If you are creating basic websites using WordPress or Wix, you may not need to know anything about HTML. However, if you are doing anything beyond “just basic” it will be necessary to understand at least the basics of HTML and CSS. In this article, I will show you how to learn HTML for free and it won’t take that long to do.
What is HTML and CSS?
First, let’s review what HTML and CSS are. HTML and CSS are basically the foundation of the web. They are the language that all websites are built on.
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and it tells your web browser what all the parts of your website are. It what is used to define your headers, body, text, images, and more so that the browser knows how to structure the web page.
On the other hand, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), is the language that gives each web page its style and formatting. CSS is what gives your website the cool fonts, colors, beautiful backgrounds, animations, and all the other visual effects.
Why you should know the basics of HTML and CSS
I have built many websites for small businesses and non-profits in my city and I know pretty much just the basics of HTML. What is important for you to understand is how the HTML and CSS code is structured so that you understand what it is doing on the website as your are building it.
In WordPress, for example, most of the HTML and CSS is done for you. So, if you are using a visual editor to make changes to the website, you probably won’t need to write code. However, there have been plenty of times when I could not figure out why something on a page looked the way it did or how to fix it.
That’s where the basics of HTML and CSS come in handy. A simple Google search for “what is the HTML code for… (fill in the blank)” will give you the code you need. However, understanding the basics of HTML will allow you to put the code in the right place and make minor adjustments if needed.
VIDEO: Core Fundamentals of HTML
If you want to jump right in, click on the image below for a video walk-through of the core fundamentals of HTML. This is presented by Jay from Wealthy Affiliate.
The top 3 ways to learn HTML online for free
If you are looking for additional training, take a look below at the 3 best ways to learn HTML and CSS for free.
What I like about w3schools.com is that they have this “try it yourself” feature where you can practice writing and editing code in a text editor and it will show you the results immediately. It’s pretty cool. You will learn everything you need to know about the basics but you can upgrade for $95 if you want to get a certificate.
- Free for the basic program and can start immediately
- The “try it yourself” feature
- Interactive activities
- The free training program is very much for beginners.
- If you are going to need advanced HTML training or want a certificate, you will need to use the paid program.
Codecademy is one of the more popular options for learning HTML. Their site is easy to navigate and you can see your progress as you move through the course. They have a split-screen feature that allows you to see what the HTML code will look like on your site.
- Easy site to navigate
- Split-screen functionality
- Good theoretical knowledge of HTML
- No real-world applications (unless you upgrade to the Pro version)
- Pro version is pretty pricey ranging from $19.99 – $39.99 per month
- No certificate upon completion
- Best for beginners
The great thing about General Assembly Dash is that you start creating projects as you progress through the training. So, rather than just learning the theoretical concepts of HTML, you get the learn real-world applications.
- Training is goal-based
- Real-world application by completing projects
- For beginners and those just needing the basics
- Basic projects are rudimentary (would need to upgrade for more
- Not accredited
Conclusion: HTML is good to know
HTML is not hard or as scary as it sounds. Once you understand the concept and how it’s structured, the rest is easy.
Knowing the basics of HTML and CSS is fundamental if you are going to be working on or designing websites. The three training programs I highlighted above are for beginners and best for learning the basis. If you are in need of further education, I recommend taking a web design or development course.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.