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Does Flash Work in a Business Web Site?

By Virginia Lawrence

When a client asks for a new Web site done completely in Flash, I tell him that we can do anything he wants. However, I also tell the client that there are problems involved in creating a Web site entirely in Flash. For marketing reasons, I recommend only using small areas of Flash to add a bit of pizzazz without slowing down the site.

The most important question is what we want the site to do for our business and how we plan to make that happen. We must keep our site goal in mind during site development.

Sites made up completely of Flash have limitations.

An all-Flash site can make it impossible for visitors to bookmark an interior page, and we have a hard time linking an ad to the most relevant page in a completely Flash site.

It’s very difficult to optimize an all-Flash site, decreasing the chances of the search engines listing the site high up in the search engine rankings.

Flash sites always take longer to come up than html sites. We have only 15-20 seconds to grab the interest of the arriving visitor. If that 20 seconds is taken up with the "Flash Loading" message, a large percentage of visitors will leave immediately, well before the full site actually appears.

We know that visitors arrive with one thought: "What can this site do for me?" If the site makes the visitor wait or shows an irrelevant page, visitors click away to find a faster site.

Yes, some big corporations have created completely Flash Web sites. How come they can use all Flash, but we cannot? Well-known company sites have more creative freedom than an unknown site for two reasons:

  1. The search engines know the big name companies, so those companies rank well for at least their corporate name.
  2. People who want to visit a big name company will wait for a Flash site to appear, because the visitors know that they really want to be at that specific site.

Small business/small publisher sites are playing in a completely different league. If the visitor does not yet know whether our site can do anything for him, he must land on a well-focused first page. He must immediately see exactly what our site has to offer. If a small amount of Flash helps us to capture the visitor’s interest, then the Flash belongs in the site. Let’s keep the goal of our site in mind and make sure that every site visitor can arrive at a page that tells him exactly what we can do for him!

—© 2005 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is a professional Web Developer and Online Marketing Consultant. She routinely places client sites on the first page of a Google search. Contact her at virginia@spawn.org or visit her Web site at http://www.cognitext.com.

 

 

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