Podcast Episode

222 – Should I Have a Full Website or One Page Site?


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

WP-Sweep is a plugin that allows you to clean up unused, orphaned and duplicated data in your WordPress installation.

Full Website or One Page Site

The main difference between the two lies within the structure of information. With any site marketing its goods or services, you’ll want to take the user on a journey, creating a story for them to follow. This is where the single page reaps huge rewards.

A one page website is built by creating a menu at the top of the site and each one of the menu items links to a part of the site further down the page with anchors.

Google’s Matt Cutts had this to say:

It’s going to depend on what your particular area is, what the topic is, and what kind of layout you come out with. But if it works for you and for users to have that all on one page, for the most part, it should work for Google as well.

I took a look at what others have to say about SEO optimizing single-page sites. Common advice includes adding sub-pages or a blog. My only problem with this is it skirts the issue by turning your one page site into a multi-page site. Does this mean you should throw in the towel?

Examples of One Page Sites

Benefits of Full Website

  • More beneficial in terms of SEO
  • No area for blog posts
  • Unlimited amounts of information
  • Navigation can be tricky to get a visitor to the correct page
  • Best for bloggers / ecommerce stores / technical sites

Benefits of One Page Website

  • Visitor can easily read the ‘story’ of your website
  • All sharing can link back to the main page
  • Higher conversions because of fewer steps, which lowers opportunities for customers / prospects to change their mind
  • Single page sites promote simplicity and demand concise content
  • Great for conferences or events, resumes, personal branding sites

Call To Action

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Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

Hello everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler. I’m so excited to be here with you today because I’ve got another great show all in store for you today. It’s something that’s kind of a newer trend I’ve been across the internet and it’s these one-page websites that when you scroll all the way from top to bottom you see the entire website. We’re gonna get to that in just a few minutes, but first I have a few announcements that I want to share with you. The first one is I want to apologize for last week and potentially a handful of extra downloads that you got of Your Website Engineer Podcast.
When I launched my new website last week I tested everything that had to do with the site. I tested it on mobile, I tested it on tablet, I tested, tested, tested. I didn’t ever once think about testing the RSS feed and how that worked. When I switched from a PowerPress plugin to a Smart Passive Podcast Player plugin, like, everything kind of went haywire and wonky and that’s why for all of last week there was only a handful of episodes that were available to download. Now you should be able to back in and download the entire history, the entire library of the Your Website Engineer Podcast all the way back to Episode No. 1.
I believe it’s all set up properly, so you can go ahead and do that and I apologize if you did get extra downloads and it’s clogging up your feed. You should be able to download – or, you should be able to unsubscribe and then re-subscribe and then everything should be good. In my experience, I only got a couple extra downloads last week and then this week everything looked to be pretty good, and so we should be back on store for only one episode per week for the rest of time, I guess, or until I decide that I’m tired of WordPress, which will probably be never. Okay, up next I want to share about the webinar that’s happening this Friday. It’s happening at 10:00 a.m. EST.
It’s going to be kind of highlighting and talking through the different reasons to install Jetpack on every WordPress site, why you should always be using Jetpack, some of the benefits, some of the advantages of using it, how it can help your site, all of those types of things. So, that’s March 6 at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can register over at YourWebsiteEngineer.com/webinar. All right, let’s see what else here in the news? Big news came out this week that there is an official Twitter plugin for WordPress. You can embed Twitter content and grow your audience on Twitter, and so that one was released – actually, the author is Twitter, so that was big news that came out this week, so if you’re interested you can head on over to WordPress.org/plugin/Twitter and there’s a link in the show notes for Episode No. 222.
Another thing that is out there in the news this week is Matt Mullenweg made the announcement that Bitcoin was only used twice per week within 2014 and so we’re kind of discontinuing it over at WordPress.com. Basically, he said that they supported Bitcoin for philosophical reasons, not commercial ones, so since it’s not being used very often they’re going to just go ahead and pull it and not use it anymore. So, bummer on that front, and then lastly there is – there were some updates that happened in the WordPress repository this past week. It actually happened over the weekend, and now the number of downloads area where we always used to look to see how many plugins, you know, how good a plugin was, you know, it used to say, like, 700,000 downloads or whatever.
Now it says active installs and it gives an estimation of how many active sites this plugin is being used on, which is good and kind of bad. A small little plugin like mine now shows that it’s about 40 people have installed the plugin instead of 800 downloads. I mean, the downloads are still good, and the download number actually counts how many point releases as well so that’s another reason that it gives a more accurate information, a more accurate number. You can still go and you can still look and find the actual number of downloads in the stats area. There’s a new thing called stats, there’s just a tab called stats and you can find it at WordPress.org/plugins/the plugin name/stats.
And the stats are pretty cool because it still breaks down how many downloads are happening per day, the history, the all-time, but it also shows how many people are using different versions of WordPress, which is pretty cool. So, for Jetpack, for example, you can see that there’s about, oh, maybe, I guess – oh, you can actually hover over each – it’s a bar graph, you can hover over each one and there’s 39.4 percent of people are using the newest version which is 3.3 and then there are 7.7 percent of people using 3.2, 10.5 percent using 3.1 and so on, so you can get a lot more accurate stats when it comes to seeing, okay, is this plugin used, how many people are using the newest version, things along those lines.
So, it’s not as easy as when you first get to the plugin home page, but when you do click on the stats tab you can go ahead and see a lot more information. That was really cool and it kind of struck me off-guard as I was looking for the plugin of the week. And the plugin for this week is actually called WP-Sweep, and it is a plugin that allows you to clean up your WordPress database. You can get rid of unused, orphaned, or duplicated data in your WordPress database, and it’s got some really neat features. It’s a new plugin and it has 300 plus active installs, and so it looks really cool. I was going to, before I recorded this episode, I just ran out of time, I was actually install it and fix my website that I just launched.
Remember I was saying that one of the pages that had the post revisions I had over 100 post revisions on my resources page. I was gonna see if it just knocked that out completely. It’s being actively developed. The developer has knocked out four bugs that have come up in the last couple weeks, so it’s really pretty cool. The author is Lester Chan; he’s got 24 other plugins in the repository, so this one’s pretty cool. It looks like he’s going to building in an ability to go in and set up a WP-Sweep on a cron job so it can go regularly so you can have your site be swept once a week, once a month, or something like that. That looks to be in the future development stages, so that is WP-Sweep and you can find that at WordPress.org/plugins/WP-Sweep, and of course it will be in the show notes as well.
All righty, so today I got a good question in this past week from Michael and he was asking about, wondering what the difference was, how he should build this new website that he’s working on, whether it should be a one-page site or it should be a multi-page WordPress site. So, I thought I haven’t talked about this in a while and I wonder what my thoughts are. So, I sat down this morning, I wrote it out, and kind of figured out some of the benefits that I see, some of the negative things for each side and I just wanted to just kind of bring that as a show today. Now, if you’re not familiar with a one-page website, the main difference between the two is with the structure of information.
With any marketing site – I mean, with any website you’re basically marketing your goods or service, yourself, like, if it’s a resume site or whatever, and you want to take a user on a journey. You’re creating a story for them to follow, and this is where the single page site is really, really beneficial. So, a single-page site is basically, it’s got a menu across the top and then it’s got all the information presented in a vertical alignment, so as you scroll down the page you basically are moving from page to page. I’m saying pages in quotes when it’s not really different pages. The menu items across the top are basically anchor links that are just jumping you down to different div sections within your website, and so basically you can have one that like, you can have one at the top that says, like, home, about, me, whatever it is.
Let me just pull one up here so I can talk through one. One of the cool ones that I’ve seen recently is PodcastSanDiego.com. As a podcaster I’m always interested in other podcasting things and so this one has – it’s a one-page website and it has their logo at the top left and then it says home, what, speakers, buy tickets, when, where, contact, and so all I have to do is start scrolling down the page. The menu stays in place, the menu’s always right there, and then as I scroll down then the menu goes from home to the what and it gives us all the information about the what, what is this event. As I continue to scroll down it shows the speakers and the speaker menu is highlighted at the top. If I keep scrolling it says, okay, this is where I can buy tickets.
If I keep scrolling then I can see when it is, I can see the sponsor, I can see where it is, I can see the contact page. So, it’s all on one page. It’s top to bottom and you just scroll top and bottom. It’s really nice and I think it’s a perfect way for Podcast San Diego to actually set up a website because it’s not a website where they have a blog, you know, it’s just highlighting a one-day event that’s, I think, a $200.00 event or something. It’s not – oh, it’s actually a $79.00 event, so it’s not that it’s this huge, huge marketing thing, like New Media Expo or Social Media Marketing World that’s like these huge conferences that lots of people are coming to. It’s a small little thing that most people are travelling from – or, most people will be in the San Diego area or live in the San Diego area.
So, I think it’s perfect for that. Let’s see, what else do I have on my list of one-page websites? So, the visitor can easily read the story. I come to Podcast San Diego and I look at their website and I’m like, oh, Podcast San Diego, I wonder what it is? As I scroll I just see. It’s kind of all intuitive. It just kind of scrolls from one section to another and you don’t actually realize that you’re on the different sections of the website. This one is nice because it’s got the menu that kind of overlays your website; it stays right at the top and it switches so you can see. Not all one-page websites do that. They just stick the menu at the top and you just scroll top to bottom and you can see all the information on your site. Another good thing about having a one-page site is all of the sharing links can go back to one page.
Like, you don’t have to remember exactly where to send somebody. You can always say, oh, go to PodcastSanDiego.com or whatever your website is. You can if you want to, if you wanted to you could go to – if you wanted to send them to the contact form, depending on how the theme is built and generated, it could be like PodcastSanDiego.com/# and then contact. That could work as well if you wanted to link them to a specific area on a page, but it’s kind of nice that you can share this and you can easily off the top of your head, like, oh just go to this page; this is where you can get extra – you can drive all your traffic to one place. Now, let’s see, that’s another good thing; that’s a benefit of a one-page website.
Also, another thing is there’s usually higher conversions and there’s been some studies on this, but it looks like more people will sign up, take advantage of, purchase tickets, whatever the website is asking you to do because of the fact that there’s fewer steps, which allows for fewer opportunities for customers to change their mind, to get distracted with other things. Remember the last time you went to a website and maybe the call to action was in the left column but all of a sudden you got distracted by what’s on the right-hand column. Maybe you read another post, or you saw a social update or something like that and you’ve clicked away and now you’re doing something else. Normally, with the one-page websites they’re normally responsive, full-width, they don’t have sidebars, you know, it’s just straight content, it is straight right there.
Now, with saying that, one-page websites can be very difficult to create because they promote simplicity and they demand that the content be concise. So you have to be very careful with what you’re displaying. You don’t want to have pages and pages of information because people won’t scroll, they won’t make it to those other areas of the site. You may only have a few hundred words on the entire site; it may be a lot of images. There may be a lot of other things that aren’t text that’s on your page that just makes it more of a visual type site.
So, that’s another – that’s probably more of a disadvantage of having a one-page site is to make sure that you have very concise content, so that sometimes may take a Copyrighter, it may take a few revisions to get the text just right, you may have to think up a lot of headlines or special tag lines and things like that to kind of fill out the page and break things up into different sections. So, I think a one-page site would be perfect for a conference or event, something that you’re trying to drive people to an event, something along those lines. I think it would be perfect for a resume.
Like, you could use a one-page site template for a resume and then at the top for your menu items you can use experience, work history, skills and abilities, talents, whatever you want to put on a resume you could just make those different sections and then people could scroll and get the right information. This would also be perfect probably for a personal branding site. If you’re just trying to grow your online presence, you want to establish your website just so people can know where they can find you on the web a one-page site probably would be a perfect fit for that as well because you’re sharing information.
Now, if you are – I think a full-page, multi-site website – not a multi-site website, a multi-page website, I think those would be more inclined for bloggers who have lots of information, lots of content. E-commerce stores need to have multiple pages. It would be very difficult to have a store on a one-page site. You could probably sell one product or two, like Podcast San Diego is selling one ticket, you know, that’s pretty easy to do with a one-page site and open it up into PayPal or something like that and take the payment a be done, but if you want to have a shopping cart where people have multiple abilities to add different products, stuff like that, I think that would be good for a full website.
Technical sites that have lots of documentation – basically, if you have lots of content, whether that be some sort of media, like a portfolio, writing samples, website samples, or you know, a technical – anything that has a lot of content, blog posts, podcasts. Like, it wouldn’t be a very good idea to have a podcasting page with all of the podcasts. You could, but – so, there are some benefits to having full-fledged sites. Now, another thing that’s kind of tricky with a full-fledged site is it’s a little bit more difficult to get people to go to the exact page, to follow the journey, to follow the story, so with the one-page site they can scroll and they can see all the information that’s absolutely necessary for them to know right there on one page.
When you have a full website with lots of pages, they’ve got to be able to get from the home page to click into the store, then to get the information from the store they’ve gotta go and put it in their cart and then from the cart they’ve gotta checkout and they’ve gotta do the payment and all of those steps. It takes a lot more steps to get somebody to call to action, to get them to actually do something from your website. So, that’s another thing to think about. Let’s see, what else? You can have unlimited amounts of information, so I said earlier that you can just take your – you don’t have to be real concise. You can put as much information as you want on your site.
Another benefit is that you’re more beneficial in terms of SEO. I did find a quote out there by Matt Cuts who works at Google. He says it’s going to depend on what your particular area is, what topic it is, and what kind of layout you use, but if it works for you and it works for the users to have an all-in-one page for the most part it should work well with Google. So, basically, he’s saying you’re not gonna get penalized SEO wise for only having one page on your website versus lots and lots of pages, but on the other hand when you have lots of pages you have that ability to uniquely craft each individual post and page to have the right SEO and things along those lines.
I’m not an SEO expert, of course, and that’s what I found. I thought it was interesting that you’re not gonna get dinged in any way, shape, or form but you just won’t have the opportunity to submit more and more pieces of content with your search terms and all of those things that build up and make a perfect SEO page and whatnot. So, that’s another benefit of using a full-page website. So, it really depends. Like, I can’t really have an answer for, okay, in this case you always use it, in this case you don’t. All right, so that’s what I wanted to share today about the differences between a one-page website and a full website with lots and lots of pages.
I think in the future we are going to see so many more one-page sites. They’re just really, really helpful, especially with as many people now viewing their websites only on mobile. You know, you’re getting a link from your email that you’re reading on your phone and you’re clicking on it. You just can scroll so much easier; you can see all the information all on one page. You don’t have to navigate to other menus to see what you’re looking for and things like that, so I think the one-page website, we’re gonna see a lot more in the future. Okay, so you may be thinking, Dustin, great, that’s awesome, now how do I create one of these things? I would say the easiest way is to go out and purchase a WordPress One-Page Themes that are out there.
There’s a lot of them that are starting to spring up and pop up around different places, but if you really wanted to get into building one, it’s not any more difficult building a single one-page site that has a menu at the top and then each menu links down to different sections. I think that, and I’ve never done this, but I think that building out a WordPress one-page theme is going to be a little bit more challenging than building out one that is something like I just released on my new website. I think it’s just a matter of doing it and there’s a little bit more complexity on building a page theme. You need to be able to edit everything within the WordPress dashboard, and so that might be a good way to pick one of these things up as a theme and then you can look at it and you can kind of develop and figure out exactly how it’s built and then you can build the next one if you like.
Or, you can just always buy a theme and then customize it and make it exactly what you want it to be. So, those are the things, my thoughts, my ideas of one-page websites. I’m now in mind spinning, okay, how can I use a one-page site? What can I use that for? I don’t know if I ever will or if there will be a case for me to use one, but I’m really interested in doing a simple site for some reason and come up with an excuse to build with and play with one of these one-page websites. They look really cool and I’m just always interested in the latest and greatest thing. All right, well that’s what I wanted to share this week on this week’s show.
As we continue through the month of March I’m so excited to be a part of Word Camp Dayton. If you are interested in coming to Dayton, I can’t promise but I hope there will be no snow in a couple weeks, but it’s March 20 and 21 and so I’m prepping for that, and then I’ve got some more travel in April that I’ll tell you about later. All right, that’s all I’ve got for this week. Take care. Bye-bye.

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