Talking Tech: Basic HTML

In this age of drag-and-drop and what-you-see-is-what-you-get web design software you may think you don’t need to know anything about HTML. To my way of thinking, some knowledge of HTML can give you a greater degree of control over the appearance and functionality of your website, blog, even your facebook fan page. Let me give you a couple examples.

When creating a WordPress webpage or even a blog post you may find that you need to create a table. Unfortunately, that’s not a functionality included on the visual editor toolbar, but it’s something you can create yourself just by knowing a little basic HTML code. Another example of where HTML knowledge comes in handy is creating a landing page for your FB Fan Page. You can see mine here. If you’re already a fan of my page don’t log into facebook and you’ll see my landing page and BTW thank you for “liking” me. As I was saying, by installing a static HTML iframe app, which is installed as easily as installing Farmville or any other FB game, and writing a little HTML code, I was able to give my fan page a unique appearance.

Now that I’ve given you a couple examples of what you can do with HTML let me tell you a little bit more about this coding language. Hypertext Markup Language, aka HTML, is a simple, universal computer language that is easy to learn and use. Don’t scoff, it’s true.

HTML is just a series of tags that are incorporated into a text document. To borrow a description, tags are a lot like stage directions, telling the browser what to do, and what props to use.  Think of these commands as off and on switches which we’ll call “tags.” You’ll need an opening tag to turn on what you want to do and a closing tag to turn it off.

A tag will always start with the “less than” symbol (<), followed by an instruction, and end with the “greater than” symbol (>). For example, <b> is an opening tag (the “on” switch) which tells your browser to make all of the text that follows bold. In order to turn off that command, you’ll want to place a closing tag that looks like this </b> at the end of the word or section of text that you want to have bolded. Remember, a closing tag always has a forward slash in it.

Let’s try another piece of HTML coding—this time we’ll create a link. Foregoing the explanation of how this tag is constructed, we’ll skip straight to how to use the linking tag—<a href>. Let’s start with the opening tag: <a href= “http://www.somewebsite.com”>. This tag is telling the browser that the following text should link to the website that you’ve placed inside the quotation marks in the tag. Next you’re going to type the text that should appear as a link and follow it with the closing tag of </a>. The command to link to another website should look like this: <a href= “http://www.somewebsite.com”>My Website</a>.

With that, you’ve written an HTML commands. For more information on HTML, tags, and what they do visit. http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp. Another resource for basic HTML codes is http://www.htmlcodetutorial.com/. With this simple computer language you can update to your website, create a graphical newsletter to go out to your fans, and much, much more.

So any questions? Fellow tech geeks please feel free to chime in with additional information or suggestions.

~Rayna

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6 responses to “Talking Tech: Basic HTML

  1. Thanks, Rayna! Great blog!

  2. Rayna: I don’t think we’ve officially met, but I’m a part of the group from a far; I’m in Virginia – Ronnie in Va. – Anyway, I am an x-critique partner of Irene Peterson, Christine Raymond, Kathy Quick, Ann Lipovsky & Mary Gilbert, and I think, including yourself, we all came over from NJRW. Oh, for the good ole’ days. I’m also not published yet, except for the freelance work I’ve done with a couple of the local newspapers here. I just recently developed a blog page, and added a few other pages as kind of, I guess you’d say an unofficial website. This was an unbelievable blog. But, I gotta say I’ve having enough pain just maneuvering my blog and its attached pages. I will however, take a look at the pages you listed and see where it takes me. Since I am also on Facebook, I can run over there and see how I can flub that up. I have developed a kind of friendship with one of the Word Press helpers, since I talk to him almost as much as my husband. Again it’s all quite painful. But, again very helpful.
    Ronnie in Va.

  3. Hi Ronnie,

    I’m glad you found this post helpful. You’ve done a very nice job with you blog. If you create an FB landing page do let me know.

    Rayna

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