If you’re like a lot of Internet users, you visit a handful of websites on a regular basis – maybe a news site, Google search, Facebook and a few others. As time passes, you add more sites to the list of those that you keep coming back to. How do you get to them? You either have to type the URL into your web browser’s address bar or access your bookmarks.
Instead, a great solution is to create a personal homepage that lets you jumpstart your web browsing according to your interests. Several sites let you do this; we picked one called Symbaloo for its ease of use.
Your Symbaloo personal homepage is similar to your desktop; just as your desktop has icons for the applications you use the most, Symbaloo shows you tiles to represent your most frequented websites – or as the site calls it, your Webmix. You can also add tools like weather, a calculator and a translator; a Google search bar is automatically part of your mix.
Once you start using Symbaloo, you’ll no longer need to scroll through your bookmarks menu. Instead, you can see all your favorite websites on one screen and simply click a tile to go straight to that particular website.
Here’s how to set up Symbaloo as your homepage, add your favorite websites and create an account so you can access your homepage from anywhere – from home, a public computer at the library, or even your iPad. You can also share your Symbaloo homepage with others.
1. Create a Symbaloo account
On symbaloo.com, look for this “Create free account” button at the top right.
Then follow the instructions to get started and create a username and password. (Click here to to read a Tech Tip on creating a secure password.)
After you’ve created your account, check your email inbox and follow the instructions in it. You’ll just need to click on a link to verify that you were the one who signed up.
2. Set Symbaloo as your homepage
Check your email inbox again; you should have received another email from Symbaloo with the subject line “Welcome to Symbaloo – 3 tips to get started.” Open the email and click the green button “Set Symbaloo as your homepage.”
You’ll see a window like the one below, with a row of icons representing different browsers on the top right. Click on the browser you use (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.), then follow the instructions to make Symbaloo your homepage.
Now, whenever you start your browser, the first screen you’ll see is your Symbaloo homepage.
3. Select your favorite websites to create your “webmix”
Go back to that email (the one with the subject line “Welcome to Symbaloo – 3 tips to get started”). Look for this:
Click on the green “Open the Symbaloo quickstart” button. You’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:
Click on “Create Webmix,” on the right. You’ll be taken to a page that contains many popular websites including top news sites, social networking sites and various email systems.
Three are automatically selected: Facebook, Google, and Amazon (if you don’t want these sites on your homepage, click on any of them to deselect and remove them).
To add any of these websites to your homepage, simply click on the tile.
You can also add useful tools or “widgets,” like the date, weather and a calculator. Keep scrolling to the bottom of the page to see more categories of sites you can add. At the bottom, click “Create Webmix.” Now you have your personal homepage, which might look something like this:
4. Organize and manage your personal homepage Webmix
Now that you have your personal homepage, you can play with it a little bit. Here are a few tips to improve your page to your liking:
- Rearrange your tiles Click on the tile you would like to move, hold down your mouse and drag it to an open space.
- Remove a tile Click on the tile, hold down your mouse and drag it to the garbage can at the top center.
- Add a tile Go to the search bar at the top and type in the website you would like to add. If it’s a popular site, a tile will come up that you can click on to add to your page.
- Create your own tile: If Symbaloo doesn’t have a tile for the website you’d like to add, you can copy the web address or type it in and create your own tile. Click “add your own tile,” then look for a window on the left where you can add the address and customize your tile. You can give it a name; Symbaloo will search the site for a familiar icon to add to the tile – just click on the icon at the bottom of the window and click “choose icon” to add it to your tile.
If you’d like, you can also customize the look of your page by changing the colors.
Got a question? Ask it in the comments box below, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org