Editing Head Elements With Dreamweaver CS4
A web page consists of two main elements: the head and the body. The body element contains all of the content which will be displayed in the browser window and the majority of which will be visible to the user. The head element, by contrast, contains information about the web page itself; meta information as it is sometimes called. In this article, we will look at the different ways of modifying elements within the head of a web page in Dreamweaver CS4, beginning with the title.
The title element is meant to contain a broad description of the content of the page. It is extremely important that each page should have a title element and that the title be pertinent to that page. Dreamweaver automatically adds a title element to every new page with the default text “Untitled Document”. Perhaps the easiest way of modifying this default title is simply to enter a new title in the Document Title box of the Document toolbar which is normally displayed at the top of the page. An alternative method is the choose Modify – Page Properties and then click on the Title/Encoding category on the left of the screen.
The title element is the only element which is required to be placed within the head element. In addition a number of optional meta elements may be placed in the head area to provide further information about the current page. One such meta element is generated automatically by Dreamweaver along with the title: the content-type. This declares the character encoding for the benefit of the browser and is particularly important if you have a site with an international audience. To specify the character encoding, choose Modify – Page Properties, click on the Title/Encoding category on the left of the screen and then choose an Encoding option from the drop-down menu.
The meta description element is one of the most important since, along with the page title, it is often displayed when your page shows up in the search engine results. The description should consist of a couple of sentences summarising the content of the page. To set the description in Dreamweaver, choose Insert – HTML – Head Tags – Description then enter your description in the dialogue box which appears.
Let’s end by mentioning one final meta element: keywords. The keywords meta element, often misused for spamming in the early days of the web, should contain a list of the important words and phrases to be found on the current page. Only text which actually appears on the page should be listed. To generate the meta keywords element in Dreamweaver, choose Insert – HTML – Head Tags – Keywords.