This past Saturday, I finally decided to get to work with the WordPress Thesis theme. I wanted to create a static front page and also have a blog section. The challenge arose with you guessed it duplicate titles and duplicate description fields.
Although I should be fair I do believe it had more to do with using the All-In-One-SEO wordpress plugin then anything to do with either Thesis or WordPress. It took me almost 6 hours to get it setup, seems like no matter what I tried it just would not work.
Essentially the theme does not really need any SEO plugins to be effective anymore. Yet, I’m kind of hesitant to give up the SEO control to a template. I really did like the All-In-One-SEO plugin, yet all I really used it for was the auto-description function, call most of us lazy!
After hours of research, trying just about everything I finally logged into the database and completely removed Headspace2 and any reference to All-In-One-SEO. After this was done things finally began to progress.
The bad part is I ended up modifying the core Thesis theme header.php file, which also means that I’ll need to keep that in mind should any update come along. The most useful information I found for this process came from Luke Harrison’s page titled “Giving your Static Homepage and Blog page different TITLES in WordPress” this got me going in the right direction.
Yet I did deviate quite a bit from his example, click for a larger view.
Once this was done it was a matter of getting the front page title and the blog title along with the correct description set on the respective pages, as I said I played with this for hours with no progress when the All-In-One-SEO plugin was installed.
In the Thesis forum there was no shortage of advice on how to setup a static front page, with titles and descriptions, which of course did not work. Now this maybe a problem since the version is rc5.
What I finally ended up with that was a working solution is, under Thesis Options >> Document Head >> Title tag everything is unchecked! Under Home Page >> Home Page Meta, there is nothing in the meta description or meta keywords. This is contradictory to everything they said to do.
On the front page using the Thesis SEO Details and Additional Style I entered the meta description here. The title is entered in WordPress >> Settings >> General under Blog Title Home Business Opportunities News & Ideas.
Ok for the blog page, I gave the page a title in WordPress Nav60’s Home Business Blog at this point I now had the title for the front page and blog set along with the description set for the front page.
In order to set the description for the blog page it was back to the WordPress >> Settings >> General under Tagline. Setting this up was a royal pain, as none of it makes any sense. Believe me I tried every possible combination to accomplish this!
My gut feeling is with a clean install of WordPress, then bringing in the Thesis template things are probably different. Yet, how many of us will take an existing site and destroy all of our content?
As I mentioned before one of my concerns was losing the auto-description feature from the All-In-One-SEO Plugin, since I like and use Marsedit to post to multiple blogs both Drupal and WordPress.
Reading through the Thesis forum, there where references that the theme would even take the excerpt field for a post description. So I gave it a try with Marsedit and sure enough it does work!
So now it makes my favorite blog editor that much more enjoyable to use. Of course I’m fully expecting that I may have to do this all over again with the final version of Thesis is released.
Yet if this helps just a few people who are concerned with duplicate titles and descriptions in WordPress then it is worth it. Do let me know if it helps you.
Just A Follow Up… After several months playing with wordpress and thesis I came to the decision that in order to achieve the desired SEO actions I was after to move the site mentioned above to Drupal 6.x.
Eventually I may post about why this move was made and the benefits from it.