Technical Writer Courses Skills Edreporter

How to Become a Technical Writer: Online Courses and Skills You Need to Learn

Technical writers work in a number of industries and write a number of different types of documents and guides. However, if you had to boil technical writing down to one simple role it would be this: technical writers explain things.

While this may sound straightforward, there are a number of different ways things need to be explained. Apps and websites need Help buttons that show users where to find things and furniture needs assembly guides. However, technical writers also write project proposals, white papers, and even press releases.

Skills technical writers need to have

Due to the varying nature of the job, not every technical writer is required to hold the same set of specialized skills. If you work for a software developer, you may be required to know how to read programming languages (such as JavaScript, PHP, C++, etc.).

On the other hand, technical writers working in manufacturing might need an understanding of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and other industry standards and regulations.

As a result, it’s a good idea to determine which industry you would fit into before learning languages and regulatory guidelines.

The role of a technical writer has many variations. But, there are some skills that will help you regardless of where you end up working. They are:

Researching technical information

To be able to effectively relate information to users, you need to have a deep understanding of the product or service you are writing about. This involves doing self-guided research on your subject matter.

In many ways, being a technical writer makes you a student of whichever project you are working on. Eventually, you can become the teacher and help others learn.

Interviewing skills

Many technical writers spend their days pestering the subject matter experts for whatever they’re writing about. That could be engineers, programmers, and anyone else who has the firmest grasp on the knowledge you need to purvey to the reader.

Journalists and journalism students often excel in this field because they aren’t afraid of asking questions repeatedly to get the facts right.

Clear and concise writing

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, a blog post, or a user manual. Every piece of writing is created with a reader in mind. In technical writing, your goal is to explain information so that your average user can quickly understand what they need to know.

To do this, you’ll need to write in a concise and straightforward manner–avoid passive voice, confusing terms, or flowery language.

Design mind

With technologies changing, long, difficult to navigate user manuals are becoming a thing of the past. That doesn’t mean you need to be an artist or even a graphic designer. But you need to recognize when a diagram, infographic, or chart, is better suited to explain information than a wall of text.

Technical writing online courses

If you’re interested in learning some basic technical writing skills, there are several online courses and resources available. And many of them are free! First, take a moment to run through the Wikiversity overview on technical writing.

Then, check out one of the following courses to dig deeper:

 




Copywriter Job Skills Learn EdReporter

5 Skills Needed to be a Copywriter and Where to Learn Them

Copywriting is a vague term that covers a lot of different marketing roles and skills. As a copywriter, you could spend your days posting on social media, crafting email newsletters, writing search engine optimized blog posts, or creating the advertisements we all see every day online, on TV, and on billboards across the world.

Many copywriters combine their creative writing with skills in design, data analysis, and publishing to make themselves more valuable to potential employers.

How much do copywriters earn?

The average nationwide salary for a copywriter is around $55,000. However, a career in copywriting can lead you to more lucrative roles like Creative Director or Marketing Manager.

What education is needed to become a copywriter?

For entry level copywriting positions, employers often require a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or a related field. However, if you’re a great writer and can prove it with effective copy, a degree isn’t always necessary.

Top 5 skills needed to become a copywriter

If you’re hoping to enter the world of copywriting, there are several skills you can build to improve your chances of landing your first job. To determine the most useful skills in copywriting, let’s take a look at the type of content today’s copywriters create.

1. Blog writing for SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessity for any company that wants to be found on Google. To accomplish this, many companies create a blog and post articles that their clientele would be interested in. This improves the likelihood that they will rank on Google.

While Google is secretive with their ranking system, some companies have discovered effective methods of improving SEO and share that information via online courses.

Taking a course in SEO is a great way to show future employers that you know how to write copy that will boost their standing in Google searches.
Coursera’s SEO Specialization Course is a great way to learn the skills while earning a certification.

2. Understanding the consumer

Every writer knows that they have to keep their audience in mind while writing. If I was writing this article for children, I would use a much different tone and set of vocabulary to make sure I communicated effectively.

In copywriting, you not only need to know the best tone to use, but you also have to understand what kind of information will pique someone’s interest in your company’s product or service. Then, once you have them curious to learn more, you’ll need to provide a call-to-action that asks them to purchase or sign up.

Lynda offers a course in Understanding Consumer Behaviors that you can take through their free trial.

3. Mastering Google Analytics and AdWords

Since there are so many types of copywriting positions, it’s impossible to learn every tool that you might be using on the job. However, some tools are useful for nearly all companies. Among them are Google AdWords and Google Analytics.

AdWords is what you’ll mainly be using to create advertisements that appear in Google searches, that display on websites across the internet, and even those that appear in YouTube videos and smartphone apps.

Analytics is another powerful tool provided by Google that helps you understand your website traffic. You’ll be able to learn:

  • Where people are referred to your website from
  • The pages on your site that they visit
  • How long they stay on your page and what links they click
  • Their location, age, and gender, and much more

As a copywriter, you’ll use this information to tweak and perfect your writing, to better appeal to customers you’re missing out on, and which parts of your website need better copy.

Google offers free certification in AdWords and Analytics here.

4. Understanding the business side of social media

Everyone uses Facebook. But there’s a big difference between maintaining a personal profile and a business page. Most companies have a presence on the major social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest).

So, as a copywriter, you’ll have to understand how to advertise on those services and how to write content that users of those services want to see. After all, to get likes and shares on social media you have to provide useful, interesting content.

Aside from writing social media posts, you’ll also be scheduling posts in advance, paying for promoted posts, and analyzing your posts to see which ones perform well and which ones perform poorly.

Learn Social Media Marketing from Northwestern University on Coursera.

5. Becoming a real-time researcher

In the internet age, research no longer means taking a trip to the library and cross-referencing materials. With social media and the 24-hour news cycle, you’ll need to develop fast and effective research techniques. First, learn how to search Google.

Did you know that you can use Google to search within specific websites? How about that you can search for results that only appear on social media? Knowing how to search effectively on Google will make you a valuable asset and it only takes a few minutes to learn the basics.

You’ll also want to know how to set up Google Alerts. You can use these to keep tabs on your company’s public image, as well as the activity of your competitors.

Finally, a good researcher knows how to find trending topics and take advantage of the buzz. A good way to find out what information is up-and coming is by using Google Trends.


Those five skills are enough to get you started in copywriting. Check out some of our related posts to learn more!




Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

4 Best Online Courses to Learn Web Development for Beginners

Learning basic web development skills is a great way to add marketable skills to your resume. It can also be a lucrative career in itself, with professional developers earning between $45,000 and $86,000 annually.

There are multiple roles to be played in web development. From creating intuitive web applications, to managing ecommerce stores, and creating responsive, mobile-friendly designs, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re totally new to the field of web development and design, all of this might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are several excellent introductory courses in web development for beginners.

From writing simple HTML and CSS code and creating simple websites, to working with servers and databases in the back end, these courses will help you dive into the world of web development.

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Codecademy

If you have little to no experience with web development, Codecademy is a great place to start. You can create a free account and learn the basics of HTML and CSS.

HTML is the markup language that gives a website its basic structure. Think of HTML as the of nouns, or building blocks, of the website. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, and it is what determines the style of the website such as colors, fonts, and the size and shape of various elements on your web page. Think of CSS as the adjectives of the website.

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Mozilla Developer Network

While Codecademy is a great introduction to writing code, it’s only part of the picture. To actually make a website you’ll need to create and edit files, choose a text editor, and learn a bit about site structures to make a website that actually functions.

The Mozilla Developer Network provides simple guides that address all of the above. It will help you code and publish your first simple site from start to finish.

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Web Design for Everybody

By now you’re probably craving for something with a bit more elegance and depth than the simple “Hello World!” type sites you’ve coded thus far. If so, it’s time to move on to a more formal course where you learn some industry standards and start experimenting with JavaScript, the language responsible for all of the interactive aspects of the websites you visit on a daily basis.

Coursera’s Web Design for Everybody is a collection of five courses that cover HTML, CSS, and Javascript. What’s more, upon completion of this course you’ll have a portfolio of your projects so you can show off your skills at creating elegant, responsive web applications to future employers or your current supervisor.

Since this course is an ongoing effort, your work will be peer reviewed, and your capstone portfolio project will be overseen by a teaching assistant to keep you on the right track.

Many learners find that they succeed when they have a support system of teachers and other students who are equally excited about the work you’re creating. If you’re one of those learners, this course might be for you.

Get started here.

 

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree

Similar to Coursera’s course, Udacity’s nanodegree program provides an introduction to HTML, CSS, and Javascript. You’ll also create projects that you can put on your resume or in your portfolio once you’ve finished the course.

While this and other courses claim to make you “job-ready,” it’s important to realize that web development takes a lot of experimenting and trial & error to master. That can mean years for some people, and months for others, depending on how much time you dedicate each day to learning.





Free Introduction to Marketing Online Courses EdReporter

The Top Four Free Intro to Marketing Online Courses

Whether you’re making a career change to digital marketing or you’re thinking of choosing marketing as your college major, there are a number of intro to marketing courses out there that will give you an overview of the industry.

In this article, we’re going to give you a breakdown of some of those courses because, as you may know, not all online classes are created equal. Some focus on practice, some on theory, and some just focus on getting you to buy their premium service.

While there are many excellent paid online courses in digital marketing, we’re going to focus on the four best free courses available right now. That way you have nothing to lose but time, and we’re going to try and help you use that wisely with one of these four courses.

EdReporter Intro MarketingedX: Intro to Marketing

edX is a collaboration between Harvard University and MIT designed to provide free, college-level courses to learners around the world. Since it began in 2009, over 10 million people have enrolled in their courses.

The Introduction to Marketing course, hosted by the University of British Columbia, is one of their most popular selections. The course consists of six weeks worth of video lectures provided by two UBC professors.

It combines basic marketing theory and best practices with case studies of popular companies like Oreo, Hershey, and Mars. (Yeah, this course made us hungry, too.)

Quizzes after each unit and an active discussion board make this course pretty interactive. While it’s free, there is a $50 certification you can pay for, which edX will remind you of several times throughout the course.

Is it worth it?

edX users rate this course 4.5 out of 5, and we agree that it is a fascinating intro that will pique your interest in marketing. However, in terms of learning hard skills–like ad writing and data analysis–you’ll have to look forward to some other courses on our list.

EdReporter Marketing Google Challenge introGoogle Online Marketing Challenge

Google has long been an authority in the world of online marketing. They decide which businesses get noticed and which ones end up on page 86 of your Google search.

They’re also the de facto ruler of online advertising, which you can easily dig into with their AdWords program. And, if you want to analyze the traffic to your site to learn valuable information about your customers, Google Analytics is the only tool you’ll need.

What we didn’t mention, however, is that AdWords and Analytics are incredibly powerful and complex programs that can come with a bit of a learning curve. But through the Google Academy, you can take several courses that show you the ins and outs of both programs.

If you pass two of the AdWords tests, you can get a free certification to show off your advertising chops. And, if you conquer the Analytics exam you’ll receive a certification for that as well.

The Google Online Marketing Challenge is essentially all of the Google AdWords and Analytics courses packaged together.

What you’ll learn  

The Google Marketing Challenge is all about mastering Google’s tools. You’ll learn by doing as you manage AdWords and Analytics accounts–whether they’re your own or Google’s simulation account.

You get hands-on experience with managing accounts that will be comparable to what you would do for your clients on a day-to-day basis if you decide to go into the online marketing profession.

EdReporter Marketing Hubspot Inbound introHubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification Course

HubSpot has been creating marketing tools and software for over ten years. In that time, they’ve become one of the most trusted sources of inbound marketing strategies and best practices.

In their free inbound marketing certification course, you’ll learn the following modules over the span of about five hours:

  • Inbound marketing fundamentals
  • Search engine optimization
  • Creating purposeful content
  • Blogging fundamentals
  • Using social media
  • Creating calls-to-action
  • Creating a landing page
  • Customizing email campaigns

Furthermore, you’ll be introduced to HubSpot’s inbound software, an industry standard for online marketers.

Each segment of the course is broken up into three parts:

  1. Why the topic is important to inbound marketing
  2. Best practices for the topic
  3. What the looks like in the real world

 

 

EdReporter digital marketing world coursera introCoursera: Marketing in a Digital World

The final course on our list is similar to the first edX course. This time it comes from the University of Illinois in a four-week, self-guided study called Marketing in a Digital World.

Like other courses on the list, this Coursera class makes ample use of case studies to describe effective marketing strategies.

Choosing just got easier: Try Coursera risk-free today!

The course is broken into four units:

  1. Intro to the latest tools and trends that are enabling customers to play a more active role in the products they use
  2. Digital tools for promoting products and persuading customers
  3. How products are distributed in a digital world
  4. The way the digital environment is affecting how products are priced

This course is forward thinking. It uses examples from companies like Threadless and Pepsi, and even the band Radiohead to discuss the ways in which our world is changing and how the online marketing industry can adapt to meet those changes.


Which online marketing class did you decide to take? Let us know in the comments!

 



Three Google Certifications - EdReporter

Quick Facts About the Google Marketing Certifications and a Few Other Useful Tools

The Google marketing tools are some of the most powerful in the biz. Anyone who’s serious about online marketing has likely used either Google AdWords or Google Analytics at some point.

What many don’t know is that Google offers certifications for three of their tools. These certifications are a way for you to show off your qualifications to potential clients or future employers. The best part? They’re free.

Getting your certifications

However, getting certified isn’t all that easy. You’ll need to pass exams that can run up to 90 minutes in length, and you’ll need to get at least 80% of the questions correct to pass.

The three certifications offered by Google are for AdWords, Analytics, and Mobile Sites. To give you a brief introduction to these three courses and certifications, we’ve created this handy infographic.

Google Certification infographic

To start earning your Google certifications, head over to the Google Partners page and register for an account.

Other tools offered by Google

Aside from the three certifications mentioned above, Google offers a host of other valuable tools for marketing professionals. We’ll break them down for you:

Google Trends

A useful tool for comparing keywords, Google Trends shows you the popularity of search trends over time. They’ll also provide you with geographical data for the search terms and a list of related terms that you may want to consider for SEO.

Google Trends is free, simple, and easy to access making it a good tool to visit when you need some quick input. For more advanced analysis and reporting, you’ll find all of that and more in Google Analytics.

Google Trends Screenshot EdReporter

Google Alerts

Have you ever Googled yourself to see what information about you is public? Google Alerts lets you set up an alert for a search term, like your name or your business. As a marketer, this will help you keep track of your business’ online presence. It’s an important public relations tool as well as a way to keep tabs on your competition.

Google Search Console

Google’s main function is as a search engine. The way they provide users with billions of search results pages every day is by crawling the web to find content. When your website is new, you can register it on Google Search Console to help it get recognized by the web crawler.

Search Console also lets you set a target country so your information is getting in front of the right people.

The final reason to use Search Console is to submit a sitemap. A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like, it provides a hierarchy of links on your website so that search engines like Google don’t miss parts of your website.

Google My Business

Setting up your business page on Google My Business will improve your performance in localized searches as well as on Google Maps. Both of these are instrumental if you own a brick and mortar business that relies on local leads and customers.

Setting up your business page is pretty simple. You just have to prove your business address by receiving a postcard from Google (which is a cool enough reason in itself to sign up).

Sign up here.




Google Certification EdReporter

Google Marketing Certifications That Can Advance Your Career

Anyone in the field of online marketing will tell you that Google is instrumental to what they do on a day-to-day basis.

For better or worse, Google collects an almost unimaginable amount of data from their users. They then use that data to make money by showing us ads via their popular AdWords service. If you want to excel in the world of digital marketing, you’ll need to be well-versed in the way Google handles information.

Aside from AdWords, Google creates many other powerful tools for managing you or your clients’ online presence. Analytics, Google Trends, Keyword Planner and Search Console to name a few.

Three of these tools are in such high demand in marketing departments around the world that Google has created a certification system for marketing professionals who want to show that they know their stuff when it comes to Google.

However, getting certified isn’t always necessary, and Google isn’t always the best place to learn–even if you’re learning about the very tools they’ve created.

 

 

AdWords certification EdReporter

Google AdWords Certification

AdWords is arguably Google’s most important contribution to the world of digital marketing. It enables you to create advertising campaigns across various platforms–search engines, apps, YouTube videos, and more.

Additionally, you’ll be able to display those ads across a wide variety of websites in Google’s massive display network. At last count, the Display network reaches 90% of internet users across over 2 million websites.

In AdWords, you can create, test, tweak, and monitor an endless number of advertisements. You can monitor your performance, try new approaches, and customize yourself to death with all of the features.

As a result, learning Google AdWords requires time, patience, and plenty of trips to online forums.

But should you get certified?

Yes. But not for the reason you might think.

The training courses Google provides for AdWords are a great introduction to the program. It will remove the intimidation factor of seeing the complex interface of AdWords for the first time. Plus, if you’re new to advertising, it’s also a good way to learn the basics of effective ad writing.

To get certified you’ll need to pass at least two AdWords tests, including the Fundamentals exam. The other exams are all based on the five key components of AdWords–Search advertising, Display advertising, Video ads, Mobile ads, and shopping ads. Each exam comes with a free online course that is thorough and easy to follow.

 

 

Analytics certification EdReporter

Google Analytics Certification

Google’s second certification is for their powerful analytics tool. Since it was launched back in 2005, Google Analytics has become the most widely used analytics tool for marketers and web developers to determine how well their site is performing. Here are just some of the things you can learn from Analytics:

Data about your visitors

  • Where they’re from, geographically
  • Their age and gender
  • What browser they use
  • Whether they’re on mobile

Metrics about your visitors

  • Track conversions
  • Track the bounce rate (visiting only one page of your site)
  • The amount of time spent on various pages within your website
  • Determine where your visitors come from (search engines, referral links from other sites, clicks on ads you pay for, etc.)

What’s more, you can then take all of that data and run reports. You can make changes to your site to try to encourage more traffic that converts, bring in readers who stay on your site longer, or whatever else your goals may be.

If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Mastering Google Analytics takes a lot of time and practice. That’s where Google Academy comes in.

Google offers two free Analytics training courses, Google Analytics for Beginners and Advanced Google Analytics. The courses mostly consist of video lectures with assessments at the end of each unit. However, the advanced course includes guided tour and exercises of the program–something that other Google Analytics courses from third party creators doesn’t have.

So, should you get certified?

Yes. Google Analytics is in high demand in most marketing departments. Having your certification will make you an asset.

However, getting certified won’t be enough to master this powerful tool. You’ll need hands on experience running reports and analyzing data to get a firm grasp on how Google Analytics works.

To get your certification, you’ll need to pass a 70-question exam with a score of 80% or more. Passing earns you a Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) that is good for 18 months. Then you’ll have to pass the test again to re-certify. Get started here.

 

Mobile Sites certification EdReporter

Google Mobile Sites

The third and final certification offered by Google is Mobile Sites. The exam is designed to test your knowledge of mobile sites–how to make them user-friendly and improve their speed.

If your first thought is, “I’m in marketing; it’s the web developer’s job to make sure the site runs smoothly and is mobile-friendly” then you’re probably right. For many marketing professionals, this is a topic that is outside their jurisdiction. However, with a growing number of marketers doubling as web editors and vice versa, this is a topic that could someday be relevant to you.

There is one other issue with the certification. Mobile websites are falling out of fashion in favor of responsive design. Companies used to have a dedicated mobile version of their website (think “m.edreporter.com”) it has become common practice to simply make websites easier to read and navigate on mobile.

So, should you get Google Mobile Sites certified?

Probably not. While it is important to have a fast and user-friendly website, studying for this course and taking the time to get certified is probably overkill.

You won’t find many job descriptions asking for marketing professionals with this certification, and you probably won’t find yourself trying to create a mobile site from the ground up as a marketer anyway.

Instead, just keep the idea of user experience and speed in mind when testing your website and make changes, like compressing images and simplifying the layout, as necessary.

 



Five Free Marketing Certifications - EdReporter

Five Free Online Marketing Courses with Certifications

The world of online marketing is always evolving. So, whether you’re fresh out of school or a grizzled veteran it pays to stay on top of the latest marketing trends and to learn new skills.

That’s where online courses can be vital to your career.

There are a growing number of online certifications for marketers who want to add new lines to their resume, whether it’s email marketing, advertising, SEO, social media, or analytics.

 

EdReporter

The nature of the courses vary. Some offer free certification, others don’t. Some are open to anyone whereas others require a membership. In this list, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each course so you can choose your time wisely. After all, you don’t want to spend 20 hours completing an online class only to realize you have to pay $200 for the certification.

Here’s our list of the best online marketing courses with certifications.

 

EdReporter AdWords

1. Google AdWords Certification

AdWords is one of the most comprehensive ways for businesses to advertise their products and services and any marketing professional could benefit from knowing how to create an effective online advertisement.

There are a number of companies out there offering excellent AdWords courses with certification. Many of them also charge you hundreds of dollars for the privilege.

But the best one comes, conveniently, right from Google themselves. The best part? It’s free to take the courses and to get certified.

Here’s what you need to do to get AdWords certified:

  • Register (for free) to Google Partners here.
  • Click on the AdWords Fundamentals Exam and take the free online course (remember to take notes!).
  • Take the AdWords Fundamentals exam and one additional exam. A Passing score of 80% or more is required. For your second exam, choose a course that most applies to your marketing role or interests. You can choose from Search, Display, Shopping, Video (YouTube), or Mobile advertising.
  • Once you pass your exams you can share your certification via your personalized certificate or your public profile page on Google Partners.
  • These certifications are valid for one year, so make sure you add a reminder in your calendar to retake the exams next year.

Get started with Google AdWords here.

 

2. HubSpot Email Marketing Certification

If Google is the undisputed champ of search engines, then HubSpot is their inbound marketing equivalent. HubSpot provides a suite of software that is all optimized for attracting customers and converting leads.

One of HubSpot’s strengths is their powerful email marketing software for creating beautiful email templates and then letting you test and tweak your emails to optimize results. However, even if you don’t use HubSpot and favor another service like MailChimp or MailerLite, you can still learn a ton from HubSpot’s email marketing course.

The course will take you around 3.5 hours and covers topics like email design, deliverability, and analytics to help get the most out of your email list. Since HubSpot are marketing wizards, you’ll find that the course modules are beautifully designed and easy to follow.

Here’s what you need to know to get HubSpot certified:

  • The exam is 60 questions and you’ll have 90 minutes to complete it.
  • You need to score a 75 or above for a passing grade.
  • Your certification is valid for 25 months after completing the exam.

Begin the HubSpot email marketing certification here.

 

3. SEO Training Course by Moz

Search engine optimization. It’s a term that people have heard hundreds of times but you can rarely find someone able to explain how to do it right. One reason SEO is so complicated is that Google is secretive with how they rank webpages.

At last count, Google uses around 200 factors to determine where a page ends up in someone’s Google search. Some are obvious, like being readable and related to the user’s search terms. Others are more obscure, such as the many ways Google penalizes sites for acting spammy.

Moz has been a trusted source of tools and information on SEO for over a decade. They’ve even created their own scoring system to determine a website’s search rank. Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) are two metrics very popular in the marketing world and they were both developed by Moz.

Now Moz has made their techniques available for all to learn via a free course on Udemy. All Udemy courses come with a PDF certification that you can download and show off to your boss or grandmother.

Here’s how to get certified:

After the intense study and examination process of the Google and HubSpot courses, you’ll be relieved to learn that this class is offered in the form of casual videos with no formal test at the end. Just make a Udemy account, watch the 3.5 hours of lectures, take some notes, and try out these techniques the next time you’re crafting content for a website.

Make your free Udemy account and start the course here.

 

4. Social Media Marketing Courses on Lynda

Social media is probably the most fickle part of online marketing. Platforms are constantly changing their policies, adding features, getting bought out and dropping off the face of the earth. To do your job as a marketer you have to find a way to keep up with all of that to provide quality content and effectively manage your clients (and your own) social media accounts.

Lynda.com has been dishing out quality tutorials for years. When I was learning video editing in college I learned more from Lynda than I did from my actual professors.

On their website, you’ll find an abundance of social media courses. At the time of writing this, there are 33 courses with 932 video tutorials all about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more.

The one catch is that Lynda.com isn’t free. You’ll have to pay a $20 monthly membership. However, there are a few ways to get Lynda for free. First, check your local library–many of them offer free memberships to their patrons. (Hint: many large cities offer this perk, so ask your family and friends as well if you can access theirs.) Alternatively, many colleges and universities offer memberships to their students, but with the cost of tuition these days I would be remiss if I said you were getting anything for free.

Get started by heading to Lynda.com.

 

5. Google Analytics Certifications

Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for anyone with a website or blog. There’s a massive amount of information you can learn and use in Analytics. Among them:

  • Who your visitors are–their location, the language they speak, the browser they use, and so on
  • Which websites send traffic to your site
  • Which marketing techniques bring the most visitors to your website
  • The number of conversions your website creates
  • The content that is the most popular on your website

With this information you can run detailed reports to better understand your customers and how they interact with your website. No other company in the world has as much data as Google. Analytics is a way for you to put all of that data to work in your favor.

However, with all that data comes a steep learning curve, making Analytics a difficult (but not impossible) tool to master.

So, here’s how to get certified:

  • If you haven’t already, go make a free Google Partners account.
  • Head to the Google Analytics Academy and take the free Analytics for Beginners course.
  • Access the Analytics Demo to start familiarizing yourself with the interface.
  • Analytics is a very complex tool, so don’t get frustrated if it seems like you aren’t getting anywhere. Visit forums or the Analytics blog to get answers to your questions.
  • Take the Advanced Google Analytics course to learn the finer details of what Analytics can do, and make sure to use these examples in real life to solidify your knowledge.
  • Finally, get certified by taking the free Google Analytics Individual Qualification Exam from your Google Partners account page.

You’ll have 90 minutes to complete the exam and will need a passing score of 80% or more. Your certification will be valid for 18 months before you need to re-certify. If you don’t pass the exam on your first try, you can retake it after seven days.

Get Analytics certified for free here.

That’s it! And remember: the best way to master these skills–SEO, email marketing, social media, Analytics and Adwords–is to practice them as you learn.