The head and title Elements

Now you've got the very basic beginnings of a document, with the DOCTYPE declaration in place and the root element at the ready. You'll now begin adding other important pieces of the document, beginning with the head element. This element is where all things necessary for the document's display and performance are placed but are not literally seen within the browser window. To create the head section, you simply add the head tags within the upper portion of your template, right below the opening <html> tag (see example).

Building the template: Adding a head section
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "

<html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en">



Notice that the head element requires no attributes but simply has the opening and closing tags. This identifies the head region. Table shows some of the various elements that you can place within the head of your document.

Elements in the Head Portion of the Document
Element What It Does


This element enables you to title your document. This title will then appear in the title bar of your browser. The title element is required.


The meta element is used for numerous concerns, including keywords and descriptions, character encoding, and document authorship. The meta element is not required, and your use of it will vary according to your specific needs.


This element enables you to insert scripts directly into your document or, as is the preference, link from the page to the script you'd like to use. It is used as needed.


The style element enables you to place style information into the individual page. This is known as embedded style, which you'll read more about in Using CSS It is used as needed.


The link element is most commonly used to link to an external style sheet, although it can be used for other purposes, such as linking to an alternative page for accessibility, or to link to a favicon, those popular icons you see in the address bar on certain websites.

The title Element in Detail

The title element is the only required element within the head element. This element displays any text within it in the browser bar along with the browser's name at the end of the text.

The title element text will appear in the browser's title bar.

Aside from the fact that you have to have the title element in place, writing good titles is a first-line technique that accomplishes three things:

  • Provides a title for the page,

  • Offers users orientation that is, it helps them know where they are on the Web and within the site itself

  • Provides additional information about the site page

Writing effective titles means addressing these three concerns. A good title example appears in Example 1-5.

Title example with site name and location for user orientation
<title>HTML &amp; CSS</title>

Note that the page is titled using the site name, the site section, and the subsection, providing useful information for the visitor.

An ineffective example can be seen in Example 1-6.

Title example with site name and location for user orientation
<title>Read All Tutorials!</title>

Here, there's no information that helps us. So while the technical requirement of having a title is fulfilled, the practical needs are not.

Although you cannot use HTML inside a title, you can use character entities, as you can see in above example, where I used the entity &amp; to create the & symbol. For more information on available character entities, see XHTML References