Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the browsers Category

Is It Time to Abandon Flash?

It's time to abandon flash content on your site.Do you really need to get rid of flash on your site?

[There’s an update below as of May, 2020]

I’ve written about the demise of Flash in this blog as long as 10 years ago. It’s been a slow process, but it looks like it’s finally on its death bed.

The news is not good.

Recent news about the Adobe Flash platform for audio and video web content is not good. Google says it’s working hard to “make sure the web is ready to be Flash-free.” Already by default Flash doesn’t work on mobile or Chrome and having it on your site may be a negative ranking factor as a result.

Flash is undeniably on the way out. Adobe will stop supporting Flash at the end of 2020. According to Mozilla in July,

This morning, Adobe announced its roadmap to stop supporting Flash at the end of 2020. Working with Adobe and other browser vendors, Mozilla has prepared a roadmap for Flash support in Firefox, and guides for site authors to make their final transition away from Flash technology.

Bolstering that, Microsoft wrote an article entitled “The End of an Era – Next Steps for Adobe Flash”, saying

We will phase out Flash from Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, culminating in the removal of Flash from Windows entirely by the end of 2020.

Does that mean we have until 2020 to remove Flash content?

Ominously, The Verge predicts

Google is making HTML5 the preferred and default way to display website content in a change that’ll take place over the next couple of months. This means that unless a website has an HTML5 content player, video content will not automatically display. All Flash content will be blocked, unless users manually enable it on a site-by-site basis. [Emphasis added]

HTML5 is the new standard for video content on websites.Adobe has reportedly ceased development of Flash for all mobile devices, so industry watchers like LifeWire agree that it’s close to 100% certain that Flash will never be available on the iPhone. If you want your audio, video or animations to work on an iPhone, Flash is out of the question.

The Google Play store isn’t supporting Flash for Android devices. That means that if you install a Flash player from elsewhere for your phone you won’t be able to get any bug fixes or updates .

And as if to put a final nail in the coffin, Forbes has a recent article entitled “The Death Of Adobe Flash Is Long Overdue”.

Where to now?

If you have Flash content on your site, it’s time to ask your webmaster about converting it to HTML5.

[Update: Mozilla plans to drop Flash support in Firefox 84 (December 2020)]

If you’ve made that transition on your own site, please share your experience with us in the comments below.


Check Your Browser Compatibility

Makes sure your site is compatible with at least these browsers.I’m always surprised at how many small business websites I come across that don’t display properly in Firefox. I usually blame sloppy web design by their webmasters, but many small businesses cut corners and try to design their websites themselves. Sometimes they succeed,

Internet Explorer is still the most common browser in use, but other browsers are catching up. Last month Internet Explorer had 55% of the browser market, Firefox was up to 21%, Chrome had 10%, Safari had about 5% , and the rest filled out the remaining 9% or so.

That means that about half of the visitors to your web site are likely to be using something other than Internet Explorer. Web sites that haven’t been designed for cross-browser compatibility are usually designed to work properly only in Internet Explorer, with questionable results elsewhere. Common problems are misalignment of elements on the page, text overlaying images or other blocks of text, text running off the edge of the browser, and so forth. And you don’t just need to consider other brands of browser — there are differences in display even between different versions of the same browser.

A ruined user experience on your website loosely translates into a lost sale. Don’t let that happen to you!

Search Marketing Standard magazine has an article on how to approach the issue. They recommend checking your web pages for compatibility in a number of different browsers. While few of us want to install a dozen or more of the most popular browser, there’s an easier solution: BrowserShots. Just check off the browsers you want to compare, enter the URL of your web pages (one at a time) and wait while BrowserShots compiles screenshots from each browser you chose. If you find a problem, check your code and explore the suggestions in the Search Marketing Standard article.

Cross Browser Compatibility

Cross browser compatibility can no longer be ignoredIn last month’s blog, we wrote about making sure your web site displays properly in all the popular browsers. It’s just not safe anymore to assume that everyone uses Internet Explorer.

Now there’s a tool that will let you see exactly how your web pages display in almost any browser you can imagine. You’ll find it at Don’t get carried away, though. You can chose to see any page on your site in dozens of browsers, but the process takes quite a bit of time and the more browsers you choose, the longer it takes.

For priority service they request a donation, and that’s a good idea if you’re a web designer working on multiple web sites. If you just want to check your own site, though, the service is free as long as you don’t mind a little wait for the results.

See how the pages on your web site apear in different browsers and different browser versions.

Cross Browser Compatibility is More Important Than Ever

Firefox and Internet Explorer -- Cross-Browser CompatibilityOne of our brand new clients has a web site that just doesn’t look right when viewed in Firefox. It looks great in Internet Explorer (IE), which is the only browser it was checked in. But it doesn’t look right in Firefox and probably not in Opera or Safari, either.  So as part of our client’s SEO, we’ll have to make sure his web site appears properly in all the major search engines. Sadly, this is a problem we run into far more often than we should, so if you have a web site, you should check it out in other browsers to make sure it still looks right.

Cross browser compatibility is increasingly important because more and more people (especially the more savvy ones) are switching to Firefox. You probably should, too, if you haven’t done so already. Here’s why:

Quite a few years ago, Microsoft and Netscape engaged in The Browser Wars, and Microsoft, by including IE for free in every copy of Windows since Windows 98, won the battle handily. Sometime early in the current  decade, Microsoft stopped improving IE. so complacent were they in their indomitable market share among browsers.

But a few years ago the Department of Homeland Security (yes, it’s true) encouraged users to use browsers other than IE because IE is such a security nightmare. There are some web sites that can infect your PC as soon as you visit one of them with IE. Some make your PC into a “zombie”, sending spam and other viruses out to people without your knowledge.

There are a number of reasons to switch to Firefox, but the most important is security. On July 7, PC World published a blog entry entitled Study Finds Firefox Users Safest, IE Users Unsafe it’s not very long, and is worth the read.

Firefox seems to load web pages faster than IE, and includes some neat features like a popup blocker, a password manager, and alerts when you visit phishing sites (ones that try to steal your identity). One of the most obvious difference is all the add-ons you can get for Firefox. As an example, there are several we use here at Rank Magic for SEO analysis purposes..

Finally, Firefox is free.