WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

A Basic Guide To HTML For WordPress Users

The web, your web site, your web pages and even your web content are all built and powered by code.

It is inevitable, then, that sooner or later, you may probably need something done for your business online, for your website, or in your web content that will require having some coding expertise.

HTML is one of the “code” languages that is used throughout the world wide web, web sites, web pages and also your web content.

You don’t need to learn HTML to use WordPress. WordPress has unique features like “themes”, “plugins” and “widgets” that let you manage your website without having to touch code, and a powerful, built-in visual content editor that allows you to create and easily format content just by clicking on a few buttons.

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn the basic HTML codes you should be familiar with to format your WordPress content.

You don’t need to learn HTML in order to use WordPress, but having a basic HTML knowledge is a handy skill to have as a WordPress user!

Using HTML In WordPress – Tutorial

As mentioned above, having some practical HTML knowledge can be quite useful when composing, changing or formatting content on WordPress.

Let’s say that:

You don’t need to become a code-loving web developer – just be familiar enough with HTML to be a “web-savvy” business owner!

What Is HTML?

HTML is an acronym for HyperText Markup Language. According to Wikipedia’s definition of HTML …

HTML is the main markup language for creating web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser.

HTML is written in the form of HTML elements consisting of tags enclosed in angle brackets (like <table>), within the web page content. HTML tags most commonly come in pairs like <h1> and </h1>, although some tags, known as empty elements, are unpaired, for example <img>. The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag (they are also called opening tags and closing tags). In between these tags web designers can add text, tags, comments and other types of text-based content.

The purpose of a web browser is to read HTML documents and compose them into visible or audible web pages. The browser does not display the HTML tags, but uses the tags to interpret the content of the page.

HTML elements form the building blocks of all websites. HTML allows images and objects to be embedded and can be used to create interactive forms. It provides a means to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and other items. It can embed scripts written in languages such as JavaScript which affect the behavior of HTML web pages.

Source: Wikipedia, HTML

Important: Like everything else on the web, HTML is subject to changes, and sometimes these changes will affect WordPress.

Currently, we are in version 5 of the HTML set of standards (also called HTML5), and this change has introduced several new “tags” to keep up with new advances in software and web browser technology. As a number of older tags get dropped from HTML5, you should expect that WordPress will also continue updating its core application to stay compatible with industry-wide HTML standards.

How To Use HTML Tags To Format Your WordPress Content

WordPress gives you the option of adding content to your pages and posts with its rich Visual Editor (also called a WYSIWYG editor, which stands for What You See Is What You Get) and a Text Editor that allows you to work directly with code like HTML and other script languages (e.g. Javascript) when creating or editing your content …

Default WP HTML Editor

We cover the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor and adding content to pages and posts in other articles.

HTML Allowed By WordPress

WordPress lets you insert a range of common HTML formatting tags, including the following:

Common HTML

Below are some useful text formatting examples that use a number of the HTML tags listed in the chart above …

Using Basic HTML In WordPress

If you would like to learn more about HTML, visit the website below:

WordPress Text Content Editor

The WordPress Text Editor allows users to add, edit and work directly with HTML and other web languages (e.g. Javascript) when inputting content into posts and pages.

Out of the box, the HTML (Text) Editor displays a number of standard menu buttons …

WordPress HTML (Text) Editor

Below is a brief description of the HTML function of each of the Text Editor buttons with their corresponding HTML (refer to the above diagram):

  1. b: <strong></strong> Use this button if you want to make text bold.
  2. i : <em></em> Use this HTML tag for emphasis of text (i.e. italicize).
  3. hyperlink: <a href="http://example.com"></a> Clicking this menu button adds a hyperlink to your highlighted text.
  4. b-quote – <blockquote></blockquote> Select this button to quote or cite text.
  5. del: <del></del> This HTML tag is used to mark text considered as being deleted from a post. Most browsers typically display this as striked-through text.
  6. ins: <ins></ins> Use this HTML tag to indicate text that has been inserted into a post or page. Most browsers typically display this as underlined text.
  7. img: src="http://www.yourdomain.com/img/image.jpg" alt="image description" /> Use this HTML tag to insert an image into your post or page and add an “alt” tag (a text description of your image in case the image does not display in the user’s web browser. Note: you can also use the “Add Media” button (15) to insert an image into your content.
  8. ul: <ul></ul> Select this button to insert an unordered list into your post. Unordered lists generally appear as a bullet-list. Note: use this HTML tag together with the <li> tag (see below) in order for bullet lists to display properly.
  9. ol: <ol></ol> This HTML tag is used to insert a numbered list. Items in an ordered list are normally numbered (just like the list you are reading right now!). Note: use this tag with the <li> tag (see below) in order for bullet lists to display correctly.
  10. li: <li></li> Click this button to insert or turn your selected text into a list item. (This tag should be used in conjunction with the ul or ol tag).
  11. code: <code></code> Choose this button to display code (like html tags) in your text. If you don’t use these tags to surround the code you want to display, WordPress will convert your tags and you will get errors (e.g. broken text). Note: content enclosed in the <code> tags usually will display using a preformatted styling of text, such as a monospaced font like Courier. (See the “Tips” section below for more details).
  12. more: <!--more--> Use this tag to break a blog post into “teaser” and ”rest of content” areas. For example, if you type a few paragraphs, then insert this tag and add the remainder of your post content, readers will only be able to see the first couple of paragraphs of your post with a hyperlink (e.g. continue reading…), which will bring up the rest of your post when clicked on.
  13. Close Tags – This button closes any open HTML tags left in your content. Note: proof your content after using this function to ensure that all HTML tags have correctly formatted your text.
  14. Distraction-Free Writing Mode – click this button to work in “distraction-free” writing mode (see screenshot example below). You can toggle between the Visual Editor and Text Editor modes, insert media and hyperlinks and update your content while in “full screen” mode. Click the button again to revert to the normal editor mode.
  15. Add Media – Click this button to insert media into your content (e.g. images, videos, audio files). This button appears whether you’re in the Visual or Text editor tabs.

WordPress Distraction-Free Writing Mode [#14]

Some Useful Tips About Using HTML In WordPress

HTML Content Builders

If you plan to go beyond the basics of HTML and use it more extensively, there are several Free HTML software tools that you can download and use when getting started.

A popular free HTML software application, for example, is KompoZer.

Kompozer – HTML Editor

KompoZer is Free Open Source software built as a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. It’s designed to be extremely easy to use, especially for non-technical computer users who just want to create attractive, professional-looking web pages without needing to know HTML or web coding. You can build HTML-based content with this application, then use plugins that let you insert code into your posts or pages.

Another option, if you don’t want to mess around with any code or use an external HTML content editor, is to use a WordPress plugin that lets you build content inside WordPress itself.

Content Builder – WordPress Plugin

To learn more about this plugin, see this article:

If you have no need or desire for doing any kind of work that involves editing code, but would still like to be able to easily create, insert and format content that may contain basic HTML tags into areas of your site other than your posts and pages (e.g. your sidebar, author profile, etc.), then see the quick tutorial below for a really simple solution that involves spending no extra time downloading HTML software.

Tutorial: How To Add Formatted Content To The “About Yourself” Text Box In Your User Profile

In WordPress, there are some areas like text “widgets” in your sidebar, or the “About Yourself” text field in your User Profile screen that let you insert HTML.

These areas, however, don’t come with their own content editor like the Visual Content editor found inside your Posts and Pages screens (Quick update: WordPress version 4.8 introduced rich text widgets that now let you format content inside the widget using a WYSIWYG editor) …

WordPress Visual Content Editor

You can still use the WordPress Visual editor to create your HTML-formatted text, and then paste it into those areas.

Let’s go through an example, so you can see how this can easily be done.

By default, whenever a post is published on your WordPress site, a link to the author is displayed somewhere in your posts (i.e. at the bottom or top of the post) …

Link To Author Page In WordPress

Clicking on the author link takes visitors to the Author Archives section, where site readers can learn more about you (or other authors registered as users on your site) and see other posts that you (or other authors) have published …

Note: As the above screenshot illustrates, you can add links and simple formatting like bold and italicized text to enhance your author bio box and promote yourself, your business, social media pages, other sites that you own, etc. to your blog readers …

The author resource box is located in the About Yourself > Biographical Info field within your User Profile area …

Although the Biographical Info text area lets you add HTML-formatted content, it doesn’t have a content editor, so you have to either know how to type HTML code directly into the text field, or create it in an HTML editor, then copy and paste it in …

Let’s “paste the content” into this field using the method described below.

Create a new post and type your content inside the Visual Editor.

In this case, we want to create an author description

Next, format the content inside the Visual Editor tab. Please note that you will only be able to use simple formatting in your author description such as hyperlinks, bold, underline and italicized text, so keep the formatting simple – use bold, italics and anchor text links sparingly across one or two paragraphs to describe who you are and what you do, and include a useful link for your readers …

Keep working inside the Visual Editor tab until you have written your author profile content …

Once you have created your content, switch over to the Text Editor and copy everything to your clipboard …

Next, go to your profile area by selecting Users > Your Profile in your dashboard menu …

Scroll down to the About Yourself section and paste your content into the Biographical Info text area ….

Remember to click Update Profile to save your changes …

Congratulations … You have just created an author promo for your posts and formatted it using basic HTML!

To learn how to edit your profile settings, refer to this tutorial: How To Edit Your WordPress User Profile

As you can see, you don’t need to learn HTML to use WordPress, but it can be useful to have a little basic knowledge of HTML.


Tip #1 – If you want to add more complex formatted elements to your content (e.g. pull quotes, review tables, etc.) without learning HTML, you can use cut & paste HTML snippets …

Save time using cut & paste HTML snippets

Learn about a time-saving “cut & paste” HTML resource we recommend for non-technical WP users here:

Tip #2 (Advanced WP User): You can expand the functionality of your WordPress Content Editor using several plugins.

For example:

WordPress HTML

WordPress HTML lets you add custom HTML to both the page and post body and head sections.

WordPress HTML – WP Plugin. (Screenshot source: plugin website)

Pasting HTML directly into your WordPress editor can break various elements and corrupt the HTML. By inputting the HTML code in the plugin’s custom fields dialogue boxes, you can output the exact HTML-formatted content to your post or page.

Extensible HTML Editor Buttons

Extensible HTML Editor Buttons is a free plugin you can add to your site that enables you to have better control of settings for HTML tags like div and span, as well as adding custom buttons and extra functions to the text editor …

Extensible HTML Editor Buttons – WordPress Plugin. (Screenshot source: plugin website)

Here’s another free plugin you can use …


Raw HTML lets you disable automatic formatting like smart quotes and automatic paragraph creation, and use raw HTML/JS/CSS code in your WordPress posts.

With this plugin installed, you can wrap any part of your post in [raw]…[/raw] tags to prevent WordPress from converting newlines to HTML paragraphs, replacing apostrophes with typographic quotes and so on. This is very useful if you want to add JavaScript or a CSS block to your post.

Raw HTML – Plugin For WordPress. (Screenshot source: plugin website)

Tip #3 – Troubleshooting HTML Tag Errors: If your text formatting displays incorrectly after publishing your post or page, make sure that you have entered your HTML-formatted text correctly in the Text Tab, not in the Visual Editor.

For example, if you type the text shown below in the Visual Editor …

Your text will look like this when you publish your post …

You can see the problem by switching over to the Text Tab …

As you can see in the screenshot above, WordPress converts the symbols “<” and “>” into their HTML code equivalents (called ASCII characters).


To preserve the symbols “<” and “>” intact and ensure that your text will format correctly, you need to paste your code into the Text Editor …

Now … when you publish your post, you should find that your text has been formatted correctly …

Tip #4 (Advanced WordPress User): By default, WordPress does not allow some HTML tags to be used (e.g. codes such as embed, textarea and others). This is for security reasons.

If you do experience any issues when adding common HTML tags into your content that are allowed to be used in WordPress, try disabling the visual editor in your user profile …

After disabling the visual editor and updating your new profile settings, return to your page or post and re-paste the content with the problematic HTML tags, then republish your post.

If the above suggestion fixes the issue, go back to your User Profile, reactivate your Visual Editor, and see if the HTML code is still working fine with the visual editor restored.

Note: If the above suggestion doesn’t fix the issue and you still continue to experience problems adding HTML code to your site, then you should look at other options. This may include:

Congratulations! Now you know how to use basic HTML to format and style your content.


"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now


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