On Searching

This topic isn't obviously related to the others, but I'm presenting it here because if you do venture into designing your own pages you will be searching the web a great deal. The results of your searches can be extremely useful or extremely frustrating. I want to prevent the latter from occurring.

Let's say you want to find out more about HTML. Well, entering "HTML" into Google (or any other search engine) will give you a gazillion results. Frustrating. So, you need to think carefully just exactly what it is that you want to know about HTML. Are you trying to make a table? Do you have the table, and want to know how to make headers for it? If it is the latter, then this is what you need to enter in the search bar:

HTML + table + headers + code

There will still be tons of results, but at least the most helpful result will probably be somewhere in the first couple of pages. Remember to use the plus sign liberally as this means that only pages that contain *all* of these terms will be furnished in the results.

Sometimes it is really helpful to think about what you want in real sentences. For instance, the other day I wanted to find out about additional ways to visually convey to a visitor what page they were on. Well, visitor + page + menu + current occurred to me, but I knew that could be better said. What I ended up with was

CSS + menu + "indicate the current page"

That longer phrase gave me exactly what I was looking for on Google's first page. Roughly 30 seconds from a desire to know, to having that desire satisfied.

If you really start using search engines intelligently, you will, over the course of several months, save yourself hours and hours of time.

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