Step By Step - Pros And Cons

by 14 comments
You see it posted here a lot.

"Does anybody know of a step by step guide for..."

And fill in the blank. Could be just about anything when it comes to Internet
marketing since there are so many variables involved from advertising to sales
letters to creating an autoresponder series. And the list goes on and on.

Now, there is something to be said for step by step instructions. I personally
love them because they give me a definite path to follow. And in the case of
putting together a piece of furniture, they're almost critical to have. And if
you're a technical idiot like I am, they're a must have for anything computer

But step by step instructions are not without their problems. The best way
to illustrate them is with a true story.

When I was in school learning networking, I was given specific step by
step instructions for installing a Novell network. They were great. All I
did was complete each step and I was done. I installed a Novell server and
a bunch of workstations. Wonderful.

Here was the problem.

Because I had these instructions, I never really had to "learn" and
"understand" what I was doing. As a result, when I got into a work
environment, I was worthless without them. I couldn't think on my feet.
If anything went wrong, or if I inadvertently skipped a step, I didn't know
enough about what I was doing to have any clue where I screwed up.

This same problem could be traced back to my days in school with certain
math classes, especially trig. I could follow the step by steps of a particular
example, but to actually apply the principle of what I was doing was so
hard because I really didn't "learn" the theory. I just did it by rote. And
this is the problem with many kids in today's schools.

So while step by step instructions may get you immediately through a
problem, if it's a process that you're going to have to do more than once,
depending on those step by step instructions is going to slow you down
and ultimately keep you from really learning and understanding what you're

Sure, if it's a one shot deal such as setting up an Adwords account or a
Squidoo lens, it's not that big a deal. But if you're planning on setting up
several accounts or lenses, it would be a whole lot more efficient if you
knew the routine by memory and then actually understood it. That allows
you to make certain modifications that you wouldn't be able to make if you
had to religiously rely on those instructions.

I could give a million examples of what I mean but I am sure you get the

Step by step instructions do have their place. But if you're going to better
yourself in that area, you're going to someday have to go beyond them.
#internet marketing #cons #pros #step
  • Profile picture of the author David Raybould
    Hey Steven,

    Yeah you're right, step by step can be a great way to learn, but at some point you're going to need some knowledge to fill in the blanks outside of what you learned, "flesh it out" as they say.

    That's especially true in IM, as things change, we have to adapt and learn etc.

    Actually, you can probably relate to this, it reminds of musicians I meet occasionally. You know the guys who learn to play just one or two songs because they love a band or whatever, but outside of that they can't play anything else.

    We could probably draw comparisons to about a thousand other things too.

    I guess the whole point I'm trying to make is that the best way of moving forward with a step by step plan is to try and learn the principles behind it, so that if something does change or one of your steps is removed or something, you'll at least have an idea of what that step was for so you can replace it or work around it or whatever.

    Interesting stuff...

  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Flask
    Excellent points Steven.

    Step by step plans or instructions do have their place, but
    they also have their limitations. They are not the be all to end

    They are OK to get someone started and pointed in a direction,
    but not every direction or destination is the same for each person.
    Nor where they begin from for that matter.

    This is where applied knowledge and learning from one's mistakes
    can be the truer lesson.

    It takes failure to succeed. The only failure is the mistake made
    that no one learns from.


    p.s. - I HATED trig...:p
    • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
      I learn best about things I don't understand by having a step by step approach. Once I've followed the steps, I can figure out how to integrate the information and adapt it for my use.

      I'm doing this for PPC right now, actually.

      On the other hand, doing something step by step and never figuring out why you're doing them is a problem, and you're never going to grow with that approach. But I'm not sure that's a flaw in the programs. A person who can't or won't learn and adapt a step by step program seems unlikely to be able to codge their own together from other stuff.

      But then, I'm the kind of guy whp starts assembling furniture by throwing out the instruction.

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