HTML, short for Hypertext Markup Language, is the coding language that creates the bones of your website; like the elements, images, menus and links. CSS, or Cascading Styles Sheets, language improves HTML by making everything look good, like adding a layer of skin over the bones. The two work together to create an appealing website that functions smoothly. Here are some tips for getting started with CSS when building a website.

Choose a CSS Package

CSS frameworks are a relatively new phenomenon in CSS coding. They make coding a little bit easier by providing a set of standards to work within. They also help to confront common issues encountered when using CSS without a framework. Although it’s new, there are currently a lot of options out there. The big names are: Semantic UI, Bootstrap and Foundation. A new upstart on the market, Bulma CSS, improves upon these behemoths by using a modular framework and providing a simpler interface. It is also well known for creating websites that are compatible with mobile platforms in addition to desktop platforms, without any extra work. The source code is free to download allowing the community to expand upon it even further.

Learn the Format

CSS is basically a way to create rules for the HTML elements to follow. The format for creating a style sheet is different from HTML, so if you’re already familiar with that language you’ll need to leave it at the door. These rules need to be written separately and then linked to the HTML tags. Within the style sheet, these HTML tags are identified as selectors. Once the selector is designated, CSS follows a {property:value} format. The property is the quality that you want to change, and the value is how much you want to change it. Properties are separated by semicolons within the same set of curly brackets. For example, “body” is a selector for the body text on a page, and you can change properties like “font-size” and “color”.

Apply Some Color

Using CSS, color can be applied to both text and background. There are a total of 16,777,216 color options in the CSS wheelhouse. You can enter your choice as a name, an RGB value or as a hex code. Names are the shortcuts for a list of 17 predefined color options, like aqua, yellow, red or gray. Transparent is also a color name option. Color names are not recommended if you want a more sophisticated looking website, because they are specific and limiting. The RGB value actually contains three values, each ranging from 0-255. The hexadecimal code is preceded by a hashtag and is usually 3-6 characters long. It uses the hexadecimal number system rather than the decimal number system, so it will be a combination of numbers and letters.

Avoid the Pitfalls

Especially among beginners, there are some common mistakes to avoid when writing your style sheets. One such has to do with color. Any time you specify a color for your text, be sure to include the background, as well. If you don’t do so, the user’s automatic background color may take over and your text might not be visible. It’s important that your body text shows up and that your look remains consistent. On the other hand, there are instances that you want to let users have control. It’s a good idea to avoid specifying a font size for your body text, because a lot of people set their screens to show a certain text size dependent on their screen size or eyesight.

There are over 5 billion websites that exist on the internet, and the majority of them use some form of CSS. If you plan on doing a lot of web design in the future, whether for yourself or career training, CSS is a valuable skill to learn. There are plenty of free, online web tutorials that can help you to get a grasp on both HTML and CSS coding language, in lieu of more formalized training.

Author Bio:

Finnegan Pierson loves business and has a passion for technology. Even more interesting is the combination of the two. As a freelance writer, Finn hopes to influence others so they can have a positive business experience.