Most websites, especially those for business, use a multi-page format, but increasingly we’re seeing companies opt for single-page designs predominantly because they are less cluttered, simpler to navigate, and less time intensive.
If you’re building a new site or revamping an old one and not sure which navigation flow is right for you, this article provides some insight.
Single-page versus multi-page: What’s the difference?
The difference is in the name. Content—text and images—on single page websites loads onto one page. Users navigate by clicking on links that bump them up or down to various locations on the page, but they don’t actually leave the page. You have just a single URL to work with.
With multi-page designs, you have several pages of content, and users rely on navigation bars and drop-down menus to go to different sections (and pages) on the website.
Which is better?
Neither is particularly “better,” but both certainly have their pros and cons. Single-page designs are simple and uncluttered, so they are speedier to load. Because all the content is on one page, they are much easier to navigate, and the user experience is more continuous and less disruptive. Such websites provide just enough information to encourage a user to follow through on a Call to Action (CTA), and everything the user needs is on one page, including contact information and sign up forms. The design makes them ideal for mobile devices.
The simplicity, however, can also be the problem. With single-page designs, you have very limited space, so you can’t provide much detail. Such designs are also hard to scale as your business grows. Plus, with so few words on single-page websites, they are hard to optimize so they don’t always rank well with Google.
That’s why most business websites are multi-page designs because they provide more space and can become as complex or large as you need them to be. The downside there is that they can become unwieldy and hard to navigate—if they aren’t designed well.
On the backend, single-page websites are easier to design, manage and maintain because there is less to do.
So which is right for your business?
It depends on your goals—and your content.
If your business is new and you are trying to establish and build your brand, a single-page design doesn’t offer you the space to tell people who you are and what you do. If your products or services are unique or complex, you won’t have the room to provide enough detail to fully explain them or pinpoint what sets you apart from everyone else. And if you are looking to grow—and which business isn’t—a single-page website makes it hard to scale.
Consensus is that single-page designs are ideal for landing pages, brochure websites, event promotions, portfolios, and other pages where a great deal of text isn’t warranted and you can rely heavily on imagery. Still, the right designer can make the design work for you.
As you decide which way to go, ask yourself:
- How much content is critical for me to share—to ensure people know what we do, what we sell, how we’re different, and the next step they should take. Outline ALL the elements, keeping in mind that many people will know nothing about you.
- How much time do I have to develop and maintain the website? Single-page designs are less time-consuming in all phases.
- Where do I want to be a year from now? 5? 10? You don’t want to limit yourself or have to redesign your website in a year. Plan to scale.
With that in mind, work with a designer to come up with a plan for your website. Even simpler single-page designs require expertise, maybe even more so than multi-page designs because visuals, custom scrolling, and text placement are so critical.
We’re hear to help you decide. Schedule a discovery call today, and we can discuss your options.