Get your Web site started

Before we start exploring in depth the structure of HTML, it is important to note that it is not a programming language, though you can be forgiven for thinking it is. HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is known as a scripting language, a category that includes JavaScript and VBScript.

The main difference between scripting and programming is that the former is a lot easier to learn and implement. This is good news for budding coders who may have been put off learning HTML because of the complexity of true programming languages such as Java, CGI or C++.

Apart from simplicity levels, another variation is that scripting languages such as HTML are used specifically for the Internet: their purpose is to execute instructions through your Internet browser. Programming languages, on the other hand, can be run independently and may not have anything to do with the Internet.

Notepad - your free editor

At the simplest stage, you need two pieces of software to create Web pages. The first is Notepad (or Windows WordPad), and the second is a browser. Notepad is an application that most computers have by default. To open it, go to the Start menu on your computer, select Programs and then Accessories and you will see Notepad as an option. Once you open Notepad, you will see a blank page. This is where you will write your HTML code.


All browsers are designed to view Web pages, though each has its unique traits. This may be the way they interpret your HTML code, or simply the menu options available. For this reason, you should always check your HTML pages in both Internet Explorer and Netscape Communicator (these being the most popular browsers) to ensure your code looks good in both viewing platforms.

Browsers are simply applications designed to display and interpret your code. You cannot change the code through your browser. To make changes, modify and save your code in your Notepad document, then load the file in your browser to see the adjustments. If the file is already open, then click the Refresh or Reload button.

Create your first Web page

Once you have Notepad open, you can begin your coding.

The first tag you require is <HTML>, which lets the computer know that you are writing a Web page. This must be followed by:

<HEAD><TITLE>insert your title here</TITLE></HEAD>

The text that you place within the <TITLE> tags will appear in the top left of your browser. This information is used by search engines to determine the relevance of your page to search queries.

The majority of your script will fall inside the <BODY> tags. Here, you can insert text, images and hyperlinks, to name a few items. We will look at the latter two in the next Here's How column. Here are some tags you can use to format your text:

After you have finished with the content of your page, you should type </BODY> and </HTML> to let the computer know that you are completed.

Saving your HTML file

In Notepad, select File-Save As, browse to the location on your computer where you want to save your file, and name it something like firstpage.html.

Important: you must select "All Files (*.*)" in "Save as Type", or your file will be saved automatically as an incorrect file type and not as an HTML file.

How to view your Web page

You needn't be connected to the Internet to create or view your Web pages. You are simply creating a file on your local hard drive. At some stage (when you are ready for the world to see your work), you can upload the files to the Internet, and we'll show you how to do that in a future Here's How column.

Open the HTML file you just created. If you are using Internet Explorer as your browser, select Open... from the File menu, then click on the Browse... button. Locate the name of the file you created (firstpage.html) and click Open

If you are using Netscape, select Open Page... from the File menu, then click the Choose file button to locate your file.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Heidi Woof

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?