We all know the feeling we had the first time we saw flash used on a website. How cool is that? Was probably the overwhelming reaction so what did you feel the second time you viewed that cool animation? Not quite as excited right? And therein lies one of the problems with using flash as the primary means to deliver a website, especially a business website.
Although flash allows a website to have dynamic animations, menus, effects including sound and video it also can create the opposite effect to the visitor especially when the business the website is trying to promote offers valuable information like white papers or listings. How can that be? Easy, for example, try and bookmark a page within a flash site, oh that’s right you can’t so if you want to get to a certain section within a flash site you need to start at the homepage or in a lot of case the “Intro” and navigate your way through the site to the information you are after. How many times do you think a visitor will go through that exercise if a competing website has the information they want on a static page that they can bookmark or create a shortcut to from their desktop? Not many would be a safe answer. Let’s talk about those “Intro’s”. They are really nice the first time you view them but again how about the second or twentieth time you view them? Not so nice and by the way you probably start getting frustrated when you visit the site knowing you either have to wait for the intro to finish (because the designer didn’t make a skip function available) or click on skip to move to the homepage. So as a business owner do you want a repeat visitor to show up at your front door frustrated? Of course not but that in essence is what you are doing when you have an intro page, you’re making the potential customer go through a hoop to get to your front door.
Finally a large obstacle to a site designed entirely in flash is your marketing efforts. If you are engaged in search engine marketing and specifically the organic side you have placed your company at a serious disadvantage. Sure, Google is getting better at spidering flash but the results are still very limited and if a site is competing for terms with serious competition that site probably doesn’t have a chance at seeing great results in search rankings without creating static pages to supplement their site which is equivalent to a punt in football. If you are participating in pay-per-click or other forms of paid advertising you have limited your site to developing landing pages to accommodate your visitors as there is again no way to send a person to an “interior” page within flash.
If you are going to use flash as a means to deliver your website be prepared for the hurdles you are creating to visitors and to search engines. If you are wanting to take advantage of the wonderful features flash can provide and yet want to make your site visitor and search friendly, compromise and use elements of flash within your site while allowing static pages and items that are visitor and search friendly to have a place within your design as well. Please stay away from the “Intro” page, if you feel your “Intro” is that great and the public must have the opportunity to view it then make it a link that visitors can access but don’t force it on them.