It is no secret that you need a strong online presence in 2020 to help your brand succeed. The question is, what kind of website best suits your business's needs? Do you need to consider simple, single-page websites or more in-depth multi-page sites? This is your guide to the advantages and disadvantages of each option and how you know which one is right for you.
What is a Single-Page Website?
A single-page website is one that only contains one HTML page. It does not feature separate 'About' or 'Contact' pages, for example. However, this type of website design can still contain navigation links. When users click on different links, they do not take them to a different page but rather a different section of the same page. Since single-page sites tend to be in a scrolling format, they can be quite lengthy. The ability to automatically skip to certain sections of the site makes navigation much easier.
What is a Multi-Page Website?
A multi-page website contains multiple HTML pages. Each page has a unique URL and therefore can be linked to separately from blog posts or anywhere else, for that matter. These websites are typically run by large companies that sell many products and have a lot of content. They tend to have a broad audience base as well.
What are the Advantages of Single-Page Websites?
You may think more is always better when it comes to website design. However, this is not always true. There are times when a single-page website is advantageous.
Single-page advantage no. 1: Intuitive experience
Single-page websites offer a logical flow of progression throughout the page, with an easy-to-distinguish beginning, middle and end. This makes for an intuitive experience with users.
Single-page advantage no. 2: Great for mobile users
The basis for navigating a single-page website is scrolling through the page instead of clicking links. This is appealing to mobile users who would rather scroll down a page with their thumb to get to the information they seek than to click on different links and wait for the pages to load.
Single-page advantage no. 3: Simplicity
There is something to be said for simplicity. Single-page sites must be disciplined and concise in order to get the point across to visitors. Users appreciate the simplicity and the ability to find everything they are looking for on one page. This is better than users getting lost in the depths of a website and failing to take the desired action on the website.
Single-page advantage no. 4: Fewer distractions
Single-page websites offer fewer distractions for users. Typically, there is only one action that can be taken and single page websites tend to convert visitors to consumers at a higher rate than multi-page sites.
Single-page advantage no. 5: Great for responsive websites
Designing a responsive site is crucial to making sure mobile users with all different size devices can easily view and navigate your website. Single-page websites are great responsive designs and easier to adapt to a range of mobile device sizes.
Disadvantages of Single-Page Websites
Single-page websites offer plenty of advantages, but as with everything, there are disadvantages to choosing this type of website design.
Single-page disadvantage no. 1: More is not always better
You must be aware of how much content you are placing on the site. You cannot cram endless amounts of content and still expect the site to be effective. In fact, stuffing too much information onto a single-page website will make for a confusing user experience and slow load times.
Single-page disadvantage no. 2: Not as SEO friendly
Single-page websites tend to not do as well as multi-page websites on search engines. The ability to optimize for search engine optimization (SEO) is limited since search engines love copious amounts of content. They do not have as many pages for search engines to crawl and recognize as relevant. This is not to say that you can't rank well for SEO, but it is much more of a challenge.
You must remember; each page of a website can only be optimized for one keyword phrase or concept. Therefore, a single-page website severely limits your ability to rank beyond one keyword phrase or subject matter.
Single-page disadvantage no. 3: Limited ability to scale
Single-page websites have a limited ability to grow and scale. If you cram too much onto a single website page, it not only confuses readers, but it also increases the time it takes to load the website which will deter visitors if the load time is too slow. Think long-term about where your business will be down the road to determine if your brand will outgrow a single-page website in the near future.
Single-page disadvantage no. 4: Inability to share on social media
Single-page websites do not give you the ability to share specific pieces of content. This can hurt your ability to reach your target audience. However, you can create the option for users to share the entire site.
Advantages of a Multi-page Website
Unlike single-page websites, multi-page websites offer a higher degree of complexity. There are distinct advantages to a multi-page website.
Multi-page advantage no. 1: Unlimited growth and scalability
The sky is the limit to how much your brand can grow and scale when utilizing a multi-page website. With an unlimited number of pages, sections, and links at your disposal to create, opportunities are unlimited.
Multi-page advantage no. 2: Familiarity
Multi-page websites have been around for quite some time. This means users are familiar with the concept. Visitors to your site intuitively understand navigation bars and how to successfully navigate through the different pages.
Multi-page advantage no. 3: Powerful for SEO
Multi-page websites are what search engines crave. SEO thrives on high-quality content and multi-page websites give brands the ability to create, publish, and promote the best content filled with money making keywords and useful links. SEO is what it takes to get your website high on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Multi-page advantage no. 4: The power of social media
Social media platforms are powerful influencers, and the ability to promote your brand on social media is crucial to the growth of your business. Multi-page websites allow visitors to share specific pieces of content, promoting your brand and growing your audience.
Disadvantages of Multi-page Websites
Multi-page websites are incredibly powerful for large brands and even small businesses and brands who intend on growing and scaling in the future. However, there are certain drawbacks that you should be aware of.
Multi-page disadvantage no. 1: Requires more time to maintain
Multi-page websites are much larger than single-page websites and have many components. This means the time it takes to manage, update, and optimize each page will require significantly more time than a single-page design.
Multi-page disadvantage no. 2: Beware of bounce rates
Websites that have a great deal of content can be distracting and slow to load. Each of these may cause visitors to leave after visiting only one page, resulting in a high bounce rate. It is important to make sure your website has an intuitive architecture giving incentives for users to visit different pages of your website.
Multi-page disadvantage no. 3: More difficult to adapt to mobile devices
Using a mobile-first approach when designing websites is important. This means your website will adapt to mobile devices first and desktop devices second. It is much more complicated to adapt a multi-page website to mobile devices than it is a single-page website because of the number of components involved.
Snapshot: Single-Page Websites Versus Multi-Page Websites
Single-page websites are great for smaller businesses and brands that are focused on a single product or service. They offer:
• Easy adaptability for mobile devices;
• Easy-to-navigate content; and
• Fewer distractions, which leads to higher conversion rates.
Multi-page websites are ideal for businesses and brands that offer multiple products and services, are looking to grow and scale, and have a diverse audience. They offer:
• Familiarity to users;
• Ability to grow and scale;
• Ability to optimize for SEO; and
• Unlimited amounts of content.
Which One is Right for You?
There is not a right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether you should go with a single-page website layout or a multi-page. The decision is dependent on your business's needs and future goals.
Whether you choose a simple, single-page design for your website or a multi-page layout, LocalBizGuru is here to help you make sure you have a stunning, professional, and optimized website to take your business to the next level. Contact us today for more information and to schedule your free initial consultation.
Nachum Langsner is the Co-Founder & CMO of LocalBizGuru, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Cleveland, OH. He has over 10+ years of experience in the SEO industry and is a frequent presenter and instructor of digital marketing and SEO seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Cleveland area for organizations such as COSE, Jumpstart, the Better Business Bureau, Score and the Ohio SBDC at CSU.