For anyone who uses websites to get information, one of the key skills they can have is learning how to read them quickly and efficiently.
Scan Headings and Bolded Hyper Links
Most websites contain answers to commonly asked questions about the organization, it's products and services.
The first thing to do on any webpage is to look at the headings across the top, then do a quick scan for hyper linked headings on the page itself.
Choose a link that looks like it might be what you looking for, click on it and scroll down to read only the headings.
This is particularly important for any frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.
When something of interest catches your eye, you can quickly read groups of three words to get the main idea of the content.
Use the Search Function
If there is a search function on the website, use it! Type in specific key words that describe what you are looking for. Some sites have a search for the entire site while others only function on that page. If not, use the Google search function on the specific webpage. First type your keywords then site:and the website name you want to search.
So if you want to search all of our site for the keyword "stress" you would type this in the Google search bar:
stress site: servicedogtraininginstitute.ca
Any page on our site that has that word on it will show up in the list. Note the spacing is important. There needs to be a space between your keyword and the word "site" and a a space between the colon and the website address.
To do a search on a site on Yahoo, simply fill out the Yahoo Advanced search form.
Note: there are ads above and below the list. Look for the thin line separating the two.
Use Search Function that Comes with Your Computer
Most computers have a simple function you can use to search a specific page for specific words, sometimes called "find and replace". For example, in Apple computers, you can hit "Command" and "f" at the same time, fill in your key word in the search box that pops up and it will find all samples of the word on that page.
If that is the information you want, then you can reread it in detail.
If it is not the information you want, then you can continue reading headings or search other words to find for what you're looking for.
Read Before You Email for More Information
Make sure you have done the above process before contacting an organization or business for more information. You will get the information much faster finding it yourself than asking them to reply.
If the information is available on their website, they may ignore your email or refer you back to the FAQ as it takes time and resources to answer every email. Or if the information is not on the site, they may add it.
How to Ask for Information
While it is great to request more detail about their services, you need to do your part too. Be very specific with your question and be sure to provide relevant information about yourself (such as your location, experience with the product etc) to prevent the need for back and forth emails which slow the process.
Anticipate what they may ask you but keep it brief. Short sentences work best.
Separate paragraphs with spaces to make it easier to quickly read.
Consider What Information You are Asking
If the company provides information as part of their service, consider what you are asking. Is it something that they typically charge for? You may need to book a webcam, or phone session with them or pay for a book, online class or webinar that contains the information you want.
If they do answer your email, etiquette suggests that you send them a simple thank you. Too many requests with no acknowledgement may get your email ignored.