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Which should I learn first...html or CSS to tweak my blogs?

  1. I have an opportunity of taking a couple of classes on code. I'm a complete neophyte to this whole code thing so I'm not even sure what I should take first...html or CSS? I can tell you that I really want to be able to tweak my own blog (and eventually use WordPress.org) without having to pay someone else to do it. That being the case, which would be more beneficial for me to learn first...html or CSS? I'll also be studying SEO from a book I downloaded from a fellow writer so I don't know if that makes a difference.

    I do know my poor brain probably couldn't handle taking BOTH classes at once (they're both offered online) so I probably will have to just learn one at a time.

    If you can't beat 'em (techies and nerds) join 'em I always say. :)

    The blog I need help with is jennikeast.wordpress.com.

  2. You actually need to have at least a general understanding of how web pages are constructed - the markup (XHTML) and then the second thing is to learn how the markup and the CSS are related to each other. Here it is in a nutshell from a very accomplished web designer and CSS guru.

    atthe404 (Root) on CSS:

    There is no trick. But doing CSS requires an understanding of the markup (xhtml). There is no way round that. The CSS applies styles to stuff. To what stuff depends on the markup. So number one read the source (View Source). Get used to it. Feel comfortable with it. Two. Understand what the heck selectors actually are. Different cats of selectors behave in different ways. SO: this is counter intuitive. To understand the CSS do not start in CSS. Start in the xhtml. Then see how they relate. Its all there. :)
    There are gazillions of CSS tutorials on line.

  3. You can learn HTML and CSS online here for example. > http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp and here http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp
    I get the distinct impression you think ist's neccesary to learn gow to code to become a wordpress.com blogger. That's NOT true. In fact the whole idea behind this blogging software is that anyone can use it because coding is NOT required.

  4. @TSP
    If one is going to learn to code, of course learning HTML comes first. :)

    My point is different one. People come to blogs to read blog content and wordpress.com is designed for those who do NOT know how to code. A new blog is created every 9 seconds and another dies every 6 seconds. Few beginner bloggers actually make it through a whole year of conistent content creation. Because new bloggers can get all caught up in the small stuff and forget what blogging is all about I want to make two points.

    1. Blogging is all about content creation - consistent content creation.
    2. One does not NEED to learn how to code to create content on a wordpress.com blog.

  5. 3. Anyone wishing to practice the skills to become a web designer is in the wrong place, and would be better off with independent hosting and software from WordPress.ORG.

  6. @raincoaster
    re: 3
    Agreed

  7. The thing is, if someone wants to learn CSS and gain a little understanding of HTML so that they can make adjustments to their theme I think that is a good idea.

  8. Agreed. :)

    But I do believe creating blog content as priority number 1. :)

    Now matter how cool your CSS editing maybe it's not the theme and the tweaking that draws targeted readers into a blog. The vast majority of blogs created today will be abandoened or deleted in a year from now. :)

    And I agree with raincoaster too. :)

  9. Blogs are no different than books. When was the last time you bought a book and what was handed to you was a fist full of 8.5 x 11 sheets of unbound paper with no cover?

    It is true that bloggers (or anyone for that fact) can get too fixated on aesthetics and forget content, but content does not stand alone. The presentation is a critical part and it deserves attention otherwise why not get rid of all the themes here and everyone has to use sandbox with no styling?

    http://allthekingshorses.wordpress.com/

  10. Yes, blog design is important. Yes, the appearnce of a theme and specifcally how well it showcases content is important. lol :D Have great day!

  11. Now, THAT was an interesting dialogue...I really enjoyed that little tennis match. :)

    More important, I learned from it. Timethief, let me assure you I know that content is king...always is, always will be; however I also agree with thesacredpath that while substance may win over style any day of the week, without style the substance is automatically denigrated by virtue of the fact it's more challenging to get anyone to read what is an immediate visual turn off.

    That being said, I also agree with you TimeThief that one can spend too much time tweaking and being generally perfectionist about one's presentation of their content.
    So, it's a balance I think.

    Also you should know that the reason I need to know html and CSS is not why you may think; i.e., to become a web designer but rather:
    (a) to be able to make, as sacredpath suggested might be the reason any adjustments to my blog to make it more suitable for me needs (a writer's portfolio)
    (b) to begin to acquire BASIC web design skills so that I can eventually I can build a web site that will be kind of a landing pad for all my blogs (will be writing 2 or 3), creative projects
    (c) broaden my skills so that I can land more freelance writing gigs. Unlike 10 years ago when being a da_ _ good writer was enough it seems that "these days" they want you to do it all: Social media, SEO, html, XHTML, CSS (anything with acronoyms)
    (4) I will be launching my own niche magazine next year and need as many skills as I can since I will have to do a lot of the publishing work myself until I can afford to hire other writers.

    Okay, that should explain rather sufficiently my need to learn some basic code!
    And thanks TimeThief for that link...very helpful.

    You "guys" are so wonderful and I really appreciate your taking your time to help fledgling WP's like me. I blogged quite a bit for my former employer but it was a no-brainer template (Blogger) and a straight forward deal use of it.

  12. BTW, sorry for all the typos (misspellings, repeated words). My fingers were flying off the keyboard and I forgot to proof my entry (bad girl).

  13. After the third year answering questions in the forum, we don't even SEE typos any more. No worries.

  14. Especially since we no longer have any way to correct them.

  15. @Jenni
    Typos ... *rotflol* I became THE QUEEN OF TYPOS ever since I took a fall, had a head injury, became dyslexic and ended up with impaired vision. I rue the day I chose not to learn touch typing in highschool. I am now working on a keyboard with no lettering on the keys, and I don't mean one for Braille. That would also be useless to me as I don't know Braille.

    I keep telling myself to stop "proofread" and then forgetting to. I keep apologising for the typos and to stop assuming everyone will think I am only semi-literate. I'm hope I am becoming more and more humble everyday. It's a better choice than becoming frustrated and sending my blood pressure soaring or getting a migraine, right?

    I'm glad you were entertained by the dialogue between the 3 of us above. There was no actual tennis match as we are friends who have high regard for one another.

    My little tête-à-tête with TSP was all conducted with a huge grin on my face. After I master using this lovely this #$%@^&* keyboard I shall learn CSS - OMG! did I really say that?

  16. Thanks for those tips timethief, I will probably check out those w3schools sites.

  17. You're welcome. :)

  18. timethief,

    "I 'm glad you were entertained by the dialogue between the 3 of us above. There was no actual tennis match as we are friends who have high regard for one another."

    Oh no, I didn't mean to imply there was any hostility there....I LOVE tennis (both playing and watching) so it was meant to be a positive comments. Just wanted you to know.

    "My little tête-à-tête with TSP was all conducted with a huge grin on my face. After I master using this lovely this #$%@^&* keyboard I shall learn CSS - OMG! did I really say that? "

    Ha! Well, I'm starting to teach myself those skills thanks to your referral to those free classes. Very helpful, thanks again!

    BTW, so sorry about that fall. Sounds awful, though it seems you're managing okay. I'm curious, why did you choose the name "timethief." Because right now that is my biggest struggle ... time just seems to be slipping through my fingers and it's a constant struggle to stay focused. (It doesn't help that I struggle with ADHD and have about six creative projects I want/need to accomplish this year... man, could I use a time management coach!)

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