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HTML Web Page Basics

by Ron Kurtus (updated 21 December 2022)

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML documents are also called web pages. The source code of a simple web page consists of the document type declaration, heading area, and body area.

Each area has special uses and HTML tags.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Simple web page code

The code view or source code of a simple web page is something like;

<!DOCTYPE html>


<title>Page title</title>
<meta name="Description" content="Explanation of XX" />
<meta name="Keywords" content="XX" />



<h1>First heading</h1>
<p>First paragraph</p>
<p>Second paragraph</p>

<h2>Heading 2</h2>
<p>Next paragraph</P>


Document type declaration

At the top of a page in the code view is a declaration of the document type. This allows the browser to properly render the page, according to the version of HTML used in the coding.

Common declarations include:

HTML 4.01

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"


<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"


<!DOCTYPE html>

Header area

Following the DOCTYPE declaration is the header area that describes the web page, including

Title tag

The title of the web page is included between the <title>XXX</title> tags. Stating the title is important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Meta tags

Common meta tags are Description and Key words.

<meta name="Description" content="Explanation of XX" />

<meta name="Keywords" content="XX" />

Description is a like a headline that describes your web page. It often shows up in search engine description of the page.

Keywords are words that search engines may use for indexing the page. They are not that important anymore for search engine optimization (SEO) but are still worthwhile including.

Note that the value of the name and content are in straight quotation marks. Also note the /> end for the tag.

Other items

Code for cascading style sheets (CSS) and JavaScript code or links to their files are often placed in the <head> area.

Body Area

The body area of the web page consists of the content of the document. It includes headings and paragraphs and can include hyperlinks, images, tables, and text decoration.


Headings are used before paragraphs:


Content is stated between <p> tags. Extra decoration includes line breaks <br />, bold face <b> and italics <i>.


Lists, indention, tables and other formatting are be included in the body area.


A simple web page consists of the document type declaration, heading area, and body area. Each area has special uses and HTML tags.

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