What is a webmaster?
A webmaster is responsible for maintaining and updating a website. I think the role needs to be kept quite general because there is an overlap with so many other online marketing activities that a webmaster can do. It’s important to make the distinction between the general activities and the specialist activities that may need someone of a higher skill level.
If you have a tiny business then you are probable the webmaster of your website.
Should you be a webmaster?
If you are technically confident and have 2 or 3 hours to spare a month to maintain your website then yes, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be the webmaster of your website. However, if you struggle with the tech or you are overloaded with work then it is easier to employ an experienced webmaster.
I offer webmaster services. It is a tailored service and prices depend on several factors. For a quote pease contact me.
WordPress Webmaster activities
A WordPress webmaster needs to know how to do the following tasks on a WordPress website, this is the absolute minimum list of activities. A webmaster is quite often a web developer since the role of webmaster is very technical.
1. Make changes to the content
That means adding blogs and images and updating existing content. Expect content changes to be needed on a monthly basis. You may want to update blogs, update events, tweak your home page to reflect small changes in your business, add testimonials etc.
It is possible to hire someone to just add content to your website, in this case they would just be an admin assistant and you shouldn’t call them a webmaster if they are only updating content.
2. Create new pages
You may need a new landing page or services page. Expect to add new pages (excluding blog articles) every quarter. As you release new programs or services you will need new landing pages and perhaps you may want to add funnels to your website. Large changes should be consistent with your marketing plan so plan to revise your marketing every quarter and plan your website changes accordingly. When you create a new page, you may need graphic design. It is best to let the graphic designer design your page and the webmaster implement the changes for you.
3. Keep the plugins and core software updated
WordPress plugins and software are frequently updated. It is important to keep your website update with these changes. As a webmaster, you will need to know how to test changes on a staging site so you don’t break the live site. You will also need to know how to fix errors should they arise. Expect to make updates at least once per month. I recommend twice a month if you have the time.
4. Keep the website error free
Sometimes, your website might develop an error. This can happen when a plugin update or core software update has happened but you haven’t fully tested it on your website. Also, your hosting company can update server settings which can then cause errors on your website. You will need to regularly check your website for errors and have a plan of action should you encounter a problem. You should check in with your website on a weekly basis to make sure it has no obvious errors.
5. Ensure the website loads fast
A speedy website is very important to keep your visitors happy. You need to know how to check the website speed and improve the page should the page be loading slowly. You need to understand how webpages are loaded and what affects their speed. The ability to use caching plugins is important. You should check speed and optimise if necessary after each plugin and software update.
6. Make sure the website is secure
You will need to understand what security threats are and how you can secure your site against them. Selecting and configuring security plugins is a big part of this task. This job needs to be done just once but you will need to keep updated with security news to make sure you aware of any security changes.
7. Liase with the hosting company
You need to be prepared to speak to your hosting company regularly if you encounter problems such as slow low speed, site going off line, security breaches and site errors. A good hosting company can help a lot.
8. Manage spam and other blog comments
You will need to monitor and manage any spam comments on your blog. You will also need to reply to legitimate comments on your blog.
9. Keep the database clean
You should occasionally clean the database of old content. This will help keep the size of your database down and speed up the backend of your website.
A WordPress Webmaster does not do the following
[However a webmaster can do any of these tasks if they have completed extra training and have relevant experience]
1. Create graphics
That is the job of a graphic designer. Although your webmaster can create graphics it is not their primary skill. Equally, a graphic designer can be a webmaster, but webmaster tasks won’t be their primary skill.
2. Data analysis
That is the job of an analytics person. This role is very specific and the analaytcis person needs a lot of experience to be able to offer actionable insights from data.
That is the job of an SEO person. SEO needs someone who has the skill to undertake SEO research and who also keeps up to date with modern strategies and guidelines.
4. Conversion rate optimisation
A conversion rate optimiser designs and carries out split tests to improve conversion rates. They can use an existing website to create new pages to test or they can use a third party tool such as Google Optimise. They use analytics a lot to inform their decisions on what tests to run and what tests have passed or failed.
I have explained the role of a webmaster to give you a realistic expectation of what the job involves. This is so you can make the right decision about whether you should be the webmaster of your website of whether you should pay someone else to do it.