If You Use WordPress, it Doesn’t Hurt to Know HTML
WordPress users, I’m not trying to turn you into a coding ninja nerd — but I do want to show you that there are times it’s just simpler if you know a little bit of the language that runs the internet. The letters HTML stand for hypertext markup language. There’s no reason you need to understand that, so I’ll stop there. There are a few HTML tags you need to know.
- <h1> through <h6> | These are heading tags. It’s good to know them because when Google indexes your site, it looks for the <h1> tag first; this is your page title. The next highest subhead is <h2>. Any heading nested under <h2> is <h3>, and so on. These headings help organize your content in a way that both Google and the reader can easily understand. Here’s how you add a heading or subhead. Use them hierarchically as they are intended.
- Formatting lists | There are two kinds of HTML lists: ordered and unordered. An ordered list uses numbers, and an unordered list uses bullets. Both are easy to do in WordPress. Notice in the bottom left corner, WordPress lets you know which HTML tags you are using.
- Fixing wonky spacing issues | The WordPress visual editor doesn’t always create perfect HTML. It sometimes inserts strange tags and spaces. If you’re working along on a post and notice your copy has weird spacing that you didn’t add, switch over to the text editor and, if you know a little HTML, you’ll be able to spot and fix the issues.
- Adding your own copyright information in the footer | Let’s say you want to add a link at the bottom of the page for your reader to contact you. Most WordPress themes have an area where you can enter the copyright text. To create the copyright symbol, type an ampersand (&), followed by the word copy and a semicolon.
- Adding links in widgets | Sometimes widgets don’t have the handy link icon in the menu and you have to add it manually. Here’s how to wrap a word or image in anchor (link) tags: <a href=”http://yoururl.com”>your text or image here</a>. Both opening and closing tags are necessary. Anything that is between these tags will become a link.
I hope this helps you feel more comfortable with HTML. It’s actually a lot of fun once you get started using it. You can do all sorts of fun things. In addition to the fun stuff, it will also help you with the not-so-fun job of troubleshooting when things go wrong.
If you want to learn more about basic HTML, check out HTML Goodies.