Why I Hate One Page Websites

One page websites, yes or no?

Please, don’t be fooled into using one page website design just because it is “trendy”!

Although this trend is hot, it will quickly become a nightmare for you as it goes against all the fundamentals of good web design.

Firstly, perhaps I should explain what a one page site is.

A one page website is simply a single page website that uses only one HTML page. When clicking on navigation links, the user scrolls down the page or jumps to that particular content section. The website will use JavaScript, jQuery, CSS3, or Ajax to accomplish this movement.

But be warned, if you use it, it will hurt your site, and thereby your business, in the long run.

The biggest problem is that one page websites can totally derail your SEO efforts (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and means trying to get your site to rank well in Google searches).

The advantage of multiple pages is that you can use different SEO setting for each page. A single page website does not allow that.
The average website (if optimised properly) doesn’t have only one or two keywords as a focus; it probably has twenty or maybe fifty. How on earth can you adequately target and optimise twenty or fifty keywords with only one single page? Well, you can’t.

Google (in a video called What does Google think of single-page websites ) says it has “become better at understanding and digesting JavaScript and jQuery used in single page sites” and that they “sometimes work” for SEO.

Sometimes, Google? Is “sometimes” ok for your business?

Think about it. Would you gamble your SEO efforts for a cool website trend and hope that it “sometimes” works?

A single page limits the opportunities for standard website search engine optimisation because:

  • Only one keyword phrase is allowed: You can only successfully optimise any given website page for one keyword phrase. So having a single page site means you can only target a single keyword phrase. Very limiting.
  • Only one set of Meta Data will be seen: You only get one set of meta data on a single page website; just one vital title tag and only one meta description to allow your clients to find your site. How silly!
  • Page weight: The more content you squeeze into your one page design (images, text, videos), the greater the likelihood of a heavy page that will take ages to load. Google hates heavy pages as they take too long to load. Will your customers wait or go elsewhere?
  • No internal links: Obviously with no internal pages you have no opportunity for internal linking, which can be a rich source of SEO if done correctly.
  • Few external links: It’s unlikely that you’re going to cram a heap of external links into your one page site as you don’t want to take the focus away from your business. Google doesn’t like sites without links so again a lack of external links is very bad for SEO.

The second big problem with single page websites is that they confuse users.

Do you want your users confused?

To keep visitors on a website, you need to make you website content and navigation easy. You can’t expect visitors to think through cute design to get to where they want to go or to locate information they need.

If they have to “figure out” how to use your website, your website is not worth their time.

A well designed website includes multiple pages designed around a user’s need. It allows the visitor pick their path based on their needs and then presents them with information relevant to them. You can achieve this with a multiple page website, but not with a single page website.

The third biggest argument against single page sites is the reliance on a coder or a standard template.

The owner of the site has now flexibility to manage the site themselves, except within the strict confines of the template.

Finally, they are jumpy as anything!

Just as you begin to read a few lines of content, a big image further up finishes loading and your site jumps down the page.

The only solution to this, especially if the single page site has a lot of big images, is to wait for the entire site to load.

Do you know how much people hate that?

Wasting their data allowance to view a site that may not be what they need?

They will hit the back button and try a better site.

So, if you are a business owner and planning a new site or a a redesign of your existing website, think about what you really need.

Look past the trendy design and focus on what really matters to your website visitor. Then contact us and we’ll help you get there with a website you can afford, one that is SEO friendly, and one that you can maintain yourself, if you wish.