How to become technical

December 16, 2018 Uncategorized

This is something I have seen come up quite a lot on forums, usually in relation to startups and entrepreneurship.

I have all these great ideas but I don’t know how to enact them – how do I learn to do <whatever>

There are often a lot of answers from people with handy pointers, such as “there are some really good tutorials on <whatever>, you should run through some of those and then try to apply it by doing <this>”

This point right here is the determining factor of whether or not the entrepreneur in waiting will succeed or fail.  There are two likely responses here: “Great, thanks for that!  I am watching them now”, or, “Great, thanks for that!  Can you link me to one of those tutorials?

It is that mindset which is completely unsustainable in “being technical”; there are always more questions and you can’t afford to wait for someone to help you solve them all.  You need confidence and self-reliance for the majority of the time.  If you’re stumbling at the first hurdle, then you need to ask yourself what you actually want to do.

So, this is a guide as much as it is a learning experience – learning how to learn technical things.

Solving technical problems is a lot of searching the internet.  The complication comes because so much of what is on the internet nowadays is either outright wrong, or spruiking its own self-interests.  Deciphering that to actually get the correct information is where the skill comes in.  Search for what you want, read about it to increase your knowledge and refine your search terms, search more with better terms and verify the results you’re getting.

A recent question I saw and assumed I would be able to figure out, yet had no direct knowledge or experience in, was about SEO on WordPress.  Now, I am not a complete WordPress novice, but I would consider myself an intermediate user at best – for SEO, I am an utter rookie.  Good place to start then!

Search: wordpress seo

Good result!  No sponsored results, a product called Yoast with a 4.9* rating on wordpress.org (a website I know will be relatively impartial and trustworthy), 24,000 votes, and the kicker – free.  Additionally, I now have a new website to add to my list of further reading (wpbeginner), and a link to what is presumably the developers domain (yoast.com).

So let’s have a look at the first link and see what it is all about;

I have apparently found “The #1 SEO WordPress SEO Plugin”, but what is most interesting in the page isn’t what was written, it was this:

Lots of 5 stars, very few less than that.  It does concern me slightly that there aren’t more 4 star reviews relative to the number of 5 stars, but we will get to that.  The best thing here is the number of issues resolved – lots, which means the developers are actively supporting this plugin.

OK so if through dumb luck I have found the best solution in the first link of the first search, great, but let’s try to double check this a bit.

Search: wordpress yoast alternative

The first link is too old for me to care about, and I can gather pretty much all I need from just reading the search results.

  1. Yoast is somewhat highly regarded as “the best” for SEO on WordPress
  2. The closest alternative is “All in One” which we can come back to
  3. The alternatives are listed as “viable” not better

If nothing else, Yoast certainly isn’t the worst option ahead of me here for WordPress SEO, and with a price tag of $0, I’m pretty much ready to go ahead and just do it.  Action bias is important!

However, what if it was $50?  Being the cheapskate poor boy that I am, I’d want to do a bit more research.

Search: wordpress yoast terrible

Alllllllllrighty then, first link is irrelevant to me at the moment (but looks like a good resource going forward), “People also ask” section has some questions that are probably worth reading, and then three really good looking contrarian articles.

The “Honest Review Of Yoast” was more-so regarding the premium option, basically you can do everything it does by using the free Yoast version and some other plugins.  Not a negative for me, I wasn’t going to buy premium now anyway (also, that same good-looking resource site).

“Yoast is really worrying me” and “Yoast SEO Worst Plugin” are both support issues which were addressed by the developer in the threads, could be PEBKAC, could be legitimate faults – other users weren’t jumping in with “Yeah this has been a problem from the start” or other such posts, so for me, these are both positives if anything at all.

Now look at where we are: in the space of 10 minutes I have gone from knowing very little about WordPress SEO to finding what is very likely to be the best option available to me.  Not just that, I have the FAR more useful resources of two sites which have a ton of further information on them which will either be helpful while I am setting up the SEO, or for when I want to make it better.  I have done this without asking a single person a question, only by searching the internet.  Anyone could have done this, yet frequently they do not.

I would have far more questions going forward with installing Yoast and trying to rank for keywords or whatever SEO actually does, and I would deal with them when they come up.

That is how you become technical.  Learn how to search, learn how to verify, learn how to learn.

One Reply to “How to become technical”

  1. […] wrote an article recently about “How to become technical” and it made me think of two things: I have a few new things that I want to learn, and I enjoy […]

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