Geek Article: Tiny Error Causes Massive Problem( 'Takes about 3 minutes to read. )


~~ Idol & The Goblet of Fire ~~
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9th June 2016: A major website design flaw error which I’ve just discovered on this website that was adversely affecting my SEO-rating on all pages & posts. – And guess what: It was only 1 character! (And it wasn’t exactly my fault either.)

I ran a test on this website using the website-grader at https://website.grader.com , which brought to light an error.

The results told me that the <h1></h1> tags were missing from all my page headings. That didn’t seem to be right as I’d seen my website’s code for the several header files I use many times, and it contained the <h1> tag.

I investigated further, and found that in every case there was a PHP loop which was generating the header titles which used an if…else function. The problem was that the if_ function was clearly marked with h1, but the else_ function – which the loop usually defaults to, was using a paragraph <p> tag: –

PHP1

ScreenHunter_77 Jun. 09 17.09I corrected the error by changing the <p></p> tags to <h1></h1>, ran the test again, and got a full 30/30 SEO score.

I checked this just to be sure, and can tell you that the PHP routine in question was written by the WordPress Team and the particular loop in question hadn’t been edited in a way that would cause this error to occur. My theme is TwentyFifteenPlus; my own unique adaptation of the WordPress Team’s TwentyFifteen theme. I copied that loop directly from the original header file and made some minor changes to it; however I didn’t cause the error in question.

It appears, then, that unless the problem has been remedied in a recent update, that anyone using the default TwentyFifteen theme, or any derivation/s of it, could well be experiencing the same issue without realising it.

The loop was copied from the TwentyFifteen theme’s original theme file ‘ header.php ‘ that was current in January 2015. I suggest that, if you’re using TwentyFifteen or any theme modelled on it, be that your own hack or someone elses’ custom-job, you check the line which appears as line 37 in the original header.php which reads like this: –

PHP2

and change it so that it reads thus: –

PHP3

It’ll improve your SEO ratings no end.

I’m sure Google were penalising me for not using header tags: Ignorance is no excuse in the worlds of law and computing, and I should have spotted and rectified that mistake a long time ago.

The thing is – yeah – this is the WordPress Team who designed the original: The same WordPress Team who make my website possible by providing an awesome Content Management System that is WordPress and that makes my site run as I want it to after a few theme alterations. They’re not perfect – no-one is – but I trust them not to make a big boob like that. – Or if they do to rectify it before releasing their software. Yes I know that the particular piece of software in question was a freebie, but surely the WP Team wouldn’t tarnish their reputation by even releasing imperfect free software. – It’s rather uncanny that they’d release a file with such a relatively basic error in it.

All this makes me wonder: Did they release with that error being the lesser of two evils? Has my solving their minor error which caused a major problem in comparison thrown up another set of complications in some other PHP script somewhere in another part of the theme? Hopefully not, and I’m verging on becoming a conspiracy-theorist by suggesting it, and should go and put my tin-foil hat on and sit in the corner.

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Sharron

I'm a singer - songwriter - producer, as well as an electronics & computer geek. 1 lifetime is not enough! S to the H to the A to the Zee; to the Zee to the A, L.I.V.E. - Shazzalive is alive! YOLO.


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