If you need to tar a directory and compress it with gzip to backup or just to translate the files you can do it in one single command.

Enter this:

tar czf /path/to/tar.gz_file /path/to/directory/to/be/tar.gz

In the next example I will add the files in

/home/me/docs

to a tar file named mydocs.tar.gz

tar czf /tmp/mydocs.tar.gz /home/me/docs/