Should you build a one-page website?
Sometimes it pays to be direct, to the point and not needlessly long-winded. So why can’t the same be true for building your website? You may not need a pile of pages to tell your story. Heck, you might only need one. That, friends, is the beauty of a single page website. Yes—they are a very popular thing these days. And when built well, one-page sites can be highly effective.
Users simply scroll through your page to get all the relevant pieces of information—without the fluff. This lets you provide a much smoother, clearer and more streamlined reading experience.
Of course, we’re not going to tell you that single-page sites are a one-size-fits-all solution!
Here, we’ll explore when you might want to consider building a one-page website—and how to get started.
When to build a one-page website
Probably the first question to ask yourself right out of the gate is, “Will a single page site meet my needs?” That’s going to depend on the types of products or services you offer, as well as the amount of content you want to serve up.
For instance, if you’re a small business that offers a very specific product or service—such as a pizza restaurant, accountancy firm, artisanal birdfeeder builder—or if you’re showcasing a newly-developed app—then a one-page site might be your best bet.
One-page sites are also a great option for an artist’s online portfolio, or as a virtual resume page. One-time events (like weddings, baby showers and bar mitzvahs) are also great candidates for a single-page site.
If you’re planning to share heavy, complex content that’s jam-packed with information and nuance…a one-page site isn’t going to cut it.
One-page website benefits
It’s much easier to steer your visitors through your site when you’re working with a single page. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about them clicking on the “wrong” page or looking at things out of context or in the wrong order. Instead, you can present every vital bit of information in whatever order you choose on a single page. How’s that for control?
Just remember—if you’re expecting visitors to scroll through to find that useful nugget they’re after…make sure you’re keeping your content tight and streamlined so as not to frustrate and confuse your users.
You may even boost your chances of having users stay on your page for longer or finding what they came for. What’s more—single page websites tend to perform better on mobile platforms. Why? Scrolling through content is a breeze, and there’s no need to click on other tabs, menus, etc., on a smaller screen. And for those with—ah—shorter attention spans…a single page site will typically load faster than a more complex, multi-page website.
Get started building your one-page website
Start with hosting and a domain name
First things first: you’ll need to find a web host and pick a catchy domain name for your business. Lucky for you, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to hosting providers. A few top names include GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator or WordPress. Often you can even snag your domain name as part of a web hosting package.
In terms of your domain name, we’d love and respect your decision if you went with a .CA domain. In fact, we can help you secure the perfect Canadian domain for your site and connect you with a registrar!
Pick a website builder
Once you’ve got your hosting and domain sorted, this is the next, critical step: deciding the platform upon which to create your one-page masterpiece! Again, you’re pretty spoiled for choice. So, a lot of your web builder decisions will depend on your web-savviness, time commitment, budget and preferences.
WordPress.org is widely known for its wealth of customization options and includes several pre-built “one-page” themes that you can tweak to your heart’s content. Wix also features plenty of attractive, pre-built templates and a user-friendly “drag-and-drop” style editor.
Another great option is LiteSite by webnames.ca. It’s a building platform specifically designed to help you edit and launch your one-page site quickly and easily. Even better? Every LiteSite template is already optimized for mobile devices! Check out our full build guide for a deeper dive!
After picking your building platform it’s time to get down to the business of populating that one-page site. Because each builder will offer a different experience, we’ll talk more about what makes an effective one-page site.
Keep your content simple and streamlined
Think of what your main message is going to be—or what you want visitors to do when they scroll through your content. Are they downloading an app? Booking a reservation? Contacting you for an estimate? Eliminate any needless fluff and keep things short and to –the point so your visitors can find what they need straight away.
A great tool you can use to help filter out any non-essential info is the journalistic “Five Ws”: who, what, when, where and why. If your content can answer all five of those questions, you’re well on your way!
Lay out your content logically
If we dip back into the world of journalism for a second, think of the “inverted pyramid” style of your typical news article. Your catchy, attention-grabbing headline should be right at the top of the site, followed by your “lede” or the sentence that hooks the reader. Start with a short paragraph or two about you or your business. Aim to provide the most important information to your visitors first and then add in other sections with supporting (or more detailed) info as your users work their way down through the site.
To help with getting around your site, most web building platforms will let you add a custom navigation menu (that usually appears at the top of your page) so visitors can click and cut straight to other pieces of content, such as your “about us” section, “testimonials” or contact info.
Speaking of content… let’s cover some of the more common elements that you may want to incorporate into your one-page site.
About me/us section: this is your big chance to add a human touch to your site while telling the world what you or your business is all about. Just don’t get too long-winded, as space is at a premium. Try to hit the high notes and focus on what’s most compelling or exciting to your customer. Does your artisan pizza parlour only use freshly made dough using dear old Nonna’s recipe? Is your record shop the only one that offers rare, imported West African funk singles? Those are just a couple examples of good fodder for an “about us” section.
Testimonials: you may be able to spin a good yarn about your site, but what does the wider public think? Adding strong testimonial quotes or reviews can help boost your credibility and make customers more likely to purchase your product or get in touch.
Products and services: here, you can provide quick, snappy descriptions of the products you’re selling or the services you offer. If you’re a restaurant, this is a great place to pop in a menu or two! Overall, the intent is to give customers a good sense of your business and what they can expect without getting into exhaustive detail.
Call to action: be sure to anchor your one-page website with a strong, clear call-to-action (CTA). What makes a good CTA? Here are a few quick pointers:
Ask your visitor to do one thing next—i.e., download the app, make a reservation, subscribe for more info, etc.
Have your CTA stand out clearly from the rest of your content, whether that’s via a button or a separate container or block.
Put the CTA button or block within the visitor’s view—ideally near or at the top of the page so that it’s immediately accessible without too much scrolling.
Contact info: another important component should be your contact info. Place any social media links, phone numbers, email, or physical addresses within their own separate content block. Be sure also not to bury that precious content info at the very bottom of your site!
Enhance your site with multimedia content
As much as you might appreciate the beauty of the written word, we’re largely visual creatures by nature. So, it’s even more important you up your site design (and break up chunks of text) with well-chosen imagery and video that helps tell or add more dimension to your story. Depending on your chosen builder tool, you may have the option to embed some slick-looking video or photo galleries or serve up external links.
One of the first things you’ll see upon loading a site is the background. Think of an image that’s relevant to you, your product, or the service you’re offering. Try to pick something that’s not too busy or cluttered so as not to detract from your content.
Many one-page templates also contain spots for “hero images.” This is the main, banner image typically found at the top of your page. For the best possible look and feel, use full-width images (so that they don’t look stretched or distorted) and add a text overlay about your brand or service. If you have a good, high-resolution logo, the hero image can be a great place for it. Just make your logo stands out clearly (and proudly) from the background.
If you’re thinking of using an animated background for that extra wow factor — just be aware that animations may not load properly and can bring your site’s performance to a crawl.
In terms of your font selections, remember that less is more, and readability is key. Comic Sans is also a crime against decency. Pick fonts and font colours that will work with your background and be eye-catching regardless of the screen, be it desktop, tablet, or phone.
Finally—once you’re happy and confident with the layout of your one-page website, hit publish and share it with the world!
Quick questions and answers
Is a one-page website right for me?
That depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. We will say that one-page websites can be a great way to tell a simple, direct story about your product or service and encourage users to perform a specific task.
How much content should I add to a one-page website?
Keep your content as streamlined and to the point as possible. Ideally, you want your website to capture interest, educate and end with your visitors making an informed decision.
Do one-page websites work well on mobile?
Yes! Viewing all the sections on a one-page site only requires you to scroll, which should be second nature for mobile users. And because they’re thinner on content, one-page sites tend to load fast.
Are one-page websites easier to create?
If you’re short on time, one-page websites can be much easier to both build and update/maintain. Though, you’ll want to put some thought and care into how your content is arranged on the page.