So what is a “Webmaster” exactly?
The term covers a number of different roles and skills. For most people, the terms are synonymous with web developer, but it’s also commonly used to describe website administrator, the person that manages the website and administers the web server.
Most people do not make any distinction between the two and have an expectation that a web developer will know all the back-end stuff also. The reality is that very few web developers are competent in all the aspects of web server administration. It is common for the web developer to know the basics of web design, and a designer to know the basics of server admin, but they are really two distinct areas of specialty.
When advertising for the services of a Webmaster, a business will specify the range of skills expected. A small company will typically want a generalist that can do it all while a larger company is more likely to want a specialist.
The most common duties assigned to the Webmaster title are:
- Website Design
- Website Development
- Website Maintenance
- Website Management
- Hosting and Server Management
Website Design / Development
Even when using the term to describe Website Design / Development, there are many areas of specialty. There are those that specialize in the user interface design (the look and feel of the website including the user experience), and their skills often overlap with that of a graphic designer. They might not even know how to program beyond basic HTML and CSS.
Then there are the programmers that specialize in the back-end functionality, using languages such as PHP, Java, SQL, for the more dynamic and interactive websites. They might be hopeless as design.
Website / Server Management and Maintenance
Most Web development companies that specialize in building websites do not get involved in managing and maintaining the website or hosting environment. They may provide the hosting but this is almost outsourced to a decided hosting company.
The hosting company provides support for the hosting environment but the management and maintenance of the actual website is not their responsibility. The result is that most companies that get their website built do not have any ongoing management and maintenance unless is it provided by their web developer, and if you are not paying your developer some type of monthly fee, you can pretty well assume that your website is not maintained by anyone.
Virtual Webmaster Services
Virtual Webmaster Services provide general skills that cover all possible definitions of a Webmaster. We can attend to just about anything related to maintaining an online presence from looking after internet security to implementing on-page SEO to ensure your web pages are indexed correctly by Search Engines.