Are you planning to create a website and not sure what technology to use? While you might like interactive sites that use flash, you, at the same time, should make sure that your site is search engine friendly and relatively easy to maintain. This blog post provides insights on main differences between flash websites and static websites (by static I do not necessarily rule out database-driven sites; rather I simply refer to HTML/CSS based sites).
Business owners who are shopping around for a new site oftentimes find themselves puzzled whether to get a nice, flashy and interactive website or go with a more simplistic approach to construct web pages using clean HTML and CSS programming code. Which one is better? Well, even though ArtDriver has built quite a few flash-based websites and has good experience in flash development, our philosophy is usually centered around the phrase "less is more!" SEOs (Internet marketers) usually prefer clean HTML/CSS websites for a number of reasons that focus around usability and efficiency. Let's list some major advantages of HTML/CSS websites vs flash websites:
I. Search Engine Visibility
Google and all major search engines give preference and reward with higher rankings HTML/CSS websites rather than flash websites. Why? Simply because the search bots that are constantly crawling the web can extract much more information from HTML sites, and therefore make a good conclusion on what a certain website is all about. In addition, HTML/CSS sites are much more accessible to people with disabilities than flash sites, and accessibility is a relevant factor in a search engine ranking algorithm.
II. Site Loading Time and Bandwidth Usage
Flash websites have higher loading times and eat up much more resources than static HTML/CSS sites. Flash files take time to load and process and require flash specific software (e.g. Adobe Flash Player) installed on a computer in order to playback .swf files. This software component brings us to the next point:
III. Apple iPhones and iPads Do Not Read Flash
Just think of how many people use iPhones and iPads these days. If you have a flash website or some flash components integrated into your site, you can lose a lot of clients who are unable to see the content of your online resource. In addition, the newest version of Mozilla Firefox does not have a pre-installed flash player, so users have to manually install the player in order to be able to see flash-based content.
IV. Website Maintenance and Update
Flash websites are much harder to maintain and update than static sites. Web designers need to purchase Adobe Flash software ($699) to be able to update flash websites. In addition, there are fewer content management systems (CMS) built for flash sites than for HTML/CSS sites. Think of the power of WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or some other CMSs...all of these are built for HTML/CSS sites and give tremendous flexibility and ease in terms of website update and management.
V. HTML5 Rocks
It has been said many times by Apple, Google and many other web development gurus and digital marketing evangelists that the future of the web is based on HTML5 and not flash. This means that more and more gadgets, mobile devices, games, etc. will more likely be moving away from using flash technology.