“Bookmarks” (or “Favorites”) are website URLs that you save to be able to return to with one click. When you bookmark a webpage, you add it to a list, which you can subsequently access from your browser whenever you need to, thereby obviating the need to remember all the URLs and type them into the address box.
When you add a bookmark, it automatically goes to the bottom of the list. Thus the default order of your bookmarks is for the first site you ever bookmarked to be on top, all the way down to the most recent site you bookmarked on the bottom.
However, leaving things like that is very unlikely to give you the organization that best enables you to find a bookmark quickly and efficiently when you need it. Luckily, you have considerable ability to rearrange your bookmarks into a system of your own devising that works better for you.
First off, when you bookmark a page, you’ll have an opportunity to name it. You don’t have to go with whatever default name is already in the box. Name it something short and simple that corresponds to the site. If you want to save the URL for Hilton Hotels as a bookmark for instance, it’ll offer as a default name “Hotels by Hilton-Hotel Reservations, Deals, and Room Rates.” The Barbie site’s default bookmark name is “Barbie.com: Games & Activities for Girls.” Well, surely “Hilton” and “Barbie” will work just fine. You don’t need the rest of that clutter.
When it comes then to organizing these bookmarks, not only can you rearrange the order however you please, but you can also create folders for related sites. Maybe you could have one folder, for instance, for the social networking sites you visit most often. You could entitle that folder “Social Networking” and it could consist of the bookmarks for Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, and Black Planet. Maybe another folder could be “Cooking” and you could list the four or eight or ten or however many useful sites you’ve come across with good recipes and cooking tips.
You can also have subfolders within folders. So you could have a “Sports” folder for the 50 sports-related bookmarks you’ve created, but then within that you could divide those 50 into folders for “Baseball,” “Football,” “Golf,” etc.
How should the folders, or the items within the folders, be ordered? An obvious choice that works well for most people is alphabetical. So your “Social Networking” sites would be, from top to bottom, Black Planet, Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, Twitter. But if something else works better for you as an organizing principle, go for it. You might want to put the items you access most often on top, for instance. Maybe you use Facebook and Twitter every day, Black Planet and Linkedin once a week or so, and rarely use MySpace anymore but maybe check it once every couple months. In that case, you could put the sites in that order instead of alphabetical if you prefer.
You can also copy the same bookmark to more than one folder. If you find it handy to have your sites where you like to shop online for books all in one place, and your sites where you like to shop online for CDs and DVDs all in one place, you’re able to put Amazon in both of those folders.
You want to find a balance between overdoing or underdoing folders. If you have 150 bookmarks in a folder, then you need to think about dividing those into subfolders, because that’s really too many to have to scroll through looking for a specific bookmark. On the other hand, if you have 200 folders, and most of them have only 1, 2, or 3 bookmarks, you’ll be wasting too much time searching around in subfolders of subfolders of subfolders of folders looking for a specific bookmark.
An important part of organizing bookmarks that many people neglect is getting rid of the deadwood. You create a bookmark because you anticipate returning to that site and you want to facilitate that. But if you now realize you’ll rarely if ever return to that site, dump the bookmark.
Certainly if the link is now dead you should delete the bookmark. But even if it’s just something you don’t need any more, get rid of it. For instance, maybe you were thinking about taking a trip with your fiancée to Tahiti because it was her dream to vacation there, so you bookmarked several websites related to tourism in Tahiti. But since then you’ve had a very unpleasant breakup with your beloved, and the last thing in the world you want to do is even think about Tahiti. You certainly don’t need those bookmarks any more.
If you’re one of those people who just can’t bear to throw anything away on the off chance you’ll need it one day after all-and so your house is cluttered with 8-track players, underwear from when you were four sizes smaller, and an unidentified key that probably fit something in a house you lived in fifteen years ago-a compromise is to create a folder called “Rarely Used” or “Inactive” or something like that, stick it all the way at the bottom of your bookmarks, and dump all the bookmarks that you probably should just delete in there. (Just in case she comes back, and Tahiti’s a go.)
One final note about organizing bookmarks: One of the problems with bookmarks is people use different browsers and different computers. If you bookmark something in Firefox, that doesn’t help you when you’re on Internet Explorer. If you bookmark something at work, that doesn’t help you when you’re on your home computer.
One option to consider if this is an issue for you is to use your Google account instead of your browser for your bookmarks. That way, whatever computer you’re on, whatever browser you’re using, as long as you’re logged into your Google account, you’ll have access to all your bookmarks.