The Basics Of Web Development - HTML & CSS

Hi there! Welcome to the first of a four part blog series on the fundamental technologies used in web development.

I’m starting with HTML & CSS mainly because you can’t do anything on the web without knowing about these two technologies. If you have any questions about any of the topics I discuss, feel free to get in touch here.  

 

So HTML, what does that even mean? Well, it stands for Hypertext Markup Language, which sounds a lot more complicated than it is. The part you need to pay attention to is  ‘Markup’ because that's all it really is. The concept is actually very simple when you write a document you use lots of markups you just don’t think about it. For example, when you write the title of an essay, you put it at the top of the page and underline it. The position and style let the reader know it’s the title. Well, a computer can’t do that so somehow we have to tell it what part of my file is the title. In HTML we do this using the <h1> tag so when a browser reads a HTML file and see’s <h1>This Is My Title</h1> it know that it should display as bigger text. Like this:

BIG TEXT

Pretty simple, right? all HTML is a set of tags that every browser knows how to read. So to write a really simple web page all you need to do is put your content inside the appropriate tags.

Now I have covered the basics I want to talk about some common questions. The first one is the biggest one, “why does my web page look different on different web browsers?”. The answer to this one is really simple, different browsers render differently. So inevitable next question everyone asks is “how do I stop it happening?”. And this is where CSS comes in.

So what is CSS? Well, it stands for Cascading Style Sheet and again the main bit to focus on is style sheet. All you do with CSS is tell the browser how to render different HTML tags, what fonts to use or what the background color is.

Why does all this matter for you?

HTML is used for two main purposes for businesses, your website & emails. Even understanding the basics can help you improve your email marketing campaigns or tweaking your website. The other important thing to think about with HTML is SEO as this uses the HTML of your website to get information. For example, if you have used H1 tags 20 times on a page, the search engine won’t be able to tell what the pages are about and therefore rankings it poorly.  

So there you have it, a quick and simple introduction to HTML & CSS. If you want to find out more, sign up to our mailing list below and we will send you updates on the rest of the blog series as well as an eBook going into more detail at the end of the series.

 

Simon Dutton