The following article outlines the Pros and Cons of using frames
with a deeper look at how they might affect your promotion and
When designing a new website, one of your first decisions is
whether or not to use frames. Frames technology allows you to
have more than one web page on your screen at the same time.
Typically a frames site will include a navigation menu down the
side or across the top, with the main or contents page filling
the rest of the screen, however you can use 3, 4, 5, or more
frames if there is any advantage to your site from doing so.
ADVANTAGES OF FRAMES
1) Frames can make your site easier to navigate because you can
have a constantly visible navigation menu - and as you should
know, easy navigation is one of the most important aspects of
2) Frames can make your site faster because you can include the
site theme (images, logo, etc..), and the navigation menu, in
frames that do not have to download each time a visitor looks at
a new page. Only the contents page changes.
3) Using frames can make it easier to design and maintain your
site, especially if you have a large site. If for example you
want to add a new page that is linked from the other pages on
your site, you simply add a link on your navigation menu; you do
not have to add links on each and every page.
(However the top web design software allows you to create
templates which can give similar results. You create a template
and then create the pages for your site based on this template.
Then whenever you make a change on the template, the web pages
based on this template can be automatically updated. This is
essential if you have a large site and don't use frames.)
4) Frames can make your site more interesting and can also allow
you to have permanently visible advertising banners. Take a look
at the Word magazine site www.word.com - well worth a visit and
one of the most innovative sites we have found from a design
point of view.
1) The original argument was that not all browsers support
frames, but this must be a very small percentage now. You can
get around this by including a <NOFRAMES></NOFRAMES> area below
your frameset. In this noframes area you include the normal
<BODY></BODY> area and in this you place information such as a
simple navigation menu and a "Sorry your browser does not
support frames" statement.
2) Some search engines only index the home.htm or index.htm page
without spidering the rest of the site, so unless you have good
<META> tags your site might not rank very well, especially since
many search engines also take into account the contents of your
pages and frames are treated as hyperlinks to other pages. You
can however get around this by creating "doorway" pages which
redirect visitors to your index.htm page.
To redirect a visitor from an optimized "doorway" page you
simply put the following line in your <HEAD></HEAD> section.
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="1;URL=index.htm">
and replace index.htm with the page you want to redirect the
The other aspect here is that for search engines which only
index your home page, you would need to submit each of your site
content pages separately. If one of these content pages is
indexed and found in a search, the visitor will only see the
contents page and will not see the rest of your site, something
you definitely don't want to happen ! This brings us to the next
and maybe the most important disadvantage of using frames.
3)Frames can make it difficult for you to direct people to a
particular page on your site. This is especially so if you want
to use email to send a visitor to a particular page that has
details of an affiliate program for example. If you don't send
them to your index.htm page they will not be able to see the
rest of your site, only the contents of the page you have
directed them to.
4)Frames within frames can be confusing, so you have to pay
special attention to your hyperlinks when you are designing your
pages. For example if one of the links in your main or contents
frame redirects a visitor back to the index.htm page, the result
will be a mess unless the hyperlink specifies the target frame
as "top" (eg: <A HREF="http://www.yoursite.com/index.htm
TARGET="_top">) to prevent the index page opening inside the
Learning how to use frames is easy once you have mastered the
concept that a hyperlink can lead to a page in its own frame
(TARGET="_self") the default option, or in another frame in the
All in all, whether you use frames or not is a personal
decision, but you need to aware of the advantages and
disadvantages before you design your site.
About the author:
Richard Igoe is the driving force behind TheWebsEye, a newly
launched website which is a complete information source on what
websites need to promote and market themselves. It is also
building up a library of useful website design articles and a
list of website developers. If you have something to contribute
please visit the http://www.TheWebsEye.com Library to submit
your article for inclusion.