Occasionally we get an inquiry about a new website where the client-to-be asks, “How many pages do I get?” The short answer is that the internet is limitless; you can have a hundred pages or more if you want. However many pages it takes to tell your story well, that’s how many pages you’ll get. We look at website builds as a complete project, rather than pricing out pages ala carte.
But every once in a while we get a request for a single-page website. Maybe the “story” is simply that short and sweet—there’s no need to go on and on for 3-5 pages without more to say. Sometimes the perception is that a single-page site is less expensive, so the person is trying to keep costs in check. The trick lies in determining whether or not a single-page site will really meet your needs.
The best way to determine how many pages your site needs is to think about the information you’re trying to convey, and how you want your visitors to get there. For someone like motivational speaker Lesley King, her message is pretty simple. She offers her services as a public speaker, a lot of people enjoy what she has to say, and you (the visitor) should hire her. A single-page website fits the bill perfectly—there’s just enough space to give a bit of information about her background, and a fly-out contact form keeps everything easily within reach.
Meanwhile, the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield has a lot of information on their website. Not only is it a major communications piece for dozens of parishes throughout Illinois, but it also connects local churches with events happening at both the national and global level. Various ministries and committees share information about upcoming events, quarterly print newsletters are archived online, and the bishop runs a blog which he adds to on a daily basis. There’s much more to tell than could ever be accomplished cleanly with a single-page website.
So what will work for you? When thinking about building or redesigning a website, take the time to think about the message you’re trying to convey and how you want that message received. Then let the website unfold as the story dictates; don’t over-explain, but give yourself and your message the breathing room it needs to get the attention it deserves.