Web Design Basics – What is HTML?

Web Design Basics – What is HTML?

Anyone with more than a very basic knowledge of the Internet has probably seen or heard the term ‘HTML’ before. HTML is one of the core elements that make a website function, and if you intend to manage or make changes to a website, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what HTML is and does. Whilst there are now companies like Rosco Digital Media offering affordable web design for small business customers, it can really help website owners to have a basic understanding of the principles yourself.

There are many aspects that control what you see on a web page, and HTML is the coding language that controls the structure of the content on the page. HTML stands for ‘HyperText Markup Language’ – and whilst that may seem like a completely foreign language at first, it really is quite descriptive once you understand what each word refers to.

HyperText – this is text on a web page that links to another page or media, such as sound or video. You will probably have seen ‘text links’ on websites where a word or phrase has a link embedded into it, normally using an underline or different colour to distinguish it from the normal text.

Markup Language – this is a language that can be applied to normal text, in order to add additional dimensions to it. Each ‘element’ (piece of HTML code) is like a word in any other language; it has a meaning which affects any text that it is applied to. ‘Markup’ literally means to mark up the normal text with code (insert code), which will tell the web browser how to display the text.

So ‘HyperText Markup Language’ means a language that is inserted in and around text to give it structure and link it to other resources. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small business looking for a budget web design, or a huge multinational web brand with millions of visitors. Behind the page we all speak the same language, the HyperText Markup Language!

To get and idea of how this works in practice, consider the various options that you might have used to format and edit text in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. There are options to add line breaks between paragraphs (the ‘return’ key), you can make text bold, italic, underlined, even add numbers or bullet points to a list. These are the type of functions that the HTML code performs on a web page. There are many more than the few examples given here, but they all format or structure the page in some way.

HTML is made up of various ‘tags’ which are inserted in or around the text on a page. These tags are usually used in pairs, directly before and after the text that you want to format, and are encased in triangular brackets. For example, to make some text italic, you would place the i tag before the text and then the closing /i tag (with the addition of a forward slash before the i) after the text.

This post is just intended to give you a very brief and basic overview of what HTML stands for and offers. We will expand on this more in the coming weeks, please keep visiting the Rosco Blog for more information. If you are a beginner trying to build a website from scratch and you would like some expert help, we offer low cost website design services to help people on a budget to achieve a high quality site. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss our services in more detail.

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