Here is a simple thing to learn but is a big time-saver you really need to know about when using the Internet. Don’t use a search engine like Google or Bing to search for web pages or websites if you already know the address! I see many rookies and even experienced computer users making this blunder (and remember, I’m not critical; it’s not your fault if you’re making this computer mistake).
Search engines are like phone books. When do you use a phone book? You use it to look up a number if you don’t know it, right? You don’t use a phone book when you already know the number because that would be a waste of time and wouldn’t make sense, right? But that’s exactly the mistake I’ve seen people repeatedly making over the many years I’ve helped people with their computers. So, for example, in my computer newsletter, I may send out a link to a lesson on my site. Now, normally you should click on it, but sometimes email programs will “break” the link, so clicking it doesn’t work. So what some people do is they try typing the link’s address into a search engine and end up not being able to find the page!
That’s because the page in the example is for my subscribers only, and so is an “unlisted number” (so to speak) which isn’t listed in Google or any other search engines, just like an unlisted number isn’t found in the phone book. Make sense? So how do you “directly dial the number” of a web page you know? Simple. In your web browser window (a web browser is a program you use to look at web pages, such as Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer), at the top of the window, you should normally see a bar with the address of the website you are currently viewing.
So if you are on Amazon, you’d see
http://www.amazon.com/or if you’re using Google, you’d see: http://www.google.com/etc. In most cases, you’d actually see something longer, but it will always begin with the “domain name” of the website. That bar where you see the site’s address is called the location bar, or the address bar. All you need to do to go to a website you know the address of, whether it’s a public page a private page, is to click ONCE on the address you see in that bar, and typically, this will “highlight” that address. You can then either hit the delete or backspace key on your keyboard to clear it, or usually, you can start typing, and everything highlighted in blue will be replaced by what you’re typing. So if you wanted to go to Facebook, you could type: http://www.facebook.com/into that address bar and press Enter or Return on your keyboard, and it would take you directly there.
You could also type
facebook.com, which would work too because the first part is almost always optional.
This is much better than *searching* for an address, finding it in the search results (or maybe not even find it at all). Then clicking the link in the search results to get there, when you could dial direct. Even if it’s a public page that is listed, at the very least, you’ve wasted time and effort searching for something you don’t need to search for because you already know where it is. Again, this is like using a phone book to look up a number you already know — and if it’s a private, unlisted web page, like the ones I share with my newsletter, it won’t even turn up. Personally, the only time I type the address of a website into a search engine and search for it is when I’m trying to learn more *about* the site rather than searching to get there. So learn this basic computer tip:
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If you know an address, type it into the address bar at the top of your web browser window and press the enter key on your keyboard. Please do not search for it as you are at best wasting time and effort, and at worst, will not get where you’re trying to go. I hope that helps. Worth Godwin is a computer coach with over 15 years of experience helping computer users of all levels and has also worked for many years “in the trenches” as a hardware and software tech, solving real-world computer problems.