Technology Is Scary, But Not Dealing With It Is Far Worse

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Look me right in the face, and listen carefully. Technology is advancing exponentially. The things we love and use today will almost certainly be obsolete in ten years. Yet we watch as younger generations adapt seamlessly no matter what new technology is thrown at them. Practically speaking, we can assume the longer you take to start learning the fundamentals, the harder it will be to catch up.

This is a wakeup call. In your case, it’s to come to grips with the tech basics of being successful online.

It’s time to come to grips with the tech basics of running a website.

A website opens doors. You can change the world from your desk. The internet removes the limits of geography. You can start a business that makes six figures without ever leaving the house. You can change the entire course of a life with the click of a button. The internet is has an insane amount of potential. It’s mind blowing.

Yet, here you are, wishing it wasn’t so confusing. Nothing this good is easy. Yes, some people are naturals, but the vast majority aren’t. The rest of us work at it, and then try to pretend it wasn’t difficult for pride’s sake. Of course there are pitfalls, but we’re all working through them.

The good news is, you don’t need to be an expert. You only need to understand the concepts of technology that works to your advantage.

You don’t need to be an expert, just reach baseline proficiency.

What are you going to do? Are you going to let this potential go to waste because you’re nervous about clicking some buttons? Do you want to be at a disadvantage in life because change is scary? Hell no!

That’s what I thought. To guide your way, I put together a sweet and simple game plan.

Step 1: Learn About How the Internet Works

Taking the magic out of the internet makes it moderately less terrifying.

Ever heard of the cloud? Did you know that the cloud is actually a bunch of computers and not data hanging up above our heads in the sky?

I mean, seriously – did you know that “Sharks Wage War on Undersea Internet Cables” could be a legitimate news headline? (Don’t worry, sharks chewing on the internet is apparently not a problem anymore.)

Here is a super-simplified explanation of how the internet works:

The internet is a series of dedicated computers, called servers, designed to always be on, which you have access to in the form of websites. A URL is basically an address that points at certain files on a certain server.

For a more detailed explanation, try reading this.

Step 2: Learn About the Tech Side a Website

OK, you know that any given website is a group of files sitting on a special computer somewhere. Knowing that already helps you visualize how one might build a website. Even if you’re not sure how to go about it, it’s a less scary prospect. One step at a time, baby.

There are a few things you need to get the files you need, and put them on one of those special servers. You’ll need three components:

  1. Hosting: Essentially, this means renting computer space to put your website files on. Hosting typically costs between $4-10 monthly for basic services.
  2. Domain: This is an address (kind of like a P.O. box) so people can type something into their browser when they want to access your website – such as example.com. A domain typically costs about $10 annually at a reputable domain registrar.
  3. Content Management: Once your hosting and domain are purchased, your website needs… well, to exist. Most people use free, pre-built software these days – such as WordPress. Most hosting companies make it available to install without ever touching the code. WordPress is suitable for most sites and is open-source (internet speak for free).

Once these three things are set up, the most technical part of your website is already finished. You only need to figure out how to make it do what you want.

Step 3: Learn About Running a Website

Let’s recap. You understand that the internet is not run on magic, but on special dedicated computers with special files. With this knowledge, you were able to research and figure out how to arrange your website by acquiring a domain, hosting, and content management system (CMS).

Once you’re up and running on a CMS like WordPress, building your site is as easy as creating Word Documents on your desktop. In other words, if you can type up a school essay on your computer, you have the technical proficiency to run a website.

Yes, it can really be that simple.

From here on out, it’s a matter of understanding business and marketing as it relates to the internet. What, why, and how will anyone visit your website? Of course, once they do visit, what would you like them to do?

These are more soft skills, and take a lifetime of learning if you want to pursue it as a career… and hardly any of it has to do with technology. Some of it may requiring tinkering, but don’t let a few technical details stop you from focusing on the important points. You should be more worried about how to write persuasive copy and organize your content in a way your readers understand.

Don’t sweat it! These are skills you can learn as you go, by following the right steps.

  1. Set the purpose of your website.
  2. Choose a content organization strategy, like this one. (Don’t be afraid to vary the types of content you use.)
  3. Fully plan the content of your website in advance.
  4. Produce clear, actionable content people can connect with.
  5. Check for search engine friendliness.
  6. Publish your website to the internet!

After that, do regular checks to ensure your website content is actually effective.

Step 4: Keep Learning With a Buddy or Mentor

If you actually followed all of these steps you are already well on your way to running your own effective website. It isn’t so scary, because you took the time to understand how it all comes together.

But even in this simplified format, it’s easy to get bogged down by all the technical problems you might run into.

I won’t lie to you – there are certainly issues that can slow you down. The internet is a deep, dark rabbit hole and it’s easy to get lost.

That’s why I recommend finding a buddy or mentor who can help you keep your head on straight. I’ve recently started working with clients who want to be self-sufficient with their websites, and even the most timid, tech-shy folks feel confident to make the changes they need once we’ve broken it down into simple pieces. Having the support of someone who can help you do that turns unachievable goals into manageable steps.

Some have even defeated evil empires this way…

Here are two actions you can take right now to accelerate your progress:

  1. Find someone else learning to run their own website. Connect with them on a regular basis to discuss the challenges you’re facing and how to overcome them. Partnering up can make all the difference.
  2. Book a free session with me to get you pointed in the right direction. We’ll discuss where you’re at, and where you should focus first in order to see the best results quickly.

Which of these learning stages are you currently at? Let me know in the comments below with your current questions, and I’ll dig you up extra learning resources.

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About Anne Dorko

Anne is always sharpening her web strategy skills, from design to content creation. She helps people like you succeed online by sharing insight from her 10 years of experience. Go get your 30 minute consultation while orientations are still free!

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