Getting Organized – Browser bookmarks, keyboard shortcuts, and more

This is 5th in a series of articles on genealogy news blogging. Click here to read the 4th part in the series, The Secret to Getting Things Done.

OrganizationAs a genealogy news blogger (by locality), you are trying to learn everything you can about not just how to do research in an area, but how to keep yourself updated with what new is happening in that area. By starting with a schedule and a system, it makes it much easier to find and post about news in a limited amount of time.

In the last post in this series, we ended with this first section, but it bears repeating:

Set a Schedule

This is one of the most important parts of the entire process—set specific times to check for news and information. You might want to look at websites every day. You might only want to look once a week. Or you might fall somewhere in the middle and check a few times a week.

This schedule is the foundation for setting up a reliable system that will set you apart from others.

Decide now – what time will you check? How and where will you do it?

That’s it. Short and sweet, and yet one of the most important things you can commit yourself to doing.

Set up a Structure

Once you have your schedule, you’ll start gathering the websites to check for news and information. It makes it much easier to check these sites on a regular basis if you have them organized well in your browser’s bookmarks.

Put all the sites you want to check at the same time in the same folder in your bookmarks. Then when you are ready, all you do is right-click on the folder name, then click the option that opens all of them at once. It might sound small, but it’s a big time-saver. Depending on what browser you use, the option is:

  • Open all bookmarks (Chrome)
  • Open All in Tabs (Firefox)
  • Open in tab group (Internet Explorer)

This opens up all the websites to check at once in separate tabs in the same window, and then you can just click through them to capture any items of note.

So, first create one folder that includes the little things you need to check each time you begin working. In it, include:

  • Your “New Post” page – the page for your blog that lets you create a new post
  • Your statistics
  • Your e-mail and other social media sites you may need to respond to
  • Anything else that you need to look at every time you post

Second, create a series of folders based on how often you are able to work, and which websites you want to check together. Some options are:

  • Folders for different types of organizations – societies, archives, major websites, etc.
  • Folders for each day of the week (or each week of the month)
  • One folder for everything (might work in the beginning, but as you add more sites to check this gets a little unwieldy)

Here are what a couple of my folders look like:

Daily folder

Check All folder

(The Check All folder includes those websites I check when I want to find out what databases have been updated for a specific location in, say, the last 30 days. It’s a little on the long side, but it includes most of the websites that could publish about anywhere in the US.)


A Final Tip – Keyboard shortcuts

When I was posting more about the online database releases, I tended to flip back and forth a lot between different sites and the post I was creating.

One of my favorite keyboard shortcuts is Alt+Tab (in Windows – Cmd+Tab on a Mac). That flips me between two different windows that I have open at any given time and makes checking the website in one window and writing in another one so easy.

So here’s what I do:

  • Open my “Daily Work” websites in one series of tabs in one window
  • Open all the sites I want to check in a 2nd window

Then I click through the sites I want to check in that 2nd window, and Alt+Tab back and forth between that set of windows, and my new post, to quickly capture the news items that I want to write about.


Once you figure out a few little tricks, it really speeds up the amount of time it takes each time you sit down to post.


Coming Next: Identify Organizations to Follow

Photo via Adam Rifkin, flickr

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