Friday, 3 December 2010

How to Research for Business Online

These days there is an unimaginable amount of information available out there. It is becoming more and more necessary to become proficient at sifting through all this data to find exactly what you’re looking for. Research is hugely important for a vast array of options.
Perhaps you need to arrange a holiday, join a new gym or buy a new car. Research allows you to make an informed decision on a topic you may not be familiar with.

The following tips will help improve your researching ability:

Google: Probably the most obvious first port of call but this wouldn’t be a complete list without mentioning the world’s largest search engine. It is also advisable to check out Bing and Yahoo as these different engines will often throw up different information. Take advantage of the many advanced search options to help you gain a much more specific search. Take a look at the ‘Google Cheat Sheet’ this is full of some great services, shortcuts and search tips to help you master research. Finally remember to ask the obvious, a definition is only a click away.

Competitors: In checking out what competition is out there, it will really help you get a handle on your specific industry. Right click on competitor’s website and select ‘View Page Source’ to find out what specific keywords they are targeting. Consider signing up to newsletters or downloading any brochures or whitepapers available. Also search for the web for the people who are running these firms, perhaps find them on LinkedIn or Facebook to reveal details about their involvement in trade specific networks.

Freedom of Information: You’ll be surprised the amount of information that is available to members of the public through the freedom of information act. Research what’s available within your niche. Many public organisations will publish their business meeting minutes online. Have a read through these documents to get up to date information within your industry.

Newsfeeds: This is a great way to keep up to date with the most recent news specific to your needs. Simply select keywords or phrases about the topics you are interested in and you will receive all the latest information. A popular newsfeed host is ‘Google Alerts’, you will need a google account but it’s free to sign up. Twitter search is also a great source to find the most up to date information within your area of expertise.

Online Books: There is an ever increasing amount of free online books available. A good method of finding this information is to search for your desired topic followed by ‘pdf’. With the recent popularity of amazons’ kindle more and more great content will be available online.

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