Over 75,000,000 websites are currently built on WordPress, and there’s a good chance you have one of them.
However, if you want to take a full advantage of WordPress and all it has to offer, it helps to know a thing or two about coding. Read on to learn the basics for a coding newbie using WordPress.
Understanding Coding for a Coding Newbie
If you’re absolutely new to coding, you may imagine it as a super genius rapidly typing on their computer to disarm a bomb in your favorite action movie. The good news is you don’t have to be Tom Cruise to be able to code. In fact, the only thing you need to save is your next WordPress site.
A better analogy for coding is “paint by numbers.” It’s simply matching a line of code to what you want to appear on your website and making sure it’s set into place.
Why Are Coding Skills Needed for WordPress?
So why is coding even necessary for WordPress? After all, aren’t there thousands of templates to set up a WordPress site? Absolutely, however, those sites are only limited to what the designer allows you to do unless you know how to code.
That means if you decide to add on additional features, say a linked button to buy a course or a cool special effect to appear on the homepage, you’ll likely have to transfer your entire site over to a new WordPress template that hopefully has all the features you began with. For this reason, it’s much easier to dive straight into code.
Getting to the Basics
There are other code languages that are great for things like building an app or creating a unique tool, but if you’re just getting started these three are enough to get you going. WordPress is compatible with all three languages so it’s really up to what you prefer to code in.
Now that you know about the basic languages, let’s cover a few examples in each. It’s important to remember at some point you may end using all of the languages on one site. For example, you may be installing software that’s written in JacaScript when the rest of your site is written in HTML, and that’s fine!
However, for now, it’s better to look over some simple examples to get the pattern of codes. In every coding language, each line of code has it’s own “punctuation,” or what you’re starting and ending the line with. This is what tells the computer it’s time to begin and end.
If you’ve dabbled with the idea of coding before, it’s likely you’ve reviewed the source code of a webpage. If you have, it’s even more likely that it’s been overwhelming to view all those lines, each with their own section.
This is where HTML really comes into play. HTML is set up in a specific way so that they are universal. What applies to one HTML site applies to them all. However, you’ll find that HTML typically involves much longer and more in-depth lines of code than other code languages do.
The Importance of Indentation
The paragraph of coding is called an indentation and is typically spaced within braces when dealing with HTML. This is important because there can be several sets of braces within one larger line of code, the only way to really keep track of it all without losing your mind is to use the tab key in order to make an indentation.
Without using indentation, the code will be read as several different lines of code instead of one set, which makes all the difference in creating the effect you want.
Working with CSS
Next, we’ll dive in CSS. CSS was designed for clear readability. Consider HTML someone that mumbles and CSS someone that enunciates. Even when they are saying the exact same thing it’s much easier to understand one than the other.
That’s because CSS works with a number of abbreviations you won’t find in HTML. Unlike the indentation structure discussed above for HTML, when working with WordPress each line of coding in CSS must have its own line.
Last but not least, let’s talk naming conventions. These are typically used in PHP but can be applied to all coding languages on WordPress. You may want to hold off on this until you’ve had a bit of practice since this style of coding can be a bit of a mess, hence the name “spaghetti code.”
Naming conventions simply mean cleaning up functions and classes through various formats. For example, a function would be written as function_name, and a class would be written as Class_Name. Notice the difference in capitalization between the function and class, these little details make all the difference.
Graduating from Newbie to Rockstar
If you have the time and energy to teach yourself the various code languages, they can quickly become your best friend. However, most of us with jobs and responsibilities don’t have the time to go from coding newbie to rockstar without a little help.
Fortunately, we can provide solid WordPress help that can take your site to the next level, without being a coding genius. Not using WordPress? That’s totally fine. We also offer web design help that can assist you no matter what platform you’re using.