How to Learn CSS Basics: Beginner’s Guide


updated Jan 22, 2023


When you start learning coding and web development, you have a lot on your plate when choosing which tools to learn. CSS is a language you need to learn if you want to work on web projects in the future.

But where should you start to learn CSS basics? How can you make sure you find the best resources for beginners?

Luckily, CSS is one of the easiest web languages to learn as a total beginner. You can learn CSS basics in just a matter of days without any prior experience in web development or coding.

Moreover, if you’re looking to make money from coding as a freelancer in the future, you’ll need CSS to design your portfolio website, too.

In this post, I’ll walk you through some fundamental CSS basics for absolute beginners.

You’ll learn more about what CSS is about, why you should learn CSS, and where to find the best online learning resources.

I’ll also share with you a couple of helpful tips to speed up your CSS learning curve.

Keep reading!

Here are a couple of related posts you may want to read, too:

Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

What is CSS?

Let’s start with the very basics: CSS is short for Cascading Style Cheets.

The first thing you should know about CSS is this: It’s used on virtually every website in the world.

Needless to say, it’s a tool you must learn if you want to build websites in the future.

But what do you need CSS for?

In a previous post, I wrote about how I first got started with web development and HTML.

Now, HTML can only get us so far. You use it to create contents like text and images for your web pages. But you can’t do much with HTML to make them look good.

That’s where CSS comes in. In order to make your HTML contents look great, you can use CSS to style them as you wish.

Thus, CSS is a web language that allows you to choose individual HTML elements on your web page and change their styling the way you want to. It gives you unlimited customization possibilities to design your website just the way you want.

Learn CSS basics and front end web development fundamentals for beginners - The best CSS courses and tutorials

What can you style with CSS?

You can use CSS to change virtually any visual aspect of an HTML element on a web page, like:

  • Colors
  • Fonts
  • Decorations
  • Positionings
  • Spacings, paddings, borders etc.

The best part:

CSS is separate from your HTML contents. So, you can adjust existing CSS stylings easily without touching the actual HTML contents of your website.

In other words: using HTML and CSS together helps you keep the contents and the styling of your website separate.

Once you’ve created some content for your website with HTML, you can experiment with CSS as much as you like without having to worry about deleting or breaking your content or structure.

Recommended: 8 Critical Things You Should Know Before Learning Web Development

Why should you learn CSS?

As we discussed earlier, CSS is present on virtually every website in the world. Thus, you need to learn CSS basics if you want to work on website projects in the future.

But there are a few essential benefits from learning CSS beyond that, too. Let’s take a look:

Reason #1: You can learn CSS basics fast

If you’re just starting out with coding and web development, I know you want to see some results fast. With CSS, you don’t have to learn for weeks or months to build something meaningful.

Instead, you can actually learn CSS basics in a matter of days (or hours!) and start using it right away. As soon as you’ve learned how to use HTML to create elements and contents on a web page, you’re good to go!

Reason #2: You need CSS for every front-end project you build

Needless to say, the look and feel of any website is now more important than ever.

If you want to make it in the tech industry, you need to learn CSS basics and master the fundamentals to build modern, beautiful websites that are easy to use.

Knowing how to use CSS will give you powerful tool to work on website projects in the future.

Even if you’re not planning to become a Front-End Developer, you can still benefit from learning CSS basics.

Understanding how CSS works will allow you to work in web development teams more efficiently. You’ll know what it takes to design a web page using CSS, which helps you work and communicate with Front-End Developers better.

Reason #3: You can learn CSS basics for free

If you’re new to web development and coding, I know you don’t want to invest too much money in learning the basics.

And I was you not too long ago. I didn’t want to buy an expensive book or online course at first. You know, first I wanted to see if coding was even something I liked.

The good news is: you can start learning CSS online for free.

Using free resources is a great way to see if you like working with CSS in the first place. Then, when you know it’s a tool you want to learn, you can invest a few bucks in a quality online course, for example.

In fact, that’s what I did and it allowed me to get my first online freelance gigs in just a couple of weeks.

Before I knew it, I had quit my job to focus on learning more web dev tools to start freelancing full-time. Which brings me to my next point…

Related post: Should You Use Online Course or Books to Learn Coding?

Reason #4: You can make money with your CSS skills

Here’s the deal: CSS is not only one of the easiest web development languages you can learn. Thanks to its popularity worldwide, it’s also one of the top in-demand skills for website coding.

Thus, if you’re looking to start a career in web development or becoming a freelancer in the future, CSS is a powerful tool to make money online.

And what’s even better: you can get your first small freelance jobs surprisingly quickly.

The reason why I always recommend starting out with front-end web development skills is how fast you can turn your skills into income.

Even if you want to focus on back-end development in the future, you can make money from front-end skills much faster. That way, you can already start building real-life projects and make money on the side while you’re still learning coding and web development.

So, what’s the best way to learn CSS basics then? Let’s take a look…

Read next: How to Make Money Coding? 4 Practical Ways to Make Money as a Developer

The best way to learn CSS basics fast:

As with any other coding and web development tool out there, the best way to learn it fast is to build meaningful projects of your own.

So, as you learn CSS basics, you should use and practice your skills as much as you possibly can.

Even if you’re just starting out and you only know a few fundamentals, try them out by yourself. Whenever you finish a video lecture or a chapter in a web dev book, make sure you apply what you just learned.

Recommended: 13 Simple Tips for Finishing Every Coding Course You Start

Now, you don’t need to build a full-on website from scratch every time you learn something new.

Just have a basic HTML file with a few elements that you can practice your CSS skills on. Trust me, you can try out different CSS rules on just a handful of HTML content for hours.

That said, here’s what you should do to learn CSS basics step by step:

  1. Know what you want to build with web dev skills – Do you want to become a Front-End Developer in the future? Awesome! You’ll need CSS for every project you create.
  2. Set yourself a measurable long-term goal – Do you want to learn web development to start freelancing in 6 months? That’s a great goal to have. Now, break it down into smaller milestones: learn HTML and CSS first, then JavaScript and jQuery, then start building your portfolio.
  3. Find the best resources to learn CSS basics – If you’re on a budget, you can start learning CSS online for free. However, if you’re looking for a professional, hands-on approach to learn web development, consider investing a few bucks in a quality course.
  4. Practice a lot on meaningful projects – You must build plenty of projects of your own to learn how to use CSS in practice. You’ll find new ways of using it to style your HTML contents, step by step. And no matter how big or small your projects are, make sure you add them to your portfolio.

Your #1 priority is to understand how CSS works and how you can use it on your own. That’s the only way to really know how you can apply it to your future website projects like a pro.

To get started, check out these 30+ HTML and CSS project ideas for beginners.

As your skills improve and you gain enough confidence, you can start looking into finding small freelancing gigs online.

The best places to learn CSS basics for beginners:

Ready to learn CSS basics already? Awesome!

If you’re just starting out with learning web development, I know how difficult it can feel to find the perfect learning resources. Where should you start with hundreds of CSS tutorials, courses, and books to choose from?

To help you save your valuable time (and money), I’ve put together this small list of beginner-friendly CSS resources for you.

I’ve used all of them to learn CSS basics and much more. In fact, these online courses helped me become a self-employed Web Developer and Web Designer in a matter of months.

Read also: How to Get Your Money’s Worth With Online Coding Courses

1: Codecademy

Best Websites to Learn Coding for Beginners - Codecademy

If you’ve never tried CSS before, I’d suggest you start with the free resources at Codecademy.

Just see if you like working with HTML and CSS in the first place. It’ll take a few moments to get the hang of it, so make sure you take your time. After a few sessions, you’ll have a basic understanding of both languages.

2: CSS Tutorials at

The CSS tutorial at W3Schools is one of my go-to references for CSS. They have a wide selection of step-by-step tutorials for learning CSS basics from scratch.

If you enjoyed HTML and CSS on Codecademy, W3Schools will give you a more thorough introduction to CSS basics. Their CSS tutorial is super easy to follow, with helpful real-life examples to support your learning.

And if you’re still enjoying learning CSS basics, you should find a course with more hands-on exercises and practical projects to build.

I’ve used all of the beginner-level courses below – they’re packed with valuable lessons to learn HTML, CSS, and much more. Both of them are perfect for beginners, so feel free to listen to choose whichever course you feel more confident in.

2: The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 (Udemy)

Udemy review - learn web development for beginners from scratch with The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0

The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 will teach you a huge selection of tools you’ll need to build professional websites from scratch.

Whether you’re interested in front-end or back-end development, this course is the best you can find, trust me. You don’t need any experience in coding to start. Just have a computer and an Internet connection and you’re good to go!

This was the very first paid web development course I took. And I learned virtually everything I needed to know from it to start working as an online web dev freelancer.

4: Front End Development Quick Start (Pluralsight)

Best Websites to Learn Coding and Web Development for Beginners - Pluralsight and Code School

If you’re serious about learning web development to make money from coding in the future, try the Front End Development path on Pluralsight.

You’ll learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery from scratch, so it’s like an all-in-one course for absolute beginners.

If you’re aiming at working as a Front-End Developer in the future, these 4 tools are the very minimum you need to learn.

The best part wit Pluralsight is that you can give them a try with a free 10-day trial. If you feel like you’re not getting what you expected, you can cancel anytime. But trust me, you’ll love this learning path.

Learn CSS and front end web development for beginners

Final thoughts: How to learn CSS basics like a pro

If you’re looking to start a career in web development or you want to become a freelancer, you need to learn CSS at some point.

The best part of learning CSS basics is that you’ll see progress very quickly.

Thus, just set aside some time next weekend and go through a CSS tutorial we discussed above. You’ll learn HTML and CSS basics in a matter of hours or days. And the more you practice, the more progress you’ll see.

Also, when you know how to use CSS, you can start building your portfolio website right away. That is the best way to find your first small web development jobs. They’ll allow you to gain even more practical experience with working on different website projects.

And as you gain more confidence and your skills improve, you can take on more demanding projects and make money from coding while you’re still learning.

Whenever you’re ready to start, head over to one of the CSS tutorials above.

For even more great learning resources, check out my post on the best websites to learn web development from scratch, too.

Here are a few helpful posts you may want to read:

If you enjoyed this post about learning CSS basics, just drop me a line in the comments below! How’s your CSS journey been so far? Which resources did you find most useful?

P.S. If you liked this post, please share it with others so that they can find it, too! Thanks for your support!

I’ll see you in the next post! Happy coding!
– Mikke

How to Learn CSS Basics: Beginner\'s Guide

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About Mikke

Hi, I’m Mikke! I’m a blogger, freelance web developer, and online business nerd. Join me here on to learn how to code for free, build a professional portfolio website, launch a tech side hustle, and make money coding. When I’m not blogging, you will find me sipping strong coffee and biking around town in Berlin. Learn how I taught myself tech skills and became a web dev entrepreneur here. And come say hi on Twitter!

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Martha Sostak
8 September 2017 11:49 am

For inspiration, I once heard a Google talk from Jens Meiert talk about the usefulness of simply _playing_ with CSS. He was saying that started this way, that he was working on CSS test cases to probe for maximum tag height. He was disappointed but then noticed how the test cases were actually impressive.

As a beginner I try to keep this in mind. I started working on my own web site and try to play as much as I can. Maybe that it is helpful here too.

8 September 2017 4:46 pm
Reply to  Martha Sostak

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Martha! That’s a good point – playing with CSS is surely the best way to get familiar with all of its possibilities and different tricks.
Happy to hear you’re exploring CSS, too! Let me know how it works out with your website!

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