Is it Time to Replace Your Webmaster?
At first, the idea of a webmaster sounded great. They specialize in something you don’t understand, and you can trust this person to keep your website functional. Right?
But over time, you started to feel frustrated with your webmaster. This is normal with any relationship where one party is intentionally kept in the dark… but isn’t that also one of the benefits of having a webmaster… so you don’t have to worry about your website?
First of all, how much do you pay your webmaster?
Now if you’re not paying anything at all, this is the first thing you should consider changing. It goes without saying that you have no place to complain if some friend or relative is doing you a favor, but not quickly enough.
In fact the same can be said if you aren’t paying enough. Most of the time, the reason a webmaster takes too long to respond to your requests may be that you—as a low paying customer—have fallen behind on the list of priorities. It’s nothing to take personal, it’s as simple as expecting to get what you pay for.
The third point raised by this question is if you are overpaying for webmaster services that you don’t feel you need anymore. This is probably the second biggest reason why small businesses will re-evaluate a web management contract and consider a replacement. That brings us to the next question.
Secondly, what are you getting for your investment?
The case for free or cheap web management services is still valid. Offering more money usually solves the problem of a slow webmaster, and if it doesn’t then it is time to hire somebody new. That is, as long as you need at least an hour of management every month.
Keep in mind that time spent on web management goes beyond the things you ask for. Adding new pictures, news, blog articles, changing information, and other misc. tasks that you request are all “front end” management. On the back end, websites run on software that needs to be updated. It might be presumptive to assume this, but your small business website is probably built on WordPress which requires frequent updates of plugins, tools, and the WP software itself.
Updating website software involves checking for compatibility, backing up a website, and responding quickly to issues that may ensue following an update.
A well paid webmaster should be keeping your website up to date on both the front end and the back end. More importantly, you should receive a monthly report outlining which could be as simple as a detailed invoice outlining work performed and hours invested, or it could be as valuable as a complete Analytics report showing achievements accomplished. (Note- an Analytics report should be accompanied by a report of work performed and how it’s affected the data.)
Finally, are you getting what you ask for?
If you feel disappointed with your current webmaster, hiring a replacement may lead to another disappointing relationship because there is a chance that it is your fault. With any service provider, you can safely expect to receive bare minimum effort unless you ask for what you want. Be specific. If you want to know what your webmaster is doing, ask. If you want to know what you’re paying for, ask. If you want to have your requests fulfilled within 3 working days, ask.
Clearly communicate your expectations, then—and only then—can you determine whether your webmaster is capable of fulfilling those expectations.