What is the most important part of your computer? Is it the monitor, the keyboard, the hard drive? How about the memory? Maybe it’s the operating system or maybe it’s your email program. I’ll admit that all of those are key components of your computer, but in my opinion, the most important part is your web browser.
I can hear the howls now. Why would I say such a thing? Here are a few of the reasons that I think the browser is key these days:
If you are a real estate agent, you need to use a browser to gain access to the MLS and the listing information that you need in order to operate.
Real estate agents also need access to the contracts and forms needed to do a transaction. They are online and accessible through a web browser.
The social activity used by most people these days (over 50% of the US population is a member) is Facebook. And, you need a web browser to access it on your computer.
You need a web browser to access your website, your LinkedIn account, YouTube, Google and any other web site.
Many of us are now using sites like Dropbox to store our files, and while you can use Dropbox in other ways that don’t require a web browser, using a browser is the easiest way to set up an account and get an overview of your files.
On line photo sites like Flickr require a browser
Although you may use desktop software like Outlook to access your email, often times the experience is better by using the web based access to your email that your email provider may provide.
The list could go, but I think I’ve made the point that most of what we use a computer for these days is handled by by using a web browser.
Yet, many times I am told that people don’t understand what I am talking about when in a class environment I ask them open a new tab in their browser. Or to add a site to their favorites, or to look at their browsing history.
So, it’s time for a little browser 101.
To start with, open a browser! It could be Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome or something else. Then navigate to http://www.whatbrowser.org/en/. And depending on what browser you are using, you will see one of the following websites:
This is a nifty little website built by Google in an attempt to help them market their Chrome browser. But, I want you to use it another way. Notice that it identifies your current browser. Many real estate people HAVE to use Internet Explorer because of limitations imposed by old fashioned MLS technology. If that’s the case for you, make sure that you are running Internet Explorer 7 or 8 at a minimum. Internet Explorer 6 is just not up to the demands of what a browser needs to do. Go here to upgrade your Internet Explorer browser from Internet Explorer 6: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx
If you are running Firefox, then make sure that you are running version 3.6. If you are not, then go to http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Upgrading%20to%20Firefox%203.6 and upgrade.
If you are running Safari, you want to be running version 5.03. If you aren’t go to http://www.apple.com/support/safari/
Note that Firefox and Safari will run on Windows and Macs, but Internet Explorer will ONLY run in Windows based PCs.
My advice on what browser to use is simple. Anything other than Internet Explorer will be a major improvement for you. You can have more than one type of browser installed, so you can use Internet Explorer for MLS and Firefox or Safari for everything else.
Now that your browser is updated, there is one major thing that ALL modern browsers will do, and that is tabbed browsing, and trust me, using tabbed browsing will make you much more efficient.
If you’d like to learn more about using tabbed browsing (and if you are in my Facebook Marketing Class, you WILL need to know how to do this!) check out the YouTube link for a video that explains tabbed browsing in Internet Explorer 7. It works like this almost exactly in Firefox and Safari too, so even if you don’t use Internet Explorer, this video is worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6DMfopJqSU&feature=related
Now, go and start using tabbed browsing. My guess is that you’ll wonder why you didn’t start doing this sooner!