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Flash or No Flash?

Deciding on the way you want your web site to appear might not be a straight forward task, especially when one is not fully aware of the technology available today. One of these tools is called ‘Flash’, a programming language that allows you to have great audio and visual content on your site.

Flash is a technology developed by Macromedia, a leader in web development tools. Flash generates a movie file which is a combination of images and text that is then compiled and put on a site.

Some web sites are completely written in Flash, others have only some Flash elements inserted here and there. Full Flash sites are very entertaining and can easily capture the eyes of many with their originality and audio-visual content.

Another example of where Flash is well used is on sites that are mainly about presentation rather than information. For example, interior designers’ sites, musical bands’ sites, kids’ sites and photo gallery sites. These are all places where Flash is particularly well-matched.

The main problems with full Flash sites are search engines. It is useless to have a full Flash site if you need to rank high in them. Unfortunately search engines don’t read Flash and therefore are not able to index your site’s pages and distinguish what the site is all about.

Search engines send out automated robots called “spiders” that crawl through the internet and create huge databases of web pages. People then search for web pages based on keywords that are embedded into the web page. If it is important to you that people find your web site, then it is important to you to have well written text and links on your web pages that search engines are able to find, read and follow. Search engines cannot see the text in a Flash page or hyperlinks on Flash pages, and therefore cannot follow the links. Your web site will not be relevant to them since it will be read as one page.

The best solution if you need indexing and Flash content is to have a web site written in HTML with some Flash elements embedded in it. The search engines will still not be able to read the Flash content, but this will be compensated by the fact that your content and keywords will exist in text format making them readable, and therefore indexed. In addition you will still have that Flash element which will enhance your site and make it look more appealing to your viewers.

Sandro Azzopardi has over 20 years experience in IT. He specializes in Web Design, Development, Support, Hosting and Internet Marketing on