When I started my freelance copywriting business, I hung up my online shingle—a multi-page Squarespace site I threw together in two hours—and never touched it again.
The platform matters less than that my site had meh copy and a less-than-ideal user experience. Embarrassing as it is to admit, I gave people no reason to hire me, if they were judging by my website alone.
As a professional copywriter, I knew better. But you know what they say about the cobbler’s children having no shoes.
Thanks to a strong professional network, word got out about my business. It wasn’t long before I found myself overwhelmed with work. Good problem to have, right? Too often, though, it was work that didn’t align with the goals I had for my business over the long haul.
Without a focused web experience, I didn’t have an opportunity to proactively put myself out there in a way that would resonate with the right people—and deter the wrong ones.
I knew my website could and should do this for me. And even though I could come up with the right words for my home page, I was stuck on how to handle the rest of the site. So I didn’t bother. For, like, two years.
It was silly, I know. I felt bad whenever I shared my professional URL. But I also know this from writing for dozens of other entrepreneurs: we all tend to focus intensely on our product or service and leave the marketing until later. We think that if we can just nail our offering, it will sell itself.
But here’s the thing. It won’t.
Sure, I was busy and making money. But that busy-ness was not always the kind of business I wanted.
It’s crucial for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small businesses of all stripes to nail our online message. We must communicate in a way that resonates with the people we most want to work with and gets them to take the next step with us.
I give my clients this advice all the time: Keep your web copy simple and to the point. Make it easy for people to find what they need.
For most smaller businesses, single-page websites are a better path to simplicity than multi-page sites, which can overwhelm visitors with too many options.
I know what you’re thinking. “Single-page websites are for artist portfolios or entrepreneurs who don’t have any clients yet.” (At least, that’s what I thought at first.)
I thought a serious business website needed multiple pages, including a homepage telling people how awesome and talented I am, links to as many service pages as I could dream up, an About page explaining why people should hire me to write for them, and on and on.
I kept on thinking that way, doing nothing about my website, until I began working with Teresa and Brian of A Fearless Venture, writing copy for their single-page websites.
Most small business websites overwhelm or bore visitors. That much I did know. They talk too much about themselves, and not enough about what their prospective customers care about. Consequently, they don’t convert visitors into paying customers.
A one-page site alone won’t solve all these problems. But, as I quickly saw, it is a more natural place to start.Today, my website is just one page long, with nothing but a contact form at the bottom. And guess what? My web traffic has never been better.
What is a single-page website, anyway?
Content on single-page websites loads all at once on a single page (obviously), creating a much more fluid user experience. Think about walking through a museum exhibit dedicated to the subject you’re interested in, rather than navigating the entire Smithsonian to find it first.
Of course, some people don’t want the full user experience. They want to skip straight to your contact form, portfolio, or—even better—your checkout page. That’s why you’ll still see a navigation bar on a well-designed single-page website.
Visitors who know exactly what they’re looking for can skip ahead, but they’ll skip to different sections of a single page. More patient visitors can simply scroll through and engage in the journey you’ve designed for them.
For all the effort we entrepreneurs put into our web assets—logo, design, colors, fonts, and all the rest—here’s the big secret: at the end of the day, user experience is all that matters.
You could have the best logo in the whole wide world, but if people can’t find what they need on your website, you’re toast. So when I decided to get serious about my website, I started by asking professional web designers (Teresa and Brian, of course) to help me get the essentials right.
Here are the top 5 reasons I switched to a single-page website for my business—and why I think you should, too.
#1: Single-page websites are more user-friendly
One of the biggest selling points for single-page websites is that they couldn’t be easier to navigate. You simply scroll down the page and get a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Every small business has a story to tell, and the linear experience of single-page design helps users stay focused on that story. You don’t want anyone veering too far away from the path before they learn what’s wonderful and unique about you.
One-page web design is perfect for sites like mine that ultimately have a single purpose: conversion. I want to take visitors through the process of understanding how I can help them, showing them what I can do, and finally enabling them to contact me—all without confusing or boring them.
Single-page sites also replace clicking with scrolling, which many users prefer. Giving people what they want makes it more likely they’ll stay engaged with your site.
#2: Better conversion rates
Testing has shown that a single long-form page converts better than a multi-page site (around 37.5% better, to be exact). That’s because users engage with the process sooner and proceed through the user journey more quickly.
And no matter how you slice it, a better user experience is directly linked to higher conversions. Whether your website exists to generate leads, sell a product or service, or simply build a mailing list, conversions are your ultimate goal. A conversion is the moment when someone decides that they want to keep engaging with your business in some way.
Because single-page websites tell a story so effectively, they also boost your chances of a user taking whatever action you’re asking of them: entering their email address, clicking a button to learn more, or adding an item to their cart.
There aren’t any distractions or tangents to get them sidetracked. They won’t accidentally click over to a different page and forget what they were doing ten seconds before. They won’t get frustrated by a slow-loading page after they decide they do want to hear more from you.
They won’t have the chance. Not when everything is right there on a single page.
#3: You’ll save time and money
Because single-page websites are simpler than multi-page websites, they’re also easier and less expensive to build and maintain.
The logic is pretty straightforward: building a single-page website takes a developer less time than building a multi-page website. They can do the job faster—and cheaper—when they’re just working on one page.
The same is true for you as the website owner, too. Whether you pay someone to manage your site or DIY it, you’re going to invest either time or money. Single-page sites cost less.
Imagine that you change your company branding with different colors, fonts, images, language—the works. Implementing changes like this on one page takes far less time than doing it on dozens of pages.
Plus, less coding means fewer potential bugs, which helps save even more time and money on long-term site care.
#4: They’re great for mobile
Single-page websites are made for mobile. People are more comfortable scrolling on mobile than clicking. Plus, it’s easier to implement responsive design on a single-page site than on multiple pages.
On multi-page websites, navigation can be tricky – especially with complex content requiring multi-level menus. It’s difficult to test on every page, for every screen size. Plus, there’s just more stuff to fit on every screen.
With only one well-designed page, there’s no need for big, hairy navigation menus.
With any site design (or redesign), a good designer will work with you to plan out optimal content and flow. With single-page sites, it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there.
#5: They’re beautiful
Maybe it doesn’t sound all that compelling to say that single-page websites “look cool,” but what the hell. They do look cool.
There’s something I inherently love about various design elements moving in and out of sight as I scroll, showing me just what I need to see at any given time.
Build the right website for your business
Designers and copywriters love single-page sites because they’re a seamless way to tell a story without requiring people to click around to find what they’re looking for.
Visitors love them too, because there’s no need to navigate from page to page or wait for anything to load—you can find what you need in just seconds.
But single-page websites aren’t the best option for everybody.
E-commerce platforms and other businesses that sell a variety of products do better with multi-page sites. Other, more complex businesses can benefit from a healthy dose of site hierarchy.
Wondering if a single-page website is right for you? Don’t do what I did. Ask an expert for advice and create a compelling, high-conversion website the first time around.
Although single-page design makes a site less complex to build, working with an expert designer and skilled copywriter (hello!) ensures that every element in it works for you, hooking and keeping visitors’ attention. Fortunately, the compact format means that a little pro help goes a long way.
I got the expertise I needed without a big budget or lengthy timeline. Together, we transformed my all-over-the-place multi-page site into a simple, elegant web presence offering everything my future clients want.
I may be biased, but I believe most people would benefit from this simpler, more professional approach.
Get in touch with Teresa and Brian to find out whether a single-page site is right for you.
If you’re curious, check out other one-page websites we’ve collaborated on to get a sneak peek of the general look and feel.
If you have questions for me, drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them!