Should You Use Flash Or HTML For Your Web Site?

One reason B & B Pool and Spa revamped its website earlier this year was to transition away from having a Flash-based site to an HTML-based one, because many people surfing the Net on mobile devices are having a hard time viewing Flash sites.

"Flash is a program that allows you to produce beautiful, animated websites and they're lovely to look at," says Marc Sabin, co-owner of B & B's marketing firm, Marketing Works Now. "But what happens is you basically have a single page and everything is within that one page as far as how search engines read it. They don't see multiple pages. Most websites that are not Flash are done in some form of HTML and the newest technology is HTML 5, which allows you to feature the same type of animation that you would have on a Flash site, but is now viewable on an ipad, an iphone, a Blackberry or another other device on any platform."

In addition to these issues with Flash sites not showing up correctly on mobile devices, there had been issues with Google and other search engines not recognizing text embedded in Flash content. The latter issue is mostly resolved, but there are a number of major disadvantages to using an all-Flash website, says Jon Gelberg, chief content officer at Blue Fountain Media in New York, N.Y.

It is not mobile-friendly. Even if a phone can view the Flash content, it is rarely sized properly to be viewed on a mobile interface.

Flash websites do not have unique URLs. This means that when you click to go to a different page on a Flash website, the URL in the browser address bar does not change. This is not good for SEO, which benefits from having multiple pages on unique URLs.

Flash websites take a long time to load. Google has placed increasing importance on page load time. It now affects rankings. Also, users will likely leave your website if it has an intro or "splash" sequence before seeing any of your page content. No one wants to wait around for your site. There is no good reason to have a slow-loading page and especially not a Flash intro.

Mr. Gelberg believes there are far better alternatives to Flash, such as jquery and HTML 5. He says, "These technologies do not suffer any of the above issues and allow for the creation of interactive web interfaces."

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