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[resolved] Since update to 3.7.1, display of testimonials is jumbled (23 posts)

  1. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Hi,

    Since the update to 3.7.1, testimonial pages aren't being displayed correctly (NB I'm using the Avada theme):

    1. in "Footer Widget 3", I use a testimonial widget to display testimonials from category "2013", but a couple of newer testimonials are formatted differently from all the others (eg text is larger and brighter in colour).

    2. each testimonial has been assigned to a category (eg 2013, 2012, 2011 etc) and 3-4 Testimonials pages display testimonials from just one category (so that potential customers can read categories year-by-year). Since the update, only the first Testimonials page is displayed (all others generate 404 errors). NB all pages definitely still exist in WP-Admin; in fact, 404 errors are displayed if I select View Page.

    2b. testimonial data in WP-Admin is complete and correct, but everything is jumbled up when displayed on the one page which currently displays some testimonials. Eg. missing quote symbols; client names appearing on the end of previous customer's testimonials; testimonials only partially displayed with "Read More" - which was never the case before the update);sometimes titles appear in bold - other times not .... it was perfect before!

    3. Testimonial pages used a particular sidebar which displayed a Facebook widget plus a link to a different page to "Add New Testimonial". That sidebar is not being used; instead you merely see the text "Select a blog Category" and "No categories".

    Can someone please look into these for me as this area of my site is the main area I promote so it's the first place that potential customers look.

    Thanks in advance :/

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/gc-testimonials/

  2. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Please post a link to the site.

  3. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Sorry about the delay Chris :'(

    The site is located here:
    http://www.oakleyit.co.uk/

  4. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    > 1. I found this in Jean Weston's testimonial:

    <span style="color: #000000; font-family: Calibri; font-size: medium;">

    Try removing that and the closing </span> tag by editing the page in Text mode.

    > 2b. To improve the layout on the testimonials pages, try either
    (a) in the page template, insert this before the post closing </div>:

    <div class="clear"></div>

    or (b) adding this to your stylesheet (may be the easier option):

    .testimonials {
      clear: both;
      margin-bottom: 60px; /* or whatever */
    }

    The A-circumflex character after some of the dates, the formatting of the post title (colors, bold), and any missing quote symbols seems to be in the post text and not any stylesheets. Edit those posts in Text mode to clean them up. I can't imagine the update causing that.

    That's a start. I will dig into the other problems.

  5. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Hi Chris,

    1. We done for finding the additional formatting in Jean's testimonial; I removed the superfluous text as suggested and her testimonial now looks as it should in that footer widget - thanks :)

    Circumflex character: your explanation made me helped me realise something - thanks! It's only displaying the unwanted testimonials. To explain: some weeks ago, I had to individually re-enter all the testimonials in the correct order (ie oldest first) and automatically assign them to a YEAR category. That's so that viewers could filter testimonials by year - and they'd be displayed "newest first". Does that make sense?

    Anyway, the system is now displaying only those categories without a category assigned - so you are right insofar as the upgrade didn't cause the date formatting problem; the date formatting was bad anyway it's just that we are now only showing those "duff" testimonials.

    The real testimonials are in WP-Admin assigned to categories and formatted correctly. There is the puzzle now.

    I somehow forgot to delete those old testimonials after new ones had been created and assigned to categories (I'll do that as soon as this current problem is resolved).

    The remaining part of your last post relates to updating the style sheet; I can't remember how to do that :'(

    In view of the above explanation re formatting and old testimonials, do you still suggest the style sheet update and if so, would that be via WP-Admin etc?

    J

  6. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Further to my earlier post, all (except one) testimonials without a category in WP-Admin have been deleted. I left one for testing until we resolve the current problem.

    So, there are now 127 testimonials in categories 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013.

    It's therefore strange how the website still only displays the testimonials without categories (ie none of those with categories).

    In WP-Admin, the code for the Testimonials page definitely states:
    [full-testimonials category="7"] and category 7 is 2013.

    Interesting that (as we proved earlier with Jean's testimonial) the footer widget is displaying the live testimonials from the correct category ("2013").

    Does this help to pinpoint the cause??

  7. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    PS - W3TC has been disabled for days so there is no cache to clear :/

  8. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    I like the use of year categories. Brilliant!

    Edit the stylesheet via the dashboard Appearance > Editor or via the URL /wp-admin/theme-editor.php (provided editing is not disabled in your wp_config). The editor should open style.css by default but double-check. Then place this at the end:

    .testimonials {
      clear: both;
      margin-bottom: 60px; /* or whatever */
    }

    and click [Update File]. Adjust that bottom margin as you see fit. Remember to refresh the page to see the change; and kudos for disabling caching.

    ---

    The plugin registers a custom post type. Custom post types use the same category archive page and permalink structure for standard posts:
    http://mywebsite.com/post-type/post-slug/
    so the /testimonials page is the category archive, which will include all testimonials regardless of category, instead of processing the shortcode for the desired category.

    Which, by the way, is why you get the "Read More" link to a single testimonial page, e.g.
    http://www.oakleyit.co.uk/testimonials/grace-jones-oakley/.

    Which also explains the 404's. For
    http://www.oakleyit.co.uk/testimonials/testimonials-2012/
    WP is looking for a single testimonial with the slug testimonials-2012.

    This is a shortfall of this plugin.

    I can't fully re-create the problem on my end in order to sort out a workaround. Do you have a Testimonials category as a parent to 2013, 2012, etc.?

  9. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    In fact, if we can figure out why you're getting the archive page instead of the standard page, you probably won't need to add that code to your stylesheet and it would solve the missing sidebar problem.

  10. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    All four of my categories have no Parent Category Chris.

    I thought I had stumbled onto something, but I'm unsure now.

    Something you said about Archive pages made me wonder what would happen if I were to create a brand new Testimonial page and simply copy the content from the current Testimonial page. I did it and "hey presto" the new page displayed fine.

    Sadly, there is some confusion in the system as within only minutes the page isn't displaying again (404 error) so I need to repeat the steps slowly to work out where it is falling down.

    My logic was that it would have been an easy way to sidestep the problem(s) - but I now doubt my logic :'(

  11. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

  12. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    We're overlapping posts haha.

    Yeah, the system seems to remember Permalinks somewhere.

    When creating new pages, I renamed old page titles to "xyz OLD" and likewise with their Permalinks (ie "xyz old") so that I could reuse the page titles and Permalinks. Changing page titles etc would have made them less logical.

    Initially things worked but then after I edited the Menus to point at the new pages, they merely showed 404 errors and redirected etc. I also deleted the originals and emptied the Trash, as I've previously encountered problems with reusing Permalinks if pages still existed in the Trash.

    I need to try it again slowly with 2010 to see where it falls over ...

  13. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Sorry about the delay; my broadband went down at the wrong time :'(

    Anyway, here are the steps I took when testing and it showed there is some confusion - which you will understand but I don't:

    1. re-title "Testimonials 2010" to "Testimonials 2010 OLD"
    2. Permalink: change /testimonials-2010/ to /testimonials-2010old/
    3. "Preview Changes": 404 error
    4. Create new page entitled "Testimonials 2010"
    5. Retain auto-suggested Permalink: /testimonials-2010
    6. "Preview Changes": SUCCESS
    7. In Attributes section, assign parent of Testimonials
    8. "Preview Changes": 404 error9.
    9. In Attributes section, remove parent of Testimonials
    10. "Preview Changes": SUCCESS

    After noticing that the Parent association played a part in causing 404 errors, I edited the current "Testimonials 2011" page which gives 404 errors since the WP update:

    11. In Attributes section, remove parent of Testimonials
    12. "Preview Changes": 404 error
    13. UPDATE page
    14. "Preview Changes": SUCCESS

    Then the "Testimonials 2012" page:
    15. In Attributes section, remove parent of Testimonials
    16. "Preview Changes": 404 error
    17. UPDATE page
    18. "Preview Changes": SUCCESS

    Current status
    ==============
    1. I have a Testimonials page which is badly formatted etc, but you worked out that the problem related to it being an Archive type page, instead of a Standard page.
    2. every Testimonials page that had the Testimonials page as a Parent in Page Attribute section (ie 2010, 2011, 2012) resulted in a 404 error; removing the Parent Association from each relevant page seems to have fixed that problem.

    Next Step (as I see it - but I'll bow to your expertise)
    =========
    a) we fix the current Testimonials page so that it displays correctly then reassign it as a Parent to the other Testimonials pages.
    OR
    b) I create a new Testimonials page and copy all content from the current Testimonials page, then make it the Parent to other Testimonials pages.

    Personally, I like the sound of option (a) as the system seems to remember previously used Permalinks so I'm running out of alternative names which make sense.

    I'm sorry for the long post, but I worked out a lot and wanted to share the results with you. I'm also happy that my broadband didn't fail this time, because I lost my original post when it failed at 1am last night (it is now 9am).

    I look forward to your diagnosis :)

  14. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    No worries on the long post, that does help; minimalism and tech support = oil and water; good on ya for getting up to your knuckles on this gremlin hunt.

    I understand wanting to fix the appearance and move on but I think it's more important to fix the underlying post/page structure so the plugin - and WP, for that matter - can and will continue to work as intended. Form follows function.

    The "Testimonials" page is definitely an archive of custom post type "testimonials" (plural). This plugin creates a custom post type "testimonial" (singular) and does not fully employ the archive structure; i.e. http://mywebsite.com/testimonial will 404.

    So, do you have another testimonial plugin installed? Or maybe deactivated but the data remains?

  15. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Thanks for your frequent praise Chris; it feels good to be making progress, particularly in my understanding of what is going on. At the start, everything seemed randomly crazy and I could see no rhyme or reason so everything seemed hopeless.

    Things are still wrong, but I understand the reason so am much calmer; we know the pattern and can virtually work around it (which reinforces the theory) it's so just finding the culprit.

    Praise for me, thanks again, but we wouldn't be where we are now (also with a hope of solving things) if it wasn't for you!!

    So, RESPECT to you Chris - I hold you in the highest regards and wonder how on earth someone can possibly become so adept at this stuff. AND, devote time and effort to helping other folks when you must have a life??

    I completely agree with fixing the underlying structure as a priority; the quick fix / "sticking plaster" worked but would always have left me worried.

    To my knowledge, I have only ever used his one plugin (the site was developed by a professional developer whom I paid for the job, so it off the scene now).

    However, your theory is right again insofar as I did recently deactivate almost every plugin (including this one) in an effort to find the source(s) of problem(s) after things went so badly wrong with the update to 3.7.1.

  16. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Thanks for your kind words, Jan. I am glad to be of help, though I do think that someone with more experience reading the clues would have this sorted out already.

    Truth be told, I've been using this plugin's forum as a trial balloon for a business idea around WordPress dev, hosting, and support.

    ---

    Try changing the permalink for the "Testimonials" page to testimonials-2013 - you're going to have to soon anyway :) - and if successful then the workaround is to use something other than testimonials like recent-testimonials (for SEO, I recommend keeping the word testimonials in the phrase).

    The facts:

    1. I cannot re-create the problem using the TwentyThirteen theme.
    2. I cannot figure out why your "Testimonials" page is titled "Testimonial Options".
    3. Others are not experiencing the same problem that we can tell.

    These make me lean towards a conflict with your theme and WP 3.7.1 and the plugin. Perhaps the theme developer can shed some light. It may be as simple as deleting a custom archive page template.

    'Tis a puzzlement.

  17. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Very interesting observation about the "Testimonials" page being called "Testimonials Options"; I assume you're referring to the Tab title and I'd never noticed that before.

    At first, I immediately thought of the SEO plugin as I completed many fields (including the "Title" field) and presumed that I'd made a mistake - but everything is correct.

    This bit is more puzzling: on the Edit Page screen for the Testimonials page, I did a simple Find (ie Control and "F") then typed "option". If found 6 instances ... but I could only see three of them, each was highlighted. Weird or what??

    Contacting the theme developers isn't straightforward. The developer bought the theme so they won't deal with me! At the end, he sent me the original theme installation files and is now truly off the scene :'(

    Later tonight, I'll follow your suggestion and change the Permalink for the Testimonial page to testimonials-2013, and seeing what happens.

    1. Do you know what WP remembers about now unused Permalinks?? I ask because I've played with them before and the impression I got was that once used, Permalinks could not be used again - even if the previously used pages were now deleted (and removed from Trash).

    2. Also, was it relevant that testimonials pages such as 2010, 2011 etc gave 404 errors as soon as they were assigned the parent page Testimonials? Removing the parent made them available / found again.

    3. Last question for now: what was the relevancy of the plugin having been deactivated then reactivated? I ask because you were right, so it had to be relevant haha??

  18. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Sorry to hear to developer is out of the picture.

    1. Do you know what WP remembers about now unused Permalinks?? I ask because I've played with them before and the impression I got was that once used, Permalinks could not be used again - even if the previously used pages were now deleted (and removed from Trash).

    Very common issue and the reason why it's generally recommended to modify existing pages and take advantage of the revision system built into WordPress instead of replacing them.

    If you're comfortable/adventurous enough to dig into the database then it's possible to delete those old versions.

    I will look for a less risky solution.

    2. Also, was it relevant that testimonials pages such as 2010, 2011 etc gave 404 errors as soon as they were assigned the parent page Testimonials? Removing the parent made them available / found again.

    Yes, but only because the parent was named "Testimonials" and therefore put /testimonials in the URL structure which triggers the category archive mechanism first instead of fetching the page containing the shortcode.

    3. Last question for now: what was the relevancy of the plugin having been deactivated then reactivated? I ask because you were right, so it had to be relevant haha??

    Good point. Deactivating the plugin leaves the records in the database as a custom post type that follows the standard post type URL structure; i.e. http://mywebsite.com/testimonial/david-cameron.

    So if you deactivate the plugin and http://www.oakleyit.co.uk/testimonials does not 404 then it would seem that the theme has a custom archive page template which is overriding the normal WP flow. And if so then deleting that template may solve the problem.

    Let me see if there's a way to easy way to compile a list of theme files - that would help.

  19. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Hi,

    In advance of your answer Chris, I quickly changed the Permalink to "testimonals-2013" at which point the page displayed correctly on the website.

    In that case, when we move to 2014, I'll merely edit the page title from Testimonials to "Testimonials 2013" to match the other pages, then create a new Testimonials page with the permalink "testimonials-2014" and finish by adjusting the Menus; I'll work that bit out (I hope, haha!).

    I probably won't rest easily until I know why permalinks seem to be remembered after they're finished with, and why I can't assign pages as sub-pages of the Testimonials page.

    Any ideas??

    J :)

  20. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Status update:

    1. I have a new page called "Recent Testimonials" - almost blank but ready to be implemented from 01/01/14
    2. I retitled Testimonials to "Testimonials 2013" and its Permalink then made it a child of "Recent Testimonials"
    3. I made the other testimonial pages (2010,2011,2012) children of "Recent Testimonials" as well as a page called "Testimonials - Add New" which I'd overlooked, which suffered the same layout problem.
    4. Checked the Menu layout and website display ... everything looks 99.5% fine :) :) :)

    The only remaining thing is something which has nothing to do with this plugin. The main Menu used to be displayed alongside my company logo (immediately to the right) whereas there is no a huge margin above the menu (and alongside the logo) which looks odd.

    That's something I needed to approach the developer about last time (after a previous update) and he eventually helped for a fee :/

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Is there a Facebook page I can like or testimonial I can leave somewhere???? I know this great plugin lol :D

    I'll still be interested in your follow up re deleting theme files, but you really needn't worry now we've go this far :)

    Don't go anywhere PLEASE - I fully expect more problems to arise with WP; I don't think I'll ever update it again!

    J :)

  21. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Oh always one more question lol!

    Can you think of any reason why I shouldn't now re-activate W3TC?

  22. Chris Dillon
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    You're very welcome. I learned a lot on this one!

    It should be safe to reactivate W3TC but test thoroughly.

    Updates can spawn gremlins but the benefits outweigh the headaches, usually ;}

    Did you notice you have "Newsletters" on the menu twice? Remove one of them and it should pop back up. Any new pages added to the menu will likely cause it to drop below again at which point you can either make the new page a child page instead or tweak the margins, etc. and I'd be happy to help with that.

    And in the contact widget on the Maintenance, Repair, and Training pages, "contacing" is missing a "t".

    I will continue to look into the permalink and theme issues, and if I come up with anything I will contact you via your website, so you can probably mark this thread resolved.

    Chris

  23. Jan Rymarz
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    Oops, no I didn't notice that Newsletters was on the menu twice.

    I don't know how/why/when etc but I removed and the menu immediately sprang back into place :)

    Also, the missing "t" on the contact pages was actually just once instance on a form which was shared on those pages; that has now also been fixed.

    Now this site is back to full strength, I'll take an FTP backup ASAP then re-activate the W3TC plugin. That's the only way in which I can now make the site work reasonably quickly (I'd already optimised images, removed unused plugins etc etc etc).

    I will mark the topic as resolved, of course - because it has been!!

    I'm also pleased that you were able to learn something from this; I certainly learned a lot haha.

    I look forward to reading anything you spot about Permalink and Theme issues.

    Warm regards and thanks as always,

    J :)

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