I first went online in early 1996 and the whole concept of ‘surfing the web’ was unreal.
I could see what the weather was like anywhere in the world, I could write and send emails to people and they would receive it within minutes (I was still sending letters to family and penpals back then!) and I could also chat with just about anyone, on any topic on Yahoo! Chat and IRC.
It’s been a life changing experience where I now make my living through total use of the internet – in fact, without it , my career wouldn’t exist. And as much as I’ve done well with this amazing technology over the years, there are some things i wish I had been told back when I first went online – things I wish I had known so I could have gotten in on the action a lot earlier than I did.
So here’s some advice I would have given myself back in 1996:
- Buy domain names. You may not have the money for it but start saving, start buying and sit on it. Some of those domains have potential to be big projects, others might just be a cool name that’s worth something to someone else. The point is: domain names will be a very important part of the future and you need to get in on the ground floor.
- Learn to code. Learning HTML and CSS will help you in 1997 when you start designing websites from scratch using Netscape Composer and Notepad but this will be a core part of your future and you need to know all there is to it. Learn about databases, dynamic websites and the languages that power the Internet and start putting them to use. Don’t just make simple websites – build communities!
- Understand how search engines work. Right now there’s 2 guys working on something that will change how the world finds information on the Internet but once you understand how search engines work, you’ll be better equipped to understand how their technology works and once this happens, you’ll be as good as Matt Cutts. Don’t worry, you’ll know who he is soon enough!
What would you liked to have known back in the day when you first went online?