One of the first encounters I have with a new client is to review their current marketing strategy and tools; like their website. I am simply appalled buy some of what I am seeing. Do the people that created these have any clue as to what we do in this industry? More importantly do they have any idea who your target market is? [Read more...]
Yesterday I sat down to hand off a new site to the client. WOW! In less than 20 minutes she had it down. [Read more...]
I hear it all the time, “I don’t have time to write a blog. Is it really that important?”
It is only that important if you want brides to find you in today’s world of social media interaction. [Read more...]
I hear many different thoughts on increasing your websites traffic. I hear everything from keywords, to pay-per-click to print marketing to get your site noticed. You name any hoop there is and you can find someone out there that is going to tell you it is the holy grail to increase traffic and they can help you jump through it. [Read more...]
The deeper I get into helping clients update their website the more often this question comes up: Flash or HTML. The answer lies in how you respond to this one simple question: Is your website your marketing or are you going to have to market your website?
What? You read it right. I thought we had gotten past the time when people were fascinated with the cool factor of having a Flash Site and had woken up to the reality of it all. Flash is pretty but if you want to get traffic you are going to have to advertise your site instead of your site advertising you.
This quote from SEO evangelist Tim Nash’s blog sums it up pretty clearly,
“Adobe Flash (formally Macromedia) is a great tool for developing highly artistic multimedia applications; it has the accessibility and searchability of a brick. If you are serious about getting organic rankings the only advice is stay away from Flash, I mean it stop reading this post it will not help!”
It all boils down to search and accessibility. Let’s look at search first. Even though the large search engines like Google have some Flash indexing capabilities these are still very limited. The internet is and always has been a text based environment. That is just how search works and html still does it best. When the spiders crawl your site they are looking for words and relevant content; to do that they have to be able to read the words. The text on a Flash based site is read as an image, not readable words. Since the spider doesn’t see any relevant content it just crawls off to another site and doesn’t bother to index your cool pretty Flash site. No indexing, no ranking in the search engines. What more, is they often see your entire site as a single image. That means that even if you have 1000 images in your gallery of the coolest cakes ever the search engines still see it as a single image. Not good.
I don’t care how cool your site looks, if no one finds it what are you getting for your marketing dollars? So the question remains do you want to spend your marketing dollars getting clients to you business or to your site? Traffic to your site shows off your work and your business and prompts clients to contact and hopefully hire you. The more good traffic you have the better chance you have of selling more clients. If your site, cool though it may be, doesn’t show up high in the rankings of the major search engine you are going to have to drive people to your site through other marketing channels. That means increased print media buys and increased exposure at bridal shows to advertise your website just to get people to find it. Bummer. So here you have spent all this money on what your designer told you was a pretty cool website and you are off having to spend buck just to get people to view it. You may even sink so far as to use Adwords to get visitors. That doesn’t sound like a plan to me.
Accessibility is another factor to consider. I know, most everyone has a Flash player plug in, if they don’t your front page can include one. I know too that everyday more people have high speed broadband connections but there are still people or situations that use dial up. On anything less than broadband the load time for Flash is somewhere between molasses in February and a geriatric snail. You have between 10 and 30 seconds to capture your audience; they aren’t going to stick around to wait for the load bar to finish. Heck I get frustrated waiting and I have broadband.
Navigation is another failing of a lot of Flash sites. Most have their own unique navigation conventions which force your visitors to spend time figuring out how to navigate your site. On sites designed with an older version of Flash hitting the back button takes you out of the site completely.
The third and I think most potentially deadly access issue with a pure Flash site is when it comes to phone based browsers. Look around at your target market, they all have phones with web browsers and they use them. Guess what, mobile browsers won’t load Flash. Not do it badly, won’t do it at all. Browsing the internet on your mobile is the tsunami of the future. Now explain to me why you would shell out your hard earned dollars for a site that can’t be seen AT ALL by a great big chunk of people looking for you?
“But Christine, I don’t want an ugly site.” Oh for crying out loud, who said that if you pass up Flash you have to have an ugly site that just lies there like a dead fish. Most likely some web designer that does mostly Flash. It’s not true, you can still have a beautiful, visually engaging site without having a pure Flash site. You can still have beautiful, huge galleries and slideshows with full audio. Heck there is nothing wrong with even throwing in a few Flash elements, search won’t read them, but it will read the rest of your site.
Before you buy or build a new website ask yourself the simple question. Is your website your marketing or do you want to market your website. Sometimes, simpler is better, but it all depends on your answer.