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Single-Page vs. Multi-Page Websites

In early 2013, a major shift towards single-page websites emerged. The single-page design allowed developers to incorporate big, beautiful images, video backgrounds, and fancy new features such as parallax scrolling. As with most web trends, business jumped on the single-page bandwagon and invested lots of time in money in redoing their sites to take advantage of the hottest thing since TLDs (nerd alert!). Today, however, we’ve seen a shift in preferences, and many companies are moving back to the good ‘ol multi-page layout. In this post, we’ll go over the pros and cons of each site layout.

Single-Page Sites

These websites are great if you’re trying to showcase photography, videography, or any other image-based information. The real value of a one-page websites is easy delivery of a limited amount of visually-driven content. We often come across websites with many navigational tabs, each of which links to a section lower down on the single page. This may be cool, but it’s not ideal and ultimately makes for a confusing user experience.

Additionally, the single-page layout works best if it makes sense for your website’s content to be read linearly. Ask yourself: does scrolling all the way down tell a logical, visual story? If so, then you’re a perfect candidate for a one-page site.

Even when they make sense for a particular business, single-page sites can still pose problems if they’re utilizing lots of large image and/or video files. This might seem obvious, but one-page websites have to load everything on, well, one page. If your site doesn’t take advantage of JavaScript and AJAX technologies (like Infinite AJAX Scroll, which is also SEO-friendly), then your website might take forever to load, especially on slower internet connections and mobile devices.

Multi-Page Sites

The multi-page site is your standard website – clicking on a nav/menu item takes you to a new page with new content. As cool as single-page sites are (and as fun as they are to build), we have to admit that, more often than not, we’re building multi-page sites for our clients. If you sell things online, then a one-page site is just impossible, but even for businesses that have no eCommerce components and simply want disseminate information, the multi-page design is necessary for properly and efficiently communicating with the customer.

It’s important to note that using a multi-page layout does not mean that the website’s homepage has to be simple or boring. There are lots of websites that incorporate stunning, long-scrolling homepage designs with multiple pages, resulting in a highly-creative yet easily navigable website. Despite the sexiness of single-page designs, the multi-page layout is, more often than not, the right choice since today’s businesses have no shortage of content to disseminate.

The Final Word

After reading this post, you’re probably thinking, “wow, they’re biased against single-page websites.” The truth is, you’re right. Don’t get us wrong: we love all things quirky and artistic, but from our experience there are very few use cases that warrant anything other than a multi-page design.

If you’re unsure of which layout is right for you, or if you want help designing and building your website, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

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