About A Webmaster - What You Need To Know

First Contact & Content Facilitation

August 1, 2005

1 - First Contact

One of the most often overlooked responsibilities of a webmaster is that it is often their job to be the first point of contact for your organization. Your website is the public face of your organization online and your webmaster can often be the first person they meet. This means that your webmaster has to have strong customer service skills, a good understanding of your organization's structure so that they can redirect requests appropriately and they have to be monitoring their e-mail very often, ready to respond to user requests in a timely manner. After all, people online expect and appreciate quick turnaround on their questions.

2 - Content Facilitation

Another significant task that a webmaster is responsible for is what I like to call "content facilitation". For some websites the webmaster can be the sole author of the site's content, but in a medium to large organization this is rarely the case. In these organizations, the webmaster must play the role of a mediator between the audience, the website and the rest of the organization. This means that the webmaster must have a thorough understanding of the website's audience and an equally thorough understanding of the organization and its structure. It also means mediating internal company pressures in a face to face manner.

Everyone wants their content to be in a prominent location because everyone who writes content writes it for a reason. They believe it is critical information that the website visitors need. In real terms, this results in frequent discussions with people inside your organization and equally frequent explanations of the website structure and why it works for your users.

A webmaster must also recognize which parts of the website are most important to develop further based on traffic patterns and visitor response. Then they must pursue the individuals within the organization who are best equipped to provide the needed content. The final step is to integrate that content into the structure of the website. In some cases, this is as simple as adding a single page and a link to that page. But sometimes it can be far more complex, requiring an entire section of the website to be re-structured.

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