What Is A Webmaster? How Do I Choose One For My Website?

Looking to build a website for your business? Good call. These days, every business needs an established digital presence to succeed.

Thing is, you’re not a web design expert, nor are you a web developer. You can probably use WordPress or a similar site-builder with a bit of effort, but that may still require time you don’t have. What you need is a webmaster.

Let’s clear the air here before we move forward. Like a lot of technical terms on the web, ‘webmaster’ is quite often misapplied. Lots of people don’t actually know what the position entails, and lots more have their own ideas of how the job works.

So, first thing’s first. Let’s talk about what a webmaster is, what they do, and how they can help you. In broad strokes, a webmaster…

  • Creates and manages the content on a website. They may work with writers, artists, and designers to achieve this.
  • Manages a website’s backend, including servers and databases.
  • Developers applications and/or scripts required by a website.
  • Takes responsibility for maintenance including backups, patches, and security updates.
  • Plan out the growth and development of a website.

Basically, they manage your website or blog so you don’t need to. Note that different webmasters will have different areas and levels of expertise. They might know different programming languages, different development platforms, and different industries.

For that reason, when looking to hire one for your website, you need to make sure you choose one that’s a good fit for you. With that in mind, there are a few questions you should ask a prospective webmaster before turning them loose on your website.

  • Where can I find current and prior examples of your work?
  • How will you optimize my website for search?  
  • What do you know about my industry?
  • Have you ever built a website like mine before?
  • Can I see a list of your past clients?
  • How do you deal with security and other potential problems?
  • What do you know about copyright law?
  • What tools would you use to build my website?
  • What are your fees and payment terms?
  • How well-versed are you in privacy law?
  • Who would own the completed website?
  • What specific duties will you perform for my website?

The answers to the above questions will tell you a lot about whether or not a webmaster is a good fit before you hire them. Generally speaking, every webmaster should have at least a passing knowledge of basic design principles, security, and search engine optimization. Beyond that, the level of expertise you want to track down is entirely up to you.

Just remember that at the end of the day you get what you pay for – it might be worthwhile shelling out a bit more for an experienced webmaster instead of saving money on a rookie that doesn’t know what they’re doing.

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