Not for the first time and undoubtedly not for the last time either, I was asked if a site should be all Flash or HTML.

Now this depends, is what I say. This particular site had already been created all in flash. They sell gifts online and the site is basically an e-commerce store. They had been up and running for about a year and where getting little or no organic hits to the site. The site was 1 page, with a clever bit of flash running the catalogue of products.

If you know anything about SEO you will know that 1 page with only flash on it is going to be a drop in the ocean to search engines. It is virtually invisible. I rather upset the person by telling them to scrap the site and start again with HTML. I even felt sorry for them and offered to help at a much reduced price.

By all means include some flash where needed or to add style to a page but as an e-commerce site that needs to generate organic search results, it has to be HTML from top to bottom.

Search engines just can not read Flash or at the least, they read HTML much better. Flash is best when used to add to a page, or when it is simply the best solution to a problem. You should look upon flash as an image in the same way you use JPGs or GIFs.

If you are not bothered about search engine traffic, and you just want a pretty site as perhaps a demo for some product, or a gallery of your paintings, then a Flash site is fine.

The moral is; if you want hits, use HTML; if you want to show off, use Flash. If you are clever you can achieve both with a balanced combination of the two.

Just starting out? Go HTML until you know more.

3 thoughts on “Flash or HTML Websites?

  1. Well, good point about the search engines – but a good flash developer working for commercial sites would build it grabbing all data from XML – and you can get around the search engine problem by simply having a site map (html linked under the site) with absolutely all data in it there. From there you can for example have clean html dumps of the information you have in the site.

    The reason people dont want to use Flash sites when it comes to search engines is mainly because not many people bother to make it proper and with search engines in mind.

    You have a good site btw!

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