How To Find Information On The Web...

Wally Bock ...Without Going Crazy!

You just know there’s good information out there. But you typed the keyword into a search engine and got 10 million hits. Or maybe you got the opposite—you typed in a word you were sure would get good results and wound up with nothing.

If you want to avoid these kinds of situations when you’re hunting for information on the Web, it takes a little bit of strategy. Here are some pointers to get started.

A four-step strategy
Before you start out on your quest for information on the Web, sit back and think, Think about your question. Think about different ways that you can phrase it. Make a list of keywords that might cover it. Think about what you already know about it and who or what kind of organization would know about it, too.

Once you do that, you’re ready to get started with a four-step strategy:

1. Start in a good place.

2. Find sources first and information second.

3. Follow the links to information that’s vital.

4. Use bookmarks like bread crumbs to mark the trail.

Most folks know about Web searching—using search engines like Google or directories like Yahoo. Those are good, but they’re not the best places for business information. Wouldn’t it be great if someone who’s searched for business information for a living shared his best places to start?

Rich Meislin has. He works for The New York Times, and part of his job is to put together a list of business information sources that reporters at The Times use in their daily work. Fortunately for you and me, Rich has put that same page up on The Times Web site where the public has access to it. He calls it “a selective guide to business, financial and investing resources.” You’ll find it at

Another good place to start on the Web is CEO Express ( Patricia Pomerleau designed CEO Express for business executives. There’s a great selection of both news and business research links on the basic site. You can also subscribe for a modest cost and customize the site with your own links.

That’s a good idea, because it lets you add great starting points as you find them. The fact is that as good as The New York Times and the basic CEO Express are as starting points, they won’t be perfect for you or anyone else. You’ll find other good places for you to start your research. With the CEO Express account, you can add the link to your CEO Express page. Once you do that, it doesn’t matter what computer you’re using—as long as you can get to the Web, your bookmarks will be right there.

Try industry-specific sites
Another place that’s a good starting point is any industry-specific site. The Primedia site ( is a good one because they publish lots of trade publications. So is the Reed Business Information site ( If you belong to a trade or professional association, that association probably has a Web site with lots of information that may help you. Be sure to consider your trade association site as a starting point.

If you do a lot of searching for business articles, it may make sense for you to subscribe to a service that lets you do that kind of searching easily. My personal favorite is a service called Intellisearch by NetContent ( You can try it for free and if you like it, you’ll find the subscription rate reasonable.

Once you get your search started, you’ll find helpful information more easily if you look for good sources first. You may have identified these in your thinking. You may know some experts. You may call up a friend or two and get some suggestions about people or organizations that are experts in the area you are searching for. But there’s one other source that’s an excellent place to find good information sources and experts:

Head over to and do some topical searches to find out who the experts are. You can gauge their expertise by looking inside their books, which lets you do, and by reading the comments of people who’ve read those books. Then do some searches on the Web for them or one of their book titles to find more information.

Use your bookmarks
You started in a good place and found names of some experts or sources of expertise. Now you’re off and searching.

Most of the time, you won’t find the information you want right away. You’ll get to one site and find links to another, and you’ll move on. Every time you find a good information site, bookmark it. Then you can use bookmarks like the bread crumbs in the fairy tale to find your way back to stuff that’s interesting. You can always remove the bookmark later.

Finding good business information online is really pretty simple. Start in a good place. Look for information sources first and information later. And follow the links, using your bookmarks like bread crumbs.

Wally Bock is the Digital Age Storyteller. He helps individuals and businesses seize the opportunities and neutralize the threats of the Digital Age. Wally’s latest book is What’s the Big idea: Practical Business Tactics for the Digital Age.

Print page