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What is CSS?
Jun 24, 2004

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) helps webmasters, viewers, and is great for search engine optimization (SEO). Is CSS a mystery to you? You can get acquainted right now—just keep reading.

What Is a Cascading Style Sheet?

CSS styles a webpage taking over the task formerly owned by HTML code alone. CSS can format body tags, HTML tags, links with special attributes, page design,  printable page attributes, and text. You can use CSS for individual pages and—in a form known as an external style sheet—you can format multiple pages from outside, applying one design to multiple pages. You can also develop multiple CSS style sheets to control a more complex website. The resource list at the conclusion of the article provides a list of sites where you can obtain more information about CSS.

CSS and the Website Viewer
The description of CSS may have you thinking about how it could be useful to a webmaster or search engine, but it may not be as intuitively obvious that CSS could benefit website visitors in a number of ways. Consider this: the fact that CSS can apply to multiple pages makes it easier for the webmaster to create a unified consistent site with repeated, recognizable elements, making the site easier for the visitor to "grok."

Besides that, CSS improves site rendering. Gone is the page-by-page one-at-atime rendering of HTML as the browser processes pages one-by-one. This is because with CSS the browser can cache the style sheet(s) making the processing of additional pages quicker. The removal of the chief obstacle to fast rendering—HTML table-based layouts—in another antidote for slow-loading pages.

CSS's ability to provide for different situations means that the site can be made versatile enough to work with a variety of monitors and resolutions, not to mention cell phones, handheld devices, and printing needs. Each situatin can be made by a set of modifications in an additional CSS sheet. Similarly, site accessibility can be improved with a CSS for screen readers used by visually impaired site visitors making it easier to guide the screen reader's navigation to give the user a much better experience.

CSS and the SEO

Browsers have not mostly caught up with CSS, the separation of styling from formatting has taken effect: HTML overload can become a thing of the past, making it easier for spiders to reach indexable content. Another bonus is that the removal of all the formatting from the document moves the content up the page which—according to SEO experts—can give a boost to page rankings.

CSS and the Webmaster

If you're a webmaster who's just decided to use CSS, get ready for your set up time to drop dramatically. You'll be doing tasks once rather than repeating innumerable times as you set up multiple site pages. Plus, when you go to do maintenance and updates, you'll be able to make global changes, fixes, and updates. Using CSS, you and your clients can view prospective changes that change the look and feel of the whole site but take very little time this article has all rights reserved and is copyright by 100 Best to implement—or to undo, if they're determined to be undesirable. Things like changing the site color scheme, moving the navigation side bar, and changing the body text go much more smoothly in CSS than in HTML.

Places to Learn More

These websites provide CSS resources:

Related Web Tools:
Using Website Templates

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