To create a one page website or a traditional multi-page site? That is a prime question for many companies. With social media and mobile applications finding new ways to rapidly deliver engaging content, it seems only natural that a demand for speedy, responsive websites would emerge.
A one page website uses only one HTML page. It presents a single main idea in a continuous design that provides the user with a more fluid experience than a multi-page site. This type of website is usually much lighter on the content side, which saves visitors significant time that they would usually spend in clicking from one page to another. The most common characteristics of one-page websites include clearly defined sections, big header elements and custom scrolling effects. They recently rose to fame among many designer sites as well as apps and product sites. 
The increase in popularity of single page websites is also attributed to the rise of social media and mobile browsing. Users now want to view their content faster and more efficiently, and the fast, simple nature of one-page websites satisfies that demand. That’s not to say that the traditional multi-page website is a thing of the past. Both site structures offer advantages and disadvantages depending on what a brand’s goals and intentions are for their website. 
There are many advantages of using a one-page website:
Since this type of website has only a single page, the load time is typically much better than the load time for a multi-page. And since the website loads much faster, users are more likely to proceed to the page rather than bouncing. One-page sites are user-friendly and require lower maintenance than a website with multiple pages.
If you want to captivate an audience, a single page may be your best bet since they usually boast impressive graphics and attention-grabbing elements. The storytelling nature of the one-page website also makes for simple navigation, leaving very little for the viewer to try to figure out on their own. Due to the highly interactive, engaging, simplified nature of one-page sites, user conversion rates are typically much higher.
Furthermore, this type of site usually requires fewer expenses and less time to create than multi-page websites. They are extremely mobile friendly and, therefore, are a top choice among many internet users. But despite all these positive attributes, one-page websites don’t come without some pitfalls. 
Some of the disadvantages include:
One of the beautiful things about one-page websites is that they only require a single page to build. But this also presents a challenge to the company creating the site. With only one page to work with, there is very little room for error. The company must ensure that their site is perfect and that every design element and bit of text sells the product or service. This requires serious planning of both the written content and design of the site.
Another challenge is related to search engine optimization (SEO). Since there is less content on single-page sites, there is also less opportunity to increase traffic with SEO. Blogs are one of the most effective ways to drive organic traffic to a website and one-page sites typically don’t have blogs.
One-page websites can also be harmful to companies who need to relay a lot of information to their viewers. The purpose of this type of site layout is to flow nicely and follow a simplified, story-like structure. Not only does excess information clutter a one-page site, but it could also negatively impact the website’s load time, which is a huge factor in whether or not a user proceeds to the site or bounces.
Finally, it’s more difficult to analyze the metrics. Google Analytics, for example, can tell website creators which page their viewers are bouncing from so that the creators know where they can improve their site. But with only a single page, it is far more difficult, and potentially more expensive, to analyze where the site is losing its viewers. .
When used correctly, one-page websites are fantastic tools that are proving to be far more than a mere trend. Use cases include portfolios, landing pages and brochure websites. These five companies are among the many that have opted for a one-page structure:
This is a prime example of the portfolio use case. The site advertises “The Happy Hero,” a book written by Solitaire Townsend. You can see that the website is primarily design-oriented, with very little text to create a visually compelling, easy-to-read site. There is also an outbound link that directs the viewer to where they can purchase the book, making for an easy and quick conversion.
MakeUI’s one-page website is highly effective with its captivating design elements and story-like flow. The site makes great use of compelling graphics to explain how the product works, as well as where viewers can make a purchase or contact the company with any questions.
The site’s custom transition and scrolling effects create an engaging user experience. The clearly defined sections also maintain its simplicity, despite the fact that the website includes a bit more information than other one-page sites may.
Another example of a one-page website intended as a portfolio, digital designer Wesley van’t Hart’s site is incredibly minimalistic. While the site is simple, it is also interactive, with features that allow viewers to manually scroll side to side in the timeline section and even move different images around.
Hart includes outbound links to his Dribbble portfolio, Instagram account and other social platforms that easily direct viewers there from his site.
This one-page website honors the National Park Service (NPS) with a visually impactful, single-page narrative of the U.S. National Parks’ history. With a decent amount of information needed to properly illustrate the story of the parks, this website incorporates plenty of design elements and interactive features to capture and maintain viewer attention.
The site’s narrative concludes at the bottom of the page with a single icon encouraging viewers to donate to the NPS. With no other pages or buttons to distract website goers, The NPS effectively tells its story and incorporates a single call to action.
5. Sonik Pass
Sonik Pass’s website immediately captures viewer attention with impressive design elements and an overall minimalistic style. The sections of the page are clearly defined by creative formatting and large header elements. And each section are engaging as they transition.
The site concludes with a simple call to action at the bottom for viewers to reach out to the brand. The entire page is visually compelling and simple, providing viewers with all the information they need.
Whether you choose to hop on the one-page website bandwagon or you think your company would benefit better from a multi-page site, your website is the first impression you will make. Define what your site’s purpose is and what your goals are for your business. Only then can you make a confident decision on which type of website structure will best meet your needs and help your business grow.
We sat down with Bill Macaitis, former Slack CMO, to chat about what it takes to success with ad design. Hear his tips and more in this Q&A style interview!