If you have been an avid user of social media, you would have noticed that sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter share one characteristic in common: you can scroll down and down while not ever reaching the page bottom. For the last few years, pageless design, one page website, or infinite scrolling, has been gaining population. However, based on your line of business, pageless design can house certain pros and cons which potentially make or break your website building effort.
Disclaimer: We don’t take into account social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter because infinite scrolling for these sites is acceptable (and actually loved by their users). They truly serve the purpose of pageless design, as there is definitely a bottomless amount of information.
So, what is pageless design anyway?
This is one easy question that has been asked and answered many times. The easiest way to understand pageless design is in its infinite scrolling characteristic. That’s correct. You just scroll and scroll without ever reaching an end.
Everything is on one page.
It is like you are reading an infographic.
No footer. No bottom. As ‘pageless’ suggests. However, pageless is only pageless when it comes to social media sites. “Pagesless” for normal websites does not necessarily mean endless; it simply means that the webpage can be (very) long.
Pageless design: the pros
The one page design comes with certain benefits.
A pageless website communicates a story: If we have to choose between an interactive story and an engaging story, our choice will always be the latter. A successful website has to be story-driven.
If planned correctly, each section on that single page signals an act; the whole page is an elaborate story with a beginning and an ending. Amplified by the scroll-oriented attribute, a one pager accommodates a seamless and smooth reading experience. You don’t have to worry about users missing important information either.
Mobile friendly: pageless websites are optimized for mobile devices. If people have to struggle with navigation every time they use the mobile version of a webpage, a simple act of scrolling does not require them to do as much as they are “trained” daily with the usage of social media. While clicking is obviously a choice, scrolling nowadays has become natural.
With less clutter to deal with, users are more engaged in the story that you are trying to convey.
Much often, overlays will be used so that users will not be directed to a new page, thus reduces distraction. This is one important factor when the site is read on mobile devices.
Quicker & get people to understand your business as a whole: it is just overall faster (thus cheaper) to build a one-page website than a website with multiple different pages using different templates. With only one page to represent a business, creativity can go pretty wild via usage of digital features like parallax scrolling, animations, gif. Here are some top web developers for your consideration.
No more clicking around to find the needed information, pageless design creates a logical flow of information that presents itself as users scroll. This is a journey ended with the ever famous CTA button!
Get to the point with focus on key content and messages: your business is successful if you manage to get your brand value across with just a limited amount of content. Tell your story, but get to the point (we don’t need details about the weather when you’re trying to sell a coffee machine). Shorter content performs better at maintaining user engagement. In fact, people even reading between the lines when scrolling a pageless website.
Pageless design: the cons
There are some disadvantages to consider when using pageless design for your website.
Slow load times: longer and heavier onepagers tend to take longer to content to appear as you scroll. Excessive use of videos, images, or parallax can slow your load times greatly, unless you know how to optimize it.
Tricky navigation: going back and forth to the exact section sometimes gets tricky with a pageless design. You can’t simply click back like the traditional multipagers. This is especially true if you are running an ecommerce store where the ability to jump, select, and sort are must-haves for users.
One focus, one goal: a pageless design usually puts their focus on a single product or service. Expanding to a new realm may confuse users: you don’t suddenly sell shoes when your main products are food related.
Inefficient search: unlike traditional websites in which you are able to search for certain content, search bar in onepagers is almost non-existent. After all, what else you are searching for when the whole website is contained in several scrolls?
The 1 URL problem: Much often, each onepager has 1 single URL for the whole site. What if I want to share their offered products only? I will probably share that 1 single URL, and expect other people who care enough to scroll until they reach the meaning destination.
This also leads to analysis problems when you want to use Google Analytics. With 1 URL, you will only be able to see the number of visitors and time spent on site.
Pageless design: the in-betweens
There are split ideas when it comes to SEO for pageless website: it is either bad for SEO, or “if it works for you and for users to have… on one page… it should work for Google as well.” (Google’s Matt Cutts)
Some factors affecting SEO for a website are time on site, bounce rate, pages viewed per session, content, URLs, etc.
- Time on site: when you get people to scroll to read your content, time on site for a pageless website is definitely on the better side. Exciting animations keep people attention.
- Bounce rate: very much likely that website owners will start panicking, because when everything is in a one-pager, the bounce rate can be high. Sky high even. However, it’s not always a bad thing, if your goal is to get people to just read that one page of your site (which is what your website is).
- Content: it’s a common knowledge that Google loves (good) content. There is always a question about how much you can fit in a pageless website. The answer is not much: because you need to keep people’s attention. You can rank for main keywords (with thorough research), but not long-tail ones.
- URL: when everything you need your users to see in included in one page, that’s one single URL.
However, SEO for a single-page websites is not impossible, according to SEO experts. Here are some solid tips on how to make way for those spiders to crawl your site:
- Keyword research: the number one factor for any SEO project. Pay extra attention, because unlike regular webpages when you can have a whole different URL for a single campaign or product, you now have only one page. Be thorough and choose the right
- Pagination: Googlebots love the traditional multipage format, you can absolutely multi-page your onepager without adding blog pages. Giving a clear structure on where your introduction, product features, reviews, etc. are. Treat each section like it is a single URL with its own headings, alt-tags, and content (that’s right, you can use several H1: one H1 for each section).
- Multi-page it up using <div> and anchor links: imagine you have a page with a regular homepage, product page, review page, and contact page.
Create anchor link for the homepage section:
- Link building: is still working. Now that you have separate anchor link for each individual section, you can use this link to promote sections of your page. A typical HTML when linking your example product page to another site look like this:
- Keep it fresh: content freshness is what helps you achieve higher ranking. Add Twiiter/Facebook/Instagram feed and update your portfolio are some of the easiest ways.
- Set your Google Analytics: when you truly have only a onepager, and need your users to read only that page, bounce rate can to be as high as 100%. This can be fixed by setting up a timeout in Google Analytics to determine that a user is not a bounce when he has spent x minutes on your site.
Pageless design is deemed not suitable for e-commerce, especially if they are webstores with a large list of product categories that use platforms like Magento, Shopify, or OpenCart. However, there are a big number of businesses who are now using a combination of pageless and multipage design for their websites like Apple or Nespresso. Consider carefully the pros and cons of pageless design to your business needs before using any top web development services for your desired landing page(s).