Pros and cons of website frames
The initial years of the Internet saw several sites using the frame concept. The reason for this was that sites that used frames were easy to design and maintain. But the same could not be said about their utility from the navigation or the marketing point of view. However, before looking into the pros and cons of website frames it is important to understand what frames are.
Frames are basically a design style in which the top and the side navigation bands remain static. The page address too does not change when a user moves to a new page. Instead, the fresh content is served between the static navigation bands.
The biggest advantage of such a structure is that it prevents rival websites to bypass the home page, and do deep linking. This was a very valued attribute in the initial years of the net when sites were very reluctant to allow deep linking.
Another advantage was that the designer did not have to worry about designing each new section differently. The frame was common to all pages. This also helped to cut down on maintenance efforts.
Frames also had several disadvantages. They reduced the display area because their sizes were fixed. This was a loss of valuable work area where content or advertisement could have been hosted. Another problem was that frames used more space, and a user had to scroll to get content on the page.
Frames were also advertisement unfriendly. This was basically because ads could be run only on the frame, which was static. This reduced the ad inventory sharply hurting the revenue generation capacity of the sites. No wonder the marketing teams wanted the frames to go away.
But the greatest drawback of designing web pages with frames was that it became difficult for search engines to index them. This happened because sites that used frames ran all pages under a single web address. This went against the basic principle of search engine spidering. All search ended at the same address: that was the address of the home page of the website.
Another thing that went against frames was that they prevented visitors from bookmarking the inside pages. Only the home page could be bookmarked; for the remaining pages the visitor had to launch a fresh hunt.
With the passage of years, most websites have given up the frame concept. There are still some sites that use frames, but these are very few now. The era of frames seems to be over -- and rightly so.