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Do you need a Webmaster?

Do I need help?

A prospective client once asked: "I don't know what I don't know, so how do I get to know what I don't know?"

In our working lives, we all find ourselves in this situation at sometime, whether it's with accounting, legal matters or website management. So how do you know when you need help? Whether you're considering the design of a new website or the redesign of an existing one, you need to consider four things:

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Knowledge

Firstly, do you have sufficient knowledge in website design and development? How much do you really know about designing, developing, managing and marketing a website? Is it something you could learn? Is it something you could muddle through with a little help from your friends. Or do you need to use an expert?

Here are some questions to help you decide:

  • Specification - Can you complete a website specification, incorporating a functionality specification, technical specification, content planning, design specification, marketing plan and mark up specification?
  • System - Do you know the various types of static and content managed systems (CMS) available, their advantages and disadvantages, so that you can decide on the most appropriate one for you? Do you understand the various modules available and their respective functionalities in order to decide which will be best?
  • Project development - Do you have the knowledge to create an implementation plan based on the website specification that you've written?

Skills

Next, ask yourself whether you have the skill set required to implement the specification. It may be that you can create the specification, but that you need help to implement it. To help you think about this, here are some things you would need to be able to do: 

  • Mockups - Can you create wireframes and visualise the layout of pages in a way that your designer will understand and be able to use?
  • Design - Can you design the website?
  • System coding - Can you work with JavaScript? HTML? CSS? PHP?
  • Project management - Can you manage the project through the implementation phase? Are you able to coordinate the various specialists, activities and deliverables of the implementation plan, as well as manage your own time and work on the website development?

​Time

​Even if you have the knowledge and skills required, do you have time to dedicate to the website development? Typically, you would need to set aside at least 12 weeks to develop a typical website. So you have to balance the options - which is the most profitable way of using your time: invest your time in the website development or doing the 'day job?' 

Money

Ultimately, for all websites, financial investment is a major consideration. Most businesses and organisations have limited budgets, so it might be worth looking at the implementation plan and breaking it down into the area(s) that you can either do personally and the areas you would need to delegate. And decide how and where to delegate to. You might find it more cost-effective to delegate the whole piece to your Webmaster who will then be responsible for delivering the site to budget and on time; two factors that often fail when people try and do the whole thing themselves.