Website maintenance and development requires not only time but also knowledge and specific skills. Any website owner outsourcing this kind of work will often go to a webmaster.
But what is a webmaster and when is it necessary to use one? In this article, I’ll explain just that, as well as what you can expect to pay for a webmaster’s time.
A Webmaster Definition: What Exactly is a Webmaster?
A webmaster is a person who is responsible for the upkeep, development, and functionality of a website.
For a small website, the owner will often take on the role of webmaster to oversee its upkeep. In the case of larger organizations, this role is often outsourced to a professional webmaster.
When this is the case, webmasters will often have a background in computer science or as a web developer. They are usually familiar with both the technical and creative aspects of site maintenance.
However, the skills of a professional webmaster can often extend far beyond web development, site design, security or even marketing.
The job of a webmaster often requires a range of additional skills and expertise, which we’ll come on to shortly.
The Roles Of A Webmaster: What Does A Webmaster Do?
You may just require the skills of a webmaster for the simple task of registering your website’s domain. Or, something more complex, like updating your site’s security.
Below, I’ve listed some of the most critical functions professional webmasters will often serve.
Server & Website Maintenance
Webmasters should understand how to maintain your website and its server (the computer that stores and delivers your website to visitors).
Server and website maintenance is a critical function for any webmaster. Doing so requires a range of skills and responsibilities, such as installing updates to your operating system or website content management system (CMS).
A webmaster may also be responsible for configuring and managing your website’s server.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Content Marketing
In addition, webmasters should understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
A webmaster will need to know how to optimize your website for Google and other internet search engines.
The technical SEO skills that a webmaster should understand, include (but are not limited to):
- Ensuring crawlability and indexability (a search engine’s ability to access and crawl content on a webpage)
- Site speed optimization (ensuring a website loads quickly to create a better user experience and allow more people to access your site simultaneously).
Webmasters should also have a deep understanding of website code and how it works. They should read, write, and analyze code to troubleshoot and fix errors.
Many webmasters may also customize and update websites to add new features or change the look and feel through web design. That said, these are often jobs designated to web developers and web designers.
In some cases, a webmaster may also be responsible for developing custom scripts or applications to support site functionality and enhance website performance (such as load time) for your users.
A script in this context is a set of written instructions that tells a web server what to do. It might be as simple as adding an extra field to a contact form.
However, it could be more complicated, like developing an e-commerce site from scratch.
Tracking website analytics
Finally, webmasters should understand how to use analytics tools associated with your site.
This can include Google Analytics (which shows you where visitors came from and what they did on your website), as well as other tools, like Facebook’s Pixel, to track the success of your website advertising.
Some webmasters will also determine which external sources generate the most traffic to your website’s landing pages.
When Is A Webmaster Needed?
A webmaster is needed when you require someone to be responsible for consistently maintaining a large website or multiple websites.
You may require a webmaster’s time for the following tasks:
- Website hosting and Domain name registration
- Fixing broken links on your websites
- Formating new content production and uploading new articles
- General Onsite Maintenance
- Technical SEO
- Optimizing Site Security
- Basic site design
- Technical Programming and editing a website’s code
Even if you are running more than one website, it’s unlikely that you’ll require the services of a webmaster daily.
However, if you are finding it challenging to keep up with the day-to-day tasks of website management, then it might be time to bring specialists on board to maintain and manage your websites part-time.
Summing It Up: What Is A Webmaster And What Does It Mean?
A webmaster is an individual responsible for maintaining one or more websites. This role can be carried out by website owners or by full-time professionals.
They encompass multiple roles, including website maintenance, site content creation, and site optimization (SEO).
If you struggle to maintain your websites, then hiring a full-time webmaster is essential. Failure to do so can lead to a negative experience for your users and poor rankings on Google.