The name “webmaster” sounds like a term you’d see in a cheesy sci-fi novel than on a work board. But as weird as it is, this old job title and the careers it’s turns into represent a broad field of today’s tech employment.
Webmasters were developed first to handle a website in different ways at once. While numbers of companies are still searching for “Webmasters,” the position have been turned into several titles serving the same specific role: one professional doing different roles to manage and improve the Web site.
What is a webmaster, exactly?
We have been used to sleek and advanced websites found on today’s internet, but it is not long ago that websites have just switched from news to serious engines for businesses. The job description of an old webmaster also includes all facets of the website’s creation, design and maintenance.
Today businesses aim to make their web presence workable, enticing and convenient for searchers to find on the internet. You have to be easy to load and mobile device friendly. Websites are also an enormous marketing tool, which ensures that serious businesses and experts will keep their websites continually updated and improved. Given the increasing sophistication of today’s web sites, it has become less popular for this all-trade approach and job description, because these activities are separated into different roles. That said, versatile webmasters still exist as an option for organizations looking to make the most of their online presence.
Companies will want to hire a webmaster to either improve on their current website or to build and maintain a new one.
A webmaster can keep eyes on everything related to a website. They monitor its performance with search engines, functionality, speed and design. Webmasters even keep track of content, campaigns and marketing efforts. Additionally, webmasters may dabble in information technology work like server set-up and administration.
Additional job titles that may overlap with a webmaster include front-end developers, back-end developers, SEO specialists, web designers and server administrators, to name a few.
What skills do webmasters need?
Since webmasters handle so many different kinds of web maintenance and optimization, there are quite a few skills that come in handy on the job. We asked our experts to weigh in on which of these are most essential.
WordPress and HTML
Webmasters do their fair share of web development. I would say learn basic HTML and learn plugins that you love to use if using WordPress, platforms or shortcuts that can make your life easier will help you spend your time on the deeper, more interesting work instead of repetitive, mindless tasks.
Webmasters also do a good amount of web design. While you may be able to pick up on the basics just by diving in, learning graphic design will boost the quality and speed of your work, according to Cardenas.
Technical SEO is also big for webmasters, and understanding how Google ranks your website and what content will get penalized is important.
This part of the job is usually a big expectation from clients as well. I would 100 percent say the most frustrating thing about my job is dealing with clients who have unrealistic expectations, such as wanting to immediately rank on the first page of Google for the keywords on their website.
If you understand the technical side of SEO, then you will be able to explain a few aspects to your clients—as well as produce meaningful results with their website.
Since many webmasters work for organizations that may not have the staff or resources to hire niche specialists, writing skills can also be a big help. Demetrian says it’s fairly common to pitch in with light copywriting support for campaigns—including website copy and social media campaigns.
Having a basic idea of content strategy is important for webmasters as well, according to Ponder. Any time your clients rely on you for marketing aspects, explanations or even being able to advise them in content strategy will be key.
Clients will make requests of you, and it will be up to you to figure it out or research what it is to advise them on finding a vendor to help them with what they need to know.
What education and experience do webmasters need?
Some webmasters freelance or set up their own businesses to take on clients. But companies that are large enough employ in-house webmasters to manage their sites. We used real-time job analysis software to search job postings for webmasters and related titles. Of the jobs that listed an education requirement, about 85 percent were looking for a candidate with a Bachelor’s degree.*
Programs that focus on Web Programming would be a great choice for anyone interested in becoming a webmaster. Employers and clients often look for a certain amount of experience for these positions.
Weaving the web together
What is a webmaster? The professional who can meet a huge variety of needs in a website. This career involves technical savvy as well as some downright creative thinking. If that mixture of right- and left-brain work appeals to you, then you might want to consider working as a webmaster (or any of the many job titles that fall under its umbrella).
One of the fundamental pillars of the work of a webmaster is understanding how to code and design websites—a task often attributed to web developers.