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<p>As a PR and/or marketing professional, is it entirely necessary to be a <i>fluent</i> reader and writer of HTML (also known as HyperText Markup Language)?</p>

<p>Personally, I think furthering your education throughout your life is essential – no matter the pursuit. Go take a basic graphic design course. Get your real estate agent license. Learn what it takes to start a business. A little extra education never hurt.</p>

<p>So what’s the big deal with HTML?</p>

<p>I think learning to read and write HTML is of great value to any professional in the digital age. Why? Behind every web site, you will find HTML elements. It’s a language that stretches far beyond the boundaries of your home country; HTML is globally recognized, thanks to <b>Sir Tim Berners-Lee</b> and the <b>World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)</b>.</p>

<p>To comprehend how a web browser interprets those elements to form web pages is a powerful skill. The ability to read and follow the HTML elements within a web page is a notch above the majority. And among people who aren’t professional developers, having the capacity to write HTML code makes you unstoppable. </p>

<p>My HTML experience started with using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor called <b>Dreamweaver</b> – quite popular for any basic web development needs. Using Dreamweaver allows the user to see how the HTML code is interpreted in a web browser-like setting (in a live preview mode). For every nuance and alteration in the code, the graphical and content changes will instantly appear on screen. Even better, Dreamweaver allows for HTML testing in an actual browser – providing the user with the ability to see real-time development.</p>

<p>Any easy-to-use development tool like Dreamweaver is a great place to start. I took it a step further and spent the day in a classroom learning the basics of the software. It made all the difference by developing my foundational knowledge in HTML. Now that I use a MacBook Pro, I’m using <b>Taco HTML Edit</b> – a great tool that’s similar to Dreamweaver and easier on the wallet.</p>

<p>After more than a decade of passively reading and writing HTML, I’m able to open a coded document (or web page) and make the necessary adjustments for live production. In fact, on several occasions my HTML skills have helped me understand more advanced programming languages, such as XML and HTML5.</p>

<p>The benefits of being fluent in HTML are numerous, especially in a small business world. Entrepreneurs are always looking for people who can wear multiple hats.</p>

<p>Knowing HTML provides you with the ability to make changes to a web site on the fly and alter e-mail newsletter templates. Generally, that kind of work would have to be outsourced, which means the company would have to spend money and time on working with a unfamiliar developer. Granted, a professional developer is necessary in cases that require a more intense knowledge of HTML. But for the everyday web site and e-newsletter edits, some basic HTML skills can go a long way.</p>

<p> How have you integrated HTML into your business? Let me know via the comment section below.</p>