Have a collection of websites you regularly look at? Why not use bookmarks to keep the addresses of your favourite sites handy, so you can go back to them quickly and easily.
It would be frustrating to have to type in the full addresses of your favourite websites every time you wanted to read them, especially if you were visiting those sites more than once a day.
You don’t have to worry though – there’s a quick and easy way of storing all your most-visited sites. You just need to bookmark or ‘favourite’ them in your web browser.
When you ’favourite’ a site, you are adding its name and address to your browser’s menu or, sometimes, to a toolbar. Many browsers call this area of the menu Bookmarks, but Microsoft calls it Favorites, using the American spelling.
To add a bookmark, just click Bookmarks or Favorites to get the drop-down menu and select ’Add to Favorites’ or the equivalent in your browser. For an even quicker method, try pressing Ctrl-D. In Google's Chrome browser, it's as simple as clicking the outline of a star on the right-hand side of the address bar. It’s so easy to do that you could soon have so many bookmarks that you can’t find the ones you want!
Instead of creating long lists of bookmarks, it’s a good idea to create a series of folders for the different types of site that you want to save. You could have folders for blogs, games, or social networks, or for different subjects. Then, when you bookmark a site, save it in the appropriate folder.
I find it’s convenient to have about 8 to 16 links per folder. If you have too many, you can delete bookmarks you no longer need, or move some into a subfolder. You can do this by using the Organize Favorites menu item, or by using your mouse to move bookmarks one at a time. It’s just like sorting personal documents and photos into folders on your computer’s hard drive.
You can also put your links to your most-visited sites on an Internet Explorer toolbar. The Favorites bar will display about 10 sites so that you can click them without going through the Favorites menu. If you edit the entries to make their names shorter (for example, you can shorten ’BBC - WebWise - The BBC's beginner's guide to the internet’ to ‘WebWise’) then you will fit more in.
If you have dozens or even hundreds of bookmarks, they have become a valuable resource. It would take a long time to replace them, so you should make a backup copy. Different browsers use different methods. In Internet Explorer, go to the File menu, select ‘Import and Export’, then export your links. In Mozilla Firefox, go to the Bookmarks menu, select ‘Organize Bookmarks’, and look for ‘Import and Backup’. In Chrome, you have to select 'Bookmark Manager' from the 'Bookmarks' section of the settings menu. Then open the 'Organize' menu in the window that appears and choose 'Export bookmarks to HTML file...'
An alternative is to use one of the free backup services that will store your bookmarks or favourites on the web. This has the advantage that you can access the same bookmarks from your home PC, your office PC, or even from a cybercafe. There is, of course, a privacy risk. (Some services will also synchronise your bookmarks across a number of PCs, even if they use different web browsers.) Google Chrome automates this process, letting you sign into the browser itself, and access your bookmarks wherever you are.
Finally, I mentioned that sorting favourites was like sorting files and photos. In Internet Explorer, that is exactly what you are doing. Every folder on the Favorites menu is also a folder on your PC’s hard drive, and every website link is stored as a separate shortcut file.
If you search your C drive for Favorites (American spelling) or go to C:\Documents and Settings\(your logon)\Favorites, you can sort your bookmarks into folders, and delete unwanted links, without even opening Internet Explorer.