lowercasing the title
If I'm understanding you correctly, you should be doing:
if you want to display it. Below is an explanation as to why.
the_title() vs. get_the_title()
the_title() prints the current post's title unless you pass
false as its third argument. Unless you call it like:
$title = the_title('', '', false);
The title will be printed, and the
$title variable won't contain anything. This matters because calling
strtolower() on an empty variable doesn't do very much.
You want to use
get_the_title() function in most cases where you're looking to fill a variable with the content posts title.
Note, however, that if you're not currently in a loop, you'll need to pass a post ID to
get_the_title(). In almost all cases when on a single post or page you can do this by using:
$post variable should be in the global scope.