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21st Century Webmaster
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Today's Webmaster is faced with many challenges: time management,
e-mail, maintaining fresh content, etc. I get e-mail from Webmasters
asking what they should do to be successful. The following are some of
my suggestions. These are based on my experiences only, so some
techniques discussed below might not work for everyone. Remember, most
things are trial and error.
1. Deal With E-mail...Quickly
Responding to e-mail should always be No. 1 on your list of things to
do. If you put it off for too long, it might seem overwhelming. The best
way to deal with it is to use e-mail filters or sort your e-mail into
different categories. For example:
-- Personal (e-mail from friends and family)
-- Web Site Submissions (things that your Web site visitors might want
to contribute to the site)
-- Business Inquiries (people asking for work from you)
-- Newsletters (newsletters/e-zines that you receive)
-- Important (Things that must get accomplished today)
-- Miscellaneous (e-mails that don't fit into any other category)
Now, you must prioritize each category and respond (if necessary) to all
of the e-mails.
-- Business Inquiries
-- Web Site Submissions
You may prefer to put the personal e-mails first. As I said above,
arrange these categories how you see fit.
Now onto the fun stuff: spam. Don't you just love it? I have found this
great article by Harmony Major about how to deal with spam to be very
helpful. You can read it at:
2. Keep The Content of Your Web Site Fresh
Visitors to Web sites seem to be very demanding at times. They always
want fresh content. They don't want to read yesterday's news, they want
this minute's news. A way to do this is to subscribe to a news service
such as Moreover (http://w.moreover.com/). Moreover is a fairly new
service that basically works in the following manner:
-- You sign up for what news feeds you want and how you want them
-- You paste HTML code into your Web site that pulls the news headlines
off of Moreover's servers.
-- Your visitors see the headlines as links and then click to read the
Your Web site's visitors will keep coming back to see new headlines.
This means more traffic to your site. Which means that advertising space
is more valuable. Which means that you will make more money.
There are many other services that provide free news feeds as well as
other types of free syndicated content. E-mail me for the links to these
services' Web sites.
3. Use Autoresponders to Your Advantage
Most of us have used an autoresponder at one point or another in our
Internet adventures. For those of you who haven't, you send a blank
e-mail to a specific address and you receive a response within a couple
minutes that is a preformatted message. Some examples for using an
-- Train somebody on a certain topic that you are familiar with.
-- "Buyers remorse" letter -- when somebody makes a large purchase, they
go through a time of whether they should have bought the product or not.
Use an autoresponder to tell somebody that the decision to buy the
product was a good one and that they shouldn't worry about wasting
-- Advertising follow-up -- If you sell advertising on your Web site,
send a letter to an advertiser asking them what the results of their
campaign were good. Ask them to send you testimonials or suggestions to
make the advertising more worthwhile.
You can get an autoresponder at several places for free including:
http://www.sendfree.com (highly recommended)
Most Web hosting companies offer free autoresponders as well. Contact
your host and ask them. (This is usually a better alternative because
there is no extra advertising in your response message and it looks more
professional with the @yourcompany.com address.)
4. Create a Newsletter/E-zine
Studies have shown that newsletters or e-zines often cause repeat
traffic. Often this is because:
-- People might forget about your web site or company, but then they
receive a mailing from you with valuable information.
-- E-zines are more current than a Web site could be, so people rely on
a newsletter to keep them informed of the latest headlines.
Publishing an e-zine might seem complicated and time consuming at first,
but they really aren't that hard. I publish a weekly e-zine entitled
"The Guided Webmaster". It is rewarding (after the first issue is
published) to add "Publisher and Editor" to one's list of titles.
The hard part about publishing and/or editing an e-zine is finding a
topic that you have enough things to talk about and are interested in.
For example, you wouldn't want to publish an e-zine about beetles if
your passion is cars. Write about what you know and love.
5. Time Management
Managing your time can seem like a daunting task, but it really isn't
that hard. Why manage your time I hear you asking? Well, there are
-- If you have a newsletter to publish, you must get it out on time.
Readers start to expect things at a certain time, and if they aren't
there, they may lose trust in you.
-- If you are working for a client, they might want their Web site done
by a certain date for a reason. Again, they might lose trust in you and
not recommend you to other people if they are disappointed.
You do not want to gain a bad reputation online. I know that a friend of
mine was working on a Web site for a client once, and didn't finish it
until four weeks after the client asked for it to be completed. That
client probably would have given my friend a lot of attention, but
because the project was so late, he didn't.
How to organize your time to avoid what happened to my friend...
Get a day planner or Palm Pilot and make a list of everything you want
to have done and when you would like it done. Be as specific as
possible. Don't just put "Work on Web site." Put "Change Tip of the
Month." This way, when you look at what you have to do later on, you
will know what to do. Plus, this way you won't get carried away doing
things that aren't extremely important. Then number the items for today
in order of importance. Start accomplishing your tasks.
To sum everything up...
All in all, you should do what works for you. If one of the things above
doesn't work for you, try another approach. If that doesn't work, try
another one. There is no right or wrong way to do things, it is all
trial and error.
About the author:
Corbbmacc O'Connor is the Webmaster and Chief Information Officer of
Just for Webmasters. Just for Webmasters provides free information on
how to create, improve, gain traffic to, and make money from your web
site. Visit Just for Webmasters at
http://www.justforwebmasters.com/ht.php?a=jfwcom&b=jfwcom. You can also
subscribe to Corbbmacc's free weekly newsletter entitled, "The Guided
Webmaster." Information about this newsletter can be found at
http://www.justforwebmasters.com/ht.php?a=jfwcom&b=guidedweb. Or to
subscribe right now, send an e-mail to