If you are wanting to build a money making website, Flash animation or Flash based websites should be the last thing on your mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-flash, but some of the methods people use to build their website, especially with Flash is outright wrong.
Little Story …
I like to peruse the local Craigslist ads for interesting web design projects (Most are wildcard ads and the expectations are unreasonable, but it is still fun anyways!).
What I do see quite a bit recently is people posting ads where they want a website built in Flash!
Here are some recent examples:
“Flash web designer needed for brand new ______ based clothing company. We will need someone who is able to create a “shopping cart” from which customers can purchase product from the site. It will be fairly simple … “
Time will go by when this company realized that very little pages will show up in the search engine results. Plus, try to find a flash developer that can create a flash based shopping cart.
Here is another one ..
I am looking for a flash web designer to make a website for my company. What I need is for you to design and setup the full flash website. Also you will need to show me how to upload and move content on the website.
Ok, what we are asking for here is a flash based content management system.
A bit more …
Just this week I had an inquiry from a local company that had their site built in Flash a few years back and here is how part of the dialogue went:
Me: “How often do you do updates to your website?”
Them: “Not often because I cannot locate the website designer”
Me: “Do you have the original source code flash files?”
Them: “What is that?”
Me: “How much did you pay for your website?”
Them: “Around $3K, but every time I wanted to make changes to my site, it cost me money, if I could get a hold of the designer! I would like to make changes to my site, but now I can’t find the designer”
Why Flash can be bad!
- Money making websites are not built in flash, unless you are Gucci shoes or some multi-million dollar name brand.
- Once you build your website in Flash, it can be a bit more difficult for other developers/designers to go in and make changes.
- Whenever you want to make changes to your site, you have to contact your designer and pay more and more.
- Flash is not search engine friendly. Meaning, the search engines have a hard time indexing the various flash based pages you have already created. Some seasoned SEO people will disagree with me here with comments like “Google can index flash”, but I disagree. So if you have a site built in Flash and scratching your head wondering why visitors are not coming to your site from the search engines, this is why.
- Flash sites tend to be bandwidth hogs! Yes you may have an unlimited web hosting account or something similar, but the fact is, why keep someone waiting 10-20 seconds to view your ‘Hello, welcome to my cool website’. Plus the people still on dial-up (yes they’re out there!) will thank you for wasting their time.
- Flash is so ’90s in terms of web design. It’s like walking around with a mullet thinking it’s so cool as you drive off in your Camaro!
- Search not available. Unless there is some serious programming, flash sites are hard to search.
- Not quite Web 2.0! Limited interactivity with your website visitors puts flash based websites in the ‘my message, no feedback category!’
Want more proof?
Here are some sites discussing the limitations of Flash based websites:
How Flash is good!
As with anything in life, all things in moderation.
Flash, used as an enhancement, can be a powerful tool.
If you website is build the ‘regular’ way (i.e, HTML, XHTML, etc) , adding a touch of flash animation can bring life to your website.
It can also assist in the message you are trying to get accross to your visitors as well, but more and more, we’re seeing flash based videos being used for this purpose.
If you plan on build a gaming or video based site to make your riches on the Internet, hire a professional flash developer with experience, the programming types work well.
Function vs Design
Define your purpose for build a money making website.
If it is to spread the benfits of your products or services on the Internet, stick with a standard, content based website.
Better yet, build your own website, control the content and be in control of your marketing message online.
Personally, I get very weary of clients that are currently selling online that are too focused on the deisgn and ‘eye-candy’, where they should be more focused on the marketing message and how it is received with their valued website visitors.
Invest your time and money in content development, when time and budget permits, invest in the perks later.