When the word webmaster started popping up frequently in the mid 1990s it created confusion and controversy. In larger organizations the technology professionals that made the resources available were not prepared to become copy writers.
In smaller organizations without technology staff, the marketing people who were used to designing flyers and brochures were not prepared to become code geeks and server administrators.
When seeking to turn a group of web pages into a professional website, it important to first start by defining the roles of the web team from a non-technical perspective.
Depending on the size of the organization, some of the duties of a webmaster may be performed by the same person, while others may be dispersed into existing jobs. How a website is structured from one organization to another will depend upon the size and personality of each location, or each department within each location.
Responsibility of the Webmaster
Evolving from the concepts of newspaper or magazine publishing, the webmaster is the web publisher and chief editor of an entire site for the entire organization. Just like any other type of publishing someone needs to define and organize how the enterprise will operate.
The webmaster does not actually need to perform all the tasks needed to build the site and keep it running, they are simply the person who ensures that these tasks get done. Keep in mind the person with the administrative authority to be the master of the web may not be, nor do they need to be the web architect. In simple terms, the webmaster is the person who manages the editorial content, overall development, and operation of website.
Setting up Your Website Team
The web architect or technical manager manages website identity, navigation, information infrastructure, page templates and graphic standards. While it may not be practical for the web architect to also be the web manager, the theme of the website should be a seamless blend of the editorial content presented by web manager, and the sites look and feel as presented by the web architect.
A local content editor gathers individual content items at each location, and continuously screens new material for proper editorial content. As a website grows, and as the use of the site filters through an organization, you will need more assistance in the day-to-day production of the website. On a local level, each location or department should have at least one local content editor. These people should know the theme of the entire site, or their part of the site, and always be looking for material.
How much style and structure that happens at the local level will vary based on the size of the local website, as well as the expertise of the staff. A larger location or larger department with a proportionally larger website could have a web team which would consist of a group of local content editors and web editors.
The tasks associated with internet marketing may be handled as a function of a sales manager, the public relations department or perhaps even the human resources department.
Most of the general managers of radio stations, TV stations, and similar entities, that I have known over the years were not as much technically oriented people as much as they were sales and marketing people. While the technology continues to change and advance at a rapid rate, the concept of planning has not really changed all that much over the years. Take a step back and see how the existing members of your organization fit into the tasks of building and maintaining a website.
At Smart Technology we discuss Managing technology from the perspective of a business owner or department manager. This article is written for the small business owner or manager to help them integrate technology into their business. In our companion website ComputerGuru we discuss technology topics.