Learning Hub | Website Design Inspiration

Single- or Multi-Page Website: Which Design is More Effective?

April 6, 2017 | Jon Teodoro

Single-page web design has been increasing in popularity recently. I’m not sure where this love affair started, whether it’s due to the popularity of scrolling sites like Facebook and Twitter or to people simply wanting to try something new.

A writer myself, I applaud thinking outside of the box to come up with creative alternatives to the norm. However, as uncommon and eye-catching as single-page sites may be, there are several logical reasons to remove them from the love triangle and remain faithful to the ole’ trusty multi-page layout.

One page simply cannot accomplish for your company what multiple pages can in terms of marketing. Though a one-page site will suffice in certain situations  (see below), it will close a lot doors that I think you should be aware of before moving on to development and design.

The Top Benefits of a Multi-Page Website

There’s more opportunity to optimize for search engine optimization.

One of the biggest benefits of a multi-page website involves SEO.

To get as many eyes as possible on your website, you need it to return in a high spot on search engine results pages. You can make sure this happens by doing a couple of things:

1. Figure out search keywords you want to target and place them throughout your content in the following places:

    • In the page title
    • In captions and subheadings
    • Sprinkled throughout your paragraph copy

The copywriter’s rule of thumb is to target one keyword phrase per webpage. Because of this, it’s extremely difficult to optimize a single-page site since you’d only be able to match for one keyword phrase. This makes it much less likely that your site will ever see the front page of Google.

On the other hand, having several pages allows you to diversify your targeted keywords. This creates several different methods for potential customers to stumble onto your site.

 2. Increase backlinks. 

Google will rank a site that it views as authoritative in a high result spot. One way it determines authority is to count how many backlinks a site has pointing back to it.

It can take awhile to increase backlinks, but a popular way to do this is to publish blogs or articles that have relevant information that others will want to link to.

The more people that view your content and want to use it as a reference in their own, the better your chance of returning on the first page of Google.

Since one-page sites are light on content and don’t have a blog, increasing their backlinks is next to impossible.

The bottom line here is that multi-page sites typically get more eyes on them than single-page sites because they face much less competition.

Multi-page sites are great for end user experience.

Online users are creatures of habit. Though they’re becoming more familiar with scrolling thanks to social media sites and increasing mobile use, they still expect sites to have more than one page.

Think about the last research session you did on a company. Chances are you expected at least the following: A homepage, an about page and a contact page.

While you may be adaptable enough to not be intimidated by a single-page site, older or less frequent online users may be confused by such a design. They could even think they’re missing the menu bar and head to another site with clearer navigation.

Any company choosing a one-page layout need also be wary of creating a never-ending page. Continuous scrolling is cumbersome for end users, especially since they aren’t being called to any actions that take them elsewhere.

This means that copywriters and designers need to be extra-on-top-of their game to hold readers attention until the bottom of the page.

Users are more likely to engage with the site because there are more options to do so.

Most marketers track how their visitors are interacting with their site. Interactions include things like:

  • Watching a video
  • Downloading an ebook
  • Reading a blog
  • Purchasing a product
  • Taking a quiz

On a single-page site, the amount of available interactions greatly decreases due to a lack of space. Since you don’t have anywhere else (like a blog) to link to, any interaction has to be on that one page. Because you don’t want to crowd in too much content, you may find yourself in a bit of a conundrum.

The easy solution: If you have several videos, downloads, products, blogs, etc., go with the multi-page website, and call it a day.

You can increase online conversion rate.

Single-page sites are not optimal for conversions.

In order to convert (or complete the buyer’s journey), a user must be directed to a landing page, shopping cart or, at the very least, to a thank you page. Because none of these are available on a one-page site, conversions aren’t available.

There also would be no need to track conversion paths on a single-page site because there is only one option that exists. Providing customers with such lacking choices is an extremely poor marketing choice.

Any company that wants to sell products, provide downloads or offer incentives on their site needs to choose a multi-page layout.

You can be a thought leader in your industry.

If one of your company goals is to provide resources like ebooks, whitepapers and case studies to competitors and customers, you need a multi-page site so that you can market these materials with proper landing pages and CTAs.

Thought leaders provide a lot of cutting-edge information about new industry practices and standards, product reviews, and innovations. To do this, they utilize content like articles, videos and infographics. They also focus heavily on SEO to get the most eyes on their site as possible.

They simply cannot connect in the way they want with a single-page site.

Single-page designs work for companies that don’t:

  • Hold online marketing as a priority.
  • Need to convey a lot of information.
  • Have highly-involved online customers.
    • Examples include online image galleries or portfolios, online brochures and online podcast libraries

Multi-page designs work for companies that:

  • Rely on online marketing for conversions.
  • Have a lot of content to share with viewers.
  • Want to have a blog.
  • Have highly-engaged customers.
  • Desire to return in a high search result spot on Google and other search engines.
  • Have an online store.
    • Examples include large nonprofits that need to share their missions, companies that sell multiple products and/services, and industry thought leaders that publish frequent, relevant content.

Wherever You Fit in, We’re Happy to Help You Out.

At the end of the day, the decision to go with a single-page or multi-page website layout is yours. We simply hope to inform you about each so that you can make the best investment.

No matter your vision, we would love to talk with you about your project. If you’d like to speak to a Verde team member directly, give us a call at 586-434-0678 or fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you within one business day.

In the meantime, play with our estimate calculator to see how your project price would change if you chose a single-page versus multi-page design.