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Learn the Lingo – What Is HTML?

By | 02.19.13

As a business owner, it is important to understand the basics of marketing your business online. This series gives a brief overview of web design to show what’s under the hood of your website. Let’s continue the series on learning the lingo. This post will discuss what HTML is and how it’s used.

html-learnlingo-smWhat Is HTML?

HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. This markup language is made up of plain text and tags, which are read by browsers and then rendered in a form that is readable for humans. HTML provides the primary structure of a web page, while other languages (such as JavaScript, CSS, and PHP) can be incorporated to improve functionality and design.


Tags are specific words surrounded by angle brackets and come in pairs. The opening tag indicates the beginning of a certain type of text and the closing tag, with the forward slash character “/” indicates the end of that particular type of text. Some examples of tag pairs are:

<h1>Website Heading</h1>
<p>First paragraph.</p>

Let’s go through these tags. The opening and closing tag of <html> begin and end every HTML document. The <body> tag marks the start of the content that users see after the browser renders the web page. Heading tags begin with h, so <h1> indicates that this text is a heading. They go all the way from <h1> to <h6> and define order of importance. <h1> would be the most important heading, while <h6> would be the least important. The next tag listed above is <p> for paragraph. This is a simple example but it shows the structure it gives to any web page.

  • To view the source code for any page you’re looking at in Internet Explorer, click on “View”, scroll down the dropdown menu to “Source” and click.
  • To view the source code for any page you’re looking at in Firefox, press CRTL+U
  • To view the source code for any page you’re looking at in Opera, press CRTL+F3
  • To view the source code for any page you’re looking at in Safari, press Cmd+Opt+U (only works if “Show Develop menu in menu bar” is turned on in Preferences)

Learning the Lingo

JavaScript – JS
Cascading Style Sheets – CSS
Hypertext Markup Language – HTML


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