With every mistake we must surely be learning…
There is currently a dearth of articles on how to blog within the blogosphere. This series will take the effort one step further, giving instruction not only on the basics, but all aspects, including coding, promotion, technical considerations, and more. The aim is to give a complete overview for the novice/beginner as well as those wanting and needing a more complete understanding. This is the third in a serial effort to fulfill that desire.
The examination of HTML tags continues.
- <p></p> – Paragraph
- <h></h> – Header
- <ul></ul> – Unordered (Bulleted) List
- <ol></ol> – Ordered (Numbered) List
- <li></li> – List Item
- <hr /> – Horizontal Rule
- <br /> – Line Break
The paragraph tag formats a new block level element of the blog. While not precisely necessary with WordPress, it is nonetheless a good idea to include it for completion. Formatting a paragraph is done by the following code:
<p>New paragraph goes here.</p>
Use of this tag enhances the appearance of the blog by neatly ordering paragraphs. Since it is a container tag, it is important to remember to add the closing portion of the tag.
Attributes: While there are attributes available, they are not relevant to this discussion and will be ignored.
The header tag is used for identifying specific sections of the blog. The text is of a differing size and format. As mentioned previously, differing aspects of HTML will appear disparately. Ergo, several brands of browsers should be used for previewing to give the author an idea as to how they appear (see Further reading). Headers are coded in the following way:
<h1>This will format a level-one header</h1>
Attributes: Headers require a numbered attribute; numbers 1-6 are available for use. The higher the number, or level, used will result in smaller text. Treatment of levels 4, 5, and 6 can sometimes be smaller than the rest of the textual content.
Lists (<ul>, <ol>) and List Items (<li>)
There are two types of lists: unordered, or bulleted (<ul>), and ordered, or numbered (<ol>). Each creates a tabulation of the content. List items (<li>) are the described articles. The following demonstrates an unordered list:
Attributes: Attributes are available, but will not be covered here. The interested reader is referred to outside resources for this information (listed below in Further reading).
Horizontal Rule (<hr />)
Horizontal rules (lines) are useful for dividing sectional content on the WP blog. Horizontal rules are standalone tags and are produced in the following way:
<hr /> (see the horizontal rules in this article for how they will appear)
Note the non-breaking space between the command and the forward slash. This is characteristic with standalone tags.
Attributes: Several attributes can be used with the horizontal rule. Ones that will be described here are the “width,” expressed either in percentage (preferred for WP blogs) or pixels, and “align,” which can be left, center, or right; when the align attribute is not included, a default value, determined by the browser, is employed. The default value for width is 100%. The HTML employed for the horizontal rules used in this article is shown here:
<hr align=”center” width=”69%” />
Break (<br />)
The break command forces a line break in the text. More than one break can be used when warranted, as follows:
<br /><br />
The above coding will cause two line breaks to appear. The break tag is standalone.
Attributes: There are no attributes for the break tag.
- (&)copy(;) – Copyright (©)
- (&)reg(;) -Registered (®)
- (&)amp(;) – Ampersand (&)
- (&)trade(;) – Trademark (™)
These are the most often used special characters, and they will be the focus of this discussion. It should be noted that special characters always begin with an ampersand (&) and end with a semi-colon (;). These characters are helpful when describing regulated products. Ordinarilly the parentheses would not be used when coding; they are used here to illustrate the HTML.
The attentive reader will have wondered how these various markings appear when they are used by the browser as instructions for how to format text, i.e. how things like <em> can appear. This is done by the employment of less than and greater than symbols, which are coded thusly:
(&)lt(;) – <
(&)gt(;) – >
These special characters can be used to produce on-screen depictions when needed. Once again, the parentheses would not be included when coding.
Previewing the post
Ideally, the blog should be previewed after coding and before publishing. In WordPress, this is accomplished by saving a draft of the article and then using the preview button, which are available on the right side of the page when accessing a new post. (see example)
As has been mentioned previously, HTML has a tendency to appear differently in various browsers. Many browsers are freely available to the user, therefore it is prudent for the author to preview the blog in several different ones to see how it will look, and change the coding accordingly if deemed necessary. It is suggested that only the more popular products be tried for the sake of saving time and effort.
To present a complete understanding of the many facets of HTML would require more space than is available here. For the interested student, it is suggested that other sites, as well as published texts on the subject, be accessed. A good place to begin is with W3Schools and the W3C (World Wide Web Commission), inventors of the Web.
This concludes the Coding section of the Things Your Parents Never Told You About Blogging series. The next section, Part 3, will cover SEO.