The difference between a one page website and a multi page site


One page vs multi page websites

Greg Macdonald - LWDA Team Member


Managing Director


PUBLISHED:October 22, 2020

UPDATED:May 27, 2022

One-page websites have been very fashionable in recent years. It seems not a week goes by when a new site or three pops-up on One Page Love and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

But is a one-page website the ideal solution for your business or should you be looking at a multi-page site to maximise your effectiveness?

In this article, we explore some of the key differences between a one-page and multi-page website. Helping steer you toward the right solution for your business.

The benefits and drawbacks of a single page website

First of all, let’s look into the pros and cons of running a single page website for your business or brand.

The benefits of a single page website

There’s no doubt about it; the attraction of having a single-page website for your startup brand is very high. They can look engaging and first impressions count. But you’ll need to consider more than just the design when it comes to creating a website for your company.

Here are our top benefits of single page websites:

  1. Cost. They will likely be cheaper than multi-page websites. If you are happy with a minimal approach to content, then a single-page website may help you keep within a tight budget. You can find out more in our article ‘How much is a single-page website?’.
  2. Usability. It’s easier to scroll than to click especially on mobile.
  3. Focus. Visitors don’t have the time to read reams of text.  A single page site forces you to think about elevator pitch copy and getting your message across clearly and succinctly. Set out your stall using great headlines, simple support copy, beautiful imagery and a prominent call-to-action. This is our recipe to drive enquiries or sales.
  4. Speed. A one-page site will get you to market quickly. They are quick to design and build with less content to create.
  5. Flexibility. Grow your website in line with your business. After launching with your MVP (Minimal Viable Product) approach, you can then add new sections to your website for news, products and services over time.

Caranday Electrics One-page Website Design & Development

The drawbacks of a single page website

The benefits sound good, don’t they? So what are the drawbacks of a single-page website?

Here are our top drawbacks of single page websites:

  1. Limited MetaData. Each page on a website can contain its own set of metadata, including title and description. These items should contain keywords that you wish to target in search results. The fewer pages you have, the few keywords you can target, which leads us to…
  2. Keyword dilution. The page content itself will also include keywords, which will be limited by the number of sections on a page. The most important item on a page is the H1 tag, which tells Google what that page is about. You can include other keywords within your H2, H3 & H4 titles (sub-sections), but each title depreciates in effectiveness the lower you go.
  3. High ‘Bounce Rate’. Google doesn’t like websites with a high Bounce Rate, which is achieved when people visit your website and then leave without visiting any other pages. Which of course is all they can do if there are no other pages to visit.*
  4. Limited Competitiveness. Before you plan your own website, take a look at your competitors. Which companies are ranking well and what do their websites consist of? Chances are, if they have multi-page websites, you will not be as competitive with a single-page website.

Single-page website SEO

*Since we originally published this post, Google has made it clear that they will be moving away from bounce rate as a measurement of how successful a website is and will instead begin to focus on engagement. The Engagement Metric is the amount of time that a user spends on the website.

This is great for those with one-page websites. Why? Because at the moment, single-page websites generally suffer from high bounce rates, BUT with the new engagement measurement system in GA4, single-page websites will no longer be penalised for this.

The result is a slight boost to the SEO of single-page websites. But keep in mind the limitations regarding metadata and keyword dilution.

The benefits and drawbacks of a multi-page site

We’ve covered some important pros & cons of one-page websites, so what about multi-page websites?

The Benefits of a multi-page website

It would be easy to just inverse all of the statements listed above, but there are additional considerations to add to the mix.

Here are our top benefits of multi-page websites:

  1. Improved SEO. Essentially, all the negative SEO issues listed for one-page websites will be avoided. As long as you deliver great UX, you should be able to avoid a high Bounce Rate, and more pages will mean the ability to target more keywords.
  2. Increased competitiveness. If you are selling more than one type of product or service or operating in more than one business sector, a multi-page website will be the best way to compete evenly across all of your business streams.
  3. Scalability. Once the framework is in place, it should be easy enough for you to add new products, services and other complementary content such as blog posts without contacting your web developer.
  4. Trust. Bigger websites that are organised well, with feedback forms and customer reviews will be more trustworthy in the eyes of potential customers. You’ll look more established with a larger website.

The drawbacks of a multi-page website

After reading the above list, you may believe that there can not be many drawbacks to having a multi-page website. But there are a few.

Here are our top drawbacks of multi-page websites:

  1. Content Creation. Right from the start, you’ll need to create all of the content for your website, which can be quite demanding if you are the only person running your company. Even with a small team with which to delegate this task, do not underestimate the resource it takes to collate all of the text and images that you’ll need for your website.
  2. Ongoing Management. Be it additional content creation for SEO purposes or updating product images when you change your packaging, bigger websites require more ongoing management than smaller websites.
  3. Ongoing Maintenance. Bigger websites will also require more work ‘under the hood’. Your development team will need to regularly update the CMS, security patches and plug-ins for all the different modules and functions that you use throughout the website.
  4. Keeping the Users’ Attention. Don’t tempt your visitors with links to other pages if you want them to perform a particular task on the page that they are on (make a purchase or enquiry). Keep your message focused and guide the user to where you want them to be.
  5. Confused User Journey. If you need a big site with many levels of navigation, you’ll need to work closely with your web development agency to make sure the UI is top-notch. Users that feel lost within a website will likely leave due to frustration.

In conclusion. Which website options suit which businesses?

Weighing up the pros & cons of both options and comparing them to your specific business requirements will be the best way to choose between a single or multi-page website.

Single-page sites might be the ideal solution for a start-up company with a limited budget and a very specific customer base. A great example of this is De Havilland Gin.

They may also be good for sites that are only accessible for a limited time, with off-site awareness and social PR being the main driver of traffic. A good example of this may be a one-off event.

Are You MIITTE? Single-page Website for Serapis SSE
Our sister agency Devstars built a single-page website for the MoD to attract VR & XR technology companies for the development of training tools.

Small businesses may be tempted by both options. Our article on what makes the ideal small business website may help clarify the decision-making process.

If you own an established company and are looking to revamp your website and increase your search ranking through improved SEO, choosing a single-page solution would be a step backwards, causing your ranking to plummet.

Multi-page websites are much more suitable for bigger more established businesses.

If you’re a startup, small business or a larger company that is looking to create a new website for your brand, feel free to get in touch with us at LWDA. We’ll be more than happy to talk through your requirements and suggest the best solution for your company.

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