What is the difference between a Single Page and a Multi Page Website?
Every business needs a website. But not every business needs a complex website.
It is easy to add unnecessary content to pad out a website with the mistaken idea that this will make your business look more professional. And it’s just as easy to miss out the really essential content users need because you over simplify – especially as you know all the ins and outs of your business and might forget that new potential customers might not.
Below we guide you through the main features of Single versus Multi Page Websites, the Pros and Cons, and examples of the functions that a business needs that would suit the different types.
What is a Single Page Website?
A Single Page, or One Page, Website is where all the content is accessed from a single page.
Users progress through content by scrolling. Although there might be navigation included, this takes users to another section of this page, not a new page. (Our Flat White Single Page websites, for example, include in-page navigation to an About section, a Services section and a Contact section.)
Click on the video below to see how the scrolling and in-page navigation works:
What is a Multi Page Website?
A Multi Page website offers unlimited options: from pages and blogs to eCommerce and portfolios.
Multi Page websites have one or more menus to navigate the content. Different content might suit different users, so a range of experiences can be offered. An existing client might simply want contact details, for example, whereas a potential client may want to find prices and examples of options.
Because of the greater options, a Multi Page website is suited to any scale of business, including a start-up. The video below demonstrates a Multi Page website with the main navigation:
Pros of a Single Page:
Quick to set up
A Single Page Website has less content and therefore takes less time to set up. As you are focussing on the core elements of your product or business, being concise about what you offer is key – no room for waffle!
No navigation to plan
Getting navigation right can be one of the hardest elements of setting up your own website if you have no experience. Some Single Page websites have in-page navigation to take users to more important sections of the page, but not a full navigation. Our websites, for example, include in-page navigation to an About Section, Services Section and Contact Section.
Ideal for mobiles
All of the content on a Single Page website is accessed by scrolling. Scrolling is easier and more continuous than single clicks, which might take users away from the journey. And we all know how instinctive it is nowadays to scroll on a device.
Keeps user engagement
Some users prefer to keep on scrolling, rather than clicking to another page.
Cheaper hosting is available for Single Page websites because they take up less bandwidth, and templates are simpler and cheaper too.
Cons of a Single Page:
Only one url
When sharing content on social media, for example, only one link is available, rather than dedicated content for, say, your Workshops or your About Page.
The other side of the coin – if you have several services you want to promote or several projects you want to showcase, the single page format is too limited.
Content from only one page is available for search engines to rank, which means that, unless your content is very finely tuned, it will be harder to drive traffic to your website via SEO.
Difficult to expand as your business grows
The beauty of a Single Page website is it’s simplicity, so adding too much content to one page starts to defeat the object.
Pros of a Multi Page:
Full range of content
A Home Page that operates in a similar way to a Single Page website, but with the added bonus of linking through to more detailed information on separate pages.
A user can either be guided to different areas of content through Calls to Action, or can find their own way to the content they want via Menus.
Blogging is the best way to improve your SEO rankings by adding regular new content to your website.
Selling direct through your own website
Products or services can be sold directly through your website, rather than sending traffic elsewhere.
Cons of a Multi Page:
Can get unwieldy
Navigation menus can all-too-easily get out of hand. If a user has to click too many times to find what they want, they will go elsewhere.
Surplus content is unhelpful. Just because you can add lots of pages doesn’t mean your website will be better.
Takes longer to set up and keep up-to-date
Good content takes time. The more pages you have, the more content you have to add, and the more content you have to keep up-to-date.
More pages will result in a website taking longer to load. If your images are optimised and chosen carefully, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if too many pages contain large images, your website will load more slowly. And users are notoriously intolerant of slow-loading – much longer than a couple of seconds, and they will look elsewhere.
How to decide on the right website for your business?
Spend time right at the beginning planning – in broad sweeps – the purpose of your website.
- Is it to sell products?
- Is it to get people to sign up to your newsletter?
- Is it to provide a point of contact for customers?
- Is it to demonstrate your skills with examples of your work?
- Is it a glorified business card for people to check out your work and get in touch?
When would a Single Page Website work?
If your business has a clear, limited focus, a Single Page website is a quick and efficient place to start:
- Practical details – a cafe, for example, could feature a few menu items, with opening times and location.
- A single service such as workshops, with external link for bookings.
- Consultancy business, when the main selling point is you.
- Credibility – a legal firm, for example, where you need to show your professional credentials and contact details.
- Sign-Up for a newsletter or event, for example, with a simple Call to Action for an email address on the page.
Check out this fashion website, where the main focus is a Sign Up.
When would a Multi Page Website work?
If your business has several elements that you want to share with potential customers, a Multi Page website will provide the plenty of options:
- Blogging about your business
- Selling multiple products or services
- A range of services that you offer – rather than overloading the home page with too much information, take users to individual pages where they can find out more.
- A portfolio of projects e.g. garden designer
Have a look at this Social Media Specialist website, which details a range of services and workshops.