The Advantages of a Single Page Website

One page websites are becoming very popular which is a fascinating trend given that only a few short years ago a single page website would have seemed unfinished. So why are they suddenly becoming more popular? In this article I look at this change in web design history.

The Advantages of a Single Page Website

Sites shown in the banner above: Startup Visa, Andrea Ihring and Zero Dollar Tools.

Some history

One page websites are becoming very popular. There are even websites devoted to showcasing the best single page websites, such as One Page Love. This is a fascinating trend given that only a few years back a single page website would have seemed unfinished. So why are they suddenly becoming more popular?

The difference in design styles c. 1998 -and 2011 - The Advantages Of A Single Page Website

Straight out of 1998 we have “Dokimos”, and on the right we have a very 2011 styled website: Social Fries Icon.

I believe there are a number of factors, but the most important is this: More people are spending more time online, and they don’t want to waste the little time they have. They’ve got things they want to be doing more than sifting through pages on your site to get the information they need. If somebody’s taken the time to go to your site they want the information they’re looking for NOW. Not after they’ve finished digging down through your multi-level navigation menu system. Not after they’ve scrolled past tonnes of content that’s irrelevant to them. If they don’t find the content they need straight away they will simply leave.

Another factor has to be the overall change in style of web development that has been happening for the last 10 years or so. The “Web 2.0” style of design is to remove as much clutter from the page as possible. Advances in technology make it possible to push this trend further and further and as such the trend seems to be continuing and getting more and more extreme all the time. More and more websites are now becoming almost completely bare! These days it’s not uncommon to be greeted by an almost completely blank page that, to get information from, you have to click one of three small circles in the middle of the page.

So what are the actual advantages?

Two great single page websites - browse happy and matthias steiner, offering information at a glance, The Advantages Of A Single Page Website

Information at a glance

Browse Happy details latest versions of the major browsers. Matthias Steiner is a German athlete.

By far the biggest advantage is that it puts everything the customer needs in one place at their fingertips. A typical one page website has your email address, phone number, a map, a contact form, some information about the company, and some information on your product or service. All in one place. The customer doesn’t want to waste their time trying to find this information out, and with a single page design they don’t need to because everything they need is on the first and only page.

Couch Kumaras - a zero clutter website - The Advantages Of A Single Page Website

Less clutter

When you have a single page website you are forced to concentrate on your content more. You can’t shove every little idea you think of onto the site and this forced economy will work in your favour. Your customers aren’t looking for essays, if you want to supply information to the world then start a blog and link to it from your site. What your customers want to know is who you are and what you do. For bonus points tell them what sets you apart. For even bigger bonus points do this without them REALIZING.

Similarly it frees the person creating the web design from some of the concerns that go with larger sites. It’s like taking photos in black and white rather than colour: The lack of colour frees you to concentrate on the form and lighting of your photo. With a single page website design the lack of additional pages frees you to focus on what matters.

Lost worlds fair, Atlantis: a bold website - The Advantages Of A Single Page Website

Makes a bold statement

Some of the least usable websites are the ones with the most information on them. Google realised this recently and made a vast overhaul to the way their search engine rankings work. Previously the advice from search engine optimization specialists was to put as much relevant content onto your website as possible. As such a lot of enormous websites appeared that weren’t especially useful to the end user. With the Google Panda update these sites were greatly penalised and dropped a lot in the search engine listings… Keeping your content concise and relevant is one way to help keep Google on your side.

A good one page website lists what people want to see up-front. A photographer would showcase some of their top work. An antiques shop might show off some of their prize sales. A singer might place her most popular song. The one page website is all about showing off, boasting a little, bragging about what you’re good at and telling the customer that YOUR company is the one they’ve been looking for.

Cheaper

One page sites tend to be smaller which saves you web space and bandwidth which could very well reduce your hosting costs. A single page design is often cheaper to buy than a larger site as the designer does not need to be concerned with large volumes of content or page-specific requirements that are common with larger sites.

SEO

It won’t improve your search engine ranking to have only a single page on your site, but it will certainly simplify the task of optimizing the site. This simplicity might make it attractive.

Is it right for you?

One page websites certainly aren’t for EVERYONE, but they certainly could be for a large section of the market. There are plenty of existing websites out there that are spread over many pages that could easily be condensed down to a single page. It would almost certainly benefit the site owners and the customers alike.

The most important consideration is how much content you NEED on the website… But be sure you really do need it on the website—if you need to include swathes of information then clearly you’re going to need more pages.

Another consideration is what you’re trying to sell. A single service? A single product? A single page website would probably suit you down to the ground. Get to the point and show the customer what you want them to buy and let them do the rest.

About Matt Lowe

Matt Lowe is a WordPress web designer / developer based in Newbury, Berkshire. After 8 years of doing the nine-to-five for other companies and watching them make the same mistakes over and over he set out in business on his own, forming Squelch Design to help businesses get online and make money.

One comment on “The Advantages of a Single Page Website

  1. Excellent article. I have a one page website and i love it. It really makes things simple. To have to add meta tags to only one page is totally priceless. Keep up the great work.

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