The first thing you should type in your HTML document is the DOCTYPE. This tells the browsers what type of HTML to expect. For this Web site, we're going to write it in transitional XHTML, so use the following DOCTYPE:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
Just type that in exactly as the code sample reads. If you want to learn more about DOCTYPE, there are several articles about DOCTYPE on this site for more information.
Once you have the DOCTYPE, you can start your HTML with the <html> </html> element. Type both the beginning tag and the end tag and leave some space for your Web page contents, as in the picture.