When reading something online, there’s a good chance what you’re reading might be misinformation. Fake news is, unfortunately, all too common and sometimes, it can be incredibly difficult to know if the website you’re visiting is credible. Critical thinking skills and the ability to fact check are essential these days, so read on for a few tips on fact-checking.

The first thing you’ll want to do when checking a website’s credibility, is to look at the connection type. A website staring in “https:” is often more secure than the more common “http:”. This is because the owner/s of the site have gone through the legitimate process of obtaining security certification. Most illegitimate sites do not bother with this.

When figuring out if a website is credible, you may want to Google search the domain of the website. This means typing “https://www.(websitename).com” into Google and seeing if any related articles come up. You should look for any related articles or websites that reference the website you’re searching for. If other credible sites are referencing the site you’re looking for, it could mean the source is credible.

Be sure to check of the spelling and grammar on the site. If words are misspelt or missing, the information on that site may not be reliable. Take note of the advertising on the page. If there are more advertisements than information, then you might want to find a different site. Be especially wary of ads that redirect you to a different site.

When reading an article online, it’s important to take note of the author. Is this a credible author who is established in their field? Have they written other pieces or articles on a similar topic? If they have, chances are you’re reading legitimate information. You may have to stray from the source to find this information, but it is very helpful when determining the credibility of a website.

Last, and most definitely not least, is using a fact-checking website, such as www.Snopes.com. Websites like these are set up to verify information on the internet. Simply type in words related to the article or information you are searching for, and Snopes will tell you if the information is true or not, which parts of the article are true and which parts are not. If you can’t find anything on the information you’re looking for, you can submit articles for them to fact check for you. Using fact-checking websites can eliminate a lot of time used for fact-checking, helping you get on with your day quicker, but sometimes it may be worth the extra time to confirm that the information you’re reading is true.

When it comes to fact-checking, many people often overlook it completely, therefore misinformation is at an all-time high. By taking time out of your day and researching the information just a little bit more, you can help combat the spread of misinformation.