CSS, or cascading style sheets, is a markup language used to build a website.
The term “cascading” refers to multiple levels of styles inherent upon one another. Each browser comes with a default style. There is a user style, in which a person can set up certain preferences as to how the page should appear. The user style will trump the browser style. For instance, a user can usually make the font size larger or smaller. The author’s style, using CSS, takes precedence over all other styles.
There are three levels of CSS within a webpage itself.
- External sheet: a separate document defining all the styles and attached to the <head> section of each HTML document.
- Internal sheet: instead of a link to an external document, all of the code for the styles is written into the <head> section.
- Inline style: a single element can be styled by placing the code within the HTML.
All three CSS levels can be used on a single page, with the inline style taking precedence. However, it is preferable to stick with the external sheet.
What is the value of CSS?
- Makes a site easy to maintain. In the old days, a style change to paragraphs would require going to every paragraph on the site. With CSS, you can make the necessary changes in the declaration block and it will automatically apply to every paragraph on the website.
- Greater control. Margins, borders, and padding can be challenging in HTML. One can do exponentially more with CSS.
- Faster downloads. Without CSS, the HTML code behind a sophisticated webpage can be miles long. CSS greatly decreases the amount of code required, speeding up page downloads.
The best news for small business owners is that they can have a beautiful website without a thorough knowledge of HTML, CSS, or other tools of web designers. Now all that’s needed is a website builder with good starting templates.