One-page websites are on the rise, and might be just what you’re looking for when considering multiple types of website builders.
The one-page website has a long history, but in the last few years has really come of age. What was once the cost-effective microsite or budget holding page has now become a de-facto work of art, as well as a powerful marketing weapon.
Brands of all shapes and sizes have created stunning single page sites over the last few months, from GQ & Issey Miyake Expedition by Creature Lab and National Geographic’s Bears of Yellowstone, to BeoBank’s Extra World Mastercard site, or perhaps crypto-startup BitLocation. The messages may vary, the visuals may differ, but the power of the one page shines through.
So what are the benefits?
Simply put, the one-page site comes into its own as soon as you have a distilled, single purpose in mind for the user. That could be a single action, like buying a product, or registering for a service, but also to deliver a single bite of information. A launch countdown timer, for example – there’s no extraneous information required or needed.
The content that is placed front and center in this strategy commands attention and thus maximizes the chances of the highest conversion rate possible. You can control the flow of information, basically because you are requiring visitors to browse through information in a linear fashion, instead of exploring around the site, navigating via traditional page furniture like breadcrumbs, menus, etc. Stripping out all these design cues leads to an uncluttered look and feel, but also means the design needs to work harder—there’s literally nowhere to hide!
This also allows you the rare gift of narrative—you’re taking your reader on a journey, often the strategy behind a branded site anyway, but in this case a strategy that is enforced. Horizontal background changes can visibly divide and serve to delineate the information, enabling visitors to make easy, logical transitions between one topic to the next while scrolling through the content.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, they’re a brilliant format for mobile and tablet sites, enabling a nice linear scrolling engagement, rather than forcing users to hunt around the edges for hidden navigational artifacts.
Wait, are there disadvantages?
Oh yes, there are indeed. Most obviously in the use case—if you have a complex, multiple-messaged site to deliver, sticking it all on one page may not be effective. In fact, most of the major disadvantages to the one-page trend are similarly practical.
Load times are of course a significant issue, as the temptation to create an image-heavy infinite scroll page is considerable, and all those pics really stack up.
Another important consideration is SEO—while being good for mobile from a UX point of view, the one-page site has to work very hard to reduce page load times to keep mobile users happy – a key SEO metric. In addition, the variety of key terms a single page can rank for is restricted, as opposed to a traditional site, where each page can be optimized to target the most relevant and desirable keywords.
If you are used to using Google Analytics or similar tools to track engagement you might be in for a disappointment, as with a one page site you’ll have a much harder time pinpointing user journeys through your site. Working out which elements are working—and which aren’t—is a different skill in the world of the single page.
There are heat mapping-style tools that can help however, and of course a range of other solutions to track shares or views of specific items, such as key images or a video, for example. If social engagement is a key metric (and it should be these days), then it’s worth considering that one page sites can make sharing specific content difficult, so plan what is shareable, and how, before building it to make sure your KPIs are met.
Overall, there are a lot of positives around one-page sites, which explains their popularity, especially when the use case is a good fit—there are also a host of simple templates online to get an initial idea, so go test and enjoy!