** Updated Oct 5, 2017
I’m not immune to technology snares. Especially me because it’s my job to push the envelope a bit, try out new things, and then trim back to what works. Call it the pains of growth.
However, it’s quite embarrassing when my own website hiccups – being a website expert and all.
From coding computer games on the Commodore-64 in the 80s (37 years ago at age 8), to late nights at the pod in Binghamton University, to writing actuarial software at my old insurance company, TIAA-CREF, I’ve done battle with and slain many tech sea monsters.
Yes, it’s can get as ugly as Beowulf’s sea monster battle (warning: gory).
And, here are my top tips for handling tech issues for you, the non-techie coach.
1. Reset Stuff
This should probably come before the others.
Often a quick reset of the computer, the browser, and even logging in and out of your website sets forth things in motion that resolve technical matters.
If it’s slowness, you can also try disconnecting from wifi, resetting your wifi box (wait a solid minute as it triggers actions at the service provider as well).
Another good move is to wait a bit, especially if you’ve tried some quick fixes already.
There are all kinds of checks, tests and monitors from your computer screen to your website host and everywhere else in the world.
These things often catch problems like overloaded servers, busy internet highways, and tech failures.
Wait a minute, try again. Wait 10 minutes, try again. Wait an hour, try again.
If your problem is big, like your website is down an hour before you do a webinar, then seek expert technical help fast.
3. Call for help
Do NOT waste hours of your own time on technical stuff if you can get an answer quickly from someone else. If you have a web designer, call or send an email if it isn’t urgent. Contact the software company such as your hosting company. If it’s a theme provider or payment service company, contact them.
It’s easy to spend hours of your own time on tech issues. I’ve done it plenty. In the 12+ years of building websites online, getting things done quickly is the name of the game. Finding an answer in 15 minutes surely beats hours of frustration.
4. Do a quick search
You’d be surprised to find that no matter what your issue is, someone else has been there and found an answer. Just search online using words related to your problem. Just do your best to describe your challenge to google. For example, “can’t log into wordpress on macbook using safari”
Often, you can just copy, word for word, any error message to find a quick answer.
If you’re 20 minutes of searching is not finding an answer, you should try something else.
5. Find a group
LinkedIn groups are great for getting help. Group members are often seeking new projects and are willing to provide help to impress. Just find the group on X (e.g. WordPress, Joomla, Php, etc). There are groups out there for all kinds of technology. For WordPress, two groups come to mind: WordPress Web Designers and WordPress Experts.
There are also Google Groups, Facebook Groups and others on the Web where you can search for savvy people.
StackOverflow.com is also another haven for techies – lots of smart people there.
6. Ask Facebook
Yep. Ask your friends by posting it to your status update. If you know a friend in particular, ask him or her directly, yes. But, simply posting it as a status update will get it to your friends.
If your friend doesn’t know, they probably know someone who does.
7. Find a work around
Sometimes we don’t have time to resolve an issue now or the resources to do so are beyond what we’re willing to invest (time, money, etc).
Finding a plan B is certainly an option.
For example, you’re about to fly off on vacation, and your website form for getting in touch with you isn’t working. You can just take it down, and add your phone and/or email address as the method for which people should reach you.
Don’t forget to TEST!
After you fix something, test it thoroughly. When things break, they can have a domino effect on other areas of your website. So, be sure to test out the fix and ensure things are running smoothly.
Not testing is novice mistake #1. They fix something, ignore testing, and find out days to weeks later it didn’t actually work. Bad!