<p>HTML is hard to learn? By using only a handful of HTML "tags", with the paragraph tag being the most frequently used it is no coincidence the one's visible at the begining and end of this paragraph, are there in order to show you how simple it can be to make your own web page.</p>
Then it is the CSS that is difficult? Only if you choose to make it so. A HTML web page does not even need need a Cascading Style Sheet to make it visible, but it would likely be a pretty awful thing to look at if only dependant on how the browser chooses to display it. You can create a few simple styling statements that over ride the browser's inbuilt stylesheet to create a decent looking and more readable web page.
Quite simply HTML is the coding behind a web page and it is the correct yet minimal usage of this medium that can make the difference in whether or not the resultant page is easily rendered by both the search engines and the visitor's browser.
CSS controls the layout and styling of the HTML elements within the web page and can be the key factor when realising your own website layout ideas. Keep the coding simple and use the minimum number of style statements required to achieve the desired result.
Yes that is all you need to create a HTML and CSS web page. A simple plain text editor is the only tool required to compose and edit the coding required. It is the one essential since you can not use any medium that installs it's own formatting rules.
Never try to create the coding behind the web page, or indeed the content contained within the same, using a rich text editor. Do not copy and paste from an uncertain source since formatted content can have some unwanted characteristics when placed within a HTML page.
Since cross browser support should always a matter of primary concern the aim and simplicity of the HTML and CSS coding used should avoid the majority of issues which means no need for exceptions for older browsers.
Examples given are of a nature that they are rendered correctly across a wide range of browsers and due to this limitation do not include the latest updates that are available within the newest version of HTML and CSS3.
Minimal markup is also desirable for the dual purposes of stability, since there is less to go wrong, and it may also give search engine optimisation benefits through making your web page content more easily accessible and quicker loading.
By explaining the basics of a strict yet simple method of coding I would hope to encourage you in forming your own ideas and rules, which in turn will result in better web pages. Keep it simply simple!
Once you are comfortable with the basics of CSS I had no doubt that you will start to explore the presentational aspects achievable, but would remind you that the function of a web page should always take precedence over form.
If I fail to explain some aspect clearly then I have not fufilled my aims. Feel obliged to use the contact form and ask of me. Why?