Small Business Websites

Is a Flash Website Worth the Cash?

Written by Chris Martin for Gaebler Ventures

Should you spend the money to obtain a Flash website for your enterprise? Before you make a decision, you should get a complete picture of acquiring and maintaining a Flash site.

As an entrepreneur, you are well aware of the power of cyberspace to market and create awareness for your product or service.

You've also been blown away by websites which employ complex and visually-stimulating Flash technology to draw attention to the portals and companies behind them. But you may be concerned about the costs associated with such intricate and attractive Flash sites.

So should you spend the money to obtain a Flash website for your enterprise?

Before you make a decision, you should get a complete picture of acquiring and maintaining a Flash site.

It does cost a lot. On average, development costs for Flash websites will run you 1.5 to two times more than for a comparable HTML or JavaScript site. But after the Flash site is up and running, you'll have to contact the developer whenever you need to update the site's content. This will usually result in more sluggish response times to change and a drop in the adaptability level of your web portal.

They run slower - much slower. Flash sites typically take anywhere from two to ten times longer to load than standard websites. Users who love getting near-instant information on the Web may not take kindly to waiting for an elaborate intro to load on their computers.

It will not be accessible to everyone. A significant number of Web surfers either cannot access the Flash plugin or choose to disable it because of concerns about speed and page load times. As a result, these individuals will not be able to navigate your Flash site fully or at all. Also, persons who use Web TV, cruise through cyberspace with smartphones, and work on computers in offices with stringent corporate firewalls will find their admittance to Flash sites blocked.

Some people may make a snap judgment about your site. In the online world, there is a perception that Flash sites are long on style but short on substance. Consequently, the cyberpublic may assume that your web portal may be more focused on marketing, advertising, or presentation than on the content, data, or information that a potential client might be seeking.

Users could get bored. Sure, your Flash-enabled intro might be really cool for viewers who see it for the first time. But after the sixth or seventh viewing, it may lose its charm; and these people may be less likely to return to your site if they know they have to wait for the intro during every subsequent visit.

It won't be ideal for search engine optimization. Sites with lots of natural text are more likely to be noticed by search engines. But Flash prevents access by web spiders, which means less indexing and lower SEO ratings.

The bottom line?

Unless you are promoting Flash games, complex animations, or high-quality movies, you can get by without employing Flash capabilities. But if you are still enamored with its creative capacity, you should only make use of Flash technology for certain aspects of your site. These might include interactive demonstrations, games or similar applications, vital product or informative animations, and decorative site accents. Keep in mind that many of these functions can be completed using JavaScript or other types of programming.

So in most cases, you can survive in the world of cyberspace without shelling out loads of cash for a fancy Flash site. If you utilize a targeted business approach, detailed cost analysis, and a little creativity, you can build a website that functions perfectly and seamlessly to serve whatever your business needs may be.

Chris Martin has been a professional writer for the last seven years. He is interested in franchises and equity acquisition.

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