Adobe’s Flash for websites has been all the rage since the mid-2000s. I would guestimate that up to 10-20% of our members are using a flash website of some type.
Why So Popular?
- Mostly because it allowed your designer to create visually extremely compelling websites, that made “plain”, static, old-style HTML websites look bad! And this is true, as far as it goes. Look at the FITC Awards. You most certainly cannot do these things using plain-jane HTML..
- Also because the web design industry heavily promoted it
- for both the right and the wrong reasons:
- web designers do not like to have their creativity stifled. If they can “draw” it, they want to be able to produce it. Flash lets them do that;
- at the same time, it also guaranteed them steady work! Once you commit to a Flash website, you become dependent on your web designer for everything but the simplest updates.
We Don’t Think this is a Good Idea for You
While an impressive Flash website may be a great idea for someone like .. Nike, with the resources to actively maintain & promote their website, if you are a small regional vendor Flash will actually severely limit your ability to market yourself online.
- Computers Cannot Read it; I. Google & Search Engines
Every month or so, Google comes by and “reads” your website. This is 50% of how Google determines your rank: relevancy – the other half is popularity = back-links).
- A standard HTML website is very Google-friendly: text + images (and even images have names and titles), information which any dumb computer can read and classify.
- A Flash website is the exact opposite: just an “opaque” animation file. Even the text on your site is encoded as graphics. So Google has no-idea what you do, what you sell, what your website talks about..
- Computers Cannot Read it; II. Any other Software “Bots”
Here is a good example: Thumbshots.com, the service most web directories (including ours!) use to generate a small preview of you website for our users. Their software can readily generate a small snapshot of your site. But not if you’re using Flash.. because when it “looks” at your site, it sees an animation- no idea which frame of the animation to capture, so it just renders the background. Examples:
- Steve Jobs Hated It
Love him or hate him, Mr Apple himself had some awfully negative opinions about Flash.. so he decreed that Apple products, especially mobile ones, like iPads and iPhones etc would not support it – at all. So the bottom line is iPads Do Not Read Flash. While this is not quite as terrible as the media machine would have you think, it still is a very significant percentage of your users..
- Too Expensive to Maintain & Update
Is cost a concern for you? I bet it is.. Well..
- There are a lot more “regular” web designers out there, than Flash design specialists = they charge less!
- Standard HTML websites are easier & quicker to set up – at least for someone who knows what they’re doing!
- Standard HTML websites are easier & quicker change & update
- In fact, you can qute easily learn how to log-in & update your own website yourself – unless it is built using Flash that is…
- Non-Standard & Inflexible (think social media)
Time flows at Internet-speeds on the web! Since the advent of Flash, the world has changed: there are now a myriad cool, easy, plug-and-play technologies, pluggins & widgets to
- Bring life to your website (like the various jQuery pluggins)
- Allow you to share and push your content virally & socially (Add-It, Share-It, Facebook-it, Tweet-It, Pin-It..)
- Incorporate “outside” content, like your Picasa/Flickr galleries or your Blog’s RSS
- .. the list is endless ..
But all of these things are designed to intergrate seemlessly in HTML code (and now HTLM5) – not in Flash. In fact, if you want the most efficient, cost-effective & flexible platform available, then I have only one word for you : WORDPRESS!