Tech tools for the tech noob
No matter which field you're in, there's a fair amount of general skills that are good to pick up. They'll improve the way you do things whether it's at home or work. And as we always stress here at Next Step, understanding what different teams in your office do will improve communication while collaborating. Here are seven tech tools you'll be able to teach yourself for free by the end of the year.
Every company or individual has a website these days, and with online presence expected to extend to multiple social media sites, it's important to stay on top of your game. That means knowing how well your site is doing, i.e. daily visitors, length of their visit, what they click.
Check out Google Analytics, register yourself at the Analytics Academy, and start pulling metrics like unique visitors, visitors, time on site, bounce rate, and more. This way you can create more of what people like and keep them coming back for more.
It gets hard to juggle five different social media platforms seven days a week. Scheduling posts or tweets or pins streamline your brand's communication. That's where social media management tools come in. Sign up for Hootsuite, study the quick start guide, and start managing your social media without that overpaid outsourced social media manager.
WordPress is the best place to pick up content management skills. While online content could be anything from web pages to blog posts to videos, once you get the hang of one, it gets easier to work with others.
Launch a site or blog just for fun on WordPress, and find out what it takes to go from an idea to a fully fleshed-out blog post. Learn the basics of the site's back-end in its tutorials for design tips and get post creation tips from its Blogging University.
Now that you're all grown up and leading teams, isn't it time to start using an app to collaborate and delegate work? There are a range of task sharing apps to choose from; play around with a couple and once you find one you like, set it up for the rest of your team and keep track of assignments and schedules and get constant updates. And you can always just use it to plan an outing with your extended family or a school reunion.
5. HTML and CSS
We've already covered a list of places you can learn coding basics for free in the past, but Skillcrush's 10-day Bootcamp is a great place to start if you want to get into website design and creation. You never know where it may lead, but the best part about learning HTML and CSS basics is that it'll help you understand more about the online tools you work with every day, e.g. H1 and H3 tags, keywords, SEO, and basic website fixes. Who needs the IT guy?
Know the basics of image editing and you'll be set to edit your own images for print/online content, prototypes, and obviously, profile pictures. Register yourself for Adobe's 30-day trial, watch a couple of tutorials and assign yourself a project. It can range from revamping your company's logo to making yourself a brand-spanking cutting-edge graphics-infused new CV.
The thought of e-mail marketing may initially be greeted with an 'ugh', but an increasing number of companies are sending out snazzy and useful newsletters and offers (think: Brain Pickings and international/foreign fashion brands). It's cheap and if you can deliver proper value, e-mail marketing can be super time-efficient. Set yourself up for a Forever Free plan at MailChimp and learn the tricks of the trade from its Getting Started guide and its Knowledge Base. The latter is e-mail marketing's best kept secret, with its detailed tips on e-mail marketing practices and design.