In a previous post, you were given the option of having a low cost website setup. If you have chosen this option then great. If not, then you will need to seriously consider getting your business online. In this day and age, every serious business has an online presence. Having a business website legitimizes your company.
A business website is your online showcase. It allows your customer the added convenience of finding information about your service or product on their own time, even when you may not be accepting phone calls after-hours to answer their questions. Your website can also be a point of contact for new and existing customers. Having a website will allow your customers to contact you via email if they want to, when they simply do not have time to call.
If you decide to publish a website, you will find a huge number of web designers and hosting companies out there. The cost of a website will range from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, or more depending on what kind of business you want to start. In addition, hosting your website will cost you a monthly or yearly fee. These can also range, but are typically $30 per month or so. The other cost of having a website is rather small. It is for the purchase of a domain name. Domain names are purchased on a yearly bases, and run around $10 per year or less. You can find a good cheap domain name at www.godaddy.com and you will be given the option to pay for a single year, or multiple years. You can decide which is best by determining your budget at this point. If you can afford it, you will save a few dollars by registering your domain name for 5 years or so ahead of time.
To flash or not to flash, that isn’t the question:
The big debate on whether or not to use flash is not really a debate at all. At least not if you know the main purpose of the website. Let me clarify. Flash is a great thing. It dazzles and looks really cool. But the problem is that flash is not as search engine friendly as plain old html.
When you create a website fully in flash, the website ends up being one simple html file with a call to a flash swf file. That one single file contains all of the contents of your website. This means that there are not pages upon pages of text content that search engine spiders love so much.
The so-called debate is that it is after the year 2000, and flash has new seo attributes such as Meta data. But in the end, the facts are the facts. Flash is not reliable for consistent top 10 Google rankings.
When building your website, you want to focus on a CSS/XHTML layout with lots of excellent textural content. I understand you may not know what those jumbled letters mean right now. But understand that they mean everything right now when it comes to seo. HTML websites can be built a couple of ways.
1.) Table based layout;
2.) Table-less aka css/xhtml layout.
Flash can be placed in either format. The difference is in the code. By using css for your layout, you reduce your code by hundreds of lines. Tables and css are structured in a similar format, but css takes up less characters and the code is called from an external css file, which puts the actual page content higher up in the code.
Flash is what you would use when you can care less about search engine optimization. You will notice a good number of record label websites, or film websites use flash. This is because they are focused on the visual graphic effects, and they care less about seo because they generally have excellent marketing.
By combining the css/xhtml layout with regular text and images rather than flash, you have the optimal environment for top 10 rankings.
When it comes down for you to decide on flash versus html, you have to figure out whether you are dead-set on animation or not.
You do have other options though. You are able to effectively build a css/xhtml layout with static content (preferred), but include flash “features” on your website such as an animated header graphic. That way you can have the wow factor of animation without sacrificing search engine optimization standards.