HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. This is the code that websites are written in. The code is read by your browser which interprets it and displays thepage hopefully as the author intended. To get an idea of the difference between the HTML of a page and what you actually see, right-click your mouse over any of the text area on this page and click “View Source”. The code you see there is interpreted by your browser to show you what you’re reading right now.
Do I really need to learn HTML?
To be honest, you don’t really need to be able to write HTML to get started on a website. There are programs designed for building sites using the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) method. This question is answered in more depth here. We will continue here assuming you want to learn more about HTML.
HTML is basically a series of tags within a text document that tell the viewer’s browser what to do. You do not need any special software to write HTML, as any simple text editor will do such as Notepad or Word Pad which are pre-installed in most computers using MS Windows.
Below are some basic tags
Most tags must have an ending tag as follows. The ending tag is defined by the slash as you will see.
<html> </html> – These are the beginning and ending tags of any HTML document. Everything else goes between these.
<head> </head> – This is the first area of the page and begins just under the <html> tag> Text entered into this area is not seen on the webpage by the viewer, such as the title, meta tags (used by some search engines to rank your pages), and more.
<title> </title> – This goes between the <head></head> tags. This is the title of your page as it will appear in the viewers top title bar.
<body> </body> – This is the meat. Between these tags is where you will write everything that will show on the page.
<h1> </h1> – This is not necessary but can be used as a page or page section headline. It will be larger than the rest of your text. <h1> </h1> can be replaced with <h2> </h2>, <h3> </h3>, and so on all the way to <h6> </h6> getting smaller as the number goes higher.
<p> – This begins a new paragraph. It is one of the few tags that needs no </p> since the end of a paragraph is implied by any preceding formatting tag.
<b> </b> – Makes text bold.
<i> </i> – Italicizes text.
<br> – In HTML, there must be some command to break a paragraph or there will be one long string. This is that break. No </br> needed.
<hr> – This creates a horizontal line. No </hr> is needed.
<a href=”URL”> </a> – Replacing the “URL” creates a link.
<a href=”URL” target=”blank”> </a> – same as above but opens the link in a new window.
<a href=”mailto:EMAIL”> </a> – Replace :EMAIL with desired address to create an email link.
<img src=”name”> – Replace “name” image name / location to insert an image.
<table> </table> – creates a table. Tables are used to help format your page.