Love at first one-page site

January 20, 2013
Victor Hugo quote from Les Miserables

Is love at first sight possible? The skeptic in me says it’s probably not. But what about love at first site? My SEO-driven mind tells me no, but it seems my heart has fallen hard for one-page websites. Yes, I realize it’s an ongoing design fad. But there are some really well-done scrollable one-page websites telling great stories. And I do love a good story.

Beauty of it all

The fun part is, with a beautiful design, many of these sites encourage exploration, making the page more engaging while teaching you something new at the same time. It sparks interest without giving away too much information that might confuse or intimidate the reader. You experience emotion, thrills, surprises – the same things resulting from a well-written novel.

Technicalities of one-page websites

While one-page websites are great promotional vehicles, it’s probably not your best option if your main objective is SEO. Websites with multiple pages afford more opportunities to rank for different keywords as many pages are indexed rather than just one. It’s also important to keep in mind a pretty site doesn’t always mean visitors will convert. Consider your objectives, plan your site accordingly and test, test, test!

Now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way, here are some of my favorite one-page websites:

Wedding invitation folly

I’m a far cry from a romantic, but, I must say, engaged couples are telling incredible stories by way of a one-page website. The linear story of Jess and Russ sets the bar high. Their website encourages you to learn more about a  couple you’ve never even met with interesting artwork and a parallax scrolling effect. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see where the story took the three of us next. The best part is the art found on the site is designed with love by their friends.

Educational tale of fracking

Living in Pennsylvania, it’s hard to escape all the discussion about the fracking in northern counties. When the topic comes up, I’m surprised to find how little people actually know about what is happening in their own state. You almost forget you’re learning about the perils of hydraulic fracturing, when scrolling through this beautifully designed one-page website. It visually explains the basics of fracking, including the resources used and byproducts created by the controversial process. It certainly makes me contemplate all the angles of fracking.

Vehicular adventures around the world

While contemplating how an international company could tell a story about its product, I stumbled on this site for Cadillac ATS. By using beautiful imagery from four different locations, this landing page functions as a discovery portal and is a bit different compared to most other one-page websites. You can travel to each one of the interesting locations by clicking and then scrolling. Offering up videos and engaging statistics about the car’s performance, the website tells of a worldwide trek made much more enjoyable in a Cadillac ATS.

A statistical approach sent out personalized emails to blog owners detailing how their blogs performed in 2012. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that it was all encapsulated in a one-page website. Each post on my blog is represented by a rocket powered by HTML5 and later made available as a jQuery plugin on GitHub. Pretty cool, right? MailChimp did something very similar to share its 2012 annual report.

Are you new to one-page websites or has your one-page love blossomed into a full-on romance too? Maybe you’ve even designed your own? I’d love to hear what you think!

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