Problems with Frames
Sprucing up your web page frames
by tinkering with the borders
is only half the battle. Now you have to make them user friendly and search engine friendly.
This page outlines some common problems that framed pages pose for web designers. On the next page you'll find my SmartFrames
template that solves all those problems in one fell swoop.
First of all, the following is what you'll essentially be faced with if you use frames to build your website...
Search Engines May Not Index Your Framed Website
Search engines typically look for text that describes what each web page is about and hyperlinks leading to other pages on your website; both of which are missing from a standard frameset document. Hence, by using web page frames, you may be inadvertently putting up a roadblock to many search engines as they fail to properly 'crawl' and index your web pages.
Users May Be Sending the Wrong Links to Your Framed Pages
The typical visitor to your framed website may not even know that you're using frames or —more likely— may not even know what frames are
. Hence you can hardly expect them to know or understand why the URL in their browser address bar perpetually refers to your frameset document regardless of what page(s) they have loaded into the various frames in the browser window.
So when it comes to spreading the news about that great page they just found on your site by using the URL in the address bar, they won't know that they're really just emailing a link to your website's home page. And with just your site menu at their disposal, relocating that special page based on a vague description about a "neat page with some cool stuff" could be downright frustrating for the email recipient.
Bookmarking Frames May Not Work
If they're not using Internet Explorer 5 or above, chances are when people attempt to create bookmarks
to your framed web pages, their bookmarks will —once again—
all return them to the home page
of your framed web site instead of to the pages they really intended to bookmark.
On a small site, this may not be so problematic as the user will probably find their way back to the 'bookmarked' page by looking through the site menu. On a large site, however, relocating the page they intended to bookmark might be akin to looking for a needle in a haystack and, of course, we all know how dedicated and perservering the typical web user is... (Not.)
Framed Pages May Be Loaded Outside of the Frameset
Even if you're skilled enough to get search engines, browser bookmarkers and email linkers to properly link to your framed web pages, when people click on those links and bookmarks, your framed web pages will be loaded outside
of your carefully constructed frame layout. If this happens to a 'content' page, the user will be deprived of your site menu whereas if it happens to a site menu page, the user will be presented with a page full of links and but no content.
Since search engines, bookmarks and emailed links will be providing the lion's share of incoming traffic, most visitors to your site will be presented with these 'orphaned' frame pages unless they happen to navigate to your home page. Your home page —which is presumably your frameset document— will then finally reload your frame layout. Of course, this is all providing you actually remembered to link to your home page from your other pages and/or the user survived long enough on your 'broken' website to find the link.
* * *
So what to do? Well all is not lost. You can solve all these problems by using my SmartFrames
layout which will take care of everything in one go. This is covered next...