Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like
and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Bloggers are constantly challenged to understand what good
design is. Whether it is wedding stationery, interior fabrics, table settings,
or floorboard materials, bloggers are often are very visually creative, and
constantly seeking out better and better designs – from each other and
themselves. Many have an expectation of what good design should look like,
right down to their own blog. Not understanding how your blog’s back-end functions
can leave you feeling powerless, in a space that should make you feel
Blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, and
Typepad have obviously made managing a blog incredibly simple, and there are
certainly code-less options for managing a theme as well, like Thesis and
Genesis Frameworks. But these often lack the unique quality of a theme that
comes with something that is custom made, and many bloggers still opt to hire a
custom designer. Here are five reasons why you should understand HTML and CSS.
#1. Change is coming
Grace Bonney spoke
at Alt NYC about change, and how it is inevitable.
It is important to understand that certain versions of HTML and CSS will be
able to do more than others, and these languages will continue to evolve over
time to have greater capabilities. This will equip you to ask the right
questions of your web designer or developer as they create your new blog.
#2. Know thyself, know thy plugins
Plugins can be essential to your theme’s design, and knowing
which ones do what, where, and how, could be the difference between getting
1800 spam comments per day, or none at all. When your blogging platform begs a
plugin upgrade, don’t just blindly upgrade and expect it to work – read what is
being updated with the latest version. It may contain important information as
it pertains to your theme’s design, and spare you (and your web designer) a
gigantic headache and long night of de-bugging.
#3. Working with Ad Networks and Sponsors
If you want to cozy up with Ad Networks and Sponsors, it’s
time to get technical, and know the details of where to put those trusty
“scripts” that Ad Networks hand you when you sign a contract. Most Ad Networks
contain instructions on where in your blog to place the magical Ad code to make
ads appear, but knowing that before you even sign with them takes the stress
and burden off of installation away, and places the focus on maintaining those
ads with organization and professionalism.
#4. It will save you money. Possibly a lot of money.
When you are starting out blogging for the first time,
chances are the money’s tight, and it is hard to justify spending money on an
hourly rate for a designer to help fix some basic changes you want to make to
your blog. You may still choose to go with a professional designer or to spend
money on a theme you found that suits you perfectly, but making basic changes
gets a lot easier with a little bit of knowledge and background on the subject.
#5. Being creative
The best reason (and my favorite), is that there are no
limits to what you can do with your own blog design with some time and
investment into learning the ropes.