What is CSS?
CSS is a simple file which controls the visual appearance of a Web page without compromising its structure. Using CSS we can control our font size, font color, link color and many other attributes on our web page. This will make our HTML code much more readable and the page size will be reduced.
Why to use it and how to use it properly
If you don't use CSS on your web pages and you have many tables and content on them, chances are that your HTML file size will be quite big. Fact is that we live in a busy world, and people are not will to wait more than 5 seconds web page to load.
From the other side some web developers implement the CSS on wrong way. They write their CSS in HTML code of the page, like this:
What is wrong with this technique? Well, imagine that you have site with more than 50 pages. One day, you decide that you want to change font color and colors of the links on your site. You will have to edit ALL the pages on your site, and do to that you will need time, because you place your CSS in your web page.
Better way is to save your visual attributes in separate, external CSS file, and to link that file with your page like this:
<link href="myStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
Using this technique, you can change the look of your site within minutes, regardless of the number of pages, because your visual attributes are saved in ONE external CSS file. Edit that file, and you are done.
Which are the benefits of using CSS? List is quite long and I will list here only the most important.
* Your web page will load faster
* Web page will become more search engine friendly
* You can change you site appearance within minutes
* You can write separate CSS file for handheld devices which will be called up instead of the regular CSS file
* You can forget about creating printer friendly version of your site using separate CSS file when user chooses to print the web page.
Avoiding standard HTML commands like:
<font color="#0000ff"><font size=2>Product</font></font></font>
will help us to reduce file size, but that is not the only benefit. Using CSS word product in this example will be moved more close on the top of the document. Search engine will pick up more content and less code.
Imagine that you have 3 columns table on your page. When you see the code, you will notice that first come code for your table, and after that it come your content. Positioning your 3 columns using CSS instead of standard inline elements:
<table width="90%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">
<td width="381" height="150" valign="top" bgcolor="FFEDD4">
<td height="150" valign="top" bgcolor="FFEDD4">
When CSS is used, your code might look like this:
Again your code is much more clear, and your content is moved on the top of your document, making your HTML page search engine friendly, and reducing your file size.
Content is one of the most important factors in Search Engine Optimization, and you will benefit with removing the unnecessary code in your HTML and create search engine friendly web page.
Browser war is far behind us. Reality is that most of the people today use Internet Explorer, but you should try to be on safe side and ensure that your CSS code is valid. Not all browsers interpret the CSS on same way. You can validate your CSS here: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
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