Whether you’re interested in building your own websites, or pursuing a career as a web developer, having knowledge of HTML is an essential skill.
Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, is one of the three core technologies that power almost every single website on the internet. HTML allows web designers and developers to define the structure of their website. Using HTML, developers decide where certain elements like text or images should appear on a web page.
HTML is not just for technical people who are looking to learn web development. The language can be used in a wide variety of other contexts. For instance, many drag-and-drop web design platforms give their users the ability to use HTML if you want more freedom to customize your page.
This guide will discuss the best way to learn HTML online. We’ll give you a clear set of next steps to help you get started learning HTML.
What Is HTML?
HTML is the programming language used to define the structure of a website. This is how everything such as text, images, and links should appear on a web page.
Technologies like CSS allow you to style a web page. HTML, on the other hand, is focused on building the blueprint for how a page should appear on a website.
HTML uses tags to create the structure for a website. These tags allow you to create headers, videos, images, and other elements that will appear on a web page. Here are a few examples of HTML tags that you may encounter:
- <p> allows you to create a paragraph of text.
- <h1> allows you to create a large heading.
- <iframe> allows you to embed the contents of another website, like a YouTube video, onto a web page.
Most tags have a starting tag (like “<p>”), and an ending tag (like “</p>”). Once you’ve mastered these tags, there is no limit to how complex the structure of your websites can be.
Why Should You Learn HTML?
HTML and CSS are the building blocks of the internet
HTML and CSS are the two most fundamental programming languages used in web development. Without them, we would not have websites.
Knowing how to code in HTML and CSS will give you a clear insight into how the internet works. You’ll be able to better understand how the websites you use every day are built.
Have you ever wondered how websites can show colored text, or how a website can include a YouTube video? I fyou know how to code in HTML and CSS, you will not have to wonder. You’ll know all the basic parts of how a website is built.
HTML and CSS can help you get better at your existing job
Knowing a bit of HTML and CSS can help even if you don’t want to become a web developer.
For instance, if you are a marketer, knowing how a web page is built allows you to design more effective marketing campaigns. Or if you are an SEO expert, knowing about website structures can help you refine your strategy. HTML and CSS are a good skill to master for any job that involves working with the web.
Are you responsible for customer success? You could use your HTML knowledge to design a more effective email to send to customers. Or are you responsible for sales? You could use HTML to design a custom form that can be placed on your company’s website.
Web developers are in demand
When deciding on what skill to build, the question “will this help me in my career?” will likely pop up in your mind. Learning HTML and CSS can help you break into a career in tech as a web developer or a web designer.
HTML and CSS are the two fundamental skills required for all jobs in web design and development. As a result, these skills are in high demand.
According to data from Glassdoor, there are over 53,000 job postings for web developers in the United States (as of April 24, 2020).
In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in web development will increase by 13% by 2028. The Bureau describes this growth as “much faster than average.” Combined with the data from Glassdoor, this data paints a clear picture—web developers are in high demand.
What is HTML Used For?
In short, HTML code formats the text, images, and other media that make up a web page. The language communicates with the computer using a series of attributes and elements inside opening tags (<>) and closing tags that use angle brackets and a forward slash (</>).
How Long Does it Take to Learn HTML?
Most new programmers can learn the basics of HTML within two to three weeks. However, daily practice is necessary to become proficient in the language and to understand its full potential. Most programmers recommend practicing for about 2-4 hours a day.
HTML has a lot of features and you could not possibly cover them all within three weeks. There’s even HTML frameworks that extend the language by providing template components for your websites.
You should expect it will take at least a year to become ready for a “professional” web developer job. But, your learning will never be over. HTML is still being updated today. There are hundreds of tags and standards that you can learn about.
Most people learn by doing, so it’s important to put your new skills into practice as soon as you can. Follow the Nike creed and “just do it.” Format a webpage, experiment with features, or work on projects to strengthen your abilities.
How to Learn HTML Fast
How do you learn to code in HTML? This is a question all beginners face at some point. Even if you already know how to code, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Let’s explore a few of the steps you should follow to help you start your journey to learning HTML efficiently and effectively.
Step 1: Start with the Basics
The best thing you can do when starting to learn HTML is to master the basic HTML tags. Then, when you feel ready, you can pursue more complex technical concepts with confidence. To help you start off on the right foot, here is a list of the main topics you should focus on:
HTML Structure and Tags
The first thing you should learn about HTML documents is the structure of web pages and how web pages are created. This will give you a clear indication of how a web page comes together. This is an insight you’ll need to have for every website you build.
Once you’ve learned the structure of a web page, you can go on to explore basic tags. Tags are used to add features onto a web page. Here are the main topics you should learn when it comes to HTML structure:
- How is a web page structured?
- HTML Headings (<h1>, <h2>… <h6>)
- The <div> tag
- Presenting text using <p> and <span>
- Styling text
- Ordered and unordered lists (<ol> and <ul>)
- Images (<img>)
- Videos (<iframe>, <video>)
Often, when you’re designing a website, you will want to display a table of data. If you’re building a website for a school, you may want to display the school’s schedule on the website. To present this data, you’ll need to use a table.
HTML offers a number of tags that you can use to create custom tables, which are an essential part of many modern websites. Here are the main topics you should learn about:
- Creating a table
- Table rows and table headings
- Table data
- Table borders
- Spanning columns and rows
- Table head, body, and footer
Forms are another common feature on many websites that allow sites to collect information from their users. For instance, a website may have a “contact us” form that allows users to submit a comment to the site.
HTML forms can include drop-down menus, single-line text boxes, large text boxes, checkboxes, and other types of form fields. Here are the main topics you should learn about when you’re starting to learn HTML forms:
Adding Styles to an HTML Page
So far, we’ve talked about how to use HTML to develop the structure of a web page. But if you want to add custom styles to a web page, you need to use another technology: Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS.
CSS allows you to apply styles to HTML elements on a web page. These styles determine how those elements appear in the user’s web browser. For instance, you can change the color of a line of text using CSS, or apply a border to a table.
Here are a few of the main topics you should learn:
- What is CSS?
- Inline CSS
- Internal vs. external CSS
- How to write a CSS style rule
Then, once you’ve learned these topics, you can explore element-specific CSS styles, like how to style a table, or how to style a heading.
Best Way to Learn HTML Free
In this guide, we have discussed the basic topics that you need to know in order to code in HTML. But now you’ll be wondering “where can I learn about these topics?”
Everyone has their own learning style. There is no one place you should go to look for support as you start learning how to code.
However, for most people, interactive courses or tutorials are a good option for learning HTML. This is because these courses and tutorials give you an immersive look at programming in HTML. You can learn not just the theory, but actually put your skills into practice. At the end of following a tutorial, for example, you should have a tangible project that you can show off to others.
Online HTML Courses
- Cost: Free
- Audience: Beginners
Over 3.8 million people have enrolled inCodecademy’s Learn HTML course since the course started. In this course, you’ll learn about the most commonly used tags in HTML and how to use them to build a website.
- Cost: Free
- Audience: Beginners
This course aims to teach the fundamentals you need to create a web page. You’ll explore the theory behind how websites work and acquire practical knowledge of the HTML programming language by working through examples.
- Cost: Free
- Audience: Intermediate
This course, offered by the W3C, teaches all the basics of HTML5. You’ll learn all the new HTML5 tags and see how HTML has evolved from its first version to what it is today. You’ll also learn about animations, forms, and graphics.
Online HTML Books
This book is a complete introduction to the HTML and CSS languages. You’ll learn everything you need to know to build a web page. This book provides detailed examples to accompany the text as well as graphics to help you understand how HTML tags appear on a page.
This book helps you learn the basics of HTML. Then, readers are encouraged to follow a range of coding examples and challenges to help reinforce their knowledge. By the end of reading this book, you’ll have a firm understanding of how to build a web page.
Online HTML Resources
Learn HTML Is a website that claims to be “the easiest way to learn HTML & CSS.” This site has a range of both beginner and advanced tutorials that you can use to learn HTML. You’ll also find useful CSS tutorials.
W3Schools is widely known for its web development tutorials. You’ll find detailed and concise guides that cover everything from HTML formatting to sematics.
This cheat sheet gives a brief primer on all of the major HTML tags that you’re likely to use. You can use this cheat sheet as a reference or as a way to expand your knowledge of HTML tags.
These resources range from short tutorials to full courses. They cover all the essential topics you’ll need to master to learn how to code in HTML. After you’ve learned the basics, you’ll be ready to start working on your own projects.
Step 2: Build a Project
Building a project is a great way to reinforce the skills you have learned and put them into practice. After you’ve done all the essential reading on how a website is built, you’ll want to start working on a project that interests you.
The first step to building a project is to ask yourself: What should I build? There really is no wrong answer to this question. Ask about the problems you face in your day-to-day life. Then, try to think of how you can create a solution to the problem using code. Do you always forget something when you go to the stores? You could build a shopping list app.
Whatever project you choose, you should make sure it’s something that you want to work on. After all, it is your project!
Here are a few ideas to help you get started thinking about what you could build:
- A portfolio with your web development projects
- A site to share U.S. political campaign donation lists
- A portfolio site for a photographer
- A website for a local coffee shop or museum
- A reference site for your favorite card game
These are only a few of the many project ideas you could build. The only limit to what you can create is your own imagination. That’s the beautiful thing about learning to code: When you master the basics, you can build anything! The same rules that are used to build simple websites are also those used to build more complex websites, too.
Step 3: Join a Developer Community
Think about how many websites are out there. This will give you an idea of just how many talented web developers there are in the web development community.
When you’re getting started on your journey to learning to code in HTML, joining a web developer community is a great idea. Developer communities bring together developers of all backgrounds—from beginners to experts—with whom you can talk, share ideas, and collaborate on projects together.
Are you unsure where to start? Here are a few communities that are great for new web developers:
- Stack Overflow: A technical Q&A community. This site has no shortage of discussions about HTML which you could find helpful.
- GitHub: A site for storing and sharing your code. If you ever get stuck for inspiration, there are plenty of “beginners project lists” you can view to help you find new ideas.
- Dev.to: A community for developers of all kinds. Dev.to has dedicated community areas for HTML and CSS which are great for all developers, from novices to experts.
Once you’ve joined a community or two, start contributing as soon as you can. Do you know the solution to someone’s problem? Write it down and share it. Do you need help? Ask a question on a platform like Stack Overflow.
Step 4: Ask for Feedback and Research Best Practices
Your first goal when learning HTML should be to master the basics. Once you’re ready for a challenge, you can start taking on more advanced projects.
One great way to develop your HTML skills is to research best practices. These are the conventions used by other developers when they write their code. Coding best practices are valued by both other developers who may want to look at your code and prospective employers.
The best way to research best practices is to ask for feedback. Once you’ve finished a project, ask your friends to rate it and give you a few comments. If you don’t know any technical friends who can help, share your project in a community like Dev.to and ask for feedback.
Step 5: Practice Makes Perfect
You’ll likely have heard this before, but it is worth repeating—practice makes perfect.
When you’re learning how to code, it can be easy to find excuses to give up. Sometimes, a project does not go your way, and you’ll think that it is easier to just stop than to keep going.
But, that’s a natural part of learning how to code—sometimes, things can be frustrating. If you try hard and keep going though, you’ll be able to refine your skills and get ahead.
If you’re up for a real challenge, scroll through Stack Overflow and try to help other beginner developers solve the problems they are facing.
Learning how to code in HTML is a valuable use of your time in a world that is dominated by the internet. HTML is a great language to invest in learning for aspiring web developers, or anyone who is interested in the web/
Your first focus when learning HTML should be on structure, syntax, and using basic tags like <p> and <img>. Then, you can go on to explore tables, forms, connecting HTML and CSS, and other technical topics.
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