Do I Need to Learn HTML?

by Martin Malden

Do I need to learn HTML and SEO?  This was a question I saw in a forum today.

For people new to working on-line learning these new skills with strange acronyms can be daunting.

In another post I talked about how I tried to start my Internet business without a website because I didn’t want to learn about FTP.

But the fact is, if you’re serious about working on-line, you do need to learn the basic tools of your trade.

Here’s why:  

Tools and services that are readily available today mean that you can get a website up and running with zero technical skills. Setting up a new blog on Blogger is the perfect example.

But even tools like these will get you better results if you understand how to make use of the basic tools of your trade.

Take SEO.

On page SEO is about setting your website up according to the agreed web standards. These are not complicated.  In fact they’re straight-forward common sense.

But if you don’t understand SEO, and how the search engines work, you can still put the wrong information into the template fields that many of these tools provide.

And that will reduce the SEO effectiveness of your site and penalise you in the search for traffic.

And if you don’t understand HTML it’s going to be more difficult to sort out things that go wrong.

Take, for example, publishing articles in WordPress.

WordPress is another tool that enables you to build great looking websites without using HTML. But even using the excellent HTML editor that WordPress provides can still sometimes lead to things going wrong.

For example in a recent article that I wrote, the first few words of the first paragraph were a link.  I later decided to add an image that would be positioned to the left of the opening paragraph, so I used the ‘Add Image’ tool to do that.

But, even though I put the cursor absolutely in the ‘home’ position, when I inserted the image I found that it had been made into a link.  It had got mixed up with the HTML for the first few words of the article that were already a link.

Nothing I did in the text editor view would fix it, but fixing it by switching to the HTML view and editing the HTML code was an absolute piece of cake – it took less than 30 seconds.

If I didn’t understand HTML I would have had a problem – even with an application as friendly as WordPress. But because I do know HTML fixing it was a breeze.

So my response to that question on the forum was a resounding ‘yes’.

Learn HTML, SEO, CSS and all the rest, because if you’re serious about working on-line they’re the basic tools of your trade.

You don’t need to become the world’s best expert in these technologies – but learn enough to know how things work and where to look when things go wrong.

A great place to start learning about these web design technologies is w3schools.com. You can find tutorials there on HTML, CSS, XML and a whole host of other technologies you’ll need.

They’re all well structured and easy to follow – and you can find them here.

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