What is a Webmaster? What They Do and Why They Are Important.

What is a Webmaster? What They Do and Why They Are Important.

May 19, 2021

The term “webmaster” may sound a bit outdated, as it’s really not used in job titles these days, but that is due to the role of a webmaster being broken down into several branches. Years ago a webmaster would handle everything, from the design of a website to search engine optimization and copywriting.

Today there are specialists for almost every aspect of the online presence for businesses, but the core webmaster role is still needed, and a dedicated webmaster is a great extension for every web design agency to consider adding to its lineup.

As mentioned, the traditional role of a webmaster has spun off into several different titles and job responsibilities, but the core maintenance, monitoring, and upkeep is still handled under the traditional webmaster role.

Let’s jump into what a webmaster is today, what they exactly do these days, and why your web design agency should consider outsourcing its webmaster role to a dedicated team that specializes in handling the technical aspects of a website’s livelihood.

What is a Webmaster?

In simple terms, a webmaster is an individual, or a team, who is responsible for a website or a group of websites remaining online, accessible, and operating as expected. This can include making sure the servers remain up during peak traffic surges, are protected in the event of an attack, and operate at top performance to achieve the best SEO results.

A webmaster is essentially the team behind the scenes responsible for making sure a business always has its presence online. The typical business owner doesn’t have the time or know-how to track all of the important technical elements of online uptime. In the same regard, an online marketing and web design agency needs to be focused on creating and building, making an outsourced webmaster solution highly efficient and effective.

The role of a webmaster will often change slightly depending on the client, but there are some common technical elements that the majority of webmasters handle. Let’s dive into those below.

What Does a Webmaster Do?

So, what does a webmaster do? A business or web design agency that outsources its webmaster role will want to ensure that the following responsibilities are included under the relationship.

When the following responsibilities are outsourced it allows the business or agency to focus its energy on other tasks that are directly related to driving business and brand awareness, leaving the technical aspects to the webmaster.

Website Hosting and Server Monitoring

Hosting a website requires more than just selecting a plan, uploading site files, and calling it a day. It’s important to monitor the server for potential attacks and vulnerabilities, ensuring that all of its components are constantly updated.

Creating regular backups is also important, as sometimes the quickest way to fix a problem is to restore the last backed-up version of the website. If this is done on a regular basis it allows a business to get back on its feet almost immediately in the event of a crash.

Constantly monitoring the server and its CPanel as well as the CMS the website is built on, such as WordPress, allows a webmaster to always have the latest updates and upgrades rolled out and active. This greatly reduces the possibility of a data breach or a vulnerability being exposed and the website being compromised.

Website Upkeep and Maintenance

Consumers are accessing websites on a wide range of devices these days, from home PCs and laptops to mobile phones, tablets, and even their televisions. With so many different screen sizes and browsers in the mix it requires constant upkeep and maintenance to ensure a pleasant experience no matter what device is accessing the website.

Troubleshooting

With a webmaster onboard, and constantly monitoring the health and well being of the website, whether it’s your business or a client site, it will typically help uncover potential issues before they directly impact the website’s visibility in a negative manner.

Preventative troubleshooting entails monitoring data and notifications from Google Search Console, as well as utilizing several other tools and resources, which we will discuss below.

Technical SEO

Driving traffic to a website through an SEO campaign requires a combination of intelligent keyword research, content creation, and link building. As a web design and marketing agency the last thing you want to worry about is the technical structure of a website.

When a webmaster is in charge of monitoring the technical on-site elements and the performance, such as load time and speed, it allows you to focus on driving traffic and sales. Knowing that the technical foundation is constantly monitored ensures that the SEO effort delivers the best possible results.

Technical Web Design Changes and Edits

Having access to a webmaster to make technical changes and edits is very helpful. This can include things like adding new subdomains, pages, features, and functions. With a webmaster on board, and available through your team communication platform, you can leave notes and requests that will be addressed immediately.

Not all CMS platforms and web interfaces are user-friendly, and in this instance, it’s easier to drop edit requests for your webmaster to handle than attempt to make the changes on your own. It’s a more efficient use of your time.

What Training and Education Does a Webmaster Need?

While many colleges and universities have computer science degrees and programs, there aren’t any specific requirements to be a webmaster. Experience and know-how from learning and building websites is a far more beneficial way of learning than just taking a class.

Many of the most experienced webmasters are self-taught. When hiring a webmaster you can look for things like an Associate degree in computer science or a course certificate geared towards the webmaster role, but experience is always going to be a far greater way to gauge talent.

Common Webmaster Tools

While the majority of the work a webmaster does is handled within the website code itself, there are some tools that they use to help them identify potential issues and correct them. Let’s look at some of the more common tools and resources a webmaster will use when monitoring your website.

Google Search Console: This is a great way to monitor for potential problems like broken links, indexing issues, or accessibility errors. By fixing issues as soon as they are discovered, it allows the webmaster to correct the problem before they have a negative effect on the website’s visibility.

Web Hosting Dashboard: Whatever hosting service you use will provide you with access to its dashboard. A dedicated server, for example, will require that the webmaster monitor its CPanel and WHM dashboard, giving them direct access to all files of the website.

Speed & Performance Testing Tools: Google’s PagerSpeed Insights tool is a great way to constantly monitor a website’s performance in both its desktop and mobile version. If your website is constantly adding new content, products, or service pages, the webmaster can ensure that all new pages are properly optimized for the best performance.

Crawling & Indexing Tools: It’s important that Google can easily crawl all pages on your website. While Google Webmaster Tools provides good information on this, other tools, like Screaming Frog, allow webmasters to look at additional data related to the crawlability of the entire website and identify any potential technical errors.

How Do Webmasters Work with Designers and Developers?

When your design or development agency utilizes our website change request ticketing system, it allows you to organize, track, and address the little change requests that can typically be a time-suck. Our solution tracks the time spent on each task, allowing you to bill or deduct credits accordingly.

By streamlining the website edits your retainer clients’ requests, you can allocate more of your time and focus on the bigger picture. Our ticketing software gives your agency an advantage and allows you to turn around change requests lightning-fast.

Final Thoughts: Why You Need a Webmaster

Every business needs a webmaster to provide support and site change requests, and the sooner your agency can turn around requests to your clients, the better that relationship becomes.

Integrating our helpdesk ticketing system into your agency workflow allows you to focus on the more important issues while knowing that the little website changes your clients’ requests are being handled immediately internally, keeping them fully satisfied without absorbing all of your valuable time and resources.

If you would like to learn more about our seamless ticket system and how we can help handle all of your retain clients’ website change requests, contact us today. We will be more than happy to explain the many features our platform offers and how we help agencies become more efficient with their clients’ website management.

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