Flash or no Flash that is the question.

As I sit in the install bay at Best Buy with my laptop waiting to have a new car stereo installed I am thinking about my day today planning a dynamic flash presentation for Canditto. I am also thinking about the question I received from a friend of mine just last night asking me if I can build a flash website and what would I charge. The answer is yes I can build a full flash site, but would I recommend it, no.

Why no flash web site?

Well for one huge reason, they are terrible for search engine optimization. Sure you can make all your graphics, navigation, and whatever else you can think of move, fade and look really cool, but what good does all that do you if no one can find you business and services? Flash is a great design tool that provides layered design and animation functionality that you just can’t accomplish with normal HTML, CSS, and Javascript. There is new information out there that supports the claim that Flash is no longer the burden on search engine optimization that it once was. Also if you are looking for some additional information on how you can optimize your flash document check out this article from www.adobe.com.

Here’s the point.

Flash is a great tool for web designers, but it should only be used for accomplishing goals that can’t be completed using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Any opportunity you have to put more of your content up online that is searchable and changes regularly you should. The name of the game is content, it always has been and it always will be. The more accessible you can keep that content to all of your users the better off your company and your website will be from a traffic and optimization prospective. Just follow these simple rules when planning your next web site with your customer or client and you will be able to still deliver something dynamic and interesting while remaining accessible and readable to search engines.

Because at the end of the day the goal is to make it easy for businesses to find your business, and to interact with it. If you have had any experiences with building flash websites successes or struggles I would love to hear about it and discuss it. Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below.

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12 Responses to “Flash or no Flash that is the question.”

  1. Jack Thompson January 9, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    What a dramatic story about seo. I’m frankly very dumbfounded that this hasn’t really been said before to such an extent.

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  5. Shanice Cataldi March 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

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  7. Rudy Niswander April 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Awesome post, I’m a big fan of this blog, keep up the good work, and I will be a regular for a very long time.

  8. Wen Gibeau May 2, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    @alex i see now you are totally wrong because this youtube vid shows it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwnKZ7NpKTc

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  10. Bryan Green October 23, 2010 at 1:00 am #

    Hi Matt, good article… The first version of my website was entirely done in flash, with exception of a html intro page. My SEO results were terrible, but I loved the look and feel of my flash site. To make a long story short, I came to the realization that SEO was more important then look and feel… so, my site is now powered by wordpress with a nice theme = zero flash. Looking back over the past few months, I’m much much happier with the results.

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  11. Matthew Nelson October 23, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Thanks for the great comment Bryan. While I do agree with you that SEO is of the utmost importance, I don’t think it has to have an adverse effect on the look and feel of your website. There are tons of really interesting and dynamic ways to make your website look and function awesome using JQuery. I practically have zero use for flash these days, because anything I used to use it for I can now accomplish with SEO compliant HTML, CSS and a little bit of JQuery.

  12. Bryan Green October 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    100% Agreed!

    I definitely should have mentioned that, jQuery is amazing. My new site utilizes this technology extensively and I’ve found it has a very Flash-like look and feel. As you mentioned, combine jQuery with some quality CSS and compliant HTML and the potential is nearly unlimited.

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