If you stop and think about the places you go to frequently on the web, you could probably think of about a dozen sites that you spend most of your time at. Further, on some of those sites there are secondary pages that are frequent destinations. ActiveRain is a great example of a site with all sorts of secondary pages that are great landing pages. In this post, let’s look at creating a custom list on our browser bookmarks (favorites bar) that will be a menu of our favorite pages.
Turning on the Bookmarks Bar (Favorites Bar)
Different browsers have different names for the bookmarks bar – Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome all call it the Bookmarks Bar and Internet Explorer calls it the Favorites Bar. Whatever name you give it, it is the same function. This is a place to drop shortcuts to web pages that you visit often. The fastest way to show (or hide) your bookmarks bar is with the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+B(on Mac Command+Shift+B). Note this works in all cases except Firefox. Another way to turn on/off the bookmarks bar in Firefox (and Internet Explorer) is to right-click just to the right of your last open tab to get a pop-up menu. There you will see the bookmarks bar toggle option.
Adding Items to the Bookmarks Bar
The best way to add items to your bookmarks bar is a simple thing. Find the address bar at the top of the browser and note the icon just to the left of the address text. Drag that icon down and drop it off on the bookmarks bar. You will notice right away that the descriptive text for your shortcut is the title to the web page. In all cases, you will find that this is too long and you want a shorter version. Right-click on your new shortcut and choose Rename… (in Google Chrome, choose Edit…, in Firefox, choose Properties…). In the pop-up box, type a new short name that is better for your bookmarks bar. My strategy is that short names, even abbreviations are most useful. The shorter the name, the more shortcuts I can fit on my Bookmarks Bar. So for a 10 Day Weather forecast, You could abbreviate Weather10 or even just W10 or WF (for weather forecast). Once you start building your bookmarks bar, you can drag the icons around into whatever order you like.
Creating Subfolders / Menus of Items
Once you start accumulating bookmarks, you realize that it is sometimes good to group them together. The bookmarks bar allows you to do this by creating folders. A folder on the bookmarks bar expands like a pull down menu once you click on it. To create a folder, simply right click on any of your bookmarks and choose “Add folder” on the options menu. Again, the short name strategy works well here. A shorter folder name will take up less horizontal space on your bookmarks bar allowing you more items across the bar. So for me, my ActiveRain folder is titled simply AR. Can you think of the favorite pages that you like to see on ActiveRain? Here are my top 10 pages and I have a shortcut for each on my bookmark folder (custom pull down menu):
- AR Home – home page to see the latest featured items
- My Home – landing page for latest comments on my blog posts and to check some quick numbers like my current points and subscriber count number
- Traffic (aka “Stats”) – is where you can check how many clicks you are getting on each of your blog posts
- Points – see where your most recent points are coming from
- Drafts – is a list of all posts that you have started but haven’t published yet
- My Comments – is a great place to go to see the blog posts that you have commented on. What is useful about this page is so you can go back to see if the author replied back to your comment. The links from the comments page are specially formatted to jump to the specific point in the page where your comment was so it saves you scrolling through a long comments list.
- My Subscriptions – shows a list of most recent posts from those that you have subscribed to – it is like your blog reading list “inbox”
- Social Blog – is a unique view of those that you have subscribed to… all the posts are opened in full view so it saves you from clicking each one (see my post, “You’ve Subscribed – NOW WHAT?” for more thoughts on the social blog view)
- Tags – shows your own tag cloud of your posts – this is how you can go back and find articles that you have written (assuming you are good at tagging your posts – for ideas on tagging, see my article “Tagging Your Blog Posts Will Create Virtual Folders”)
- New Post – jumps right to a blank blog post screen so you can start typing your next post
This is just a sample list and yours may be similar. You also could add menu items for your favorite group pages on ActiveRain. When you know that you will be dropping bookmarks into a folder, you can keep the item names a bit longer since they are not taking up horizontal space from your total bookmarks bar length. You will see that the folder pops up, it will be whatever width is required to show the descriptive text that you used.
Working with your bookmarks bar is just one of the many tips that I demonstrate in my latest video called “Browsing the Internet Power User Style”. You can follow that link to see the video if you want to see me demonstrate how to create a bookmarks bar and see many other useful internet tips!
originally posted on Craig's Classroom Tech Tutor Blog