Posted By Kenny McHoes, February 28, 2011

Flash does has its purposes in the web development world. It allows a whole level of interactivity for web viewers than basic html and css. When used correctly, it can spice up a website and make it more appealing. But when used incorrectly, it can cause more damage than you think. In this short article I will discuss the reasons why flash can hurt your website in ways you never thought about.

SEO Marketing

One of the big problems with creating a website in flash is SEO (search engine optimization). If you have an entire website built in flash, search engines like Google have to struggle to scan your site content. Although sometimes they can get into your flash site and they may be able to follow your links, they have no way of separating your content into relevant pages (targeted search results).

For example, let’s say you have an entire website built in flash. You have multiple sub-pages within your flash site. If Google does manage to actually find that page and store that information, it has no way to link the info to that page. So when Google tries to pull up that page in a users search results, it can’t. It can only direct that user to your home flash page. So you have to hope that user will then click through your pages until they get to the page that has the info Google displayed in the search results.

Flash elements should be only used sparingly in a website. Such as a dynamic slide show, an animated header, games, or streaming videos. Anything else should be coded into html, php, css, or any other basic web language. For SEO your goal is to make things easy for search engines, not the other way around.

Updates and Cost

Another big problem with flash websites is maintenance. Flash websites are sometimes difficult to update. Especially if you are new to working on an existing flash website. Developer can hide scenes and clips all over a flash document which makes it a pain just locating the info.

When editing flash you need to use a first party program (Macromedia Flash). Without it your .fla file is going to be useless. It’s not like HTML, PHP, or other web languages where you can edit your pages with a simple word editor like notepad. If for some reason you want to begin editing your website without a developer, you will need to purchase this software. And it doesn’t come cheap. You will also need to have this program installed on all computers you would like to make changes on.


Flash sites are almost always slower to load. The browser has to load the flash player and then your entire website.

For example, for a normal site programmed in HTML and CSS. All pages load apart from each other. When you go to the home page, only the text and images of the home page load. Then when you go to the about page, only the text and images of the about page loads.

With a flash website, all text, music, and images for the entire website needs to load all at once. Your website will not display until those elements have fully loaded on a user’s computer. This can take quite a bit of time when you have a flash website with a lot of content.

The infamous Flash Intro.

Another bad habit of designers is to make a flash intro. This is an annoyance to search engines as well as viewers (especially if there no skip button), and it is also a waste of prime search engine real estate.

Search engine spiders all enter your website usually from the index page. The text and keywords on your home page are what define your website to Google as well as your viewers. When a search engine visits your home page and there is nothing there aside from a flash intro, you might have some serious problems. Especially if you have no external links to the rest of your site content. Without any external links so your site, that search engine may believe your site doesn’t have any info past the home page then move on to scanning someone else’s site.

Bookmarking (unique URLs)

When you have a flash website, your users cannot bookmark individual pages. All they can do is bookmark your home page. So when they want to return to a page, they will need to visit your home page and navigate back to the desired page every single time.

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