You hear it all too often during tech conversations with business owners and leaders: “Hmm, sounds out my league,” “let me talk to my Web guy,” “seems complicated,” “HTML who?”
Times have changed, however, and it’s no longer considered acceptable not to understand how the Internet works. Shrugging your shoulders at the first mention of responsive design, search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience is no longer going to get nods of “neither do we” agreement from the rest of the table these days. From this day forward, never-ending curiosity and familiarity with Web technology will be crucial to guiding the dollars and strategy behind your digital marketing efforts and general Web presence.
But how will you learn? How will you keep up with the pace of Web innovation? Never before have there been more readily available and free (or nearly free) resources out there. I’ll highlight a few for you:
Follow Web people on Twitter. Check your Twitter feed every day for tidbits on what is going on in the Web industry. Use Twitter’s search feature to look for thought leaders on any topic you have heard about but may not understand, such as SEO (@randfish, @dannysullivan), Web analytics (@googleanalytics, @justincutroni), content strategy (@halvorson, @mbloomstein) and so on. Let those that you follow on Twitter filter and funnel their knowledge up to you.
Take some online classes. There are free and paid HTML, CSS, etc., classes online that are designed to teach you the basics. I always say that you should be able to create at least one single Web page by yourself if you are to navigate this Internet Age with your business. And why not? It’s personal development, it’s a new challenge, and you’ll feel great once you accomplish even the basics on the Web. Try www.codecademy.com, www.codeschool.com or www.w3schools.com. Empower yourself with knowledge of the Web. Ignite your curiosity and watch the results ripple through your business.
Find something in-person and local. Check out www.meetups.com and find a tech meeting in your area. You’ll also find entrepreneurial and business leader meet-ups. Don’t count out your local library, community college, or church for tech courses and meet-ups as well.