knowing html

In this day and online age,  a little knowledge of HTML can make a big difference in your online pursuits, whatever they may be. Whether you are a small business owner, a sales manager, an entrepreneur, an inventor, a professional content provider, or real estate agent, you too can benefit from honing your HTML chops.

For some of you, HTML or “HyperText Markup Language” is akin to learning a foreign a language, and if that’s the case, this article is definitely written for you.  But, for those of you who have been working with HTML for some time, this article will probably be a little too basic.

There is an ever-increasing number of writers/contributors to content sites that have never spent much time (if any) utilizing HTML because they haven’t needed to up until this point. Their expertise is writing and editing and not necessarily formatting articles for online publication. However, if you want to do business online, you can no longer rest on your writing and editing abilities without some HTML knowledge under your belt.
As a content provider, the days of sending a client a document that includes ‘X’ amount of words for them to optimize, format and publish ‘themselves’ are pretty much gone. Folks are busy doing what they do best and want a turnkey content solution. They don’t want a document, they want a ‘link to the already optimized, formatted and published content on their website, which requires some basic HTML know-how.

HTML and CSS are the foundations of the web. HTML is the language used to tell your web browser what each part of a website is.  With the use of HTML, you are able to define paragraphs,  headers, images, links, and a whole bunch of other stuff, so that your browser knows how to structure the web page in the way you envision it. CSS or “Cascading Style Sheets” is the language that gives those web pages their formatting and look.  CSS is what makes sites look visually appealing with specific fonts, rich colors, attractive backgrounds, and so forth.

Whether your content management system (CMS) is WordPress, Joomla or a proprietary content management system, HTML is basically treated in the same way and learning a little HTML can help you immensely.  If you are used to writing in Word or in some other type of word processing tool, when you go to paste that text into a CMS, code is copied along with it. This can really mess up the default CSS and formatting, and you will probably have some erroneous HTML code on your hands to fix.

Tip:  Rather than pasting directly from Word, Google Docs or whatever you are using, try pasting into Notepad first or right click and past with plain text, then copy and paste that into the CMS. This should eliminate the majority of code issues. However, even if you follow this important protocol, you may still need to clean up a few issues in source view/HTML. You don’t need to be a coder, but you do need to be able to “see” the problems in HTML in order to fix them.

Takeaway: Chances are that at some point or another, you are going to need to add content or edit the existing content on your website or blog. Taking the time to learn some basic HTML will only benefit you in your online success now and down the road. Here is a link to a simple guide to HTML cheat sheet to get you started!

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