Monday, August 18, 2014

Quick Coding Basics for Other Non-Techy Folks

By Megan Quinn

If you are one of the more than 6 million people who blog, you have likely encountered the following scenario. Let’s say you have just managed to successfully add content to your blog. Now it’s time to check the preview to see how it looks. Ouch. The spacing is terrible and the photo is somehow on the left instead of centered. And how did those words end up in bold?!

If this has ever happened…you are not alone my friend.

While most bloggers likely use the “compose” interface on their chosen blog platform, knowing a little bit of HTML can help in times of trouble – such as wacky photos and weird font effects. So let’s take some time to go over the basics.

Spacing and photo adjustments can be two of the most frustrating coding problems when blogging. If you switch to the HTML code and see the symbols (outlined in red), that could be the cause of your spacing problems. These little annoying snippets of code can cause unnecessary spacing; however, if properly harnessed, sometimes they also can help in your formatting. They are referred to as “non breaking spaces.”

Photo alignment can be a real struggle. In the HTML, look for the alignment code to make sure the photo is exactly where you want it. If it isn’t, you can try manually entering the direction in which you would like it to go in the code where it will say ‘align.’ If this does not solve the problem, try using Google to search for an alignment code that will shift the photo.

Bold and italic codes are pretty simple when the placement is correct. Some browsers often use the code <b> for bold instead of <strong> and <i> for italic instead of <em>. Make sure to always close the codes at the end by inserting the /. Otherwise, the code won’t produce the desired look.

The best way to flex your coding muscles is by practice, practice and more practice. If you don’t code often, using a practice site could be worthwhile. A great site to start with is called Codecademy. You can learn how to code for free and the people there are also pretty encouraging. Check out their success stories – and if you have a success story of your own to share, we would love to hear it!

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