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Avoid bad HTML

As you may know, you can easily put HTML tags in your editor fields, such as the caption field, or the message field on the home page, or even in the head-tags variable, etc. I always encourage my clients to feel free to use some minimal formatting they may want to include in these fields, because doing so is relatively easy and really shouldn't require hiring a professional to do so. I always tell them also, to be careful with the HTML they put in those fields, and DO hire a professional if they find the need to add more complex HTML - for example, beyond just bolding words, or emphasizing phrases, etc. However, I keep coming across stores where merchant-edited HTML nearly bring the store to its knees. Yes, that actually can be done! Why? Because web pages - therefore Yahoo Store pages - are made up of HTML tags, so if you throw a wrench in there, expect things to break....

Adding simple formatting is harmless. You can easily bold words, change the appearance of fonts, etc. It becomes a problem when the merchant believes that throwing a bunch of random HTML code in a variable will somehow come out correct - and if it seems visually Ok, then they assume they did it right. Here is a partial list of problems I see often:

Unclosed Tags
This is probably the most common mistake I see. They start bolding something with a < b > tag, and forget to close it. In this case, it will just end up bolding most everything on the page starting at the opening < b > tag. But, things can get worse. If you include a tag that actually affects layout, for example an opening < div > tag or < table > tag, that stray tag can potentially break your page's layout completely. And, taking it a step further, if you open a < style > or < script > tag, but don't close them, the page may stop rendering completely (i.e. come up blank.)

Closed tags without opening
This is sort of the opposite of the previous mistake. When you throw in a closing tag without first opening it, you will most likely completely break the layout of your page(s).

Mismatched tags
This is a combination of the previous two. Sometimes people throw in opening tags and closing tags at random, and in random order. If each of your opening tags have closing counterparts but in the wrong order, chances are most modern browsers will figure out what to do, but why make the browser's work miserable? Follow this easy rule of thumb: if you open a tag, such as < b >, when you are done with it, close it. That's really it.

Including main document tags such as < html >, < head > , or < body >
These are not only not necessary because the Yahoo Store templates already put these in the code, they can also break the pages, break JavaScript code, and in extreme cases these extra tags may even cause the search engines to mis-read your pages and not index them correctly.

So if you wanted to write a post-it note for yourself with the most important rules of adding html to your caption fields, write these:

  • If you open an HTML tag, always close it, and in reverse order.
  • Never use these tags in your store editor fields: < head >, < /head >, < body >, < /body >, < html > and < / html >

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