Webmaster

In a Web design that includes text only what else is left for a Webmaster to do and how can we compare the service between a good and a mediocre Web Master?
PComAsked:
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bparnesCommented:
Other things a webmaster might do are check the links, make changes in an accurate and timely manner, interface with your web hosting service, interface with people who are having trouble with the site (not likely to happen too much here), help you get more pizzazz into the web site so it will be a more attractive destination, etc. One thing to look for is someone who knows the language you want your site to be written in, so she doesn't make awful grammatical or spelling errors. Mostly you want someone who has the skills to execute the kind of web site you want, and the schedule to get it done in the time frame you need it.
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PComAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your prompt response. I would like to hear an expansion on words such as "executing the site I want" "making changes", "checking links","interfacing with the Web hosting service and people who are having problems". I am not sure I am translating it correctly. Does your answer means: "A webmaster is the person who knows how to connect your page or who to contact in order to have it connected with a server."? How does one interface with people who are having problems with the site? What executing a web page means? Does it mean to follow your clients plan by the letter? or does it mean "Having a Web page is not the same as executing a  Web page....to execute a Web page you must have it connected, you must have this that and the other. Sorry, could you clarify your answer? Why does anyone needs to mantain a Web page? What is there to be maintained? How do I make sure I have my address with most search engines? Thank you for your time and patience.
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bparnesCommented:
Like many tasks in life, creating and maintaining a web presence can be a do-it-yourself project, or it can be contracted out to a professional (or some combination of the two). The professional is often called a webmaster in the realm of web stuff. What you actually do depends on many factors, such as your skill level, your time load, the stakes for getting it done, etc. It also depends on the potential payoff, which in turn helps frame a budget and schedule.

As you might imagine, books have been written on this topic. I have no intention of writing one now, so I need to know more context about your particular situation. That will let me target a response directly to you and help avoid the book creation <smile>.

So, for what purposes do you want to have a web site? How frequently will the information on the site change? Will there be any commerce associated with the site? Is a database of some sort involved? These are some obvious questions that it would help to have answers to. You can feel free to answer other unasked questions as well.
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PComAuthor Commented:
Dear Friend,
Thank you for your patience. My Web site would be composed of one page text only. It invites writers to use our services for correction of their manuscript. Prices and othe pertinent information to our business would be a hypertext(?) to another page of information. I hope that the site would be visit several times a day. There are no changes to the site, at least not for one year. I will be writing the text because I am familiar with the language that writers use and like to read. Basically I am don't know how to put the page (the advertisement) I will write on the Web page. I don't even have a Web page yet. I read a few books on the subject but the language is technical and I end up with more questions than I had started with. I don't know how many megabites I need for one page and three extensions. The extensions, hypertext, talks about the prices and different options such as  creative editing or grammar correction etc. I know it is important to have Meta Tags but I don't know whether the number of meta tags depend on the skills of the webmaster or not. Whether I need a server with unrestricted Unix on the PC Platform or a PC based Server. Some server that uses Office 2000 or not. Well, those are just rhetoric questions to let you know of my level of understanding at this point.Basically I need to know what is meant by "maintenance".

 Does it mean correction to the text or prices or is there something "magical" to be maintained when you have a Web page? How complicated is to transfer a page from corel to a Web site? I assume one has to have the Web site first and a name to that site. Do they have software out that instruct the public how to create meta tags? Does multiple names (addresses) creates more meta tags? I know I have asked three different questions but as simple as those questions may be, I did not find a book out there that starts creating a building block of knowledge. They all start with some unrealistic assumption(smile)...may be you consider writing a book...if you do you can count on me to get you a good N.York agent (for free) (smiling). Thank you and have a great day! please, feel free to recommend any books/authors that may be useful to me. Best Regards,
Elizabeth
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bparnesCommented:
Elizabeth, I appreciate full well how overwhelming this whole web stuff can be. I can assure you that from what you have described of your needs, you will be nowhere near the cutting edge, and won't need much of a professional to assist you. But in the interest of expediency I think you ought to call on the services of a professional. In my area (Ann Arbor MI) the ISPs are willing to help their customers (for a fee of course) get a web site up.

Your needs are quite modest, especially if you can specify ahead of time the look and feel of the web site. If it is not much more than you have described then it shouldn't take more than 3-4 hours to have it built. Once it is built and running you can probably gain the skills to keep it going (e.g., increase your posted hourly rate, decrease the hours you can be contacted, etc.). But if what you said about your needs is true you might just decide to call the ISP and ask them to do it for you (for a modest fee I would expect).

You could even have someone half way across the continent do it for you, since there isn't anything that is really place constrained. For instance, I maintain a web site for a group that is based in New York City. We communicate almost entirely by e-mail. Their site changes much more rapidly than yours would as well. It's not a problem at all.

So how do you identify someone to work with. There's no magic here. Use the same techniques as you would for any other professional you might hire. Use word of mouth recommendations, visit pages they have done, ask their other clients what they think, see how much they quote for the job you specify, etc.

My best recommendation by far for a book for you is the following:

Poor Richard's Web Site : Geek-Free, Commonsense Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site
by Peter Kent

With any luck the following URL will get you its page at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966103289/o/qid=943900629/sr=8-1/103-5434394-5018246

I'm sure you're loaded with more questions, and I'll stick around to help. It would help if you didn't gush a whole bunch of questions out at once since I really do need to avoid writing this book...
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PComAuthor Commented:
Dear Friend,

Maybe writing a book is just what the doctor has recommended. Have you thought on keeping all the questions you receive and make a book out of it?

I like the straigh forward way you write, and probably other people would like it too.

You have answered all my questions. Now, empowered with those new thoughts, I am going to visit the sites you recommended and many more. I have been looking for some answers until three in the morning. All those servers...one say one thing another says another with a different language. They all seem to mention what they have but none mentions what they do not have. Again, I just want one page. I may not need to know all these technical information but if I make the wrong choice, then I may end up with a page that is not up mor of the time....OH! well!
I will try to contact Ann Arbor and take it from there. I take that she works at the same Company as you do, correct?

Just one question (smiling). To get the most out of registering with search engines do we need a real webmaster wizard or anyone in the field can do the job? To exemplify, if a woman was to look for a plastic surgeon, the worst thing she could do for herself would be to look for a cheap service. Is that how it works in relying on a webmaster to register our address with multiple search engines?

The page should be very easy to make. Just a typed page, but the registering is very important - I take - because what good  is it to have a nice page if no one knows about it?

Well, as you may have noticed. Writers have a tendency to make a short story a long one.

I am very appreciative of having the priviledge of your friendly  expertise at no cost to me.

May the Angels guard your pathway through Life and make you smile,
sincerely,
elizabeth ozi
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bparnesCommented:
Elizabeth, one more comment before we finish up this round of our rendezvous. For something as specialized as your business offering, do not focus too much on getting registered with all the right search engines. It is quite unlikely that someone looking for the kind of services that you provide is going to start with a web search engine. They may want to check your web page once they know about you from other means, but they likely won't start there. You will have to rely on other more traditional advertising mechanisms to get people aware of who you are. The web won't serve as a substitute for good old fashioned leg work and face to face contacts in your local community for getting potential clients aware of you.

To answer your last question directly, the web search engines don't care who registers with them. So you don't need a high powered, expensive service to do it for you. In fact you can use some free services (if you know what you are doing) to improve your position on various search engines. For instance, check out the following site:

http://www.aadsoft.com/agentwebranking/ranks.htm

You are most kind in your praise of my writing. I can assure you that if I were to undertake the writing of a book my doctor would have to book me into an asylum before the book was done.

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PComAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your answer. I do believe that being that my business is dependent on the Internet it would not help me to find clients that do not have a computer. Going through a community to gather clients will never focus on writers. My Community is an ordinary community, not a community of writers.  But I appreciate your desire to help.
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bparnesCommented:
Elizabeth, I did not mean going door to door looking for clients. I meant tracking down the writers community by whatever means you have at your disposal and making them aware of who you are and what you offer. If you wait for them to find your web page and then be moved to call you, then I fear you will not enjoy a lot of business. I did not argue against having a web page; I am arguing that having a web page is nowhere near enough. I wish you all the best in your business.
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PComAuthor Commented:
To Whom It May Concern:
]
I find unusual that in a wonderful site such as this, there is no place for comments/ e-mail.

Well, after my last questions and as you can see the person who answered it spend several paragraphs to avoid a simple asnwer but it did not ended up there. When I attempt to see what else was added and I click to the e-mail I received saying that "bparnes" had added an answer, I was denied entry on the site. I try several times that day and today I tried again. I think your company should know that someone is blocking the questions to come through.
I think it is a wonderful service and to patronize such a great idea I said the answer was "good" ...I suppose a B instead of an "F", but my courtesy did not prevent being blocked from asking other questions. I hope you have ways to know if other people are being "denied" to enter the site.
Sincerely,
Elizabethozi@msn.com
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