Blog Bytes is a new series of articles discussing things you can do to improve your blog. Topics will range from HTML tips to design ideas to metadata and beyond. Today’s topic is acronyms and abbreviations.
Did you notice the dotted line under the HTML acronym in the above paragraph? Move your mouse over the acronym and a little popup will appear giving you the definition for the acronym – hypertext markup language. Hypertext markup language is the language of the web and is made of “tags” which define how the text should be displayed. Tags are enclosed in less than (<) and greater than (>) symbols and usually come in pairs with a beginning tag and an ending tag. The ending tag is the same as the beginning tag, but with a slash (/) added. For example, the beginning tag to define a paragraph is <p> and the corresponding ending tag is </p>.
Often tags include additional attributes to provide additional display parameters or define the tag’s purpose. It’s this additional information that makes the acronym and abbreviation tags work. In the example above, the actual HTML looks like this:
<acronym title="hypertext markup language">HTML</acronym>
A title attribute is used to define the acronym. The attribute “title” is followed by an equal sign (=) and the definition within quotes. The greater than symbol closes the tag then the actual acronym is typed, followed by the ending acronym tag. It’s that easy.
The abbreviation tag works the same way.
<abbr title="Florida">FL</abbr> will display as FL. The only difference is the name of the tag.
Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable working in the HTML window on your blog editor. Go ahead and create your post as you normally do, but just before you publish jump into the HTML view and add the few tags you want. Not only is this easier, but it will help you build confidence in using HTML.
If you don’t see an HTML tab in your blog platform’s editor screen, look for an HTML button on the toolbar like the Posterous editor shown here.
One last point. Although the dotted line is the standard design element used to identify that an acronym/abbreviation has a definition, not all blog themes follow the standard. Some themes may ignore these tags altogether. We’ll learn more about themes and styling your blog in upcoming editions of Blog Bytes so stay tuned!
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