June 18, 2021

Do I Need to Learn Code to Blog?

Setting up a blog can be time-consuming. Though there are plenty of free blogging platforms with tons of themes to choose from, many new bloggers are surprised when they click “publish”. The short answer to the title-question is, “it depends”. Most bloggers do learn basic HTML and CSS coding. In some instances, it is to get a post or widget to look a certain way. But in most cases, bloggers simply learn “on-the-job”. Blogging is all about content. And images do go a long way. But text is essential as it is what is indexed by the search engines. Therefore, the most daunting task is not setting up the blog–although set-up is extraordinarily time-consuming–it’s posting. Not only posting but promoting.

CSS and HTML

Increasingly, blogs utilize a coding language known as CSS or Cascading Style Sheet. But inside the blog are publishing tools. Posts are made up of HTML or Hypertext Markup Language. HTML tells the text inside the post what to look like. Many bloggers rely on the toolbar’s “kitchen sink” or WYSIWYG button (What You See Is What You Get). Javascript and Flash might be also used in blogs, depending on the designer.

What Coding Means to Freelancers

Writers that want to freelance will inevitably come up against coding. And for the most part, it isn’t difficult. That is, to simply format or publish a post. Some publishers want freelancers to “mark-up” their assignments, meaning insert proper HTML coding. This allows for a quick copy-and-paste on the part of the publisher. But it can be a nightmare for a writer unfamiliar with HTML.

How to Learn Code

The quickest way to learn is using the power of your computer. When you stumble onto a blog that strikes your fancy, tap the right mouse key and select “view source”. If you’re looking for something particular on the page, type, “Ctrl+F” and type the text into the search box. The search tool will take you right where you want to go. Of course, it won’t look like the finished product, but you will see how the sausage was made. Pretty soon, just looking at code will tell you what it looks like on the Internet. Just the way notes on a staff allow a musician to hear the piece without making a sound.

What Not to Do

Don’t go overboard with coding. Doing so might turn-off potential clients. Be sure ask the client/publisher if she wants the assignment marked-up in code. Or if she wants tags or keywords included. Giving a client what they want is paramount. Learning code might require just that.

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