Suffusion Theme Custom CSS Ignored?

If you find your Suffusion theme custom CSS stops working then this post may help.

We recently updated a website using Suffusion 4.4.7 to WordPress to 4.3.1 from 4.1.8. After doing this there was a problem with the display of the website in particluar the NextGEN plugin photo galleries which are heavily customised.

We were using the Suffusion theme Custom Includes facility to apply our custom CSS but it seemed some (maybe all) of it was being ignored after the upgrade. Using the Firefox browser add-in Firebug to check the CSS on the fly against the website showed the custom CSS we had was still correct but it was being ignored or not applied. Clearing cache etc didn’t fix the problem.

On several other websites we look after we use the Simple Custom CSS plugin to add our own styles to override the default CSS of a plugin or theme. So, given we were in a hurry, as a test, we simply installed the Simple Custom CSS plugin and then cut/pasted the custom CSS from Suffusion into the Simple Custom CSS plugin. Refreshing the browser page/s showed that the dislay of the website was back to normal.

What the root cause of the problem was we don’t know. We like Suffusion but as we’re planning to move that website off the Suffusion theme to another one (to implement WooCommerce) we weren’t inclined to spend much time looking into the problem and so went for a quick fix.

Elegance 145 Theme and Visitor Stats

Since installing the Elegance Theme from Storefront Themes on client sites the vistor statistics records show unusual URL’s being recorded.

We use the Visitor Maps and Who’s Online 1.5.8.1 plugin to provide basic site visitor stats on a customers USANA Canada and USANA NZ health product sites. Both sites use the Elegance 1.4.5 theme on top of WP e-Commerce plugin. The Canadian site has only ever been using Elegance while the NZ site was migrated to Elegance from Thesis a few days ago.

On looking at the visitor stats for both sites the field “Last URL” nearly always shows the URL /wp-content/themes/storefront-elegance-1.4.5/styles/default.css. On other sites we’ve built without the Elegance theme and on the New Zealand site prior to its migration to Elegance the “Last URL” field contains proper site URL’s, not the style sheet file being reported.

The following screen capture shows what our Vistor Stats look like with Elegance installed.

View Visitor Stats With Elegance Theme Installed

How Visitor Stats display with the Elegance Theme installed.

We are assuming that for now that this is an interaction issue with the Elegance Theme so will raise this with Storefront Themes support and post their response here when available.

Update: 14 Oct 2012.
I’ve been very remiss in posting the response that Elegance support gave to the query I raised on the issue detailed. They came back quickly (unlike my update here!) with the following suggestion to circumvent the problem.

“Try making the folder ‘styles’ and adding a CSS file ‘default.css’ to it. make sure it has a comment in it as Opera does not like completely empty CSS files. Just something like
/*deliberately empty css file*/”

They have subsequently advised that this issue will be addressed in the forthcoming update of the Elegance theme so thats good news. I have to say that the support team for Elegance (Mark and Matt) are excellent and can highly recommend the theme to other users of the WP e-Commerce plugin. Not only do they handle support queries promptly they also will help users extend/customise the theme. I’ve also seen in the support forum where they will answer a support request and then also offer advice on how to correct another issue unrelated to the theme. It’s very nice to see such a professional level of support being provided.

Update: 6 Nov 2013.
It appears that the level of support provided by the Elegance support team has diminished since our last update to this post in Oct 2012.

In the Elegance support forum there are many support requests that do not appear to be responded to in a timely manner. One person we work directly with is intending to move off Elegance due to a lack of support and similar comments appear in the support forum. We therefore can not recommend this theme to our site visitors and have removed our Affiliate links for the Theme from this site.

WP e-Commerce Migration Off Thesis

How we migrated off the Thesis WordPress Theme on a site using the WP e-Commerce Plugin.

Start point: Thesis 1.8, WPEC 3.7.8, WordPress 3.2.1
End Point: Elegance 1.4.5 , WPEC 3.8.8.3, WordPress 3.4.1

The Thesis theme and the WP-eCommerce plugin do not tend to work well together. As a result we’ve been unable to upgrade a clients ecommerce site using WPEC because of various issues encountered due to the incompatibilty of Thesis and WPEC.

In order to uprgrade we needed to select a replacement theme for Thesis to run the store. The essential requirement was that it is WPEC compliant. After looking at several themes we chose Elegance from Storefront Themes.

After upgrading the development site in the ‘normal’ manner we encountered problems where some CSS was being loaded from several places causing inconsistant page layouts (the page would be part old style part new style). This was particularily noticeable on the checkout page.

After investigating the problems we restored the service to its previous state and started again. The following process was followed and resolved all our issues (not all steps below are mandatory and there’s probably some flexibilty in the order)

(1) Activate theme 2010.
(2) In the WPEC settngs under the Presentation tab ensure the (WPEC) Theme is set to “Default Theme”.
(3) Remove Thesis theme and any Thesis specific plugins (eg. Thesis OpenHook)
(4) Flush theme cache and basic site check.
(5) Upgrade WPEC (decativate current version, ftp up latest version and activate)
(6) In webhosting (or using ftp) rename folder /uploads/wpsc/themes to another name (eg. themes-hide)
(7) Flush theme cache and basic site check.
(8) Install and activate new theme (Elegance 1.4.5 in our case).
(9) Flush theme cache and basic site check.
(10) Configure new theme.
(11) Upgrade to the latest WP release.

We tested this process twice and didn’t encounter any issues. If you find any broken links you should try re-saving your Permalinks settings (twice). The key steps for us seemed to be (2) and (6) – without those we were getting some CSS loaded by the theme and some loaded (iShop) by WPEC . After following the process above all CSS was loading from the correct locations. This worked for us but may or may not work for you. As always, before making updates take backups and test it first in a development service.

Mazine Theme SEO H1

WordPress Version: 3.3.1
WP-eCommerce Version: 3.8.7.5 and 3.8.7.6.2
Mazine Theme Version: 1.5.0
Theme Author: Transparent Ideas

Problem:

Mazine SEO H1 and H2 Settings

The Mazine Theme is designed to be used with the WP eCommerce (WPEC) plugin so it attempts to set up the h1 and h2’s on the WPEC generated pages which can be hard for a user to do. The theme settings for the h1 and h2 meta tags however do not appear to be set for best SEO performance. Many pages either have no h1 or there is one present on the page but the keyword value is set to null. The h2 generally works better but is also sometimes set to null.

Using the latest issued version of Mazine version (1.5.0) as a general guide you may be better off not using the Mazine Custom Logo feature. The presence of this logo results in some h1 and h2 meta tag keywords being set to null so removing it fixes those.

The table below shows the h1 and h2 settings on one of my sites when using the Mazine Theme.

Mazine Standard (using a logo) Mazine Standard (without logo)
Home Page h1 = declared but set to null
h2 = none
h1 = set to site title
h2 = none
Products-page h1 = none
1st h2 = id=logo declared but set to null
2nd h2 = ‘All Products’
h1 = none
1st h2 = set to site title
2nd h2 = ‘All Products’
Category Pages h1 = none
1st h2 = declared but set to null
2nd h2 = category name
h1 = none
1st h2 = declared but set to null
2nd h2 = category name
Sinlge Product Page h1 = none
1st h2 = declared but set to null
2nd h2 = product name
h1 = none
1st h2 = set to site title
2nd h2 = product name
WordPress Page h1 = none
h2 = declared but set to null
h1 = none
h2 = set to site title

I raised the issue of h1 and h2 keywords with the developer and he provided me with an update which has improved but not entirely fixed (in my view) the problem.

The following table shows the h1 and h2 settings after updating the Mazine Theme with new header.php and wpsc-products_page.php files supplied by the developer. This fixed the Category pages h1 and h2 but there should be additional h2’s for each product name in the category. The Products Page h1 (could be improved) and h2 are set but there should be additional h2’s for each product name on the page.

Mazine Updated (using a logo) Mazine Updated (without logo)
Home Page h1 = declared but set to null
h2 = none
h1 = set to site title
h2 = none
Products-page h1 = ‘All Products’
h2 = declared but set to null
h1 = ‘All Products’
h2 = set to site title
Category Pages h1 = category name
h2 = declared but set to null
h1 = category name
h2 = set to site title
Single Product Page h1 = none
1st h2 = declared but set to null
2nd h2 = product name
h1 = none
1st h2 = set to site title
2nd h2 = product name
WordPress Page h1 = none
h2 = declared but set to null
h1 = none
h2 = set to site title

Mazine Theme Disappearing State

WordPress Version: 3.3.1
WP-eCommerce Version: 3.8.7.5 and 3.8.7.6.2
Mazine Theme Version: 1.5.0
Theme Author: Transparent Ideas

Update: April 2012. Due to being unable to resolve this issue ourselves or by logging a report on the Mazine support forum we have had to remove Mazine 1.5.0 from our site and are now using another theme which has been working well. Maybe this problem was specific to our setup – I don’t know, but its something to check for if you use or intend using the Mazine theme.

Visually, I actually like Mazine better than our replacement theme but while we could live with the patchy Mazine Theme SEO potentially losing a customer because of checkout issues is something we can’t have happen.

Problem:

Shipping State Disappears

When using the Mazine WordPress theme versiion 1.5.0 we’ve encoutered problems at checkout. At the second stage of the checkout process (contact details) if the customer changes their billing state then shipping state totally disappears. Both the state field name and the state value (eg. Ontario) are gone. Below is a short video capture shwoing the problem occurring on our Canadian site. My impression is that it may occur because we have taxes implemented on the site. The Mazine theme demo does not exhibit this problem and neither do several other Mazine sites I coud find but none of them appear to have taxes implemented as we have.

Video: Mazine WPEC Shipping State Address Issue Demonstrated

My WPEC / Mazine theme Tax Settings:

WPEC Tax Settings with Mazine Theme

WPEC Tax Settings with Mazine Theme

My WPEC / Mazine Theme Checkout Settings:

WPEC Checkout Settings with Mazine Theme

WPEC Checkout Settings with Mazine Theme