When designing your site, it might seem like a cool idea to be able to have your visitors be able to scroll the navigation and/or the main page via frames. Bad idea. Unless you don’t care about what the search engines think, frames are bad.
This is what a search engine sees when you are in frames (more or less…):
<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.01 Frameset//en"><html><head><title>This is just an example</title><meta name="description" content="This is just an example of a framed page to show what search engines see."></meta><meta name="KEYWORDS" content="whatever, you think, are good keywords"></meta></head><frameset cols="125, 525"><frame src="navbar.html" name="nav" noresize="noresize" scrolling="yes" frameborder="1"></frame><frame src="index.html" name="main" scrolling="yes" frameborder="1"><noframes><body>There might be something in here. There might not.</body></noframes></frame></frameset></html>
One of the biggest downsides of frames is that they make it hard for a search engine to follow the links on your site, meaning that not all of your pages will get indexed. That’d be the exact opposite of optimization. You might as well use flash for the whole thing.
No, wait… don’t.
On one of the Virtual Promote forum threads, they talk about this very issue. The user named “PCInk” had a very good post about frames and when you should and shouldn’t use them.
However, there are alternatives to frames. Iframes, which are internal, scrollable windows, can be used to provide a similar effect on your page if you must use frames. Also…
“SSI, CGI, PHP, ASP do a far superior job of including one menu into all content pages and don’t annoy the site visitor. It all comes down to usability for the visitor and convenience for the site developer. Using frames involves a trade-off of at least one of these factors. Where these server-side tools are not available, the web developer can always fall-back to the html-preprocessor, which is a ‘cheap man’s SSI’.”
Personally, most sites that I have viewed that use frames usually look very amateur, like something I would have done when I was first learning web design. I admit, some sites were very professional
looking, such as W3C.com, but the majority were not. One reason it looks so amateur, is that the images or backgrounds don’t match up or the background only matches up because it is a bland, repeating, general background.
My advice is to not use frames at all. Find other, more professional ways to achieve the same effect you desire. There are so many coding languages and computer applications that could help you that there shouldn’t be any problem finding another solution. So instead of framing your website, think about the alternatives and leave the frames to pictures and framing to the architects.