Although I cover blogging in some depth in my online journalism book, I thought I should write a supplementary section on what happens when you decide to start customising your blog.
Specifically, I want to address 3 key languages which you are likely to encounter, what they do, and how they work.
What’s the difference? HTML, CSS, and PHP
Most blog platforms use a combination of HTML, CSS and PHP (or similar scripting language). These perform very different functions, so it saves you a lot of time and effort if you know which one you might need to customise. Here’s what those functions are:
- HTML is concerned with content.
- CSS is concerned with style.
- And PHP is concerned with functionality.
If you want to change how your blog looks, then, you will need to customise the CSS.
If you want to change what it does, you will need to customise the PHP.
And if you want to change how content is organised or classified, then you need to change the HTML.
All 3 are interrelated: PHP will generate much of the HTML, and the CSS will style the HTML. I’ll explain more about this below.
But before I do so, it’ll help if you have 3 windows open on your computer to see how this works on your own blog. They are:
- On your blog, right-click and select ‘View source‘ (or a similar option) so you can see the HTML for that page.
- Open another window, log in to your blog, and find the customisation option (you may have to Google around to find out where this option is). You should be able to see a page of code.
- If you have a blog hosted on WordPress.com, there is no customisation option beyond choosing themes and widgets, although you can pay for the ability to customise CSS.
- If you’ve paid for that, or are hosting a WordPress blog yourself, this page has more on customising.
- You can find details on customising Tumblr here,
- and customising Posterous here.
- And Google provides a range of help pages for customising a Blogger blog.
- Open a third window which you will use to search for useful resources to help you as you customise your blog. Continue reading