Essential HTML tags

Most HTML tags are optional - you can use them as and when you need them. However, there are a few tags which every HTML page needs:

The <html> Tag

The <html> tag is the most basic HTML tag and it simply tells the web browser that the page it is looking at was coded in HTML, and that it should interpret it as such. This should be the first tag in your HTML document, and the corresponding closing tag, </html>, should be the best last.

HTML <body> Tag

All text within the HTML document body will be displayed by the web browser for the user to see. Therefore it is important to put the body tags <body> and </body> around all of the content you want your visitors to see. Any text that you leave outside the <body> tags will not be displayed. This "hidden" area of the document is great for certain things such as setting the page description - search engines will still be able to read the description, but it will not be shown to the user. Other uses of the area outside the <body> tags include performing calculations on variables and setting other Meta data. This will all be covered in more detail later on, so don't worry about it too much for now; just remember to put <body> tags around your visible content.

That's it for the required HTML tags, easy or what?! Using just those two tags you could write an entire web page that would correctly display in users' web browsers. It wouldn't be a very attractive web page but it would be fully functional. This really highlights just how simple HTML is to use.