What are web standards?
Simply put, they are a set of guidelines for web development and web designing. It represents the good practices of the profession. When I started creating websites I had no idea their were rules, but now that I know they exist and I know why I need to use them I cannot code without them. There are several sets of guidelines around the world, but the most widely known is the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) web standards. Found at www.w3.org. This site is a little overwhelming for someone just starting to look into web standards, so I will attempt to provide some basic guidance and to list the most important elements.
Web standards are important because without them web accessibility is impossible. Web Standards make it easier for usability and even for code maintenance, reduce bandwidth use and increase cross-browser compatibility. Another great advantage of web standards is SEO (search engine optimization). Sure you can get all these even if you don’t follow the standards, but it will cost you.
The only disadvantage that I can think of, even if it’s not a valid reason to avoid web standards, is time. Time to learn it, time to implement the guidelines and time to test it.