When Your Blog Doesn’t Look Right

Build it and they will come, but will they  stay or come back?  

In the past couple of days I’ve run across several blogs that aren’t displaying well in Internet Explorer (IE).   I’m still using version 6 since our local Tucson MLS isn’t compatible with IE 7 (yet).

I know a lot of blogger’s hate IE.   But you can’t refute that more than 80% of all people viewing the web are still using it as their browser.   Yes, some prefer Firefox, other Opera, and that is your preference and you can argue superiority till the cows come home.   It doesn’t matter.   What matters most is what are my readers using to view my blog.

The point is this:

  1. You put a lot of work into your blog.
  2. You spend time writing and formating your posts.
  3. You edit the images you want people to see.
  4. You set the navigation and layout so it is easy for readers to find what they want.
  5. You tweak your blog so it looks just the way you want it.

Then you look at it in your favorite browser after you publish and if you like the way it looks you go on about your business.

What do you think your readers think when they come to read your blog and find:

  1. The navigation has disappeared from the screen.
  2. The  post is running behind the  navigation and they can’t  read the end of each line.
  3. The images aren’t appearing in all of your posts.
  4. The layout is scrambled  badly.  

Here are a couple  of examples from popular blogs that are currently running a muck in IE 6

Maureen Francis The Scoop on Michigan Real Estate

As it appears in Firefox

the scoop on michigan real estate firefox

As it appears in IE 6   notice the image is gone from the post.

the scoop on michigan real estate ie

Jim Duncan Real  Central VA

This one is fixed.   It had the right navigation over the post.

real central va blog

Jim worked on this a couple of days back.   He had inserted code from mybloglog into his right navigation.   The width of the code settings pushed the right nav over top the post.   Jim had to change the width  setting to put the right nav back where it belonged.

Yes, it take some extra time to see how your blog appears in a different browser, but as this post demonstrates it is worth the time it takes.

For those of us that come back again and again to a blog, we know it wasn’t always like this and we will be back.   What about first time readers?   Do you think they will come back?   Maybe.

No matter your feelings about IE, it a reality we bloggers must live with.   I suggest these two things.

  1. At least check how your blog appears in IE after you post or make changes to your blog.   You don’t have to make it your home browers.
  2. If you find anyones blog that you read regularly and it appears to have an issue of formatting in a browser.   Leave them an  email or comment stating the issue and the browser you are using.

It is hard work to keep a blog up and running.   This is one step we don’t want to leave out of the process.

P.S. My apologies to Maureen.   I didn’t want you to fix these before I could get the screen captures I needed for this post.   In the future if I see something I promise I’ll let you know.

P.S.S.   Wouldn’t you know it, I published, then found a typo and when I saved good old WordPress editor blew out the formatting on the blog.   I had to leave for an appointment, so I took the post down to draft mode till I could fix it.   Then I see Mary and Maureen both had visited the blog.   Good old RSS and backlinks.   I removed the offending close div tag and all appears to be well.   I better check it in Firefox.

Comments

  1. Dave, thanks for letting me know! I am a firefox user and I admit that I rarely check IE. I had noticed that from the office but I just assumed they had some firewall preventing images from loading. I guess that what I wanted to believe. Of course it is important so now I just have to figure out how to fix it. Right now about 60% of my readers use IE, but none of them have mentioned it.

  2. Maureen,

    I was looking more at your blog and realized the images that you center all appear. It is only the ones to the left or right that aren’t displaying.

    Try sizing the images smaller and see if that helps. I’ve found images in posts can do some strange things depending on the theme you are using.

  3. I think I need a new theme. That limey green is getting to me anyway!

  4. BTW, I am getting an error message when I try to post comments here. Happened both times.

  5. BTW, I am getting an error message when I try to post comments here. Happened both times.

    Internal Server Error
    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, support@supportwebsite.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Apache/1.3.33 Server at http://www.barbaralasky.com Port 80

  6. Maureen,

    I started getting the same message a few days back. I wish I had some idea what to do. I was hoping the 2.07 update would have taken care of it. Obviously it hasn’t.

    Since I am the admin, I guess I’ll have to try and look at the logs, whereever they are. : )

     Update, It was the email notifcation plugin that was causing the issue.   I’ve removed it and installed subscribe to comments instead.   I hope this works better.

  7. Dave,

    I have a post idea, if its not a tough one. Can you talk about putting new banners in a blog?

  8. Maureen, by banners do you mean the header on the blog, ex. your very orange banner?

    The header depends on the theme and the header file associated with each theme. I can take a look at your theme if you give me the link to where you got. I’ll write a post using that theme as an example of how to change the header and graphic in the header.

  9. Yes, I mean header. See how little I know. I don’t even know what I am supposed to be calling anything! In this theme I think its easier to change the header. I actually saw instructions somewhere late last night that say to change some file, blah, blah, blah… I will have to take another look and see if I can figure it out.

  10. Maureen, what is the name of the theme, can you provide a link to it. I’ll be glad to take a look at it. I just can’t tell from the links at the bottom of your blog where to get the theme. If you notice on mine it is Tiga, and a simple click takes me to the theme. That isn’t the case on yours. It depends on how the theme author structured the footer.php.

    I do like the layout but honestly think you want to tone down the orange. It really hits the eyes hard especially older ones. 🙂

    Notice I didn’t say like mine.

  11. http://www.headsetoptions.org/2006/08/06/3k2-redux-klein-theme-released/

    I am sure someone much older than you whispered in your ear that you should tell me my orange is LOUD!

  12. Nice Post.

    That was well said. Always appreciate your indepth views. Keep up the great work!

    John

  13. I find that a lot of sites and blogs get there format wrong in Firefox. I know only around 10% of people use Firefox but isn’t that enough people to care about?

  14. Neil,

    Funny you should mention it that way because I find more and more blogs that look great in FF and are a total mess in IE. FF has some great plugin and editing functions that many bloggers like. And they don’t check to see if it works with both FF and IE.

    I find about 80% of the ones I discover are totally broken in IE and to me, with 90% of the people out there using it, you should make sure it works.

    The biggest issue is the overflow issue. FF handles this extremely well. IE does not.

  15. Hi, I certainly agree with you Firefox is far superior to IE on many levels, myself and my staff have all changed over to it. Another one to watch is Opera.

  16. I still work in IE almost all the time. Since that is what the majority are using to browse and it is the most unreliable, meaning you have to be a lot more careful with formatting.

    Maybe one of these days I’ll take the time to learn more about FF. For now, I just don’t have the time to figure it out.

  17. Dave, the time spend leaning the FF is well spent as you can save so much time using which I think is FF best feature ‘multiple tabs’. Once you get into FF you wont go back.

  18. I use it for the sites I want to quickly log into, and to I have it open with hittail on it all the time. I just don’t use it for blogging, except to run the spellchecker on an older version of WordPress where the spellcheck doesn’t work in IE.

    I can’t use it exclusively because the Tucson MLS doesn’t work properly with FF. It doesn’t work with IE7 either which I understand has tabbed browsing. I really like that part of FF.

  19. You may save time with multiple tabs, but for me it seems that most websites take longer to load on FF than IE, so there’s time wasted there.

  20. When I’m using FF with the tabs for quick changing I never close it. It will remain open for days and weeks till I have to reboot the PC. So the load time is minimal, but I have noticed the same thing, longer to start up and longer to load.

  21. Still using IE most of the time because our MLS is so behind the times that nothing but IE works with it. What would you expect though from a MLS that does not even see the need for its members to get a read receipt when our customers open the listings we send to them.

  22. I recently made a new website and my web-designer seemed to completely oversee the Firefox aspect… text was overlapping and it looked horrible. Fortunately I checked his work on both IE and FF, but I can image a lot of non-internet savvy business owners would oversee checking FF. Perhaps that’s why a lot of sites on FF don’t look up to scratch.

  23. Tim,

    That is so true, I find developers either stick with FF which is by far the more compliant browser or IE and usually don’t check both.

    Every effort should be made to make the code and site look like you want in any browser.

  24. Currently I am seeing 20 – 22% of all visitors to my website using FireFox as their browser of choice. While IE is still the majority, it is definitely important to proof your website in both browsers. I have seen plenty of websites look great on one browser and illegible on another. This step is a must!

  25. I am using IE now and your blog is looks very good to me.

    I’m not an expert about the internet but I do get a lot of information about my website provided to me by my ISP provider, one of which shows the percentage of users visiting my website on IE, or FF etc. About a year ago the IE percentage was about 85%, now is around 80%, with FF and Safari coming in second and third respectively. Opera is still way down at under 1% for my website, but there definitely seems to be a movement away from IE (albeit very slowly).

  26. My website is one of those websites that looks crappy in IE. Though I did put a lot of effort in making it IE friendlier, but I feel like giving up already 🙂 Though 48% of my visitors use Firefox, so it’s not that bad.

  27. Chris,

    I’m running both FF and IE 7 and the good news is your site looks the same in either browser. You have done a good job.

    You site has a lot on it, but it still has a clean look to it. Good Job.

  28. Thanks for checking my site out Dave. I guess it only has problems on IE6 and older, which is not that big of an issue 🙂

  29. Chris,

    Stop by anytime. I hope you find some useful stuff you can use here at the lab.

    “Stuff” is a scientific blog term.

  30. There are definitely quirks you run into with IE or FF. I find that IE works best for most of my programs…I like FF for its SEO benefits.

  31. Sue,

    Things are much better with IE7. Version 6 was a disaster when it came to making your blog look right in both FF and IE.

  32. I became a FF convert when I started creating my blog. Like the guy said above, “you never go back” and I couldn’t be happier.

    That said, I have another project in the works where I know that the audience will be mostly IE users. I found a killer theme, but the theme developer discloses that he hates IE and pays no attention to it in the theme files. Strike that killer theme. I can’t use it for my audience.

    This website lets you test your web design in different browsers: http://browsershots.org/. It took me an extra minute to figure this out, so I’ll give you the inside tip — IE is MSIE.

  33. Tracy,

    Just out of curiosity what is the theme you liked so much.

    There is a post on Browsershots here at the Lab. It is a great site for checking websites and themes.

  34. I can’t remember now. I put it completely out of my mind when I knew I couldn’t count on it rendering properly for my intended audience. I also knew that I’m not sophisticated enough as a techie to recognize any potential problems and workarounds. But it was a beauty.

    Thanks for the Browsershot post link. I looked at the related post section below, but now I see that it looks for previously written posts only.

    Great site here!

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