It is inevitable, then, that at some point, you may run into a situation where you will need something done for your business online, for your web site, or in your web pages that requires having some coding skills.
HTML is one of the “code” languages used throughout the world wide web, websites, blog pages and also web content.
One of the great things about using WordPress is that you don’t have to know HTML to compose and format content in your site’s pages. WordPress has unique features like “themes”, “plugins” and “widgets” that let you manage your website without having to touch code, and an easy-to-use, built-in content that allows you to create and easily format your content simply by clicking on a few menu buttons.
In this tutorial you will learn the basic HTML codes you can use in your WordPress content.
You don’t have to learn HTML to use WordPress, but having a little HTML knowledge is useful as a WordPress user!
Table of Contents
- A Practical Guide To HTML For Beginners – Step-By-Step Tutorial
- What Is HTML?
- Using HTML Formatting Tags In Your WordPress Posts And Pages
- What HTML Can Be Inserted Into WordPress Pages & Posts?
- WordPress Text Editor
- Some Useful Tips About Using HTML Formatting In WordPress
A Practical Guide To HTML For Beginners – Step-By-Step Tutorial
If you plan to run your own website, having some practical familiarity and knowledge of HTML is useful when composing, editing or formatting content on WordPress.
Imagine, for example, that:
- You want to edit your existing content, insert a text link and an image into an area of your sidebar, or direct visitors to a contact page, opt-in form, etc. If you understand basic HTML, you can do this really quickly and easily without having to pay someone else to do this for you.
- You outsource content writing to a freelance writer and get back files containing HTML formatting. Having a little knowledge of HTML helps you proof, understand and review the quality of the work before you accept the work.
- Someone creates your web content. You see a couple of simple mistakes in the text, like a sentence that could have been made bold, or a hyperlink that has not been added to your copy. Knowing a little HTML will help you edit and correct simple mistakes in your pages without delay, and without needing to ask (or pay) a webmaster, a web designer, or someone else to do it for you.
- You want to discuss changes on your site with a web development team. Having some knowledge of HTML not only can help you communicate more effectively with web developers and web designers, it can also help you better negotiate projects with web service providers.
You don’t need to become a technical web geek – just have enough knowledge of basic HTML to be a “web-smart” 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>, 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.
Source: Wikipedia, HTML
Important: Like everything in the digital realm, HTML is also subject to frequent change, and sometimes these changes will affect WordPress.
Currently, HTML is in version 5 (also called HTML5), and this change has introduced a number of new “tags” to remain up-to-date with the latest advances in software and browser technology. As several tags used in older and even recent versions of WordPress are being phased out of HTML5, you can expect that WordPress will also continue to update its core application to remain compatible with industry-wide coding standards.
Using HTML Formatting Tags In Your WordPress Posts And Pages
WP HTML Content Editor
We discuss the WordPress Visual Editor and how to add content to posts and pages in other tutorials.
What HTML Can Be Inserted Into WordPress Pages & Posts?
The WordPress Text editor lets you add various commonly-used HTML formatting tags, including the ones listed below:
The diagram below shows a few practical text formatting examples using some of the HTML tags displayed in the illustration above …
Formatting WordPress Content With HTML
To learn more about using HTML, visit the site below:
WordPress Text Editor
By default, the Text Editor displays a number of standard menu buttons …
WordPress Text Editor Features
Below is a brief description of what each of the buttons in the Text Editor menu does with their corresponding HTML (see the above screenshot):
<strong></strong>Use this button to make your text bold.
- i :
<em></em>Use this button to add italics to your text.
<a href="http://example.com"></a>Clicking this button adds a hyperlink to any selected text.
- b-quote –
<blockquote></blockquote>Use this HTML tag for quoted or cited text.
<del></del>Use this HTML tag to mark text considered as being deleted from a page or post. Most web browsers will typically display this as strikethrough text.
<ins></ins>Use this HTML tag to label text considered inserted into your content. Many browsers will typically display this as underlined text.
src="http://www.yourdomain.com/img/image.jpg" alt="image description" />This HTML tag lets you insert an image into your post or page and add an “alt” tag (a text description of your image in case the image is not displayed in your visitor’s web browser. Note: you can also use the “Add Media” button (15) to insert images into your content.
<ul></ul>Choose this menu button to insert an unordered list into your post. Unordered lists usually display as a list of items preceded by bullets. Note: use this HTML tag together with the
<li>tag (see below) in order for bullet lists to display.
<ol></ol>Use this HTML tag to insert a numbered list. Items in an ordered list are usually numbered (just like the list you are seeing right now!). Note: use this tag together with the
<li>tag (see below) in order for bullet lists to display correctly.
<li></li>This HTML tag is used to insert or turn your selected text into a list item. (This tag should be used in conjunction with the ul or ol tag).
<code></code>Use this HTML tag 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. missing text). Note: content enclosed in the
<code>tags typically will appear using a pre-formatted text style, such as a monospaced font like Courier. (See the “Tips” section below for more details).
<!--more-->Use this WordPress tag to break a post into “teaser” and main content areas. For example, if you type one or two paragraphs, then add this tag and add the remaining section of your post content, visitors will only be able to read the first paragraphs of your post and a hyperlink (e.g. continue reading…), which when clicked on, will display the rest of the post’s content.
- Close Tags 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.
- Distraction-Free Writing Mode – click this button to work in “distraction-free” 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 “distraction-free” mode. Click the button again to revert to the normal text editor mode.
- Add Media button – Click this button to insert media into your content (e.g. images, videos, audio files). This button appears whether you’re using the Visual or Text editor screens.
Distraction-Free Writing Mode [#14]
Some Useful Tips About Using HTML Formatting In WordPress
HTML Content Builders
If you plan to learn and use HTML, there are several Free or low cost HTML software tools that you can download and use when getting started.
A popular free HTML editor software application, for example, is KompoZer.
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 WordPress posts or pages.
Another option, if you don’t want to mess around with code or use an external HTML content application, is to use a WordPress plugin that lets you build your content inside WordPress itself.
Thrive Content Builder
To learn more about this plugin, see this article:
If you have no need or desire for doing work involving editing code, but would still like to be able to easily create, insert and edit content that may contain basic HTML into areas of your site other than your posts and pages (e.g. your sidebar, author bio, etc.), then refer to the quick tutorial below for a really simple solution that involves spending no extra time downloading HTML software.
Quick Tutorial: How To Add HTML-Formatted Text To The “About Yourself” Section Of Your Profile
In WordPress, there are certain areas like ”widgets” in your sidebar, or the “About Yourself” text field in your User Profile screen that allow you to add HTML.
These sections, however, don’t provide a content editor like the WYSIWYG editor found in your Posts and Pages sections (Quick update: WordPress version 4.8 introduced rich text widgets that now let you format content inside the widget using a WYSIWYG editor) …
WordPress WYSIWYG Editor
You can still use the WordPress Visual editor to compose your HTML-formatted text, and then simply paste it into these other areas.
Let’s go through an example, so you can see how easily this can be done.
By default, whenever a post is published on your WordPress blog, a link to the post author is displayed somewhere in your posts (i.e. at the bottom or top of the post) …
Link To Author Page In WordPress Post
Clicking on the author link takes you to the Author Archives section, where site readers can learn more about you (or other registered users) and see other articles that you (or other authors) have published …
Note: As you can see from the above screenshot, you can add links and simple formatting like bold and italicized text to enhance your author bio box and promote yourself, your services, social media pages, other sites you own, etc. to your site visitors …
The author resource box is located in the About Yourself > Biographical Info field within your User Profile section …
Although the Biographical Info text area allows you to 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 box, or create it elsewhere, then copy and paste content with the HTML already embedded in it …
Let’s “paste the content” into this field using the simple method described below.
Create a new post and type your content inside the Visual Editor.
In this case, we want to create an author promo …
Next, format your content using the Visual Editor . 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 things simple – use bold, italics and text links sparingly across one or two paragraphs to describe who you are and what you do, and include a call to action for your visitors …
Continue working inside the Visual Editor tab until you have completed your author promo …
When you are happy with your author bio, switch over to the Text Editor and copy everything to your clipboard …
Next, go to your profile by selecting Users > Your Profile from your main navigation menu …
Scroll down to the About Yourself section and paste the content from your clipboard into the Biographical Info text area ….
Click the Update Profile button 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, see this tutorial: How To Edit Your WordPress User Profile
As we’ve already mentioned, you don’t need to learn HTML to use WordPress, but it can be useful to know the basics of HTML.
Tip #1 – If you want to add more complex design elements to your content (e.g. section boxes, review tables, etc.) without learning HTML, you can use cut & paste HTML resources …
Save time using cut & paste HTML resources
Learn about a time-saving “cut & paste” HTML resource we recommend here:
Tip #2 (Advanced WordPress User): You can expand the functionality of your WordPress Content Editor using various WordPress plugins.
WordPress HTML lets you add custom HTML to both the post and page body and head sections.
WordPress HTML. (Screenshot source: plugin website)
Pasting HTML directly into the WordPress editor will often break various elements and corrupt the HTML. By saving the HTML code in the custom fields dialogue boxes, you can output HTML to your post or page.
Extensible HTML Editor Buttons is a plugin you can add to your blog that gives you better control of settings for HTML tags like div and span, as well as add custom buttons and extra functions to the text editor …
WP Plugin – Extensible HTML Editor Buttons. (Screenshot source: plugin website)
Here is another free WordPress plugin you can use …
Raw HTML lets you disable automatic formatting like automatic paragraph creation and smart quotes, and use raw HTML/JS/CSS code in your WordPress posts.
Raw HTML. (Screenshot source: plugin website)
Tip #3 – Troubleshooting HTML Tag Errors: If your text formatting displays incorrectly after publishing your page or post, make sure that you have entered your HTML-formatted text correctly in the Text Tab, not in the Visual Tab.
For example, if you enter the text shown below in the Visual Tab …
Your text will look like this when you publish your post …
You can see the problem if you switch 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).
- “<” (open angled bracket) = “<“
- “>” (closed angled bracket) = “>“
To preserve the symbols “<” and “>” intact and ensure that your text will format correctly, you need to paste the code in the Text Tab …
Now … when your post is published, you should find that your text formatting is correct …
Tip #4 (Advanced WP User): By default, WordPress does not allow a number of HTML tags to be used (e.g. codes such as iframe, form and others). This is for security reasons.
If you do experience any issues when adding commonly-used 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, return to the User Profile screen, 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 content, you may need to look at other options. This may include:
- Asking someone with experience troubleshooting WordPress errors to help you
- Searching the WordPress Support Forum or WordPress troubleshooting resources for possible causes and solutions
- Reinstalling your WordPress application (i.e. you may need to perform a clean site installation)
- Contacting your webhosting company for assistance
Congratulations! Now you know the basics of using HTML to format and style your content.
"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill, DailyGreenPost.com
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