Whether you handle computer tasks involved in running your small business or personal brand, or you have employees or contractors who do it for you, the more you know, the better. Possessing the right basic computer skills makes so many tasks—from data entry to bookkeeping to analytics to digital marketing and more—a lot quicker and easier. And it never hurts to know what other people are talking about, and even how to perform their duties if it ever becomes necessary.
If you’ve been left behind in some computer-related areas and wish you were more proficient, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to catch up and learn basic computer and web skills. All it takes is setting aside the time.
Check your local library, as many offer free classes covering various computer and technology skills. You can also take or audit courses at an area college. There are also numerous courses available online. If you’re willing to pay, the sky’s the limit; if not, there’s still a good deal of free online instruction.
Free Computer Skills Courses on the Web
All of these courses are through Alison, Udemy, or other reputable and respected sources of paid and free online classes. Everything listed here is made for beginners.
- Touch Typing Training Course – If you never learned to type correctly or other fundamentals of keyboard use, you’re losing far too much time to hunting and pecking. Less than 2 hours with this course gets you well on your way to becoming a much more efficient computer user.
- Fundamentals of Google Docs – It only takes a little under an hour to get acquainted with Google’s endlessly useful web-based office suite and data storage service with this simple, enlightening course.
- Excel 2016 – Microsoft’s spreadsheet program is a fantastic tool with countless potential applications. This free 5-hour course is a recommended time investment in becoming more organized and efficient.
- Mastering Microsoft PowerPoint Tutorial – PowerPoint is the leading software for professional presentations, from sales pitches to public speaking engagements to employee training materials and so much more. This course offers 6+ hours of instruction for beginner to advanced use.
- Google Analytics Training Course for Beginners – Google Analytics is the ultimate tool for monitoring the performance of your website. In just an hour, you learn how to install Google Analytics, customize it for your needs, and understand and apply the data.
- Google AdSense – If you want to advertise your products or services online, Google AdSense is one main avenue. Don’t count on it being intuitive, though; you need to learn how to use it, or you’ll waste a lot of money. Get ahead on the learning curve with this 2-hour tutorial.
- Exploring Google Apps – Google Apps help businesses increase productivity and security and otherwise better use the internet. Learn about the different apps available through Google Marketplace and how to apply them, plus see real-life examples of how brands are using these tools to achieve greater success.
- SEO Training – Few areas of web design and digital marketing are as poorly understood as search engine optimization. Familiarize yourself with all the important basics, or hang in there for up to about 10 hours to complete the course and become quite knowledgeable.
- Intro to HTML and CSS – These programming languages are the building blocks of the web. Even a basic understanding lets you do so much more with your website. Learn how to build static web pages and meet responsive design needs for mobile friendliness in 18 hours divided evenly over 3 weeks.
- Adobe Photoshop – Some basic Photoshop skills let you easily and affordably create all sorts of customized images for all sorts of informational and marketing purposes. Make it possible by spending about 2.5 hours on this tutorial.
- Adobe Illustrator: Mastering the Fundamentals – If you’re interested in creating your own imagery, Adobe Illustrator is a popular program used by designers. While Photoshop is best for manipulating images, Illustrator is geared toward creating original graphics. This 2-hour course gets you well on your way.
- Adobe InDesign Made Easy – Here’s a free course for further developing your graphic design capabilities—particularly for print materials. Go up to 11 hours with this class, from beginner to advanced, and learn all about the amazing InDesign graphic design tool.
- Fundamentals of Marketing Your Business Online – There’s so much involved in digital marketing these days, it’s overwhelming. In 1 to 2 hours, this course walks you through creating and implementing an online marketing plan and introduces you to some of the key tools for tracking your success.
- Branding Your Business – Get insights into the process of creating and enacting a branding strategy to give your business a strong identity that appeals to your target market. In 1.5 hours, you get a good sense of how and why branding is essential to long-term success, and how to start making it happen.
- Marketing on LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the leading social media site specifically for professionals. In under an hour, you learn how to set up a strong profile, how to use the site effectively for networking and lead generation, and what not to do there.
- Social Networking and Viral Marketing Using Facebook – Facebook is the most social and most-used social media site. It has enormous social media marketing potential. It takes up to 10 hours to complete this class, but it’s a smart time investment that starts with the most basic aspects of using Facebook and takes you through more advanced use.
- Using Twitter – In about 1.5 hours, this course will demystify this sometimes confusing social media site. It teaches you all the basics of getting started, growing your following on the site, and using Twitter to build your brand awareness and success.
- Using YouTube – Video marketing is big and getting bigger, and YouTube is the biggest site for doing it. It just takes a little over an hour to see how to create an account, set up your brand’s channel, upload videos, and perform other tasks on the site.
- 21 Days to Building a Web Business – If you’ve been thinking about launching an online business, but feel too restrained by a lack of familiarity with what’s involved, this 6-hour class is a great place to start. Of course, there’s a lot more to being successful, but this gets you started with an understanding of the fundamentals involved.