Covalence 101

How to Build Your First Website: A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS

Jackson Carr
June 10, 2024
6 minutes
Image reads: "How to Build Your First Website: A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS"

Starting your journey into website creation can feel both thrilling and overwhelming. But fear not! This guide is here to walk you through the basics of HTML and CSS, the fundamental building blocks of web development. By the end, you'll have a grasp of these concepts and a simple yet functional website to showcase your newfound skills.

Understanding HTML and CSS

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the foundation of web development. Understanding how HTML and CSS work together is essential for anyone looking to create engaging and visually appealing websites.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the backbone of any website. It provides the structure, shaping the skeleton of web pages through elements and tags that browsers interpret to display content. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), on the other hand, is all about aesthetics. It allows you to style and layout your website, dictating everything from colors and fonts to spacing and alignment.

Setting Up Your Development Environment

Before you start creating your website, it's crucial to gather the essential tools to ensure a smooth and efficient workflow.

First, you'll need a reliable text editor. Think of it as your digital workspace where you'll spend most of your time crafting and refining your code. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from, each with its own set of features and functionalities. At Covalence, we recommend downloading and using Visual Studio Code as it’s packed with helpful features, actively maintained, and completely free!

Next on the list is your web browser. Chances are you already have one installed on your device, whether it's Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari. However, it's important to ensure that your browser is up to date to leverage the latest web standards and features. This ensures compatibility and helps you stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of web development.

Crafting Your First Web Page with HTML

Step 1: Create and Save Your File

Open your chosen text editor and create a new file named ‘index.html’. This will be the homepage of your website.

Step 2: Write the Basic HTML Structure

Input the following code into your ‘index.html’ file:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title>My First Website</title>
</head>
<body>
    <h1>Welcome to My Website</h1>
    <p>This is my first webpage using HTML and CSS.</p>
</body>
</html>

This code lays out the basic structure of an HTML document, including a title, heading, and paragraph.

Step 3: Preview Your Page

Open your ‘index.html’ file in a web browser to view your creation. You should see a simple web page displaying your text.

Styling Your Web Page with CSS

To add some style to your website, we'll use CSS in three ways:

  • Inline CSS: Directly add styles to HTML elements using the ‘style’ attribute.
  • Internal CSS: Embed CSS within the ‘<head>’ section of your HTML document.
  • External CSS: Keep your CSS in a separate file for better organization.

Here's a quick breakdown of each method:

  • Inline CSS Example:
<p style="color: red;">This is a red paragraph.</p>

  • Internal CSS Example:
<head>
    <style>
        body {
            background-color: lightblue;
        }
        h1 {
            color: navy;
        }
    </style>
</head>

  • External CSS Example:
<head>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css">
</head>

In an external file named ‘style.css’, you'd define your styles like this:

body {
    background-color: #f0f0f0;
    font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
}
h1 {
    color: maroon;
}

After making these changes, refresh your web browser to see the stylistic updates take effect.

And that’s it – you've successfully coded and styled your first website. This is just the beginning of your journey into web development. Keep experimenting with different HTML elements and CSS properties, and never stop learning.

You can learn more about the fundamentals of modern websites (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) in our Front End Fundamentals course where you can buy it for life or get it with Covalence+

Remember, practice makes perfect. Keep exploring, keep learning, and keep creating. If you encounter questions or challenges along the way, don't hesitate to seek help. Welcome to the exciting world of web development, and happy coding!

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