Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Basic HTML code for bloggers

I'm currently helping someone learn to blog, and this is a post to explain that learning a few simple HTML commands is very useful in blogging.

Why? Because the "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) interface doesn't always give an exact rendition of what the page will look like. Sometimes the coding gets screwed up, and if you don't know how to fix the code, the page will look like crap. Every blog software has an "edit HTML" that lets you go in and alter the code yourself. Eventually, every blogger has to learn to use HTML.

Don't be intimidated by thinking, "Oh, that's high-tech geek stuff. I don't know what I'm doing. What if I screw up?" The answer is, if you screw up, you'll go back and fix it. It ain't rocket science, and your computer is not going to blow up because you used the wrong code on your blog. Besides, nobody's reading your blog yet. So relax.

The Bare Bones Guide to HTML is a good place to start. Most of those codes you don't need to know. Basically you need bold, italic, "link to something," blockquote, paragraph and line break. But go ahead and print the whole thing out, staple the pages together, and keep it handy.


  1. One of the biggest things I have noticed is that some folks just started going at, slapping stuff on the site, adding code this and code that, and making things crazy all over, plus adding a million and one things to the sidebars before they have really gotten going.

    Things get out of place, things run over the writing, etc and so on. I guess what I am saying is that a lot of newbies need to chill, slow down, work up to the coding, and, at times, realize that nothing is perfect, and don't try to be perfect. It can be a pain, and sometimes make the site so big that loading takes forever.

    A good thing is for folks to have a backup site, if possible, to development on. ALWAYS!!!!!! save an offline copy of your code.

    And, again, if it isn't perfect, it's OK. Heck, my current theme has issues on the sidebar boxes in old IE and with Opera. But, I'm not going to spend forever to make it perfect. It works in current IE and Firefox just fine. I dumped an older theme I loved because one script didn't work correctly in all three (plus, was time for a change.) I was a little OCD on it.

    And, for newbies to coding, never, ever, ever, be afraid to ask other bloggers you are familiar with for help. I had a bunch help me when I moved to Wordpress from Typepad.

  2. Don't forget the most important tags:

    [fisking objecttool=DavidBrooks]
    witty commentary goes here

    I know, it's not brackets, but GT/LT isn't accepted in comment submission.

    Don't tell me you're afraid of H.R. 1966?

  3. @Captain Obvious:
    You can do '>', but you need to put
    '&lt;' in for the '<', like so:
    <fisking objecttool=DavidBrooks>
    witty commentary goes here

  4. <grateful>
    Thanks for the tip!

  5. Good post! I think most people are a bit afraid and think html is some kind of tech wizardry when really it’s just simple tags. Most bloggers should be able to get away with a handful of tags and most blogs/templates rely on css for the core styles and negate the need for font tags. It's important to keep it clean and simple - don't over use the editor styles. Don’t be afraid, dive in and have fun.

  6. Thanks to everybody for the comments. I enjoy working with newbies. The idea is to get everybody blogging who wants to blog, then helping everybody who blogs get better, build their traffic, etc., so that they can link ME!

    LOL. (Not the "LOL" that means I'm joking, but more like the "Bwahahaha" of a madman planning to take over the world.)

  7. Actually, I could use a some tutoring, McCain! You're a smart cookie! You'll be graduating to Wordpress soon, I just know it!

  8. A source that has helped me:


  9. I've been relying on Werbach's Bare Bones Guide since I put up my first handful of pages in 1996. It's still, to my thinking, the finest one-stop shop for all your HTML tags.

    Now if I could just get a handle on this damnable PHP stuff...

  10. How the heck did you get my Sitemeter user name and password and find out no one is reading my blog?

  11. LOL. (Not the "LOL" that means I'm joking, but more like the "Bwahahaha" of a madman planning to take over the world.)

    You'll need henchmen, then. Call me at your convenience.

  12. I refer to Webmonkey (http://www.webmonkey.com/) quite a bit for reference, particularly for color codes and size codes.

    I also have a whole bunch of other sites saved for scripts, like one I use for show/hide. I try and avoid most extra ones, cause they stress the server. I'd love to use a Lightbox one, but, Wordpress already strains servers, and that one adds a huge load.

    CGHill, what prob are you having with it? I'm nore then happy to help, if you want to email me.