If you’re designing a website, you may be debating between having a one-page website or a multiple-page site. One of your competitors might have a single-page website, but another has multiple pages. Both look good, but you can’t tell which is better.
Is it better to have a one-page website or a multiple-page site? A multiple-page website can technically do everything a one-page website can and is therefore better. But a single-page website can be better for specific sites like landing pages or event pages.
In this article, I will be going over the benefits and disadvantages of a multiple-page website and a one-page website.
What Is the Benefit of Using a Multi-Page Website?
A multiple-page website can do everything a single-page website can and more. You can have landing pages and event pages while also having other pages. This is only one benefit among many others, including:
Better User experience
Faster page speeds
SEO for a website with multiple pages gives you a chance to rank for more keywords and queries on search engines.
The actual URL of a page affects its ranking. Having a website with multiple pages enables you to have multiple URLs that specifically target what each of those pages is about.
Better User Experience
Besides directly affecting ranking and search engine optimization having multiple pages with multiple URLs provides a better user experience.
Think about it. When you Google something, you see the first page of results. For this hypothetical search, the first three results include two with URLs and titles that exactly matched your search query versus one result with a more general title. You are more likely going to click the two with exact matching titles and URLs.
With multiple pages and multiple URLs, you have a better chance of matching searchers’ queries. The more pages you have > the more titles you can have > the more searches you can match. The more searches you can match the more clicks you will get, the more users you will have on your website.
Faster Page Speed
Websites with multiple pages have faster load times because you can spread out the content on your website onto those pages.
Images, videos, animations, and other elements on the website all slow your loading speed. The more elements are spread out on your website, the faster each individual page loads.
This faster page load speed also helps give a better user experience to your website as a whole. Google, the biggest and most popular search engine in the world, is placing a lot of importance on page speed with recent updates like Core Web Vitals.
Multiple pages on your website enable you to put a lot more content on it without sacrificing page speed or user experience.
And once you have all that content, organizing it is something that can be a game-changer for your website. Multiple pages let you spread content out as you see best.
Organizing your content will lead to a much better user experience which means more people using your site more. You can set up categories for pages that revolve around the same topics. Create dedicated about, contact, and other common pages people are used to seeing and constantly look for.
Using multiple pages enables you to create a navigation experience that is better. Most websites use multiple pages with similar navigation that uses a menu with links to different pages.
Using a website that follows common navigation practices like the one mentioned above gives your users a better experience that is more intuitive and familiar to them. Familiar experiences makes users trust you more, making them more likely to go through your site and spend more time on it.
One big reason multiple page website designs are better on average for most people is that it is more difficult to design a single perfect page than it is to design multiple pages to achieve the same goal.
If people are not connecting with a page on a website with multiple pages, there is still the chance and opportunity to visit another page that may provide them with what they are looking for. In contrast, a single-page website does not afford them that opportunity.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a One-Page Website?
In contrast, a one-page website offers a few things that a multi-page website does not. Simplicity and focus are the main advantages, but when handled correctly can bring about many other benefits like a good user experience and an easy-to-maintain website. But the list of disadvantages does include some important factors you should consider like:
Lack of navigation
Even though I’ve only listed three disadvantages here, one huge one is the fact that with one page, you only have that one opportunity to get people to do what you want on your website.
If that page fails to get them to do what you want, then with no other pages, you don’t have another chance to get them to do it, and they will leave. So while simplicity and focus may technically be an advantage, you have to make that one page just right to make it work.
The Advantages of a One Page Website:
Simplicity is a big benefit for many people who have a need that aligns with a single-page website. Something like a landing page or an event page can be perfect opportunities to use a single-page website design that is simple and straight to the point.
If a single page can tell people everything they need to know and get them to convert on your website at a rate that satisfies your needs, then it is indeed better for you. Having multiple pages may become a distraction to a user that would have otherwise converted into a customer.
When you have a website that is successfully and explicitly designed for a specific goal, even if it is a single page, that is what makes or breaks it. When you can focus everything on a single page, you can just take people from start to finish and top to bottom.
You tell them what you’re about, benefits, services, and a call to action. If you nail these all on a single page, you’ll have yourself the perfect website. The difficulty is in getting these all just right.
You don’t have to worry about keeping different pages up to date or checking on them to ensure you’re not getting any 404 errors. Everything is on that one page, so as long as it’s good, your website is good.
You don’t have to spend hours looking in different website pages code to find an error that could be causing problems for your whole site because you only have that one page.
The Disadvantages of a Single Page Website
However, the disadvantages mentioned before, like limited SEO, content, and navigation, will always be a problem for a single-page website.
With only one page, you most likely will not be ranking for any important keywords. Content is a massive part of SEO, and with one page, you really can’t expect to rank on Google with anything less than perfect content and still have a tough time doing so even then.
Most common businesses now have websites online with at least one page worth of content around them. As such, you will be competing with all of them since you cannot produce more pages with more content.
While there are technically no limits to the amount of content you could put on a single page of your website, realistically, you cannot put more than the average person can load on their internet connection.
Having to scroll down a really long page is a horrible user experience that will make many people leave your website before they even reach the bottom of the page.
Focus can become a double-edged sword reinforcing the limit on your content. Since it is one page, you only want to get people to do one thing.
The moment you start putting multiple products, sections about different services, or several buttons for different things, you lose that focus and the entire purpose of a single-page website.
Trying to pursue multiple things on one page confuses users and leaves them having a bad experience on your site.
Lack of Navigation
Another significant disadvantage is the lack of organization and navigation. Yes, you can have a menu that has links to different parts of a single page (these links are called anchors). You will need to make sure that these links work correctly on all browsers and screen sizes, as anchor links tend to mess up and not work correctly.
What Are the Disadvantages of Multi-Page Website Design?
Multiple-page website designs are better than single-page websites on average, but they still can have some disadvantages. These are essentially a lack of focus and simplicity that the single-page websites have and the problems that may stem from that like bad navigation, user experience, maintenance issues
Lack of Simplicity
If a website with multiple pages is designed haphazardly or incorrectly, you may be missing out on a lot of traffic or conversions.
For example, if you have a great homepage but it does not have a contact form on it, and your contact page is designed poorly, you may not get any people contacting you.
Lack of Focus
You could also suffer from having too many pages, therefore, diluting your content losing focus on your website’s subject matter as a whole.
Having too many pages also makes navigating your website a lot more confusing and taxing for the user. If pages are not organized with a good hierarchy, and the website has a lousy menu that is very crowded, your website will perform poorly.
With more pages comes more opportunity for errors, especially if you are customizing the content on each one. A mistake on one part of your website can bring your whole website down.
You also need to keep everything up to date, and with multiple pages, this may become confusing if not tracked well. This may result in outdated content and a bad user experience that drives people away from your site.