1. Start a blog on a subject that you enjoy enough to write regularly that isn't critical to the success and failure of your business. Use it as a testing ground, and experiment with plugins, with the layout, with the graphics, with themes, with different styles of blog posts, and more. Optimize your blog, install Google Analytics and verify it at Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Read everything you can from the Search Engines on their help pages, their corporate pages, their blogs, their patents and whitepapers and more. Don't limit yourself to Google, but look at other search engines as well, including Yahoo, Bing, Blekko, Duck Duck Go, WolframAlpha, etc. Do the same with social networks such as Facebook, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Google Plus. Watch the video tutorials from Google on Google Analytics, on Adwords, etc. Look at these as primary sources, but try to understand the motivations behind what they share and why.
3. Visit the Google Webmaster Central Help forums (http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en) everyday and learn about the problems and issues that site owners have, and see if you can figure out solutions for those problems. You don't necessarily have to post responses or solutions or suggestions to the people who bring their problems to the forums, but you can if you want to.
4. Study successful sites, or sites that you think are successful. Try to understand why they are. Why does Wikipedia tend to rank so well in search results for instance? What positive or negative things are sites like Huffington Post or Sears or Dell doing? Think critically about their designs, their usability, their methods of communication, their use of social networks, how they optimize their pages. Do they use robots.txt files? Do they seem to focus upon specific keyword phrases for different pages? Do they have unique URLs for each page on their site?
5. Try out and get involved with other online services such as Google Mapmaker and Google Earth, Wikipedia, Hacker News, Facebook, Google Plus, and others. Learn as much as you can about how they work, what their rules and policies are, and how and why people use them.
6. Find tutorials on HTML, CSS, PHP, and other web-based technologies. Search for [tutorial css] for example, to find some. You can often find some good ones on .edu sites, so try a search for something like [site:edu tutorial css]. Visit lots of sites and look at the source code for those pages to see how they do what they do.
7. Visit Webdesign, SEO, and Technology forums, and read, but with a critical eye. Lurk for a fair while before you participate in any of them, and learn about the people who are participating at those. Take just about everything you read with some rational skepticism and an with an intent to test and try things out on your own. Maintain a civil and polite presence on those, follow their rules, and avoid arguments. It's OK to "agree to disagree" with someone.
Any other suggestions?
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