Some bloggers have a tech team that makes everything work wonderfully. I don’t. Maybe I should, but I like tinkering with my technology. It’s the engineer in me. I want to fix everything. But, every now and then, I think about outsourcing…
Last week I broke my blog. I didn’t know it until @amyafrica, @adriennegordon, and @ernieschell brought it to my attention. Why? Because code that works in one browser may not work in others. Everything looked fine on my computer. It turns out that there are even challenges with the same browser on different computers. Who knew?
One of my office mates and I have the same configuration – XP and IE 8. My blog looked perfect on mine and was unreadable on his. How do you fix something that you can’t see? I found a way and I’m going to share it. Hopefully it will help others who maintain their blogs.
While researching “how to fix problems you can’t define or see”, I stumbled upon a code validator. I plugged my url in it and clicked validate. I didn’t know what to expect. I was surprised to find that I had 148 errors and 40 warnings! After several hours of trying to fix one error at a time, I gave up. I restored my blog to its original code and revalidated. It passed! My blog was back and readable, but it didn’t have plug-ins, external links, or any of the extras that help my business grow.
My next step was to add the bells and whistles back, one at a time. It was tedious at times, celebratory at others. After every update, I revalidated. If it failed, I sorted through the code to find the issues. (Guess what? If you install a plug-in and it seems to work, that doesn’t mean that the code is valid. It might not cause an immediate problem, but it creates an unstable environment.)
Occasionally, I’d make a change and find that it validated. It was a Whoo Hoo moment when that happened! After a lot of tweaking, my blog is back up with my extras and no errors. Next project – get my website error free.
My takeaway from this experience is that having the right tool makes all the difference. Website developers take warning – if your code doesn’t validate, be prepared to explain why. The VALIDATOR is a non-Geek’s best friend! It levels the playing field. Check out a page from your website today: http://validator.w3.org.
When you are done, please share your experience.