What are HTML Tags, and how do you Use Them?

May 13th, 2014

If you’ve written any kind of content at all, you know how important it is to use formatting tools such as italics, underlining, and bold fonts to really get your message across. After all these small additions can help you emphasize important points, change your tone, draw the reader’s attention to different areas, and separate your content into different, more readable sections. But in order to use them you’ll need to know some basic HTML code – or face having to contact your webmaster every time you want to change something. And if the thought of any kind of coding sends you wanting to run for the hills, don’t fear. Here are a few of the most basic HTML codes you’ll need, that will at least keep those emails to the webmaster at a minimum.

Bold text
If there’s text that you want bolded on your page, the beginning of the text should have the HTML tag of and an end tag of . It may help to remember this because you’re really making those words stronger, or helping them to stand out among the other text on the page.

Example: Don’t miss this step!

Italic text
Italics are really used for emphasizing text, so it makes sense that the HTML code for italics stands for ‘emphasis.’ In fact, the tag is at the beginning, and just like when you’re bolding text, the end tag simply has a slash before the letters so it looks like this: .

Example: Subscribe to our newsletter here!

Adding a link
Links are a bit more complex than just changing the format of texts because you have to include the address you want to link to in quotation marks, as well as the name of the website. Links also use HREF tags, which need to appear only at the beginning of the tag. Link tags also need to begin with an ‘a,’ which stands for “anchor,” because you’ll be using text to anchor, or hold, that link. And just like the other tags, you need to use an end tag for that anchor, telling the site that the link ends there.

Example for linking to YouTube:

Linking to another page, in a new blank page (or window) can become even more complicated. However, it’s a good idea to use it so that when users are done with that link they can easily get back to where they were headed on your site, which is where you want them to stay! Here all you have to do is indicate that the “target” page for the link is a “blank” page, while separating them using quotation marks.

Example for linking to YouTube in another window:

Adding a picture
You know that just about all of your content needs a picture to go along with it. And while this might sound intimidating at first, adding tags to an image is very easy. There are no end tags to worry about, because the image itself will tell the site where it ends. All you really have to do is save your picture online somewhere first (your own CMS or a service such as PhotoBucket is great for this!) and then tell the site where the “image source” is.


When it comes to formatting your text and the pages on your website or blog, there are many different things you can do. However, when you only want to perform the most basic tasks, and allow your webmaster to work on things like installing plugins and updates for a few more minutes a day, these are enough to know to let you get the most basic tasks done.