If you’ve been around the blogging world for more than a few weeks, you’ve probably heard of “HTML”. You may even have glanced at a few bits of HTML code.
(I know some DBT readers are expert HTML, CSS and PHP coders so I’d love your best beginner-friendly tips in the comments, to help out our readers who are much newer to this.)
So what is HTML and why might you need to know about it?
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It’s a special language that tells web browsers (like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera) how to display different elements on a page.
HTML consists of tags that wrap around different areas of text. Here’s an example:
<strong>Here is a line of text in bold.</strong>
Here is a line of text in bold.
The opening tag <strong> tells the browser to start putting the text in bold, and the closing tag </strong> tells it to stop.
Here’s another example:
<em>Here is a line of text in italics.</em>
Here is a line of text in italics.
(Here, em stands for emphasis.)
If you want to see these tags:
1. Create a new post or page in WordPress. (You don’t need to publish it.)
2. Type some text then make it bold and/or italic:
3. Click the “Text” button on the visual editor to view the HTML code:
Why You Need to Understand (Some) HTML
Nowadays, there’s no need to code posts in HTML before adding them to WordPress, which a lot of bloggers did in the past.
And with plugins like Black Studio TinyMCE Widget you don’t even need to use HTML for your widgets.
However, it’s a big advantage to get comfortable with HTML code, just in case something goes a bit wrong with a post or page that you’re formatting.
Have you ever seen a post that ended up all in italics, for instance? This happens when the closing </em> tag accidentally gets missed off after a phrase in italics. It’s easy to add it back into the text view of your post, when you know when you’re looking for.
As a blogger, you’ll probably run across some occasions when you want to use HTML code. Maybe it’s on a forum, or even in a blog comment (some allow HTML), rather than on your blog itself.
Also, HTML isn’t very hard to understand, and if you want to make small tweaks to the theme of your blog, HTML is a good stepping stone on the path to understanding CSS (the code that styles your blog).
I’ll be posting about some more tags every blogger should know next week. In the meantime, revisit one of your past posts in editing mode, click on that “TextÃ¢â‚¬ tab and see what you can discover about HTML.
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