It seems everyone is doing it.
In fact, I asked someone the other day, “Does anyone create websites anymore?” It seems that when given the choice between a blog and a website, most people opt for blogs these days.
If this describes you, I certainly understand your reasons. Blogs are much easier to setup than websites.
They are dynamic, which means the scripts allow you to display content in many different ways (by date, category, tag, most commented posts, etc.)
The search engines love them, and the free plug-ins (if you use WordPress) can give you even more flexibility and increase your blog’s coolness factor.
One Problem With Blogging
Even though there are many positives with blogging, there’s one thing I’ve noticed about many who choose a blog over a website.
Blogging can often discourage beginners from learning the fundamentals of website creation and design. Unlike a website, you don’t need to learn anything about HTML, CSS or uploading files to publish a blog.
You might argue the same could be said about websites if you use an editor. However, even if you use an HTML editor like Dreamweaver or CoffeeCup for a website, you still have to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of HTML at some point. (At least I had to.)
With blogs, everything can be done through a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) control panel that comes with your blogging platform. You don’t have to look at a lick of code if you don’t want to.
Of course, this is no big deal if you find a blog template/theme that you want to use “as is”. But what if you want to customize large sections of your design or change it completely?
Staring at a gazillion lines of CSS code can be quite intimidating. In fact, most people will tell you that in order to learn CSS, you should have a basic understanding of HTML first. (And I agree.) So with no HTML background, I completely understand why some bloggers cringe at the thought of going near the code.
Many people choose blogs because they are easier to setup, but many don’t venture out and learn the fundamentals of HTML and CSS so they can freely update their designs.
I have nothing against blogging. I own one myself, obviously. But I do believe that if you are going to blog, you should spend time learning the basics of HTML and CSS so you have the freedom to update your design beyond the standard template.
Of course, outsourcing a designer is always an option too. However, you don’t want to become completely reliant on a third party. I’ve heard too many nightmare stories with this scenario.
About once a month I get an email from someone who’s paid a designer to create and design their site, but they’ve lost contact with the person and have no idea how to make edits to the design.
As I say all the time, I am far from being a designer, but I have learned enough to maintain and customize my site. You should too.
Even if you buy the premium WordPress Thesis Theme that I use for this blog, it still helps to know the basics of CSS so you can juice up the standard, out-of-the-box template.
A CSS Tutorial Minus The Techie Talk
If you haven’t viewed my newest 4-part CSS tutorial on YouTube, you can watch all four videos in the playlist below. I even provide a very simple, 3-column template that goes along with the video. You can tweak it as needed.
Even though this template and tutorial is for a website instead of a blog, it will still help you grasp the basics and make more sense of your blog’s template code.
Give yourself the freedom to design the kind of blog you want.