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Guide to Complying With W3C Validation in Blogger

Blogger is notorious in that it doesn’t usually comply to the rules of XHTML, set by the foremost authority of web scripting, W3C. Though, the SEO authorities largely assume W3C validation doesn’t impact website’s search engine rankings, it undoubtedly affects the display of the website in popular browsers. And we want all our sites to display correctly, don’t we? Also, in my personal experience, W3C valid sites tend to load faster, just because of the fact that the browsers don’t need to assume a lot. Here we will see how you can post W3C valid blog posts in your Blogger blog.

W3C Validation

W3C or the World Wide Web Consortium is the foremost authority of the Web. This is a non-profit organization headed by the inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee. W3C sets the rules for all web-scripting languages, such as HTML, SGML, XML, XHTML, etc.

For a website to display in a browser, it needn’t have 100 % correct script. In such case, the browsers assume what the author meant to display the site. In most cases, and in most platforms, the display will be all right. Also, some of the rules of W3C are just regulations, which most browsers ignore. So, it is needless to say that validation for websites is not a requirement.

However, if you wish to be totally compliant with the rules, you should validate your site with W3C Validator. It will give you the details of all errors in your code, and you can, if you wish, make changes to your site to comply with the standards.

It is not known if W3C validation helps in SEO or not. However, one thing is for sure: Valid websites are easier for search bots to access and index. So, they tend to get indexed sooner. However, invalid sites may rank above valid ones. Also, there is no guarantee that a valid site will display correctly in a browser. Sometimes the incorrect code can validate successfully.

If you check popular company sites on Validator, you will see that most don’t comply with the standards. For instance, Google has almost 59 errors, and Microsoft, a whopping 176 errors.

Valid Blog Posts

Even if you recode your blog’s home page and make it almost compliant with W3C standards, your individual pages may fail to validate. The reason is that your post body has a lot of HTML errors. If you check the permalink of each of your posts in validator, you will see the errors in the post code.

The major advantage of validating each of your posts is twofold: First, the post will be easily crawlable and viewable. Second, the post body size can be well optimized.

You need to post pure HTML in order to get it correctly validated. If you know HTML, the posting can be easier. Otherwise, it is good if you can learn a few HTML tags (text formatting tags like bold, italics, etc., font tags, text style tags, and anchor are the most important). However, you can post pure HTML without knowing any HTML tags; read below.

Word Processors

I used to fire up MS Word to create my blog posts, until recently. I would create my daily blog post in Word, open up the Blogger post editor, paste the whole post on to the editor, and hit publish. The Word formatting autogenerated HTML tags within Blogger editor. Many of these tags are incorrect or not compliant with the standards. As a result, none of the posts successfully validated, and most gave more than a hundred errors (more than the number of errors on my home page). If you view all the posts of a particular month, you will see that the errors can collectively go above a thousand.

When I realized this, I decided to post pure HTML on posts, and started coding each post carefully.

How Can You Post Pure HTML on Blog Posts

I understand that most of my readers may not know HTML coding to post correct HTML posts. Here is the solution.

I recently came across a great piece of software that helps you edit your blog posts in HTML, and see the result in real time. It is located here: W.Blogger. W.Blogger is an excellent desktop blogging tool. The great advantage is that you needn’t learn HTML in order to post using this tool. The tags are already there. You just need to select the text and choose the effect (bold, italics, etc.,) from its interface, which is almost similar to MS Word. You can view the effect right in the Preview tab.

W.Blogger Editor (Desktop Blogging)
W.Blogger Editor

W.Blogger Formatting
Choosing Formatting

Formatting Result
Preview the Effect

W.Blogger can be used in all platforms, Blogger, WordPress, etc. You can set your blog up in W.Blogger to post directly from it, by giving your user name and password. This way, you can post directly to Blogger from this application.

Here are some screenshots of W.Blogger:

Setting Up Blogger Account (File->Add Account):

Setting up Blog AccountChoosing Blog ServiceChoosing Pinging ServiceHow Should You Use This Tool?

You can and should use MS Word and W.Blogger together for the best results. W.Blogger is only a HTML editor and doesn’t have spelling or grammar checking. So, you have to edit your blog posts in MS Word and get all your spelling and grammar errors corrected. Once done with editing of text, format the content on W.Blogger.

Once you have checked your spelling and grammar, you should not paste the content directly to W.Blogger and choose the formatting. Directly pasting the text from MS Word to W.Blogger creates problems in character encoding, causing some of your characters not to show up (for instance, the single quote was not showing up on my system).

So, instead of copy-pasting, save the Word file as a text file, with extension, ‘.post’. Save it in Windows default text format. Now, open this file with W.Blogger. This will ensure that all the characters are displaying properly, and you only need to format the content in the way you wish.

Save as Post
Saving as 'post' file

Choose Text Encoding
Choosing Encoding

Post your opinions. If you use any other tools for posting, let me know of them.

Related Entries:

New Design of CuteWriting
Theme Redesign and W3C Validation
Importance of Professional Theme for Bloggers

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


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