Converting large frames based site?

I have a client whose ecommerce website was built back in the late 1990’s using the then popular frames-based layout. The site now has over 3000+ pages but has obvious problems getting indexed in the search engines (the content frame is indexed but the navigation and header is missing of course).

Does anyone have a simpler solution to this problem other then re-designing the entire 3000+ site by hand?


There are 3000 physical pages? I doubt that is the case… no database?

If you are using Dreamweaver, or similar, create a template of the design and work from there. If it was designed in the 90s the underlying code will probably be very old-school and will need updating.

Sounds like a very time-consuming and laborious job I’m afraid!

The easiest solution is to use PHP or SSI to call up repeated content (eg navigation menus, the stuff that was in your header frame) so that you only need one page with that code on, and then you just insert a single line into every other page to call up the extract.

Yes, those are always constant as long as you click through the website starting on the home page. The major issue is with all the content frame pages that the search engines have indexed - even if I change to SSI on the home page, the content pages still display in the SE’s w/o any menu and navigation! Ugh!

Is converting the site to use a database w/ admin UI to center new products outside of budget? If there isn’t a budget to do that then all you can really do is use server side includes, which really isn’t fixing the most significant problem – everything is hard coded between 3000 pages. if someone came to me with this job I would urge them to save until the entire site can be completely redone, removing the frames is really a waste of time and dollars if our not going to ripe the entire thing apart and convert to a custom or open source CMS for people to manage content.

That’s why you use SSI throughout the site, so that your menu and boilerplate is inserted into each and every page.

Yes, there are actually 3000 html coded physical pages with no database! They just kept adding more and more pages as the years went by. (Flatlander Racing - High Performance Engine and Racing Parts). It obviously needs to be designed using a db and/or SSI, but I have no idea how to go about switching it all over since there are so many pages. I have yet to find any easy solutions for converting it…

I assume the ‘header2’ navigation frame and left ‘menu’ frame stay mainly constant? If so you have solved some of your problem, which is to replace those two parts with simple server side includes instead of the frame page source. Though by the looks of things there is a search function. Basically it totally wants rewriting they have all sorts of bolted on markup but I assume the frames are the number one issue at the moment.