Avoid Flash During Website Creation

Adding Flash to your website can be either an improvement or a destructive practice. Sure, the Flash may help beautify your page, but what is it doing to your SEO? Did you really just help your website or did you set it back a few years?

Why does Flash hurt your website? It’s because of the very reason you optimize your site in the first place, the search engines. The search engines cannot read through a Flash movie as it does a normal webpage with text on it, that is why you may have heard it’s a bad idea to have a site that is completely Flash. It may be a bad idea to use Flash for other elements on your website as well, if you’re not optimizing it properly.

According to an article on Traffick.com by Andrew Gerhart, there are several instances to avoid when placing Flash on your website:

1) Do not use Flash for navigation
2) Refrain from storing your important information in Flash movies
3) Do not use oversized Flash files that take forever to load
4) People still use dial-up, remember they have to wait a long time
4) When adding Flash, do not make your site confusing

Gerhart continues to explain the results of having a website with too much Flash on it:

Loss of customers
Competition wins
Less traffic
Linking opportunities for exposure gone
Pages take too long to load, people leave
Branding possibilities diminished

As depressing as this sounds, especially if you love the idea of using Flash on your site, there is hope! It will take a little more work on your part (or the designer’s), but having an HTML/text version of your website available for people to view, in addition to the Flash version, is always a good idea. You can get away with having some Flash accents here and there on your site without having two different versions, but you have to be conservative with them, especially if you want a lot of traffic coming to you.

Here are a couple ideas:

Animate a logo. Make it a quick to load, small file. When you insert your Flash logo, place it over top of a static image of the logo. This way, if the user has Flash disabled or cannot see it, or it doesn’t load for some reason, they will still be able to see the logo.

Add an intriguing and fun animation. Don’t base anything off of this animation. Perhaps it’s a mascot, or a spinning money symbol. Do not rely on this to be linked to, but it might be a fun addition.

Remember above all (along with everything I just said), to not overcrowd your page. The idea of using Flash is to enhance your website, not detract from it. You want it to be more visually stimulating for your visitor, not a big jumbled mess that causes people to leave because they are too overwhelmed.

Don’t think that you shouldn’t Flash at all, you just have to be picky about what you use it for. Of course adding tags and things are going to enhance the SEO of an animation, but if your website it constructed mostly of these animations, then a couple tags are not going to help you in the slightest.