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Beat Your Fear of Technology, and Grow Your Blog

This guest post is by Ayelet Weisz of All Colores.

As Matt Setter recently pointed out here on ProBlogger, pretty much anyone can set up a blog these days without worrying about technical mumbo-jumbo.

Yet as I learned when I transferred my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, sometimes the technical mambo-jumbo will haunt you regardless, and your choices will be to learn its language, to pay highly for others to handle it, or to give up.

Did you, like me, turn to a free platform such as WordPress.com because you didn’t want to deal with technical set up? Are you holding back on transferring to your own domain because you’re afraid it will cost you a fortune to hire a webmaster, or wear your nerves if you do it on your own? Is WordPress refusing to create space between lines no matter how many times you log in, log out, save?

Fearing the dive into the world of technical activities makes sense.

If every past encounter with technical challenges left you feeling frozen, or was easily resolved by someone else in your office or home, it makes sense that you won’t necessarily feel comfortable in this area just because you’re now a blogger. If you’re not used to dealing with technicalities, fear will show up to remind you you’re doing something new.

Give yourself a pat on the shoulder to congratulate yourself for sailing off to a life of online entrepreneurship, then commit to stepping out of that comfort zone to a place where opportunities await. You must be willing to practice feeling more comfortable in the technical platform on which you base your business.

Here are a few easy ways to do just that.

Count to 10 before asking for help

Asking for help is a valuable skill to posses and can help you a lot in life. You will learn things faster this way, and perhaps save yourself some heartache.

Yet if you’re used to running to someone else any time a technical challenge arises, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to test the waters yourself. Did a keyboard button detach? Is your phone acting crazy when you need to make an important call?

These days, information is more available than ever before. Take a moment to Google the problem, or do a search on YouTube and see if you can find a tutorial. Start with small projects—many times they’ll be easier to resolve than you expect.

Overcoming these problems yourself won’t only save you the money you would have paid the technician, or the time you would have waited for a sibling to come from another city—it will give you proof that you can learn new things. And it will give you courage to keep learning about more aspects of your blogging business—SEO or social marketing, for example.

Take a class

Be it online or off, a class enables you to learn from an expert and get feedback on your work. It will usually involve homework, “obligating” you to face your fear and practice feeling comfortable. You can find classes in colleges and universities, at community learning centers and, of course, online.

Real-world classes usually take place at set times, enabling you to pick the one that best fits your schedule. Alternatively, many online classes allow you to tune in to the lessons’ recordings whenever it’s convenient for you. Some of these provide message boards where you can get feedback, even though you won’t meet your teachers and classmates face to face.

Classes don’t always come with an exam at the end, so don’t be intimidated. Focus on the process and the opportunity to grow beyond your past limits.

Hire a private teacher

If you feel you need more personal support, hire someone to work with you one on one. If it’s a friend or a relative, you can meet at home. If it’s someone from your community, you can meet at your local library. In today’s world, you can hire someone from the other side of the world and make a new, long-distance friend while you’re learning.

If you hire someone to work only with you, it will be easier to share your concerns and discomforts. Make sure to tell your teacher why you’re hiring her or him (for example: you’re a blogger, you want to set up a blog, or you want to make changes to your blog’s design), so that the teacher can provide you with the information you really need.

Hiring a private teacher won’t necessarily be expensive. Email the computer science department in your city’s college to find a student who’s more skilled than you—or hire someone for a quick, $5 session on Fiverr.

Work for a tech support department

Many times, you can get into a tech support department with little or no experience in the area. This is easier to achieve if you find a general customer service department that also provides tech support.

In these departments, there are usually supervisors available for serious technical challenges, while the everyday challenges—those that can be solved relatively easily—are handled by the general staff. The department will usually teach you everything you need to know before you start attending to customers’ needs.

Note that “relatively easily” doesn’t mean it will be easy for you right away. When you go in for your training, it might all sound like Chinese (unless you’re already in China, in which case it might sound like Icelandic). When you go through your first call, you might politely put the customer on hold to get support from your supervisors and fellow employees.

Yet pretty soon you’ll find yourself helping people who are even less tech savvy than you are, and you’ll start to realize you can handle bigger tech projects than you could ever have imagined.

Many tech support positions enable you to work part-time, leaving you plenty of time for your blogging or other, better-paying job. If you find a company that specializes in your niche, working for them could provide you with priceless industry information and connections. Perhaps you can even pitch that company your blogging services after a while, or create some other collaboration between this company and your blog.

Create a learning group … and network while you’re at it

You might think you’re the only one who’s scared, and that others have it easier, but I guarantee you there are many more people—even bloggers—who are just as terrified or uncomfortable as you are at the thought of becoming even a bit tech savvy.

As a group, you can set goals. You can search for information online, look up tutorials on YouTube, consult with one another, and hold each other accountable. You can do all this by yourself, yet if you’re a ProBlogger reader, you know you can’t make it on the blogsphere on your own. Networking is key. Why not create a learning group and invite bloggers in your niche to participate?

You’ll be able to check two goals off your list at once.

Leverage what you’ve learned—and learn even more

Once you know the information, you can use it to grow your business. If you document your process, you’ll be able to know what worked and what didn’t, and what you learned along the way. You’ll also be able to look back and acknowledge how far you’ve travelled along the technical road.

Then, you’ll be able to teach it. Teaching others strengthens your confidence in what you’ve learned and encourages you to keep on learning. Knowing you’ll be sharing your experience or knowledge will give you the courage to keep moving forward.

To leverage what you learned, you don’t have to a class, though you could. You could also create a blog to document your progress and improve your learning process. You’ll attract people just like you, who are interested in the value you can now provide. Heck, maybe they can even teach you a thing or two by commenting on your posts!

Of course, leveraging your knowledge can be as simple as creating one single post and submitting it to a big blog as a guest post. Maybe even the blog you’re reading right now? Facing my fears of technical mumbo jumbo got me published on ProBlogger twice—three times if you count the post you’re reading now.

The result? Not only does Google love me more (aww, Google!), but the feedback I received for the tutorial series I published here earlier this year encourages me to keep challenging myself, and make this technical mumbo jumbo a little more Ayelet-friendly.

If I can do it, you can do it! Do you know any other ways to overcome tech fears? Tell us in the comments.

Ayelet Weisz is an enthusiastic freelance writer, blogger and screenwriter. She celebrates the everyday and extraordinary joys of life on her travel blog, All Colores. Be sure to stop by and connect with her on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Justin Mazza says:

    So true Ayelet. Before I started my blog I was clueless about all the technical stuff. I spent the first six months of my blogging journey learning the technical aspects of owning a website through trial and error.

    I bookmarked sites that had answers to my blogging questions and later created an eBook for new bloggers to give them the information and links to sites that would answer their blogging question. Especially the technical stuff since the majority of new bloggers are not technically savvy.

    • What a great story! Love that you had the willingness to help – and then you were able to help others and promote your blog thanks to what you learned! Learning new skills and tools is exciting :)

  2. Kev says:

    Point me towards these easy to land tech support jobs!

    • Kev, go to online job boards wherever you are. Look for customer service jobs and submit your resume to those requesting no experience or aiming at high school graduates or university students. Usually, the ad will say if it’s for tech support, yet I’d submit to regular customer service jobs as well, and if they call to ask you for an interview – just ask if it includes tech support.

      You can also log in to websites of companies – such as cable, internet, phone companies – and look at the wanted ads they have there. If you read/use big sites for whatever purpose, see if they have a “career” tab or a similar tab – sometimes they’ll post these ads there. Customer service to websites’ customers sometimes involves tech support. Even if you’re comfortable with a site and can’t imagine the kind of support someone would need while using it, tech support can surprise you.

      Hope this helps – I’d love to hear how this goes for you :)

  3. Christiano says:

    Sorry to say this.
    Most of the options you bring forth create a choice paralysis for most wordpress users. I have been on .org and .com helping friends and sometimes clients.
    People want what works, and telling them they need a class, terrifies them.
    Anyway, let guys stick to what they know best and hire an expert to work on the site (if it’s not their thing).
    Wordpress.com has awesome support, but its not for a person looking for plugins.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Christiano! Getting an expert’s help can be fantastic and it can feel like this person’s a life-saver. In some cases, it’s probably the best choice. However, it isn’t always the case, or not for everybody. I saved myself a LOT of money by facing my fears of technology. Plus, I’ve been able to leverage what I learned to help others AND to promote my blog. I also personally enjoy learning new things, so I’m gaining lots of benefits out of it.

      This post’s intention is not to say “never turn to an expert again”, but rather say – “there’s a really good possibility you can do it even if right now it feels impossible”. That’s why I listed several options – if one option paralyzes a reader, she or he can use another option. In my opinion, it’s about being willing to be willing to face this fear – and slowly starting to take baby steps. I used to think I could never do it – and then I did it :)

  4. You are right Ayelet! Your fears cannot grow your blog writing but discourage you more.I loved the idea with technical activities that makes sense and no matter how challenging it is, you would learn to become confident and successful at the end. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for your words, Carla, and absolutely – mastering fears is so exciting, because you get this whole new muscle – and it’s proof that you can take to any other scary area in your life :) Baby step after baby step, we can definitely make it happen – and grow our blogs, too!

  5. Shelby Roth says:

    This is interesting post Ayelet! I love the idea of beating up our fears of technology. At least every blogger needs the best out of their writing and none would want fear take away what was meant to bring a success. I think what brings more fear is that we don’t learn to BEING OURSELVES and being gaining POSITIVE MIND of whatever we are devoted in. Sometimes FAILURE can rin everything. If someone fails once he/she gives up. We need to be focused no matter how challenging everything may look like! Thanks a lot for sharing, I like your content!

    • Thanks, Shelby, I really appreciate it. And you’re right – failure is so scary, it can cause us to freeze in place – and that’s a shame, because failures make for great stories and we’re writers – so it works well! ;) Plus, it really is true that you learn from your mistakes and you gain insights, and it gets easier next time.

      Sometimes thinking long-term helps me move through fears, or brainstorming the possibilities that can come by facing fears – even by failing, like with my guest posts here. As long as we acknowledge ourselves for every bit of willingness and baby step, we’ll be able to keep moving forward and staying focused on the big goals.

  6. Reed Nixon says:

    Research will be of good help!

  7. I like your points Ayelet. They make beating the fear of technology seem so easy. They are definitely worth a try.

    • Thanks so much, Carmen! I really believe it’s worth a try or a few. The feeling of mastering it is pretty special AND it does make life and blog-related-stuff so much easier :)

  8. Grand points Ayelet! Nowadays beating technology is quite an easy task. We should never be afraid of the same! It is all about getting used to the idea.

  9. Ben Troy says:

    nothing issues related to technical can hold us back, let the content be King.

  10. Hi Ayelet,

    I look this fear in the eye each time I need to get techie. Sometimes I don’t blink, other times, I say the hell with it ;)

    Overall I do a better job embracing the techie nature of blogging. I dislike it, but I embrace the awesome things you can do, reaching increasing numbers of people by being techie.

    With that in mind, never go over your head. Some are all caught up in pimping out their blog and either never write content that helps, or they churn out posts weekly and fiddle around on the tech side, when they should be posting daily.

    Thanks for sharing, super read.

    Ryan

    • Thanks for your warm words, Ryan! I agree – the content and our writing are the key ingredients of our blogs and need to come first. I think learning to be more tech savvy is secondary to mastering the craft of writing when it comes to blogs. Learning to be tech-savvy for the sake of a blog is, I think, about learning new skills and tools that can enhance the main point – writing – not replace it.

      I love it that you look this fear in the eye even if it causes you to blink! Sometimes I blink too, and then remember, like you do, that it’s worth it :)

  11. Hi,

    Excellent post. We have to be updated with technology as it seems that technology is the only thing which is getting a lot of exposure.
    Blog can grow a lot if you are expert in it !

    Thank you

    • Thanks, Zane! True, and even if you’re not an expert, you can still focus on growing your blog once dealing with tech stuff is easier and takes less time.