Online HTML Guide for Beginners

Learn HTML quickly with this easy-to-use online guide perfect for beginners

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker

UPDATED: Jun 7, 2022

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The Rundown

  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is one of the most commonly used tools to create visually appealing content online
  • With HTML, you can create fonts, color, graphs, and hyperlink text so that it appears the way you desire on a webpage
  • HTML is the basics for learning how to create webpages and blogs, though most platforms will automatically input this for you

If you’re creating a webpage and need to bold a few lines of text or you want to insert a link, you need a way to tell the system what your vision is for that piece of content. To do that, you’ll likely need to use HTML, a standard markup language commonly used to create everything from fonts to links. 

This HTML guide for beginners provides some of the basics you need to get started using this language.

HTML Basics You Should Know

To learn HTML quickly so you can begin to apply it to your website, it’s important to understand first how it works. As a markup language, you’ll place various types of code on the page before and after the content you wish to change in some way. These bits of code, called tags, tell the programming system what to do. It’s your way of speaking to the system. You can use HTML to create websites one line at a time.

You’ll use HTML to create headings, paragraphs, lists, and tables on web pages. You can also use it to alter the color, font, size, position of the text, and overall visibility of it in various ways. You may want to learn to make websites for yourself or others, and if so, you’ll need to understand HTML to make it possible.

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Basic HTML Tags

In this HTML guide for beginners, the goal is to provide a foundation from which you can build with more experience. To help you get started, consider these general concepts of HTML, which are some of the most common markup tags you’ll use.

Start with this: < > – within these two arrows, you’ll place the instructions you want to give the program. You’ll need to follow the codes listed below to create the changes you desire.

  • <HTML>: This is called the root element of an HTML page.
  • <meta>: Use this to include your metadata about the page or a description of the website that search engines will use.
  • <title>: Include the title of your piece with this tag.
  • <body>: You’ll place this at the start of the body of the page of content.
  • <h1> or <h2> : This tells the program that these are headings, based on the pre-determined font and size.
  • <p>: This designates a paragraph

When creating content, you’ll start the markup with the tag you desire. Then, when you want the program to stop applying that instruction tag, you’ll use a / within the tag. Here’s an example.

<p>At the start of this paragraph, you’ll use this tag. It tells the program that the content that immediately follows is a new paragraph. When you are ready to complete that paragraph, you’ll place the following tag after the paragraph.</p>

Apply the same type of setup for any tag you use. There are some basic HTML lessons online that can provide more in-depth options for tags.

Applying Attributes to HTML

As you’ll learn in any web coding for beginners, HTML is quite versatile. You can apply further attributes to text using other codes. Here are some examples:

  • <p align = “left”>: This lets you align the text to the left
  • <p align = “center”>: This lets you align the text in the center
  • <p align = “right”>: This lets you align the text to the right
  • <b>: Use this to bold
  • <i>: Use this to italicize the text
  • <ul>: This lets you begin a list, such as a bulleted list like the one we’re creating. Within that list, you’ll use <li> as a list item for each item within that list

Where can I find more HTML lessons online?

If you’re looking for more web coding for beginners, there are some great resources online that may be able to help you. The Library of Congress offers a great guide. HubSpot offers another HTML resource.

The Bottom Line About HTML

HTML is a rich and complex computer language. It is so commonly used that there are a lot of free guides online that can help you with basic functions for HTML beginners, as well as more advanced functions as you grow. You can also use the tools built into common web development programs like WordPress to just write in plain text and then let the system add in the code for you.

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