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Updating my site
Dropping frames-using frontpage borders
jimun




msg:609114
 3:02 pm on Apr 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

In updating to frontpage borders is there any thing that I should consider. For over a year the site was in the top 3 of the main key phrase. Toward the end of last year it started to bounce around. At this time it shows up on page 34 on main key phrase. Other key phrases it hits as high as 1,2&3. This is my second post in the past 6 months I have come to this site and I appreciate the help this site gives. Thanks

 

jimbeetle




msg:609115
 5:56 pm on Apr 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi jimun,

I've recently completed doing almost exactly what you're up to, except I was using mostly 'include pages' rather than borders.

Main advantages of using frames for me were:

1) The content page was almost all content, very light on other things that could distract a search engine (and also loaded very, very quickly).

2) My table of contents frame for each section of the site could be quite extensive since the page only had to load one time within the frameset.

3) I could take a page from any folder anywhere and stick it in a frameset where it was needed just by including a link in the table of contents for that frameset.

Now, the problems I've had converting to a 'flat' format:

1) That 'all content' page now gets much heavier with table of contents and other such things on each page, sometimes to the point where it masked the content. I was using FP's 'include page' function for navigation but since have been chaning to calling external javascript files to keep those extensive links away from the spiders. I want them to concentrate just on the content.

2) Then had to completely rethink the overall navigation structure. Whether using include page or external javascript the nav menus were now much too long for a user. Had to cut everything back to more of a 'pyramid' structure (still in the process and doing more rethinking as I go).

3) Those pages that served double duty in different framesets are now giving me a problem. If I use the 'Widget A' page in three different sections, which table of contents do I include on the page? A general one where the user might feel lost, or put a separate Widget A page in each section? I'm still fighting with it. I have to restructure much of my directory scheme to more closely match the navigation structure.

I don't use Frontpage borders except for the bottom footer on each page and can't remember how it handles the left and right borders. Do you need different borders for different sections or will one border suffice for all pages? I mostly use the 'include page' function. I find them a bit clunky to use but it is doable. This thread [webmasterworld.com] touches a bit on it.

To sum up whatever the heck I said: The page size is going to change as will the text to code ratio. Hand-in-hand with that is that you may have to rethink your overall navigation structure and how you have your files and folders ordered.

Did I make any sense?

Jim

jimun




msg:609116
 6:40 pm on Apr 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks jimbeetle,
It does make some sense. I only work this one site at the moment. Most of my time is on other marketing projects. It is a site that shows our products and helps people find a local or online dealer. I am not up on anything other then frontpage. One problem I ran into with frames is when my site was accessed through every page except home index the frames did not come up. The site is only at about 100 pages now. The new site includeds about 400 or more pages just to list our dealers by state and city and some new product pages. It will be around 500 or more pages when done. So I wanted to try borders (top, left and bottom) to have the same kind of navagation as frames. I was able to layout the navagation once and now in testing I do not have the same problem as before. My main concern is the affect it will have on the bots. I use robot.txt file. I could exclude the dealer file if that will make a difference.

jimbeetle




msg:609117
 7:46 pm on Apr 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's a good current thread on framesets [webmasterworld.com].

Your 'orphan page' problem is very common and is discussed in the above thread. There are a few different snippets of javascript that take care of this very simply.

I don't have it handy right now but I'm sure somebody else will come along who does. Or you can do a search on one of the script sites such as javascript.com or webdeveloper.com

The javascript basically says "If this page opens in anything other than the frameset it's supposed to be in, then put it in that frameset."

jimun




msg:609118
 8:04 pm on Apr 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

So you think it is better to stay with frames rather than use fp borders.

jimbeetle




msg:609119
 12:03 am on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's a tough call without knowing all of the details. I'm happy that I changed to flat pages, just have problems working out the bugs and keeping everything straight.

I'd say if you can come up with a good navigation system and keep the page light you should go for it.

In fact, it you're seriously considering a major redesign you might take a stroll over to the CSS forum [webmasterworld.com] and see what Nick_W and the folks there have cooking. The CSS Library [webmasterworld.com] is crammed full of stuff that will get you started on building a very light CSS page. I built my first one -- that worked -- in about 15 minutes and am now tweaking that for a redesign on a site.

Think you should check that out before you make any decisions and maybe get a few more opinions (you'll not want for those around here).

Jim

rogue




msg:609120
 1:05 am on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's one way to do it.
<SCRIPT>
var n4p = (self.innerHeight!= null && self.innerHeight == 0);
if ((parent.ABC==null ĶĶ parent.ABC!='PAGE_NAME') &&!n4p){
location.replace('PAGE_NAME');
}
</SCRIPT>
Put this on the main frame and left nav frame HTML.

<SCRIPT
var ABC='PAGE_NAME';
Put this on the frames page HTML
</SCRIPT>
This works very good for me. I have no problems at all. Everything gets indexed and scores quite well for what I want. For the surfer and the bots, the pages load instantly and are indexed properly.

rogue




msg:609121
 1:10 am on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm not saying CSS won't do better, (easier), especially for a big site. (work load and all). Frames are pretty cool if you can stand the heat.

jimun




msg:609122
 4:01 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the input, it helps get more perspective on making changes. I have already laid out the pages using shared borders. I just went through several threads to gain more knowledge of the usability. It seems to be that those that are using fp 2002 shared borders are doing good with no hinderance to the bots spidering (staying away from hoover buttons). Some prefer the include pages option. I could not see that I should change from shared borders. Am I missing anything?

jimbeetle




msg:609123
 4:38 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

You checked everything out and it works for you? Go for it.

Good luck,

Jim

Marketing Guy




msg:609124
 5:12 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I tried the shared borders and had a few problems publishing them (host had to patch server extensions). Itīs a small issue thatīs easily resolved but i thought id point it out.

Like jimbeetle, I use include pages for navigation and common components.

They basically have the same effect as shared borders, but allow more flexibility.

Scott

jimun




msg:609125
 5:18 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Scott
How would you describe more fexibility with include pages?

Marketing Guy




msg:609126
 5:25 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Personally I create a basic page template:

2 / 3 column table depending on site.
Spare row at top and bottom.

I use include pages for the top and bottom parts (both tend to be main nav links - top has logo - bottom has disclaimer type info).

The side column(s) I use for navigation or internal advertising.

By using include pages I can make changes site wide to navigation (and in some cases standard content) without much trouble, although I believe this is similar to shared borders.

However, I tend to use a centred 760 pixel table for my page, so using the side shared borders for navigation complicates that (not sure if itīs possible with shared borders or not - really havent used them much).

Perhaps, what I should have said is that they are more flexible for me. :)

It really depends what you are used to, be I would recommend experimenting with include pages for your naviagtion to see what works for you.

Scott

jimun




msg:609127
 5:56 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks Scott
I might experiment a little just to see the difference. The way I have the borders: top=logo image and main page links (total of 6), left=catalog navigation and bottom=normal page info (copyright, etc...) with a couple of internal links and e-mail info. For page content I used a table set at 100% width. I have used the fp preview browser at different settings and so for it has come out looking pretty good and no trouble with navigation. I have not loaded it to a server yet though. That will be the real test.

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