Ever tried to find something online and just could not find what you wanted? There are more than 100 million web sites, and billions of web pages, with millions of pages added every week. No one has enough time or energy to find everything. According to the Nielsen rating company, the average person visits about 70 web sites each month. Even if you were way way above average and visited 25 sites an hour for 40 hours a week, you would still only see a thousand sites a week. A single search engine request may give you 10,000 choices. You do not have time to look at even 5% of them.
For most people, this is a nuisance, but it's not a big problem. If you are a serious user who goes online all the time to find information for school or for work, or if you really need to find very good information quickly, then the size of the web can be a big problem.
You might think that a good search engine or directory is all that it takes to find the best information online, but that is not the case. Search engines are very good at finding web sites or pages that have specific data like words or phrases, but good data does not equal good information. The very best sites on a subject are the ones that provide a level of information or a level of service that is better than most or all of the available alternatives, so good that you can come back to that site again and again because it is such A reliable resource.
You can always get lucky and stumble across one of these key sites, but if you want to systematically find these kinds of sites and find them quickly, then you have to do the following five things:
1) Understand what you are looking for: It may seem obvious, but it's easy to get sidetracked online if you do not understand your goal. One suggestion is to write down key facts that you already know, as well as what you are trying to find out. If you do not know where you are going, any search will get you there.
2) Do some offline research first: Do not start only with online resources. Use other things like an encyclopedia or help from a librarian to help you find out something about your objective. Also, before you use a search engine take the time to know how that search engine works.
3) Evaluate the sites that you find: Do a quick review of the site to see if it is trustworthy or informative, and if not move on to the next site. If you do not, you could waste your time working with web sites that do not meet the basic criteria of a key web site.
4) Identify a network of excellent sites: The concept of birds of a feather flocking together is true online as well as in nature. If you find a good site, check out the links on that site to see where they may lead.
5) If you find a good site, use it: Once you have done the work to find a key site, you should take steps it useful to you for a long time, since a site that works well for you today will likely be good Resource in the future. Bookmarking it in your browser or sending yourself an email that mentions the site are two easy things you can do.
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