To frame or not to frame?...

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To frame or not to frame?

This argument has been raging since webpage frames were invented.

Google.com, the internet's busiest search engine say: "frames don't fit the conceptual model of the web" and Netmechanic.com state on their site that "although now 99% of your visitors use frames-compatible browsers, frames can still cause you problems. They confuse search engine robots, increase download times, and affect Web utilities that count pages".

A framed page can actually consist of many different pages that can be seen in just the one browser window. For instance it may have a navigation bar (pane) at the top, bottom or side of the page. Typically these bars stay exactly where they are when the visitor scrolls down the page.

Many web designers (especially in the early days) believed they were the only elegant solution for site navigation. Unfortunately, if you have chosen the framing route, some spiders (search engine indexing software) will not like your pages, and your search engine position may suffer.

Some spiders have trouble collecting the information when trying to traverse the frames and will sometimes index pages that are divorced from your navigational frames.

Dead ends

Framed pages that are accessed without their navigational frames can also make it difficult for visitors to progress through your site (you should always have a homepage link on all framed content pages) and can present problems when bookmarking or trying to print the page.

Additionally, there is a problem with over 12 million Web TV users; it is difficult to scroll in any but the master frame.

You should also be aware that audio web browsers (as used in cars and by the visually impaired), typically cannot cope well within a framed environment. The Employers' Forum on Disability says "the frame format restricts accessibility and should only be used if absolutely necessary".

Some legal problems with frames also exist. Other webmasters might directly link to your framed content, bypassing your advertising or commercial content in the intended surrounding frames.

The general consensus between experienced webmasters is that you should avoid using frames or at least create a non-framed version of your site that links to your framed site. However, there is some good news for those that continue to use them. Visit the following webpages for advice:

  • Frames and Search Engines - Guest Writer - Internal Link

  • Submitcorner

  • Netmechanic

  • Frames Advice at IRT

  • Master Frame Reunion
    How can you make your site a visitor magnet? Click here to find out how sticky pages will get them coming back for more...




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