HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
By signing up, you can add a search box to your site that enables your users to search
only pages on your own site for information. For a list of other ways to add search func-
tionality to your site, see the following page in the Open Directory Project: Use Frames Wisely
One failing of some Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) books is that they tell you
about all the different techniques you can use to create web pages, but they don't offer
any comparative information that explains when and how these techniques ought to be
used. For example, I've devoted a number of pages to discussing frames, but they should
really be used only when nothing else will work. For example, putting all of your naviga-
tion in one frame and your content in another just because you can is generally a poor
Frames have a couple of specific disadvantages that make them unsuitable for use in
many cases. The first is that they make it hard for users to bookmark inner pages on
sites. If your entire site is a frameset, the URL in the user's location bar never changes as
the user navigates within the site. When the user gets to your inner page that has a won-
derful recipe for chocolate chip cookies that your grandmother gave you, he'll have a
hard time bookmarking it because his browser wants to bookmark the top-level frameset
itself. When he returns on future visits, he'll be taken back to your home page.
The second issue that's common with framesets is that they can interfere with search
engines. Again, if your entire site is inside a frameset, when a search engine fetches your
home page, it's probably going to get a page with no real content to speak of. Then, it
will download, say, the navigation frame, which lacks context, the content frame, which
may lack header and footer information, and on and on. If you want people to find your
site using search engines, frames can get in your way.
There are also other issues people have had with framesets in the past, like problems
printing and problems with the back button. Browsers mostly compensate for these
issues today, but even so, frames can confuse your users. In some cases, there's just no
other good way to attack a problem, but you should always make sure that there's not a
better way before going the frames route.
Use Concise, Sensible URLs
One common mistake made by web designers is not considering how users share URLs.
If your site is interesting at all, people are going to email the URL to their friends, paste
it into instant messaging conversations, and talk about it around the water cooler. Making
your URLs short and easy to remember makes them that much easier for people to share.
There's a reason why people have paid huge sums for domain names like
and in the past. They're easy to remember and you don't have to spell
them out when you tell them to people.
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