I’m Late To The 456 Berea Street Party

I’ve been reading Roger Johansson’s articles on 456 Berea Street for quite some time now. I think that I originally found his site when I was looking for a more graceful way to make transparent custom corners using CSS. I gratefully used his tips on the borders, and immediately subscribed to his feed.

Even though I have been reading Johansson’s newer stuff, I hadn’t taken the time to look back through his archives until last week. There is some really great stuff in there, I have to say.

CSS 2.1 Selectors

One of the first articles that I found was his 3-part review on CSS selectors. There’s not really any new information in this series, it is however a very elegant and concise review of them.

I don’t know about other people, but I’m constantly getting the Child (>) and Descendant (+) selectors confused. And as far as remembering the syntax for Attribute selectors, forget it.

Also, for the bleeding edge folk, there’s another article on CSS 3 selectors as well:

Document Titles

The next article I found that was extremely useful was about document titles.

I’ve actually been trying to decide how to do the document titles on this website for awhile now. Well, at least, every time I remembered to think about it I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, I hate the way that looks. I should do something else. Hmmm.” I would then promptly forget to do something else.

The default style for WordPress blog titles goes something like this:

Blog Title » Blog Archive » Post Title

I didn’t take me very long to realize that I hated this format. First of all, it’s way too wordy. Second of all, the most important information, the post title, is left all the way at the end.

For instance, this post would end up looking like this in a search engine:

NerdStarGamer » Blog Archive » I'm Late To The 456 Berea Street Party

Yuck. Every single hit on a search engine will start “NerdStarGamer » Blog Archive”. Even worse, monthly archives look like this:

NerdStarGamer » 2007 » May

Changing the document title tags requires editing small bit of PHP and using the WordPress template tags If you want to serve up anything other than a static message. At first I took the advice in a Pearsonified article, The Simplest, Most Effective SEO Move You Can Make, which conveniently provides you with the appropriate PHP code.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the solution. It was better, but I had lost my website name in most of my titles. After reading Johansson’s article on the subject, I decided I liked his solution the best. So, now I’m sporting the 456 Berea Street-style document titles. Here is the code that I used, if you’re interested:

<title><?php if (is_single() || is_page() || is_archive()) { wp_title('',true); echo ' | '; bloginfo('name'); } else { bloginfo('name'); echo ': '; bloginfo('description'); } ?></title>

Final Note

There’s all sorts great stuff on 456 Berea Street. I have a lot more left to read. One of the best features on the site has got to be the “Best of Feature”. It’s easy access to Johansson’s own list of “most useful, interesting and/or thought provoking” articles.


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1. Chris P.

Nerd Gamer,

The SEO benefits are greater from having your post title appear in front of your site title in the <title> bar. For me, it’s not about preference for a particular structure—it’s about the one that works the best.

2. Alissa Miller

Chris –

I completely agree with you. That’s why I didn’t like the default WordPress titles. As you can see, the final version that I chose to go with is only a slight variation of your suggestions:

Home page is: Site Title: Site Description All other pages are: Page/Post Title | Site Title

This way the most important information, the post title, comes first. Also, I still get a plug in there for my site name as well. And I got rid of that useless “Blog Archive” business.