- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 29, 2015
- Email marketing, Websites
These days, there’s a lot of talk about becoming a hybrid marketer. Experts recommend adding an assortment of skills to your repertoire that will help you save time, get more done, and maybe even set you up for your next position.
Obviously, it’s impossible to become an expert on everything, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t supplement the depth of your knowledge on certain subjects with a breadth of knowledge on a variety of others. There are many benefits, both short- and long-term—you’ll be able to save time if you don’t have to wait for others to make small changes for you, communicate clearly with the people who run your website or set up your blog, and impress your bosses with your ability to create better content.
Here you’ll find some of the HTML tags you may see in your day-to-day marketing work. You probably already know the most basic tags like those that bold or italicize text, and even if you don’t, you can easily accomplish those tasks with any what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor like those you see in WordPress, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact. Instead we’ll explore elements (content surrounded by start and end tags) and attributes (tags that modify elements) that actually change how your content displays, like increasing or decreasing white space between or around elements or displaying multiple elements on the same line.
Honing any skill takes time and experience—you won’t turn into a web developer overnight, but you can learn everything you need to get by in an evening or two, just in case you need to add an image to a website at the last minute or muck around with an email template without breaking everything. Here are some of the most common tags you’ll see in the wild.
When you’re formatting text for print, you usually indent the beginning of each paragraph for readability. But when you’re putting text on the web, it’s standard practice to put extra white space between each paragraph instead. WSYIWYG editors will automatically add paragraph tags—<p> and </p>—when you type or paste content, but sometimes they don’t get added properly. The easiest way to troubleshoot weird spacing around paragraphs is to click the source button and make sure these tags are in the right place.
If you’ve seen and been confused by the difference between <div> and <span> tags, you’re not alone. They’re quite simple though; one displays content in blocks one above the next and the other inline—that is, without line breaks. You’ll commonly see <div> tags used as containers for other HTML elements when building layouts. If you’re having trouble displaying content horizontally or vertically when you want it to display the other way, you may just using the wrong grouping tag.
The introduction of style sheets radically changed the way HTML worked, letting designers apply styles to elements universally. You don’t need a separate file to use CSS in your code, however, which is especially helpful when you’re setting up emails in Mailchimp or a similar service. Change fonts, colors, margins, padding, and more with a simple attribute added to any element, which really deserves a blog post all of its own. Too much space between text and an image? Or not enough? A simple tweak of the margins (the space around the outside of an element) or the padding (the space between the edge of an element and the contents inside it) are probably all you need.
If you’re looking to sharpen your HTML chops even further, the best site I’ve found to help is w3schools (the site I’ve linked to above). It’s the one I used to learn HTML, and I still reference it regularly. It’s filled with explanations, examples, and editable code segments so you can learn by actually coding. The LinkedIn marketing blog post linked above has a number of other resources as well—it’s well worth a bookmark for when you’re ready to take your skills to the next level.