I can't believe I've never put pen to paper, so to speak, on this topic, because I ask this question in every job interview I conduct: What Web sites do you visit most?
That's a tough one, and it certainly changes and evolves over the years. But while new sites -- and new concepts like Web 2.0 and social media -- enter into my favorites, other oldies but goodies keep on keepin' on.
I couldn't realistically rank the following by page views, but I'm reasonably certain that right here and right now, these are the top 10 sites I visit the most (in alphabetical order):
AppleInsider.com: This site waxes and wanes for me, and it might be on the verge of being replaced by tuaw.com (The Unofficial Apple Web Log). But because most of our staff runs Macs, and because I'm an addicted sucker to everything Apple, I check out this site for rumors, product previews and reviews several times per week.
Brewers.com: I should include this only seven months out of the year, but while the Brewers are in season, I'm at their Web site non-stop. I'm not wowed by the generic Web design, but their beat writer, Adam McCalvy, does a good job and is a refreshing alternative from the newspaper (especially now that Drew Olson works for us). Plus, if it's a day game -- or if my wife insists I turn the channel from the Brewers night game -- I usually have MLB Gameday running the background.
Edmunds.com/insideline: I'm not a "car guy," per se, but I do like to drive them, own them and obsess about the "next big thing." Inside Line gets more mechanical than I need (and understand), but they do a great job of watching trends, previewing and reviewing new models and keeping me up to date on new technologies that I can salivate over until my next lease expires.
Google.com: It's my home page. Not because it's the absolute best search engine out there, but because I've become trained to use it for searching every single time. I used to use different search engines for different purposes, but maybe I've gotten lazy in my old age. I like their mapping tools the best, and Google Earth amazes me every single time. As a vertical portal, Yahoo does better. But for a few select applications, Google remains the leader.
MilwaukeeHDTV.org: As a hopelessly romantic early adopter, I bought my high-def TV in 2003. It's still a jungle out there, as Time Warner and DirecTV continue to duke it out, floating promises of varying degrees of accuracy. But the pros at MilwaukeeHDTV.org sort it all out through their many forums, in a non-condescending fashion (usually). And it's good to know that some people are watching more TV than me.
My.Yahoo.com: This may be the site I visit the most, and for the longest. I discovered the customizable portal back in 1997, and it's effectively become my RSS reader of choice (before RSS even existed). In other words, I get my news (local, national, international and sports) from this aggregator, as well as headlines from saved searches. I track sports scores and fantasy baseball. I check weather and favorite blogs. I literally visit this personalized site dozens of times every day.
Online banking sites: This includes my checking and savings accounts, as well as my credit card sites. I pretty much use online banking exclusively, only writing a paper check when absolutely necessary. I visit these sites regularly, if not daily.
OnMilwaukee.com: I'd be lying if I didn't include the Web site my business partners and I founded in 1998 in this list. I do, obviously, check it every day, all day. But I'd like to think I'd visit OnMilwaukee.com frequently even if I didn't own the company. I hope it's relevant enough for Milwaukeeans to be the daily resource it is for me.
Wikipedia: There was a time when I didn't understand Wikipedia. Why would anyone trust an encyclopedia written by amateurs? But eventually it made sense. Just take what you read with a grain of salt and use it as a starting point. Sometimes, it's totally accurate, other times, it's just enough to answer a question. And unlike traditional encyclopedias, this ultimate "Web 2.0" Web site contains entries on everything under the sun. I love it.
Woot.com: A co-worked turned me on to Woot a few years ago, and I visit it regularly. The concept is simple: one cool item per day, at a great price. When it sells out, wait until the next day (unless it's a Woot Off). Usually, the products skew toward the high-tech, but not always. The other great thing about Woot, though, is the description that accompanies the product. They are so very well written and pithy, that I frequently enjoy the descriptions more than the shopping, itself.
The best of the rest:
- weather.com monthly weather forecasts
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.