Factors to consider when hiring a webmaster for your small business website

A webmaster for a small business will have a lot on their plate: from actual web design and search engine optimization to day-to-day maintenance work. As an entrepreneur, you must be sure you have the right person for the job. This would be a multi-skilled professional capable of multitasking, and of course, somebody trustworthy, since you’re letting them into your brand’s inner chambers, so to speak.

Below are six important points to help you find the right individual:

1. Links and portfolio

Someone with relative experience should be able to provide links showing examples of sites they have managed in the past. These should demonstrate their skill set. Examine candidates’ portfolios and samples of work done carefully to get a feel of their level of expertise and overall style. This can also provide a footing to launch into discussion on specific technical expertise including UNIX, JavaScript, HTML5, and database management, among others.

2. References

Candidates should also be able to give contact information of past and current clientele. By speaking directly with people a prospective candidate worked or is working for, you can ascertain their commitment to results, reliability and communication skills. An independent webmaster on contract has little structure hence the candidate should have the skill to manage their time properly in order to deliver according to given timelines. Past clients can confirm this.

3. Favorite website

Find out the candidate’s favorite website, and what it is they like about it. This answer will give you a glimpse into their sense of design, branding and user interaction, among many others.

4. Tools of trade

Any webmaster worth their salt should be able to demonstrate how they would build and/or manage your site – technologies and tools relating to design, publishing and content management. In addition, they would offer the advantages and disadvantages of using each, and then make a suggestion for you according to your scope of work, budget and business goals. The same is true if you intend to have a separate blog.

It isn’t necessary for you to be tech-savvy; the candidate needs to present you options in an understandable way that you can follow to determine whether or not you agree with their assessment.

5. SEO

Since the webmaster in a small business would probably also be the SEO specialist, ask your candidates to describe how they intend to improve your web visibility and rankings. What tools, techniques and strategies would they use?

You also want an individual who has experience using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools for website traffic and user behavior tracking in order to determine the performance of the SEO campaign. Discuss what reporting system will be implemented, especially if dealing with an independent webmaster.

6. Security

Finally, this is the age of cybercrime, so you need to know how the potential webmaster intends to maintain your website’s security. Also, what would their response be if the site crashes or gets hacked into? Ask how often they would run backups, and strategies they would employ to protect the site from malicious file execution, phishing, and data theft, among other criminal activities.

If your site uses user logins, also find out how they intend to protect and verify user identity as well as manage different levels of user permissions. If using a shopping cart, ask for strategies to secure customers’ credit card details during transaction processing.

Author’s Bio: Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.

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