About A Webmaster - What You Need To Know

Information Architecture, Log Files and the Future

August 1, 2005

3 - Information Architecture

Occasional re-structuring requires a webmaster to be well versed in information architecture. Information architecture is all about organizing information in a manner that will allow people to find what they're looking for. It sounds very straightforward, but it can become quite difficult. Every webmaster uses information architecture principles when building a site whether they're aware of it or not, but the more complex the structure of a website gets, the harder it becomes to fake your way through it. The strength of a website's information architecture will have a direct and immediate impact on your visitors' ability to find what they're looking for, so it's important for a webmaster to study up and get it right.

4 - Log File Analysis

Another task critical to a website's growth and development is the analysis of their website's logs. It's crucial for a webmaster to know everything about their web log file because it's the source of most of the information a webmaster will get on their visitors. But there's more to monitoring your log file than getting base demographic data on your audience. Monitoring a log file using a statistics package will allow a webmaster to react to, and sometimes predict changes. Those changes can take many forms, but the one big change that is important to watch out for is growth.

5 - Future Planning

What we've already discussed generally relates to the present duties of a webmaster. But a competent webmaster must look beyond the present state of affairs and plan for the future. Traffic growth is but one of the many things that a webmaster has to plan for. Traffic growth is important because it will have a direct impact on the costs of your web hosting, but other factors such as general site expansion will also have an effect on hosting costs. Site expansion can require increased disk space, CPU usage, memory usage, special software requirements, databases, and more. A webmaster must be able to anticipate the audience's needs in order to properly plan for these eventualities.

Finally though, we can't forget about the most important future plan a webmaster (or anyone who works with computers for that matter) will ever make. That is the disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan is all about how you would get your website back online should something bad happen to the computers where your site is hosted. A disaster recovery plan is important, important and important. It's like insurance, absolutely critical to have, but doesn't feel like it's worth it until you need it.

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