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How to Become a Web Expert Without Spending A Dime

Aug 17, 2007
If I could show you how to become a Web design, development or marketing expert without spending a dime, would you want to learn?

Imagine you're a master at making money online, that you're passionate, and excited during almost every hour you spend working. Visualize people coming to YOU for answers to their most important Web-related questions. Envision emails and phone calls flooding in every day with eager, prospective customers. Read on to learn the secret to achieving all of this.

First, discernment and discretion are vital. There are many programs online, many e-books, many self-proclaimed Web gurus and so much information today that it's overwhelming and could send you to the poor-house faster than the speed of digital communication.

Where should I go to learn Web marketing? How should I spend my time? Who should teach me? What websites offer the best information? How do I make money using the Internet? What are the most important things I should learn? Should I learn Java or PHP? What are the fundamentals? How do I write effective copy online? How long will it take me before I can start my own business? The answer to all these questions can is . . .

Before I explain, let me tell you a brief story of my inchoate professional life. I barely knew what a computer was while in college. It was only after living on both coasts playing live music did I conclude that a career in computers may make me a few more dollars than a career in music.

It was then I decided I wanted to become a Web expert.

I had first considered attending a high-priced computer school that a programmer friend had recommended. But I had no money, and the school required all its students to attend full-time. I needed to eat and provide a roof over my head, and for that I needed to work full-time, so this expensive computer school was out of the question for me.

Although my options were limited, but I diligently looked in the Want Ads till I found a job that I could possibly do that was related to computers. The job title was "Internet Exploration Specialist".

I know that sounds slightly strange, but if you had met my chair-throwing, screaming and eccentric boss-to-be, it would make a little more sense.

I got the job and outlasted the most optimistic office pool prediction for how long I would remain working for the perpetually livid CEO. Looking back, it was probably one the best things I could have ever done (minus the maniacal boss, that is).

I learned how to surf the Web. I became an expert Internet peruser, a digital explorer, a website connoisseur, and a professional information superhighway surveyor.

At around the same time I learned one of the secrets to becoming an expert at something. You have to put the time in. People who remain working in careers that they hate don't put in the extra time to develop a career in something they love. Pure and simple.

So while I had down time at work, I read books and found websites that taught me how to do things Web-related tasks. More importantly, I spent time after work and on the weekends reading, practicing and developing my Web skills.

Back when I began developing my Web career, the Internet wasn't as big as it is today. There weren't as many options for learning Web-related skills. Since I had no money, I simply searched for free online tutorials, primers and how-to's. They became my staple for learning.

Since I had seriously developed my Web surfing skills, I inevitably found many highly educational websites. And there weren't as many scams back then either, there weren't as many "gurus". Web marketing or e-marketing hadn't even become terms yet, so I had a lot of success getting reliable information.

Today it's different. This is both good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad news.

You can't throw a rock into the Internet ocean now and NOT hit a get-rich-quick plan, a Web marketing curriculum, or an e-marketing "expert". You've got StomperNet, Portal Feeder, Pipeline Profits, The Rich Jerk, Strategic Profits and Traffic Secrets to name only a few.

There's too much to choose from and they all come for a steep price. Now many of these programs may teach you a lot, but it will cost you.

I'm here to say that you don't need to spend any money. You're reading this for free, aren't you?

But here's the good news.

Because of the way Google ranks websites now, because the very nature of the Internet as man's most prolific and complete resource on everything, and because of human nature being curious and information-driven, the Web has massive amounts of extremely useful, high-quality, free information. People are falling all over each other trying to produce and publish high-quality Web content all at no cost to you.

Again, Google is one reason. One main way Google ranks a website is by how many authoritative sites link to that website. The best way to get new links pointing to your site is by creating useful content that can be accessed by anyone. If the content is fresh, original and high-quality, people will link to it.

And here's more good news. Of all the subjects there are in the world, and therefore all of the subjects discussed online, the Web is the most popular.

Of course this has to be true. Think about it. Who's doing all the posting? Webmasters. And what do webmasters know best? The Web. So you're going to find a huge amount of tutorials, primers, articles, forum posts, blogs and websites that offer tons of useful information on how to become good at all kinds of Web-related things, and all at no charge.

Here are a few tips for effectively searching online.

* Open up two or three browser windows at a time. One should have Google, the next Yahoo or MSN Search and the third should be your working browser. Use all three browsers when searching by toggling to each of them. Toggling is achieved by pressing ALT+TAB. By using different search engines, you'll get a wide range of different results.

* Use quotes around your phrases to find exact phrases. This will give you results that have the words in your phrase only in that order.

* Use long tail search phrases when using a search engine. Long tail means many words. The more specific your search phrase is, the more relevant results you'll get. For example, searching in Google for "free tutorials for beginner web marketers and expert career advice" instead of "web marketing tutorials" will yield more relevant results for you.

* Use the minus sign to weed out superfluous results. For example, if you're looking for event tickets and you type in "Boston tickets", you'll end up with lots of airline related results. Instead use "Boston event tickets" -airline -flights.

* Get creative in contructing your search phrases. Combine multiple concepts.

* Don't just use search engines. Join forums like WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint, SitePoint, HighRankings and SEOChat, visit blogs, and read how-to's and tutorials found in article directories. Regularly visit authority webmaster sites like DevGuru, Developer.com, TheNetGazette.net, HTMLprimer.com and WebKnowHow.net.

* Go to and participate in Web 2.0 sites such as PlugIM, FreeIQ, Digg, Technorati, Simpy, Del.iciou.us, MarkTD, BibSonomy and Squidoo.

* Become good friends with your Favorites or Bookmarks feature in your browser. Set it up so you develop a well-organized, useful list of websites, Internet destinations and Web pages and posts that you can constantly refer back to.

Becoming an expert Web marketer or Web programmer can be done by putting aside time every day to learn your craft and by becoming good at finding the right information online that doesn't cost anything.

The more you search for useful information, the better you'll become at it, and it will soon take you less and less time to find what you want.

Therefore, the answer to all the questions above is: you'll need patience, discipline, time management skills, and Internet searching skills. The searching skills come to you by simply practicing, by putting the time in online.

Everything you need to know to become a Web expert without spending a dime is literally a few clicks away online and most of it is free. Get to work.
About the Author
Jason OConnor owns and operates Oak Web Works, LLC
An Internet Company
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