How To Commit Suicide Online
If I was going to fix you up on a blind date, and I told you that the person you would be going out with is “all flash and no substance” you probably wouldn’t think this person was going to be very good for you in the long run. This is a perfect analogy for your business website and your online presence. The program isn’t called “Flash” accidentally!
The majority of business owners probably think a website is a website. If it is on the internet, it’s a website and that is it, right? Nothing could be further from the case, and there are many different ways to construct a website that each serve different purposes. The first question my company asks when looking at a project is “what are we trying to accomplish here?” The answer from business clients is usually “attract more customers and make more money.” Believe it or not, that simple answer just gave us a clue about how businesses commit suicide on the internet. They don’t understand how one type of website or another might have dire consequences on attracting new customers.
If you came to us to build your website and you told us that you were satisfied with the current number of clients you had and were not looking to ever attract a new one, then we would explore a flashy, “branding” website that was very cool and moved around and did cool things using Flash. We would understand that using that type of setup would potentially kill your search engine rankings on Google, Yahoo and every other search engine. We would know that you would probably not lose positions involving your business name itself, however the competition for generic terms would probably be impossible. We have rarely been approached by anyone that didn’t want to attract new customers, and most business owners we speak to understand that Google is the way many people find them. One decision you need to be fully understanding before you make it is if Google is more important than being cool. If your customers already know who you are and are going to your website looking to be impressed, then the flashy site is wonderful. If you would like the people who have never heard of you to consider your business when they search for your types of products, then the flashy site is internet suicide. As a side note, there are plenty of web design companies out there who specialize in flash and who will not explain this to you because if you make an informed choice it probably would be to not use them. They are giving you poison and telling you it is Cool-Aid.
Google and all search engines read code and text in order to decide what a website is about. Flash is essentially a movie that has no real text or code for Google to read. While strides are being made to help search engines understand the contents of a flash website, we are still far from perfect in this regard and I know very few business owners willing to gamble the profits of their business on how well Google can read it today. Basically, if Google can’t understand what your site is about it is not going to index you higher than a site it understands. Isn’t the first rule of business making the customer be able to find you by getting a good location? Why would you build the flashy, cool store and put it in a location nobody can find? Chances are, it is because you didn’t understand the limitations and were dealing with a company whose job it was to keep you from understanding them.
We are currently assisting a company who listed one of their goals to be “being found on Google for our products.” We built them a temporary website to begin the process while they decided on the specifics they wanted on the site. During this time we optimized the temporary website and ultimately placed it at #3 in searches for their services in Las Vegas. Unfortunately they went against our advice and went with a design company to build the new site who promised them it would be “hot, trendy, cool, and very Vegas.” When the flash site was delivered it was slow loading (Google killer,) entirely flash (Google killer,) had no text (Google killer,) and didn’t even include basic descriptions (Google killer.) As the website got crawled and began to disappear in the rankings, the company came to us to ask what to do. We are trying to help, but basically the easiest answer would have been “next time don’t commit suicide.”
For more info: Raymond Santopietro is the President of Focus Internet Services