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Meet Your Webmaster--Your New Best Friend

By: Mary Blackmon
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the June 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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These names also are stored in a database and should become the list of recipients who will receive your e-newsletters or e-mail blasts. This means that the Webmaster is paying close attention to the nitty-gritty details, such as whether the e-mail address contains a “@.” Then, the Webmaster places the names into the appropriate format and uploads them to your e-mail vendor for the blasts. Without this detailed effort, they may not be correct, causing excessive bounce-backs (a 3% bounce-back rate is considered normal).

A Webmaster also reads through all of an e-mail vendor’s technical information—which often is extremely detailed and dull—in order to understand how to code the Web site links in your e-newsletters to ensure that the links are counted properly. The Webmaster also would be responsible for dealing with the bounce-backs and determining which ones were bogus addresses and unsubscribes. Please note that spam policies require that you offer an easy way to unsubscribe to any e-mail you send. You can be penalized, and even blackballed, from your e-mail vendor if you don’t remove in a timely manner the names of the people who request this.

Sell your products online

A designer could help you install an easy-to-use shopping cart software, but the monitoring of it often will be left up to you and your spa’s team. Do you really have this kind of extra time? A Webmaster can monitor it closely and become a great asset when there are problems with clients, especially when dealing with financial transactions. These issues require instant assistance and can be time-consuming while investigating them. The Webmaster can take those extra steps and work with your merchant provider to reconcile them properly and communicate with clients. Although a Web designer could assist in the implementation and design, the most efficient way to handle a shopping cart is to have one spa employee manage the day-to-day sales efforts, as well as update products and descriptions. Have the Webmaster be on call for when problems arise with purchases, and monitor the shopping cart software biweekly in order to ensure that it is reconciling properly with the merchant account. The Webmaster also can upgrade the software when necessary.

Perform Web site maintenance

All Web sites require maintenance, and a Webmaster can help by taking these duties off of your plate. Someone has to perform backup functions on a consistent basis to ensure that your data will not be lost, work with the Internet service provider when the site goes down and provide monthly usage statistics, including referral URLs that show which other sites are bringing you traffic. This is typically the Webmaster—the “go-to” person when anything seems to be causing errors on your site. A Web designer may help with broken banners and links, but a Webmaster may be needed for more technical issues. A Webmaster also can produce e-mail announcements, network your computers, and help streamline the internal e-mail process for all employees and management.

Create flash elements for fresh, customized content

Most Web designers do flash, or moving graphics, but sometimes you may want to post changing data within it or allow users to type information into form fields, such as their ZIP codes and e-mail addresses. This requires a Webmaster’s help because programming will be needed.

Update site specials, your spa menu and more