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Converting Existing Content to CSS, Step 7

Convert an Entire Site to CSS, Resources

by Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A., SKDesigns

Copyright © 2001-2021, Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A., SKDesigns. All rights reserved. Published at with permission.

Converting an Entire Site to CSS

Steps 1 through 6 of this tutorial covered only the very basics of converting an existing site to help get you started. In addition, though, you can adjust white space, margins and padding, and do your entire layout with CSS positioning. At the minimum, though, even just converting all your old HTML font tags to CSS will help a lot, as this tutorial series covered.

When you think about what and how much to convert to CSS, every site will have its unique qualities and elements to consider. If the markup is consistently handled throughout the site and is high quality, W3C validated, it will probably be easier to transition the site to CSS. In some cases, it may be easier to pull out all the content and place it all within new templates. In other cases, it may work fine to strip out the old HTML markup and replace them. Sometimes even a search/replace can handle much of it.

How do you decide which approach to take?

Carefully review the markup, perhaps even trying one page to see how quickly you can strip out and replace the old tags. If it's time-consuming and unwieldy, it's probably easier to create a new template and then add the content to the template.

Is it worth it?

In the long run, it's definitely worthwhile! I've converted quite a few sites from old HTML markup to using CSS with external style sheets, so I speak from firsthand experience.

You'll be glad you upgraded the site. It will be so much easier to maintain, to change anything, and your styles will be much more consistently handled throughout your site. In addition, the Web pages will undoubtedly load faster, and future redesigns will be a whole lot easier as well. All in all, it will make the site far more efficient.

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Yes, validating matters. It will help you find errors, ensure that your code is done correctly, and your pages ought to work better with a variety of browsers and platforms, too.

W3C CSS Validation Service
W3C HTML Validation Service


You'll find many more book recommendations on CSS in our Recommended Books Books on CSS, HTML, XHTML, Web Standards section.

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Brainstorms and Raves is a daily weblog or column, also by SKDesigns, that includes the Web, design and layout, CSS, accessibility, standards, usability, typography, and much more. There are searchable archives, too.

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