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How to Use Bookmarklets

Learn how to create buttons on your browser toolbar to get things done and get eight great bookmarklet recommendations.

By
Aliza Sherman,
October 22, 2009
Episode #075

 

Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.

What is a Bookmarklet?

Are you using bookmarklets? A bookmarklet is a small computer application or “applet” that is stored in a bookmark on your Web browser and can be made into a handy browser button to perform a function with the quick press of that button. I'm a bit of a bookmarklet fanatic myself.

Why Use Bookmarklets?

If you use a lot of applications on the Web, chances are you've come across bookmarklets before. Bookmarklets make it easy to perform quick online functions by clicking on a button that you've created on your Web browser. Many applications encourage that you use their bookmarklet and provide you with a link or graphic along with instructions to drag it to your Web browser's toolbar to create an instant button.

I have to admit I'm a bit bookmarklet happy with over 25 overflowing off my Web browser. I use them as shortcuts to online tasks that I perform often such as tweeting a link to an interesting article on Twitter or as a convenient and fast way to get to a site that I need to access frequently such as the editing dashboard for my blogs. You can also find bookmarklets that other people have made to simplify repetitive tasks by doing a search on Google for bookmarklets.

What are Popular Bookmarklets?

While I do have some bookmarklets that are simply links to frequently accessed sites, I mostly use the popular ones related to my favorite Web applications such as:

1. Bit.ly and TinyUrl – If you often need to reduce the size of a URL, you can use sites like TinyU-r-l or TinyURL or Bit.ly or Bit dot Ly to do this; but instead of having to go to those sites, paste the long URL into a field, and hit submit, just click the bookmarklet while you're on the page with the long URL you're trying to shorten. You’ll instantly be taken to the site with the shortened URL ready to copy.

2. BlogIt – Typepad recently introduced BlogIt as their tool of choice for instantly blogging about something you're reading on the Web. If you find an interesting article or blog post and think “I should blog about that,” just hit BlogIt and a smaller window will open with the beginnings of a new post. The newly-opened window will include an excerpt of the content you were reading as well as room for you to comment. You’ll also have the ability to edit and easily post to your blog. Most blog and microblog publishing tools, including Posterous and Tumblr, have a bookmarklet.

3. Delicious – If you want to quickly add a Web page to your saved and shared bookmarks on Delicious, this is the bookmarklet for you.

4. Read Later – While there is a website called Read Later and a corresponding bookmarklet, on my browser, my Read Later bookmarklet saves my articles to another site I use called Instapaper.com. Same purpose, different tool. I love being able to access saved articles via Instapaper on my iPhone for easy, portable reading.

Other Handy Bookmarklets

Some other bookmarklets I have that are handy include:

1. ToDoist – In my constant quest for the perfect to-do list solution, I've been trying out ToDoist. Their bookmarklet lets you link to do's with Web pages including emails within your Gmail account.

2. Twurl – Since I love sharing articles and blog posts on Twitter, this bookmarklet let's me quickly post the title and shortened link of the content I want to share through a site called Tweetburner. This bookmarklet also works for Friendfeed.

3. Evernote – I have still yet to explore the power of Evernote, however, their bookmarklet lets you grab all or part of a Web page and save it in an archive for access later. Anything you save on Evernote is also searchable, even text within graphics.

4. SpringIt – I've recently revisited the new, improved SpringPad site at SpringPadit.com and am still impressed with the way you can save bits and pieces of content you find on the Web, organize it, insert it into a larger context such as a travel plan or a meal plan, and share it.

Bottom Line: Bookmarklets give you quick access to repetitive tasks that you perform every day online. You can power up your browser with carefully selected bookmarklets for shortcuts that can actually save you time.

Contact Me

That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, e-mail me at digitalmarketer@quickanddirtytips.com or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279. You can also find me at Facebook.com/thedigitalmarketer and Twitter.com/alizasherman.

The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com.

Tune in for another business boost from The Digital Marketer, the host who's not afraid to go under the Internet's hood & get a little dirty!

Resources

1. Bit.ly and TinyUrl

Bookmark Icon image courtesy of Shutterstock

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