Although today’s world is leaning towards WYSIWYG editors, it is still important to understand the basics of HTML and CSS. Learn about five reasons why.
Some of you may be reading this thinking “why should I spend the time to learn how to code if I have WordPress or Joomla! to guide me through every step?”
Although coding is generally done by professionals, it is never a bad idea to learn the basics. I see it like learning the basics of auto mechanics. Sure, if your car breaks down, you can call a mechanic and pay a pretty penny to get it fixed. However, if it is a simple fix that you can learn and then apply to your own car, why call a mechanic?
A car mechanic is a professional and is obviously going to be very advanced in his or her field. It works the same way with web design and development. A developer is the expert because he or she is working all day with web development. Nonetheless, if something simple goes wrong with your site, a background knowledge of HTML and CSS may be all you need in order to get your site back on track. No need to call an expert; you can fix it yourself.
In the professional world, no matter what your business may be, it is a good idea to learn the basics on how to code. These 5 tips apply to those who may not be computer programmers, but rather are trying to improve their business or blog.
So here we go, 5 reasons why you should know the basics of HTML and CSS:
- Fixing formatting issues with WYSIWYG editors. WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get.” This term is commonly used in the computing world to explain applications that give you all the tools to be able to see on a display screen what your site is going to look like. These applications are commonly referred to as Content Management Systems, or CMS. WordPress is an example of a popular CMS. Knowing the basics of HTML will help you fix formatting issues with your CMS. For example, if you copy and paste a document from Microsoft Word to WordPress, there is a good chance that it won’t look the exact same. You have to go through and delete extra spaces, unbold certain paragraphs and realign images. Many times you have to go through and edit the actual HTML code. This gives you more freedom to be able to make the text on your WordPress site look exactly how you picture it. If you don’t know some basic HTML, you’re leaving it entirely up to the Content Management System to decide the final design. When I pasted this article in WordPress, the formatting was entirely different than I had hoped for. I was able to go back and edit and tweak the HTML code just a little bit in order to come up with the final product.
- Have a leg up on the competition. Computer science is one of the fastest growing fields on the market. Technology is ever changing and the demand for good programmers is only going to go up. Having a grasp on HTML and CSS looks great on a resumé. Even if you won’t be working directly with computer programming, if you’re working in an office there is a good chance that you’ll be doing some sort of online work. With everything going digital—newspapers, music, magazines—you can count on working with HTML in one way or another.
- Work more efficiently with developers and designers. Knowing your way around HTML and CSS can help you when dealing with web developers. Instead of saying, “I need these words to go around my image,” you can say, “Can you help me with the CSS float property to align the text around my image?” Having this background will help you tell the developer exactly what you’re looking for and will allow you to be more specific. Also, your developer will appreciate that you know what you’re talking about.
- Create a professional resumé site. Building a website from scratch may seem impossible, but it is an achievable goal with the right tools. A site that you built from the ground up, even if it’s basic, stands out to clients and is especially impressive to a possible future employer. After your site is created, you can go back and tweak certain things as your coding experience increases. And the best part of building your own personal site? You can make it exactly how you want it.
- Have a solid base. HTML really is the perfect place to start when it comes to web development. Understanding the basics such as <p> will start a paragraph, or that <h1 style=”color:blue”> will make your heading blue, can help you create rich content for your site. Knowing HTML also opens doors to other languages that may benefit you in the long run. Who knows, learning HTML and CSS may trigger something inside of you and inspire you to become a developer!
There are of course many other reasons for learning HTML and CSS. These are just five that apply to most professionals. Almost everyone has an idea for a business, website or blog. Having these coding skills gives you the ability to turn these ideas into a reality without having to break the bank.
Obviously learning HTML requires some time and effort. The best way to learn HTML is to grasp the basics and then start applying the things you learn. Codeacademy.com is a terrific source for learning how to code. It is free and provides all the info that you’ll need to start coding. Lynda.com and Udacity are also great resources for learning.
Once you learn a little, start trying things out. Your first website may not be a masterpiece, but it will be a great place to start.
Don’t be in the dark next time something goes wrong with your site. Have the skills and confidence in order to keep your site and business running. Learn HTML and CSS today.
If you’re struggling with HTML and CSS, send us a tweet @resellbiz and we’ll be happy to set you up with website builder resources or sources about how to get started with coding.