Sep20
HTML Basics for Online Businesses

HTML Basics for Online Businesses

If you run an online company, chances are you’ll need to know some basic HTML at some stage. Although it can seem daunting at first, there are a few pieces of HTML code that will be invaluable to you as you build and manage your online business.

When did computer coding start?

The first electrically powered computers were created in the 1940s, after which we  subsequently saw the birth of the first programming languages. These were slow to run and required a very advanced specialization to write, so it took some time for them to gain traction and become fully implemented. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the idea for the code language HTML was developed by a physicist named Tim Berners-Lee, who later wrote the first version of the full code in late 1990. It was developed further throughout the ‘90s, and today remains one of the three cornerstones of the internet, together with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript.

The Basics

Since HTML is so widely used, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of the most common commands. Many online website building programs, no matter how drag-and-drop they may appear, will allow users to use at least a little bit of HTML when creating a site. That’s why it can be hugely useful to know your way around, even if only on a very simple level.

Here are a few of the commands that you’re likely to come across:

<br> This is just like hitting the Enter key when you’re typing a word-processing document, also known as a carriage return. It will move the text that comes after it one line below.

<b> </b> This makes any text that comes between these two tags bold. Be sure you don’t forget to put the second tag at the end of the bold text, called closing the tag, otherwise  all text after the first tag will be bold. Quite the statement!

<i> </i> Same as with bolded text, but instead produces italicized text.

<u> </u> Same as bold and italic, but underline instead. Use this with caution, as underlined text on webpages tends to denote the text being linked so this could be confusing to the reader.

<h1> </h1>, <h2> </h2>, <h3> </h3>, up to <h6></h6>. These are called header tags. In terms of maximizing your SEO, this is a very important tool. When the search engine bots scan a webpage to see what keywords pop up the most, you are able to tell them which words on your page are most important, second most important, all the way down to 6th most important. The h1 tag denotes text with the greatest importance, so you should use this for the page title and put the most important keywords in there. You should also only use one h1 tag per web page. Your page’s main headers or section titles should then be given the h2 tag, and although you can have as many of these per page as you want, keep in mind the more you use, the more you’re diluting your keywords’ h2 tag importance. You don’t have to use all of the header tags, but they go as far as h6.

<p> </p> This is the paragraph tag, and it works like the header tags described above. Use this tag around the body of your text to denote a normal paragraph (versus a heading, subheading, etc.).

<a href=“http://www.yourwebsiteaddresshere.com”> </a> This is the HTML tag used to make text clickable, sometimes called a hotlink. All you need to do is replace “http://www.yourwebsiteaddresshere.com” with (you guessed it) your website address and the text between the open and close tags will become underlined and clickable. If you want the link to open in a new tab, type this: <a href=http://www.yourwebsiteaddresshere.com target=“_blank”> </a>

Use these basic HTML commands to harness the power of online coding. Interested in learning more? Check out code.org for some free coding training resources!

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