As an artist and business owner, you have a million different things to do. You don’t have time to learn everything you need to know about maintaining and promoting your website. You need to stick to what makes you money, and that’s where a webmaster comes in.
Webmasters specialize in the upkeep, updating, and other elements of keeping your website maintained once it is built and published. Your site isn’t going to take care of itself, so you need someone to take care of it for you; odds are that once your art business takes off, you will want to spend more time creating and marketing your art.
Think of it like this: if you had a traditional business, you’d hire someone to clean the building at the end of the day or on a weekly basis, wouldn’t you? Well then, why wouldn’t you hire someone to clean up your website and keep it in working order so you don’t have to worry about it? It just makes sense.
A webmaster will be able to handle all those pesky little tasks that you don’t have time for, including:
- Changing information
- Adding information
- Controlling users, if you have a registration/login section
- Fixing problems and glitches
- Other upkeep related to having a website
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media
If this isn’t enough to sell you on hiring one of the many qualified webmasters to help with your website, you’ll surely change your mind the first time that the site crashes and you’re left high and dry. In order to have a successful business, it needs to be fully operational at all times. That’s why you need a webmaster.
The going rate for a good webmaster is $45-$100+ an hour. Most will prorate in 15-minute increments. Additionally, some actually prefer to be paid on a per-project basis. You can also find more affordable services by getting a full service company to help build, maintain, and market your website. You’ll pay them one flat rate for all services, which should save you some money and allow you to budget. However, even though business start-up is costly, you should always put quality above cost when it comes to your website.
Some webmasters are also social media experts: be careful though because ALL webmasters consider themselves experts in this area.
A true expert can:
- Manage and market your blog, customize your social networking profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Flickr, etc.), and create unique videos and widgets that demand the consumer’s attention.
For someone new to social media, it can be easy to unknowingly break the rules of a community, causing serious damage to your brand. Social media experts understand the etiquette required of each platform, and they know how to leverage these tools to your maximum advantage. I suggest learning from an expert for a period of time and eventually taking it over yourself.
No one can represent you to your audience like you can and people will begin to get a feel for you and your personality, which is very important, especially for an artist.
Other Considerations When Choosing a Webmaster:
- If a webmaster wants to register your domains in his or her name, run. Run fast.
- The cheapest solution is not always the best solution. If I need a heart surgeon, I’m not going with the cheapest doctor; I’m going with the best one.
- Safe webhosting
- Free and/or cheap hosting is usually a red flag.
- I.T. professionals are not necessarily web designers. They may be able to build a complicated website that does everything you wanted it to do and more, but will you know how to use it, and just as importantly, will it look good?
- Ask them if they follow Google Webmaster Guidelines. The answer should be “yes”.
- If they promise you top rankings in search engines, they’re blowing smoke. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
- Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you unsolicited proposals.
- Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they do.
- Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, and schemes to get your site listed in search engines.
In summary, your webmaster should be your partner and, in many instances become, a friend. They should be brainstorming with you on new ideas and technologies and be truly invested in the success of your website and online marketing. Not all sites are winners, no matter to how much quality work goes into them, but a good webmaster will do his best to help you come out looking good and ahead of the pack.
Guest author: Cory Glauner
Here are a few other posts you might like: 3 Reasons to Start a Creative Blog for Your Business, 8 Tips to Create a Great Blog Post or How to Make Video Marketing Work For You: Lori on Art Heroes Radio