Searching the Web can be overwhelming to Web search beginners who don't know where to start, what's the best stuff to look at, or even how to navigate the Web successfully. There are a few very popular activities that most people use the Web for, and pretty soon, you'll be surfing with the best of them.
Web Search - Find Information
The first thing you should realize is that the Web is huge and contains vast amounts of information. Virtually any topic you can think of is covered in detail somewhere, and finding information about anything is easy if you know where to look.
There are services on the Web where you can go to retrieve this information that's somewhere out there on the Web, and these services are better known as search engines. Basically, search engines are just huge databases of indexed information. They don't necessarily contain the information itself, but they have the addresses (or URLs) where you can find it.
Search engines are out to make money, so while they offer a search service to you for free, they have to sell ad space to various companies in order to pay the bills. These search engines are also intensely competitive, and are constantly updating the way they index their information in order to market themselves as more efficient than the next guy.
Search engines and directories are not the same thing, but these terms are used interchangeably. Most search engines will give you great information; however, if you can't find exactly what it is you're searching for at one engine, just try another one. If you'd like to look at a few search engines, check out How to Pick a Search Engine.
Web Search - Online Shopping
Shopping on the Web is extremely popular, and is easy, secure, and convenient. You can find great deals, search for obscure items, and order in complete privacy.
One of the best ways to shop online is to use a shopping search engine. Here are a few shopping-related sites and search engines to tempt you:
- Shopping Sites - How to Find Advanced Search, Site Maps, and Indexes:Have you ever been shopping on one site or another and for the life of you, just can't find out where they're hiding their specialized search commands page? Well, here's a list of some of the more popular shopping sites out there and their respective advanced search help pages, including eBay, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, QVC, and more.
- Clipfire, a Community Shopping Search Engine:Clipfire is a shopping search engine with a novel twist - it's also a community where you can post good deals, shopping sites that you like, products that you are particularly fond of, and more.
- Best Shopping Search Engines on the Web: These shopping search engines are my picks for Best of the Web, and I'm sure you'll find some good deals on something you've been looking for.
Web Search - Find People for Free
There are lots of different ways to find people on the Web, and it's absolutely one of most popular activities for Web searchers. You could look up a long lost relative, find addresses, scope out your favorite celebrity, or get information on your own public records. Best of all, 99% of this information is scot-free. Here's a few sites that will help you search for people:
- Free People Search Engines and Web Sites: I've put together a list of the best online resources that will help you find that long lost highschool friend, seach for a good doctor, start your genealogy research, or reunite with a military buddy.
- Military Search - Locate Military Personnel Online:If you've ever served in a branch of the United States military and would like to look someone up that you served with, then this list of military databases is for you.
- Top Ten Ways To Find People Online:Find people online with free people search engines, people search locator tools, and check out my review of good people search sites.
Web Search - Find an Update
If you're a computer geek like I am, you love to find free software updates for applications you already own. Software companies usually offer these updates for free to the general public, and they are accessible from the company websites. In addition, you can find patches and other file utilities. This is another hugely popular Web search activity.
For lots of free PC downloads and updates, read my article titled Free PC Downloads - Drivers, Shareware, PC Game Downloads, and Updates. You'll find lots of PC drivers, freeware, shareware, patches, PC game downloads, or the latest updates to various software packages.