Trashing Your Thesis Theme

Let’s face it. The Thesis themed blogs look pretty good. I have heard fantastic reports of decreased bounce rates from new visitors on sites converted to Thesis, increased page views, and increased revenues. Those are pretty good reasons to make a switch. Now I just wonder how good it could be if the theme didn’t get completely trashed by its users.

DIY Themes Does It Right

If you check out the home page of DIY Themes you will find that they are maximizing the effectiveness of their own theme. They use heading tags in an outline format, and their code validates (almost, just two errors today).

What kills me, is seeing bloggers spending the money to get Thesis, and then they completely destroy it.

Heading Tags

Even big time bloggers do it like Chris Brogan. Chris uses Thesis, and his home page is riddled with invalid markup. His heading tags indicate no site outline at all, and in fact uses the heading tags in an inconsistent format. An example of this is where he uses the H1 tag to identify his logo on the home page, but on a unique post page H1 tags identify the page title. If you are unsure on how to use heading tags, here is an easy how to use heading tags post I did.

Validating HTML

As long as it works, right? Wrong. Let’s do a little something different here, and forget about the users. Let’s just think about ourselves. By not validating your sites HTML how exactly are you benefiting? I honestly can not think of one reason. I could imagine you might think that it’s a waste of time because it’s a hassle, and most users don’t care about that kind of stuff. So is the number one reason to not validate time?

If you believe validating is not really important yourself, you may be kicking yourself later when you find how beneficial it really is. Validating will save you time in the long run, will help you avoid some embarrassing mistakes, and could actually teach you a trick or two.

Validating Saves Time

Validating your site could save you a ton of time. Yes, there is the initial “waste” of time to get it to validate it at first, so you could be out a couple of hours. After that though, time is saved on a regular basis. Over the years I have had countless experiences where simply validating has helped me locate a problem I was having with a site. If your site is already full of errors, finding a new error from a recent edit could be a pain. In my book, saving time is not even remotely an excuse to not validate. It will save you time.

Avoiding Embarrassing Mistakes

As my five year old daughter would say, “Good luck with that.” Avoiding those embarrassing mistakes is a never ending challenge. Embarrassing mistakes are not hidden in code. They are there for the world to see, and often lie in your sites format where your mistakes are easy to see. Having valid code could be the number one method to avoid these formatting mistakes. One open tag could really play havoc with your site. Validating will remove the bonehead mistakes.

Validating Teaches

Now here is a reason alone to validate. By validating your site, you may actually learn a trick or two. I have been building sites for over a dozen years now. Think I know everything about HTML? Not. By making valid code your are often forced to learn why your code may not be valid, or just flat out bad. If you are a professional web developer validating will improve your skills, and reflect your professionalism.

Ready to Validate?

So if you are ready to validate your site start here: Markup Validation Service, and don’t freak out if you have 500 errors. Fixing one error could fix a dozen more at the same time. Start with the easy stuff, and before you know it, your site will be completely valid. When you are finished validating don’t be afraid to feel a little proud of your site afterwards. You deserve it.

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