title (HTML element)

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The title element is arguably one of the most important elements in the whole document—and it’s a required element for all flavors of HTML/XHTML. The contents of this element are used for all of the following purposes:

  • displaying a title in the browser toolbar or in the task bar (on Windows)
  • providing for the document a name that’s used by the browser when you add the page as a favorite or bookmark
  • displaying a title of the page when it appears in search engine results (this is reason enough to take time to ensure that you create a sensible title; otherwise, you risk not being found in search engines for the appropriate search phrase)

For web sites that are hand-coded, and maintained on a page-by-page basis by the web developer, this element can easily fall foul of copy/paste actions (for example, you may all too easily create a new page about products by copying the Press Information page and forgetting to amend the contents of the title element to reflect the new content).

Here’s one tip regarding the contents of the title element: it’s prudent to include your company or organization name in the title for all pages; however, avoid front-loading the title with this phrase. For example, if your company is the XYZ Corp, avoid the following:

  • XYZ Corp—Our water treatment products
  • XYZ Corp—About the company
  • XYZ Corp—Contact us

When pages are bookmarked, they’ll appear in one alphabetical block. It would be preferable to use the following title content:

  • Water treatment products—XYZ Corp
  • About XYZ Corp
  • Contact us—XYZ Corp


This code shows the title in action:

  <title>101 ways to skin a cat - the tutorial!</title>

Use This For …

The title is used to summarize the content or purpose of the document. This content represents “elevator pitch” for your document, so be succinct and meaningful, and avoid stuffing keywords into the title for the sake of search results alone.


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Every browser listed supports this element type.

User-contributed notes

by lloydi
Wed, 03 Feb 2010 23:20:04 GMT

Aha, very funny dantreuter, I see what you did there ;-)

The thing is, this whole HTML reference is dynamically generated from a bunch of XML files, and the title is itself dynamically built based on the element or attribute. To change this page's title means changing the XSLT which would apply to all. Not something that I could do, but I'll pass on the suggestion to the SitePoint people to go on the list of stuff to do when they get a moment :-)

by dantreuter
Tue, 19 Jan 2010 18:31:10 GMT

Great suggestions, but a bit ironic considering the title of this page is "title". :D

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