Just Stop Bookmarking! (What to Do, Instead)

Three kinds of web browsing account for most of your surfing:

1. Sites you visit constantly (GMAIL)
2. Sites you visit periodically (hourly, daily, monthly)
3. Random sites (clicking on links)

Presumably, you’ve already bookmarked the sites you visit constantly and periodically. Where you get into trouble is bookmarking random sites. In this era of web-clipping, auto-complete and browser history, bookmarks are practically anachronistic.

With just two letters, I’m on my way to one of my favorite on-line references.

Do this experiment: open your bookmark manager and browse through the hundred of links. Do you honestly recall every single one? how many of them have you visited in the last 30 days?

If these questions don’t make you want to chuck the whole mess then, congratulations! You have a well-ordered, useful sub-index of your personal web at your fingertips.

The rest of us need to just stop bookmarking sites. If the information is of immediate use, ACT on it. Read that thought-provoking piece. Join that newsletter and get the content pushed to you more efficiently*. Subscribe or buy that must-have item! (The best part about taking action is how suddenly you decide you don’t really need that Shiny New Object, after all.)

If the information is hilarious, enjoy the moment and move on. Seriously. I promise you, the funny fades…

If the information is a reference you may want to recall later, use a web-clipping tool, such as Evernote or OneNote. Another option is to take advantage of software that allows you to launch web pages from within the program. I’ve been playing around with Find and Run Robot, a free gem from DonationCoder.com.

Now, lest this advice be considered too Draconian, here are some exceptions:

1. Comparison shopping – create a folder, stash the links
2. Online tools – create a folder, stash the links, cull the tools when you find better replacements
3. A web page has dozens of links for you to explore – bookmark it and only it.

Still, you should just stop bookmarking. All you’re really doing is rearranging your hall closet so that nothing falls out.


* I have a paid subscription to Inoreader.com. One of the features allows me to subscribe to newsletters using myname@inoreader.com. It’s not fool-proof, but most of the newsletters arrive intact. This keeps my inbox clean!

Everything is Not a Scam

Freelancer.com is frequently the target of complaints. If you really want to read what the naysayers have written, just Google

is freelancer.com a scam?

I also have read many positive reviews. My own experience is mostly positive. Motivated by what I consider to be the vast potential of this site, I took the time to figure out how to deal with the negative aspects of the site.

Spammers

Problem: Browsing projects on the website is already cumbersome. Wading through the garbage to find gems is time-consuming. From spammers to lazy students to outright fraudsters, there is no shortage of bogus project listings.

My solution: I set up a feed reader to monitor relevant feeds from this freelancer.com feed list.

Feed Reader Notification
Um, I’ll pass.

Now, instead of waiting for page loads and fumbling with fiddly JavaScript collapsing sections, I just zip through the announcements when they pop up. On average, ten to fifteen announcements come at the same time.

Feed Reader Click-throughs
RSS = Efficiency

After the feeds began sending project announcements, I added filters to the feed reader. These filters are supposed to prevent listings from appearing. They’re not perfect, but I spend much less time keeping up with the latest projects.

Feed Reader Filters
Unh, unh. None of that!

Limited Proposal Capabilities

Problem: Compared to other freelance sites, Freelancer.com’s support for proposals is anemic. I can’t attach my detailed proposal document, I can’t link to my portfolio and I can’t share images from similar projects in order to enhance my bid.

Ironically, most of these are available in my Freelancer.com profile but, first impressions shouldn’t require extra work on the part of the prospective employer.

My solution: I did the best that I could to make my profile stand out, just in case the employer does check. Beyond that, I use good old-fashioned copywriting to piqué interest.

If the employer does initiate contact, I can then freely send attachments, but I still am not allowed to link to anything that may give the employer a way to contact me directly.

Winning a Project Can Be Costly!

Problem: Frankly, this is my biggest gripe about Freelancer.com. As soon as I accept a project, 10% of the total value is deducted from my account!

My solution: I have to make sure that the employer funds the project. Other than keeping a bit of a reserve in my Freelancer.com cash account, there is nothing I can do to mitigate the hit.

Milestone Verification
Show me the money!

Freelancer.com has changed its membership offerings, again. As of May 1, 2016, all fees are 10% pre-paid, except for members in the Preferred Freelancer Program who accept Recruiter projects. The fee is 15% and is not charged until the employer pays.

Freelancer.com Fees and Charges

Verdict

Like anything else, you get out of Freelancer.com what you put in. If you work hard at it, you will get out more than you put in. Don’t worry about competition, lowball bidders or scammers. Be aware of them and move on. I’ve met many wonderful professionals on Freelancer.com!