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Most web designers and web design companies will try to convince you that if you want your business to have the best site possible that you MUST have a flash site. Flash, for those of you who are newbies, is a software program that can create really cool special effects and animation. You can either have flash elements embedded in your website or you can have your entire website done in flash.
Now I will be the first to tell you that Flash can make a site look pretty cool, but if you are actually trying to make some money from your online business that using flash is a BIG no-no. Here's why.
1. Too Much Time
It takes way too much time to download an all flash website. Even though broadband and DSL users are growing there are still too many people that are still on dial up to rely on using an all flash site.
Your potential customers will get ticked off at waiting an hour to download your beautiful website and will leave to go to the next one.
A lot of times, designers will say that they can fix the download problem by making smaller portion or chunks of the main site. So instead of having to wait for just one huge file, you now have to wait for a huge file every time you click on a button to go to another part of the site.
It does not fix the problem at all. Your customers are still going to get ticked after they click on your product button and then realize they have to wait another 8 minutes to download that page too.
2. Annoying Intro
I see a lot of websites that have these flash designed intros. The concept is to have a really cool looking intro to the company or product before launching the main website.
First of all, I have seen some really pathetic attempts at flash intros. If you can't design a good one you should definitely not try at all.
Second, most people search for the skip intro button and just click past it anyway. Or if you don't have a skip intro button, they just leave your website all together because they don't want to watch your useless and annoying intro.
I know that they can be cool, that everyone seems to have one, but unless your website is already bringing in some big time money, then don't risk losing customers by using a flash intro.
3. Not much Content
It seems to be a common problem that a lot of sites that rely on a completely flash design are lacking in the content department. They seem to think that by having lots of cool, flashy elements and designs that their visitors will not notice they are lacking in anything substantial to offer.
Make sure you have good relevant content in your website, the more the better.
4. Search Engines Don't Like Flash
Websites that are done completely in flash, all face one BIG problem. The search engines have nothing to index for your site. In your HTML file you simply have a piece of code that calls up the flash file to play. The search engines can't read this file or what is in it so they have no idea how to index your site and just skip right over it.
You must have readable text and content if you ever have the hopes of getting in the top 10 search results. You will never ever ever get in the top rankings with an all flash website. It's just not going to happen.
5. Flash Headers and Navigation
Some websites have the header portion of their sites display a cool flash picture or have there navigational button done in flash. You can get away with this if you have lots of other good quality content for the search engines to read.
If you use a flash based navigation, include links to your other pages within the body of your text as well as text links at the bottom of the page. Search engines won't be able to read the flash navigation and won't know there are any other pages to index if you don't also have the text links in place.
6. No Plugin
Some internet users don't even have the Flash plugin installed on their computer. Some people don't like to download anything from the internet or have never even heard of flash. If they don't have the plugin then your site won't even be visible to them. Even if you put a script up to tell them to go get the Flash plugin, most people won't even bother. This is just another annoying problem to a potential customer.
Now you are armed with proof that using flash in your website is a very stupid thing to do if you want to make any money. If your web designer insists on trying to convince you otherwise, then print out this article and smack him over the head with it. If he still won't listen then find a new designer.
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