There are some huge problems with websites built entirely with Flash. As a website owner, you need to know about them before you choose a service providing all Flash based websites because it has serious implications.

Flash is Popular

Flash is a very popular tool for web designers and for website owners. The main reason because with Flash it is relatively easy to build great looking websites with slickly moving components. Designers like that they have to learn one system to give their sites consistency across platforms. Since most internet users have Adobe’s Flash Player installed on their computers, these websites will look the same across most platforms.

From the site owner perspective, their sites look great. And that’s the most important feature of a website, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, these great looking Flash websites come with a pretty big downside.

Search Engines and Flash

Binary CodeWebsites built entirely in Flash are in effect online movies. And the truth is videos and images are very difficult for search engines to index effectively.

Search engines index text. Even YouTube, which is the second largest search engine in the world by the way, needs descriptive text, tags and other text based content to know what’s inside all of the videos

That means Flash content is virtually invisible to the search engines. Even though a Flash site displays text, because that text is inside the flash element, the search engines unfortunately can’t see it.

Work Arounds

In order to overcome this problem, Flash based websites need to come up with ways to show text to the search engines. Often they have a text based version of the website that the search engines can see, basically a website within the website.

Sometimes they’ll call this the “mobile version” of their websites, which helps with another challenge Flash has. Because Flash is effectively a video, Flash elements tend to be relatively large files to download. It’s not a big deal on a high speed internet connection. But with visitors on mobile browsers these larger files can take much longer to load.

(Oh, and then there’s the fact that iPhones and iPads – some of the most popular mobile platforms out there – don’t play Flash at all. See Apple’s Thoughts on Flash.)

Ultimately it takes some pretty advanced technical skills to effectively use the work arounds that it takes to get Flash websites to even show up in search engines, much less compete well against other platforms for the same keywords.

Decision Point

As a website owner you should be aware of the trade off that comes with Flash Based websites. Which is more important to you?

Flash SEO DecisionIs your priority really smooth flowing animated transitions that look great?

Or is it more important that you reach as large an audience as possible with your website so that you draw new people in to your organization that you might not connect with any other way?

The decision you are faced with is whether you want your website to just be an online brochure that you can tell people to go take a look at or, instead, a means to communicate effectively with a larger potential audience.

The WordPress Advantage

When it comes to SEO, WordPress is a much more effective platform than Flash. WordPress is naturally structured in such a way that WordPress websites naturally rank well in search engines. On top of that there are plenty of free plugins and premium themes that can effectively supercharge your WordPress SEO without adding any extra burden on you as a web publisher.

So not only can your WordPress website look great, but it is a true web publishing platform. It gives you a means to effectively communicate with a larger audience to get your message out and reach more people.

And you can even incorporate Flash elements into your WordPress site to give it a little extra visual appeal too!

There is no need to worry about growing tired of your website design if you are using WordPress either. That’s because with WordPress site design, the look and layout of the content, is independent of the content itself. Any time you want to change to a new design it’s as easy as a few mouse clicks. And your content stays intact when you change.

Ultimately, with the technology we have available today in platforms such as WordPress there is no reason to put your organization at a disadvantage of having just an online brochure for your website, especially when you can easily have the full power of a full blown web publishing platform at your fingertips.


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