5 quick tips for navigating the internet like a pro

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5 tips for browsing the internet efficiently

Here are five tips to help you surf the net safely, quickly and efficiently:

  1. Know the basic terms

    Know what is a webpage, search engine, URL, and other basic terms. This will help you follow instructions and use the internet better. Read Lost in cyberspeak? Basic terms that you should know.

  2. Search better

    Google is the most used tool to find information on the internet. Other options are Bing, Dogpile, or Yahoo. Use DuckDuckGo if you want more privacy. It doesn’t track your searches.

    Do you know how to use a search engine? Save time and have more accurate results when you type exact key words or phrases. Rephrase your search using synonyms when you don’t find what you are looking for. Think of the way people might look for the same thing or topic.

    Other search tips:

    • Put the word or phrase in quotation marks to find the exact words on a webpage.
    • Forgot the exact words? Use an asterisk within quotes. For example, write: “Harry Potter and the *” if you’re trying to find the book “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and you forgot the full title.
    • Put OR if you are looking for more than one item on a related topic. Example: Internet marketing OR advertising.
    • Use the Private or Incognito mode if you want your searches not to be seen by others.
      For Google Chrome: Click on the three dots on the upper right hand corner of the browser. Click on New incognito window (or Ctrl + Shift + N).
      Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and Firefox: Go to tools. You can also click on Ctrl + Shift + P.
    • Use “DEFINE:” to find the meaning of words faster. Example: “DEFINE: mortgage”

    Read How to search on Google: 31 Advanced Google Search tips, Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot for advanced Google search tips.

  3. Beware of fake or scam sites

    These sites are dangerous. They have false information, spread computer virus or steal your personal information. Do the following to check if a site is reliable:

    • Look at the URL – Look at the address bar and read the website address.
      • Look for https. This is a secure site if you need to provide personal or financial information. Also look for a padlock symbol on the right side of the address bar.
      • Notice that the web address does not change when you reach the site. For example, sites from the government of Canada end in .ca. It is fake if it changes to .com for example.
    • Check the page – Does the page look organized? Is the spacing correct? Do you see a lot of download buttons, or clickbait advertising? Read the content. Are there spelling, grammatical or typographical errors? Fake sites are not professionally designed or edited.
    • Check the headlines – Scam sites use article titles that keep you in suspense or claim something outrageous. This is called clickbait. For example: Woman visits zoo. You won’t believe what happens next! or Girls won’t be able to resist you if you do this simple trick! Do not click these headlines.
      Still not sure? Look for information about the author or company. Look for an About Us page. Check the address and contact numbers. Read the poster below from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions for other tips.

    • Bookmark

      Bookmark a site if you think you will go back to it again. This will help you go back to the site without having to search for it again. Click on the star on the address bar or click on the three dots on the upper left of the page.

    • Don’t share if you’re not sure

      If information is too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t share information you see on the internet that may not be real. Don’t spread lies or misinformation. False information is dangerous and can cause harm.

Sources: The best search engines of 2017, Paul Gil, Lifewire; and Google tricks that will change the way you search, Jack Linshi, Motto. Both accessed November 27, 2017.

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