In case you didnt know, today is Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day. By the time you read this, I fully expect to be sitting down to a seven course banquet organised by my many grateful and appreciative clients. Or perhaps not
You see, webmastery is probably one of the most misunderstood and under-valued professions in the world. So, to mark this special day and ensure that credit is given where it is due, here are 7 reasons why you should worship, or at the very least be more appreciative of, your webmaster/webmistress:
- The scope of the webmasters role has changed quite a bit in the last few years. No longer just the technical geek in the basement who hardly ever saw the light of day, nowadays the webmaster is a key member of your business team, responsible for all aspects of your online presence, with a critical role to play in executing your key marketing strategies and an important contribution to make to the success of your business which is worthy of recognition.
- Maintaining your website is a 24/7 job, 365 days a year, which means the average webmaster has very little control over their working hours. This is the person you will often find burning the midnight oil or chained to their desk at the weekend, simply because thats the only time essential maintenance can be carried out or because the client, who doesnt understand the first thing about whats involved, insists that tasks be completed within completely unreasonable timescales. When did you last thank your webmaster for going the extra mile to get the job done?
- A good webmaster is expected to have a high degree of technical skills and to keep abreast of fast changing developments in areas such as programming and scripting languages, server architecture, user interfaces, web design standards. There are very few areas of professional expertise that are evolving as fast as digital technology which means they have to be willing to learn constantly.
- In the field of webmastery technical expertise alone is not enough. Webmasters are also required to have good creative, analytical, project management and problem solving skills, a sound grasp of business and marketing strategy and be good at managing people. Its hard to find all of those qualities in one individual, which is why good webmasters are hard to come by and should be treasured.
- Your webmaster is the person who has to take your inarticulate and often impractical ideas about what you want from your website and translate it into a full functional specification and build the darn thing, only then to find that youve probably changed your mind. So you can add being a miracle worker and having the patience of a saint to the list of indispensible qualities required of said webmaster.
- Very few clients truly appreciate the value of the services webmasters provide. There is nothing more galling to a dedicated professional who has spent many years learning their craft and developing their technical skills to be asked to work for little better than minimum wage or to have their work compared to that of an amateur web designer. Webmasters have the right to a decent standard of living too " something that clients all too often forget.
- It takes true skill to design and build a page that looks attractive, is coded properly to load quickly, be indexed well by search engines display well on different browsers and operating systems and get the marketing job done. It is soul destroying to see your work dismembered before your very eyes by clients who think they know best but that is one of the many crosses webmasters have to bear.
What qualities do you think are essential in a good webmaster? Do you think their expertise and contribution is properly recognised? Please share your views with the rest of the community.
Jan is a digital marketing coach and founding Director of WOW Consulting, anEssex online marketing and website design company. Jan's speciality is demystifying digital marketing and show small businesses how to integrate web, mobile and social media into their marketing strategies to create sustainable competitive advantage and profitable growth.