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Learn As I Blog: HTML Coding for Bloggers

For those of you that have been blogging for more than a month, you know that there's one thing a blogger needs to know.  HTML codes.  Those funny looking brackets with the abbreviations and codes and symbols {oh my!}.  For many, they can be intimidating, but they don't have to be if you can grasp the basic syntax for coding and understand where you can play and where you shouldn't play.  Another exciting {yawn} installment of technical jargon!  Grab your coffee and pin those eye lids open because the techy in you is about to be unleashed!  I promise I'll be gentle as speak plain English as much as possible.

My earlier series post, Blog Glossary, provides a high level definition of what HTML is and it's history.  I will spare you the lengthy explanation and simply say that HTML is the language used to tell your blog how to function and what to look like.  In my research on HTML syntax, I found that even summaries may be a bit too technical, so here is my attempt to water down this techy language by examining a snippet of code bloggers use most, the hyperlink.
Code for a text hyperlink
Code:       <a href="Website URL">Text to display</a> 
Example:   <a href="http://GiftsWeUse.blogspot.com">Gifts We Use</a>
Displayed on site as: Gifts We Use 
The tags <a>...</a> {in the beginning and end} makes this piece of code a hyperlink.
The attribute href is where the hyperlink will reference, hence the abbreviation href, followed by the desired URL enclosed in quotes.
The bookmark Gifts We Use is the text that will be displayed for the hyperlink.
One of the most fundamental concepts to understanding coding is the concept of bookending.  If there is an opening {like the tag <a> above}, there must be a closing {</a>}.  Without these bookends, your code will not work properly.  I once tried to insert a hyperlink to my blog in a comment I was making, and forgot to close my url with the ending quotation marks, and I ended up with a funny looking mess of a comment and had myself a "DOH!" moment.  But don't let that stop you from diving in.  When it comes to coding, copy and paste will be your best friends!

Most popular blogging platforms like Blogger and Wordpress are intuitive enough to insert code for you when writing a blog post.  I use coding most when I'm commenting on anther blog or adding something extra {embellishment if you will} to my own blog.

Commenting on another blog
Bloggers love when readers comment on their posts.  Bloggers also love connecting with other bloggers and usually take the time visit a blogger that leaves a comment.  The problem is that a blogger doesn't always know if someone who leaves a comment is, in fact, a blogger.  When I leave a comment on another blog, I always end with a signature that includes a link to my blog {and lately I've also included a link to my latest post}.

Adding Gadgets to my blog
I love embellishments and my blog is no different.  This blog has all kinds of fun gadgets in the side bar, some are preset by Blogger and others I hunted for myself and inserted code into different boxes.  I talk more about gadgets here!  One tip for adding code to your blog without worry is to make sure that your source is a trusted one and that you back up your blog before inserting new code.

Even though I consider myself to be somewhat techy, I do not know codes by heart.  When I need a certain code, I usually ask my friend Google and find what I'm looking for.  What I have found is that I end up at the same site over and over again, so I'd like to save you the extra time and give you my most frequented coding resources.  Gift!

To find any HTML code you may need, visit W3Schools
For a list of code tags and their definitions and functions, visit Your HTML Source
Extensive list of the most common HTML tags, visit WebMonkey

A blog all about coding, Code it Pretty, was a great resource for me when I was looking for a certain gadget.  She was really helpful, great to talk to, and even featured me on her blog!  Read my featured question here!
For rookie bloggers like myself, coding is probably the most intimidating thing to learn and become accustomed to.  Take heart friends, like anything, it all gets easier with time.  Be patient with yourself and know where to find answers to your questions.  It helped me a lot to try and understand the anatomy of some of the common codes so that I wasn't just staring at random letters and symbols.  It also helps to take a scroll through your blogs code {making sure you don't change anything you don't understand}.  Coding is usually logical and consistent and as you scroll down, you will notice patterns in the code and it may even start to make some sense {how ever vague}.  But there's no need to reinvent the wheel, so again, take advantage of copy and paste and edit only what pertains to your blog.  Happy coding bloggers!

Next in the series, Widgets, Gadgets & Graphics >>>

This post is part of the Learn As I Blog series
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