Even though there are more than 1 billion sites online, sadly most of them aren’t very exciting and some of them aren’t pages you’d ever want to visit. So, how do you sift through the garbage and compile a list of the best sites without getting bored? Most of us just randomly stumble upon our favorite sites while browsing with no sense of direction or purpose. Sheer curiosity leads us to a page and from there we follow whatever link catches our eye, and so on and so forth throughout the browsing session. But, what if there was a better way to find cool sites and not waste your time bouncing around cyberspace in the process? If you’re looking to beef up your bookmarking folder with the best sites you can find, here are seven useful tips to help you along your journey:

1. Use Comparison and Alternative Sites

If you already have a few favorites and you’re looking for similar sites, the best route to take would be to use one of the many comparison or “alternative to” sites out there. A simple Google search in the format of “sites like (insert your favorite site here)” should yield a few pages that have compiled lists of similar sites. You could also type in a search like “(favorite site) versus” and see what pops up in the recommended search to quickly identify your favorite site’s closest competitors. Once you’ve got a list of competing sites, you could use a comparison site to quickly compare the pros and cons of each. I found this method particularly useful when comparing networking sites.

2. Check Out Site Directories

Site directories like All My Faves make it easy to discover new sites in almost any category. If you’re bored and need a new site to browse, a directory can point you in the right direction. Another cool feature that sites like these offer is the ability to subscribe to a newsletter or RSS feed to receive regular updates about sites in your favorite niches. You can set your preferences to only receive recommendations about sites in categories you like.

3. Browse Forums

Forums are gold mines of suggestions and info about virtually every topic imaginable, so it makes sense that you could find out about lots of new sites simply by reading relevant forums. Many users will post links to their favorite or most useful bookmarks in their post signatures, which appear below every post. Of course, as the member of a forum you could also post a thread asking for advice about which sites are best for certain purposes. For example, you could ask something like “Anyone know of a good site like (insert site name here)” and from there you should get some helpful input from other members.

4. Random Website Search Engines

You could also use a random site generator to bounce around the web until you find something that strikes your fancy. A particularly interesting site generator is the Useless Web, which takes you to the internet’s most useless yet interesting sites. The benefit of using a random site generator is that it requires zero effort or decision-making on your part. Simply click the button and wait to see if the site you land on is something you like – easy yet effective.

5. Have Diverse Social Media Feeds

If you’re already using sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends and entertain yourself occasionally, why not make your feed more interesting by adding more friends and followers and subscribing to new pages and groups? Make it a point to follow at least a few new pages every day and you’ll be compiling a massive list of awesome sites in no time. It’s also a good idea to expand your social networking presence by joining additional sites like Instagram, Periscope, and Pinterest. Overall, the more social sites and friends you have in your network, the more likely it is that you’ll discover the latest and greatest sites as soon as they become popular.

6. Use Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking sites like Digg make it easy to find sites shared by people who like the same things as you. Many sites that go viral make it to social bookmarking platforms before reaching the rest of the web, so you’ll be ahead of the crowd when it comes to finding things that are trending heavily at the moment. Another great thing about using this kind of site directory is that there are so many to choose from. In fact, Search Cliff has compiled a list of the top 100 social bookmarking sites, so that’s a good starting point if you’re thinking about going down this route.

7. Ask Friends and Family

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to resort to the old-fashioned method of finding new things – just ask someone close to you what their favorite websites are. You’d be surprised to find that many times the recommendations you get from someone you know or even a random stranger are more useful than the links you’ll find on any of the above platforms mentioned above. Even if you don’t discover a new site, it’s a good way to start up a conversation and share some of your own favorites with others.

Remember to Save Sites to Your Bookmarks

In closing, don’t forget to save your newfound favorites to your bookmarks folder for easy access in the future. After all, what’s the point in spending all that time finding a cool new site when you’re just going to forget about it and never use it again? You also have the option of organizing your bookmarks folder and creating a custom bookmarks toolbar at the top of your browser for easy categorized access to all of your favorite pages and sites. With a comprehensive bookmarks toolbar, you’ll be better equipped to browse the web without having to sift through sites that aren’t worthy of your time.