We are in the process of revamping our rather outdated website and I have done hours upon hours of research this weekend (between weddings of course) about our competition and what other venues in this market are doing to have a great website and gain a competitive edge. I discovered many that had flash in their intro page. Some with music (very annoying) but most without and all of them with some type of flash on the landing page.

Any thoughts out there about what captures a brides imagination and heart in the first 8 seconds on your website that makes them want to stay and view more. What are you doing that works for you? What did you try that didn't work? We would love to get some kind of general frame of reference in this research project about what has the most impact. Thanks for your thoughts and posts.

Susan

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I have a flash site, but my landing page is simple html. I wanted to make sure it was searchable online.

www.ariellehazephotography.com
Hi Susan,

In addition to BravoBride I have a graphic and web design company. Flash is great to use on a website but if you want search engines to find your site I recommend not doing the entire site in it. I typically tell my clients who want to use flash to keep it in the header and in a photo gallery. Your homepage should immediately tell a bride what you do and using beautiful photographs will capture their attention. Keep your design simple and uncluttered and make sure that your contact information is easy to find. I also recommend including a testimonials page or add a testimonial on a side bar to each page, satisfied customers are a very powerful marketing tool for your site.

Hope this helps!
Susan
Another reason to avoid heavy use of flash is that those who are using their electronic devices to search the web, may not be able to view your site. And of course the search engines are the biggest thing, they can't read any content that is in flash, period.
Are you talking about an intro flash and then a landing page or a flash on the home page itself? We are trying to decide between the two and I feel and into flash is a real hindrance to SEO and web browsers. I agree with you about the potential negatives. Thanks for the post. I have spent so much time researching other sites my eyes are tired.

Thanks again!
To flash or not to flash...

well this is a hard question to truly get right....here's why:

For Search engine optimization flash is a huge NO-NO! because the "crawlers" do not read flash well, thus not giving you great page ranking. So most developers would tell you DO NOT do a flash intro or a splash page.

Now...

I on the other hand feel a tad different. Although you will not rank high on the internet if your marketing efforts are in place and done right the people who will be going to your site are going for a reason. So upon entering why not give them something to look at (yet offer a "skip into" option and volume control so they can opt out)

Granted..
You will loose page ranking, but I guess you have to ask your self a few questions first.
1. Can my site generate more income from local visitors to my site (is that what I want)
2. Is my site there for the people we already market to (and it would be nice to get the occasional "passer bye" to maybe perk their interest?
3. Do I want great page ranking to take advantage of free traffic into my site that's targeted, and still be able to harvest the clientele that we market to already?

Personally on my site I am about to launch, I have a splash page..and to some that's a huge no no...but for me the people who are going to my site already know what my site is about, plus it helps me build that brand, by having them see the logo in that capacity. So for now it works.

Its preference/calculated interest/and overall direction that should help you figure this out. if you need more input or even a consultant/developer let me know.

B-
Good write-up! I also have a splash page. Mine is html and leads them to my flash page. It is a huge branding page, full of the info I need for site crawlers. It is there to showcase my logo and colors!

When entering, you get to my flash site, and it's very easy to navigate. I ONLY need my splash page to get noticed. Once clients are there, they will enter in to see my gallery. I may start working on my blog stats though...

Arielle
WOW! Thanks, that really helps me in my decision making process. What a great and informative write-up. I would love to share this with others that I know are trying to make the same decision I am about flash. Thanks again for all the information. What a help!

Susan
You are very welcome, should you need more insight or need some one to help design/develop ur site or marketing material let me know.
Thanks for the reply. I agree that a limited use of flash can be a benefit in the right place. What I am running into now is the way the site loads in IE as compared to Mozilla and Google Chrome, they all look different. I design it in Mozilla and it looks fine and then when I open it in IE it is not structured the same way. I am totally confused now. Not sure why it would be doing that.

Flash has become the least of my worries. :(

Susan
That's another benefit of Flash that wasn't discussed above - while HTML will load slightly differently in different browsers, Flash will always look the same.

As both a photography/wedding business owner and an SEO professional, my opinion is (like most things), you have to balance the two. Flash looks nice and it looks the same in all browsers, but it isn't read by the search engines. HTML is read by the search engines but doesn't look as nice.

We have found the best compromise to be an HTML landing page with a logo for branding and lots of keyword rich text for the search engines (which can be placed "below the fold" for aesthetics) with prominent links to your Flash content.

Hope that helps!



Jeff Copeland, Co-Owner & Marketing Director
Simple Weddings by Simple Treasures Photography
St Pete Beach Weddings - Sunken Gardens Wedding Packages

Founder/Owner,
Tampa Bay Search - Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing for Photographers and Small Businesses
We are in the midst of some rebranding and we wanted a site that was full html. From our perspective the flash sites certainly have a place in site development but we also wanted to consider who our visitors are and why they came to the site to begin with. Laia makes a good point that it needs to be clean. But clean does not mean boring. If you are in the visual arts, you want something that is immediately appealing and easy on the eyes. People, myself included, can be quite impatient waiting for the show to begin and if you have a flash site, there is a period of lag time before things are up. Our current site has both a HiFi and LoFi portal so that you can choose how you would like to navigate through our site. This has worked fine for us but we are wanting to move to a more clean and refreshing site that is easy to navigate and easy on the eyes.
So here's my thought-- You want to grab them like you said in the first few seconds BUT anyhthing past 28 seconds is a no no so flash away as along as you
are smart about what you want them to see first it will work in your favor. Make a Huge statement with your first picture..
Brand yourself from the very first picture :) Good luck!!

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