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How To Learn HTML and CSS To Build A Website

Although you won’t need to learn code to use a website builder, many people find the idea of starting a website quite daunting.

The thought of learning to code is intimidating, especially with the different coding languages available. Once you dive into how to learn HTML and CSS, it’s actually surprisingly easier than you may have thought.

If you’re considering starting your own website, you may be looking at ways to get into coding. Yes, using a template is an easy way to create a website, but if you want to make more in-depth changes and further customize your website, coding is a great way forward.

Table of Contents

What Is Code?

Code sits behind a website and is essentially the foundation of any website or application you use. Coding is all about piecing together different bits of smaller code to create a large, functioning code base.

Even the header of this article “what is code?” is surrounded by code in order for it to be displayed on your web browser.

Web development can generally be split into two categories; front-end and back-end code.

Front-end code is what the user can see, such as images, buttons, and text. Back-end code makes other functionality work like logins, security, and so on.

Is Code Important?

Code is very important because, without it, you wouldn’t be able to access websites or computer programs.

Learning to code is definitely underrated, but it’s important because it can help you fix something quite easily yourself. Just as you would learn the basics of a car’s engine, coding allows you to understand the basics of web development.

Without coding, computers would literally do nothing. They would be completely useless.That’s because source code is the set of instructions that tells the computer what to do. Computers have no free will, after all, so without explicit instruction, they’re just sophisticated hunks of metal. Honestly, it would be harder to think of things we use today that don’t rely on software in one form or another.So, assuming you value any of those things, their very existence is the reason that coding is important.

Travis Addair, Software Engineer

Coding is used every day with many things we interact with, such as:

  • Playing a video game
  • Searching for something on Google
  • Writing a document
  • Buying something on Amazon
  • Watching a movie on a streaming service like Netflix

Different Types of Code

There are many different coding languages, and there’s no expectation to learn them all. If you’ve ever looked at web development or programming jobs, you would have noticed there are different types.

If you’re looking to create, manage, and run a website, the main languages that would be good to learn are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

Now, I know that’s probably a little overwhelming, but you don’t need to be an expert in each type of coding language. A basic understanding of them is enough, so let’s take a look at what each one is.

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is basic website content. Things like text, buttons, and formatting are controlled by HTML.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) controls what the content on your website looks like. For example, CSS can determine what fonts are used, the color of the fonts on different pages, etc. If you can see something on a website, it’s probably controlled by CSS.

JavaScript

JavaScript controls the interactions on a website. So, if HTML creates a button and CSS controls what it looks like, JavaScript controls what happens when a button is pressed. For example, it might send an email or navigate to a different area of the website.

PHP

Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) is a back-end coding language that controls things like user accounts, logins, emails, etc. A user would never see PHP but without it, they wouldn’t be able to interact with a website as desired.

If you want to look at it simply, the front-end is what people see (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) and the back-end is the behavior (PHP).

How To Learn Code: Resources

There’s absolutely no shortage of ways to learn to code. There are plenty of services available on the internet ready and waiting for you to take up a new skill.

We’ll take a look at some of the most popular and recommended ways you can learn how to code in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

1. Codeacademy

Price: Free plan, $19.99/mo

Codeacademy offers extensive courses on 15 different programming languages. Each language allows you to complete a course to a high level.

If you’re not sure where to begin, Codeacademy offers a quiz which you can take to learn where’s best to start.

2. Code.org

Price: Free

Code.org is a free resource that specifically focuses on K-12 coding education. If you have a child that’s interested in coding, or you want to learn code in a more casual setting, this is a great starting point.

You can learn how to code small games and apps, as well as testing out your finished product. Code.org lets you play the game or interact with an app first, then takes you through the steps to learn how to code it.

The courses are very structured, so you wouldn’t really be able to experiment with what you’ve learned. Much of what’s available on code.org is tailored towards children, so there’s limited information on web development.

3. W3Schools

Price: Free

If you type “HTML example” into Google, chances are you’re going to land on the W3Schools website. It’s a great place for beginners as you can create an account for free, and the process is simple.

You can go through lots of tutorials on how to code in multiple languages, with examples and a place for you to test out your own code.

4. Py

Price: Free, $39.99 per year

Py is a mobile app that’s very minimalistic in the hope it allows you to focus on your coding skills. It offers daily lessons on how to code in languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.

Starting from the basics, you can work your way up to developing your own website or app. Being able to learn how to code on your phone is incredibly useful, taking some time out of your busy schedule while on the commute back from work.

Top Tips To Help You Learn To Code

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of how to learn to code, we have some top tips for you to digest before going on your way.

One At A Time

It’s important not to overburden yourself with learning more than one coding language at once. They are complicated enough as it is. It’s worth becoming proficient or at least understanding the basics of how to code in one language before moving onto another.

If you’re in a rush to start a website, learning HTML should be your first step. Once you’ve understood HTML, other coding languages will actually make a lot more sense.

Trial and Error

If you make a mistake when coding, the world isn’t going to end. It’s really simple to delete a line of code and start again.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. If they don’t work, you’re not losing out. Once you’ve got a basic understanding of a programming language, you can start to get creative. The only thing you’re going to lose from trial and error is time.

Have Patience

I know we all want to be master musicians and web developers overnight, but the reality is that’s not going to happen, no matter how hard you work at something.

Be patient when you learn how to code. I won’t lie, it’s frustrating, but the time and effort you put in will be worth it in the end. If you’re staring at a line of code and can’t work out what you’re missing, step away and take a break, then come back to it.

Summary

Coding is developing as each day passes, with plenty of ways to learn how to code and to use it to your advantage.

It’s not just websites that use code, but if you’re starting a website, it’s a great place to begin. There are lots of resources available, so make use of them and learn how to make a website by yourself.

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