I search both ancestry.com and the internet.
I use www.familysearch.org
I use google
I use genweb and or genealogy trails for each county I am searching
I use genealogybank.com for newspaper records (subscription)
On ancestry, take the time to use the learning center, or even click on the "search tips" link on the search page to help get a better result.
My usual method is to search for a specific person. I almost always keep "Exact Matches" checked and then use wildcards if I'm not finding who I want.
For example, finding the Micklovisk spelling in 1910,
It varies, but typically To search...
Check Match all terms exactly
first name: Joh* (you can use three letters and * as a wild card. I did this in case he was johann or something else.
Last name: MICHALOVCE (that was the name I found on a Slovak message board)
Change from "Use default settings to "restrict to exact, and Soundex
Select Lived In for the life event, and type New Jersey in the location box
then you can narrow it by census in the left column
and then select 1910s
Start scrolling down and you will eventually find him.
Personally, I find that method a little cumbersome. I've been an ancestry user for years and I still prefer the "old search"
To get the same results, Click on the Search Tab in the top menu bar
when it comes up, look over to the far right, under that menu bar you will see a tiny link that says "Go to Old Search". Click it
Check "Exact Matches Only"
type in Joh* for First name
type in MICHALOVCE for last name.
Select Soundex under the word "Spelling"
Select USA for the country
Select New Jersey for the state
Select 1910 united states federal census
Scroll down and look for him.
You get the same information, but it is laid out differently, and for me, personally, it's easier to read.