying less time on each page. If you want to sell a product or a service, such a distraction can result in lower conversion rates.

Multi-page layout is more suitable for:

  • Online stores
  • Blogs
  • Corporate websites
  • Social networks
  • Almost any other type of website

Wrap Up

Whether you will use a single-page website or a multi-page one is a personal choice. There is no rule when you should use either one, and one is not better than the other. Each option is more suitable for certain types of websites. You should weigh the pros and cons of either one and then choose the one that will fit your needs best.

A single-page website allows your visitors to see everything at a glance, including on mobile devices, and it is easy to build and to maintain. It will limit the content you can have on the site, though, thus significantly limiting its growth. Your SEO opportunities and sharing options will be limited as well.

In comparison, a multi-page website will allow you to have lots of SEO content and will be easier to navigate, but it will be more difficult and more expensive to build and to maintain such a website, and it may not look as good on all devices.

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