Tuesday, June 19, 2007

So Take It Easy

Moderation is the center wherein all philosophies, both human and divine, meet. ~Benjamin Disraeli
Designing a new web site?

Good... your current site looks old, stale and needs new life. I'm not being mean just keeping it real, eh?

Websites often stay well past their prime... no worry, you're ahead of the game since you're doing some thing about it. But... what is this I here about you making the entire site in flash?


Macromedia Flash is an awesome tool to add animation and visual interest to a site. But you shouldn't use it as the platform to build a site. AND if you do... your new site probably won't be as crawlable as it could be. Go back and read the CVoD issue Are You Google Visible?

When designing a new site you must,
"Think of the mind set the Google bot has... it's not giving you points for great colors, or a flash intro... you must think like a computer. Think substance over glitter, shine or sparkle."
Yes you want your new site to look stunning. But it must be easy to use and easy to be indexed in Google.... otherwise you'll have a website that no one can find.

Practically speaking... yes, you can get a Flash site indexed, (actually several years ago you couldn't), but it's harder to get it ranked high. Harder than virtually the same site in HTML. I read you can over come this by getting more back links. How many?

Good question... not sure anyone knows. Let's just say more than the normal. Please understand that if you design an all Flash site you are creating a lot more unnecessary work for yourself.

The way I look at it, if Google won't rank the Flash site as high as a similar HTML site, without that extra work, then why would you ever want to build your site in Flash?

Exactly, ...you don't.

It is unfortunate, but many creative website designers just don't have a clue about SEO. Before hiring a design firm, talk about these issues... insist on a written provision in the agreement detailing how the firm will construct the site to be crawlable. Talk about the need for SEO and how the design should fall in the middle... between aesthetics and SEO function. It's a partnership.

My advice is to do the site in HTML, XML, Javascript, and/or AJAX.

And Flash?

Use that in cool Maps and other design features within the site. Keep it in moderation.

If you MUST have a flash site... then create two versions of a Web site: Flash and HTML. Let visitors select their preference on your home page, AND make sure the home page isn't a splash page.

Oh, and only submit the HTML version of a site to the search engines.

Not sure why you would NEED an all Flash site but hey... people do things all the time online that I don't understand.

In my world...

Flash is like an ice cold beer on a summer day. It's great and can really hit the spot. Just take it easy and don't over do it. Listen to Tommy Boy...
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health." ~ Thomas Jefferson