#1 Rule for Web Design for Photographers
Say NO to Flash for Photography Web Design!
That is right, leave the flash developers
for movies and dvd menus. Flash is out,
and I will list all the reason why you should
avoid any site that is purely flash operated.
There are a lot of third party companies offering flash site as a “professional” package. These websites usually charge a monthly subscription, or charge a big premium on web hosting. In no way should you be paying more than $6 a month on web hosting. (and that is the high end!) These cookie cutter websites, usually have a do it yourself approach. Offering a handful of templates you can use. Aside from paying too much money in the long run, and lacking complete originality, there are countless reasons why you should stay away from these cookie cutter flash sites.
3 Reasons to not use Flash for your website
#1 – Load time!
Back in the day when internet speed was slower, Flash actually did load faster and was “up to speed” in web terms. But now that internet speed has become faster and faster, Flash has a horrible load time. Nothing like loosing visitors to your site because it is too slow. And in a lightening fast web age, you can gaurantee that most people aren’t going to have the patience to wait for your flash site to load and then have to wait for every picture to load after they finally get into your site. Trust me, I have passed up many good photographer’s website because it was way too slow to load images.
#2 – Search Engines
Flash technically has no content. It is like a huge picture or video, search engines don’t see any information. Therefore you aren’t going to rank in search engines or be visible for a lot of keywords that you might other wise rank high for if you didn’t go with Flash. This is why you usually see a “Enter my Site” page on photographers website, when they are a Flash based web design. It is to cram as much information on that page (which is technically your homepage) so search engines know what your website is about. Now why would I want to click twice just to get into your website? Of course I want to view your site, I clicked on your link didn’t I! So not only am I annoyed that I have to confirm that I want to see your website, but once I finally get in I have to wait for the website to load? Dang, I already feel like going to a different website.
#3 – Mobile Devices
The iphone, ipad, and ipod touch and most all other mobile devices don’t support Flash. In this mobile age there is a huge amount of people using these devices to surf the web. You are missing out if people are unable to display your website on their mobile device. A work around is building a separate site specifically for mobile devices if your main site is a Flash based web design. An extra expense! Might as well do it right from the beginning.
As both a web designer and photographer, I really grasp the dynamic between photography and the website experience. Load time and search engine visibility is really the biggest problem with a lot of photography web design. And when building a website for a photography client, load time, as well as onsite search engine optimization are major focus of mine, optimizing the photos to get the fastest load time possible without loosing quality of image.