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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:
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?
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).
Put this on the frames page HTML
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.
Like jimbeetle, I use include pages for navigation and common components.
They basically have the same effect as shared borders, but allow more flexibility.
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.