Single Page Website Design
If you spend any time online, you've probably seen single page websites. The entire site is on one page. This is a big step into creative website design and it's become a real trend, but what are the pros and cons, and should you have one?
There's a lot of clarity associated with single page websites as all you need to do is scroll down and everything is right there for you. The likelihood of getting lost in confusing navigation is completely eliminated.
It's a mobile friendly design, as all anyone has to do to navigate your site is swipe down. What could be easier?
With everything vertically arranged on a single page, it's easy to create narratives for your website. You can tell a story in a simple vertical format that's reminiscent of infographics. That mental association will help visitors digest your site.
With less information and content above the fold (the point at which you have to scroll to view more of the site) it can encourage visitors to scroll down, especially if what's above the fold is compelling.
Should you need to adapt a single page website in the future, then you could have a lot of problems. Each part of the site is no longer a page in its own right, but a link in the chain, and as you all know you should never break the chain. Information is also harder for visitors to discover and relocate as they have to hunt for it because bookmarking won't work. This will make it less sharable and reduce the number of backlinks you get, and backlinks are gold.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be a problem as the lack of multiple pages means that you can't make use of metadata as you would with regular sites. There's therefore less chance of being able to integrate keywords. With only one page, there's much less data from analytics available, so you'll find it harder to get to the bottom of how people are interacting with your site.
Page load times will also be higher. This is a negative factor in page rankings, making your site less discoverable, especially in searches from mobile devices where page load times are more important. This is why I mentioned that the page load time for the home page of my new website has fallen by 21.7%.
The final cautionary point is that only 22% of all pages have visitors reach the bottom of the page. This severely undermines any narrative potential.
Single page sites could be good for product sites where you're trying to create a narrative around a product. You could link to it from your main site perhaps. However, to ensure people reach the bottom of the page, you need to create a very compelling narrative.
Single page sites are likely to be bad for content heavy sites, especially ones that see regular updates, as all content heavy sites should. The site would need major work every time you wanted to do an update, and with more and more content being stuffed in, the page would get longer and slower to load.
As always with website design, your website needs to be completely in tune with what you're trying to achieve, and with what you're offering. So before you jump in the deep end, think about whether this trend is actually good for you.
What do you think of single page sites? Attractive or frustrating, trendy or gimmicky? Let me know what you think in the comments.