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A day in the life of a Webmaster - Webmaster - Page 2

Have you ever wanted to know what exactly it is like to be a webmaster of a tech website such as TweakTown? Well, follow the link above as Cameron Wilmot tells you the day in the life of a webmaster!

| Editorials in Networking | Posted: Jul 14, 2001 4:00 am

It goes a little something like this...

 

You wake up at 6am, jump on the computer (which has most likely been up for hours on end) half asleep and check all your new e-mail and ICQ messages for important announcements such as news items, computer questions, review requests, rants, ideas and people just saying "Hi". After quickly scanning through 60 or so messages you begin the task of deleting spam and keeping ones, which actually warrant a response. (Sorry, but I often find myself not having time to reply to every single e-mail I receive). You consider having a day off from your website, you then remember if you do that you'll just get further behind. You then check your e-mail inbox for news items from other tech websites that warrant a post, after sorting through those e-mails you open up Internet Explorer and launch NewsPro, which you use to post news through a nifty CGI script. After trying to remain creative throughout your news posting (it's hard when you do it so often…), you click submit and other website owners will stop harping about you not posting their news, straight away. Once the daily news has been posted (I used to post news, now Styles posts news for TweakTown which is great as it gives me time to perform other tasks) you actually get a chance to have breakfast and have a shower etc.

 

 

After you have finished in the shower department and all that, you wonder over to your filling cabinet (pictured above) full of hardware which needs to be reviewed, some by a certain date to please hardware suppliers which may mean you will get more hardware in the future to review. You pick the piece of hardware you want to review (let's just say a motherboard) and study it's manual and features before installing it into your case. You then test the motherboard for a minimum of 48 hours (24 hours minimum if you are really busy…) to see if it is stable, while doing continuous loops of 3Dmark 2000, which also doubles as one of the many benchmarks (Quake 3 Arena, SiSoft Sandra and so on) that are produced towards the end of each review. After you have completed the testing and benchmarking phase you begin to write up the review (Which is often a minimum of 2000 to around a maximum of 6000 words before you start to bore your audience) and open WinAMP and start a playlist to listen too while writing the review.

 

While writing the review, you try to be correct in everything you say or you get "flamed" if any information you publish is incorrect (It has happened to me when I first started writing, if media writers either online or offline tell you he/she has never been flamed, they'd be lying...Flaming does help you improve your writing skills, you have to, if not you will continue to be flamed, which can easily get you down real quick. I believe it has helped me write much better, thanks guys :)). After you have finished writing the review, you spend time editing the review to check for proper grammar and spelling (In this situation, it's often hard to please all readers because of their vast expectations which are put upon you. I'll admit it, I'm 17 and completing my last year of school and it is often hard to please every single reader. Note, many webmasters of tech website are usually between 15 and 30 from what I have seen. it's also important to note that I'm writing this article as if it were school holidays. While being at school it's a different story, I don't get as much time to spend working on TweakTown) After you have edited the review (or whatever else it may be), you check it and check it again. Once the review is perfect and fully coded into HTML (We don't use a database yet) you upload all the required HTML and image files to the server and announce it on your website and through a news mailing (Like Mail Machine which uses the website severs Linux SendMail feature to send to hundreds of e-mails instantly…) list script which many other tech websites use to send to other webmasters or news posters which will hopefully end up posting your news on their website which will (usually) mean added traffic to your site, this is the aim of course. it's great when you have other staff writing for you, they write the review up and all you are required to do is convert into HTML and edit the review and then upload just like a normal review or article.

 

You then proceed to login to your traffic tracking service (e.g. Thecounter.com or Hitbox.com for example) and watch how much traffic you are getting and where the traffic is coming from, you push F5 numerous times to check the new traffic. You then visit the referrer site and see what they had to say about your news. (At least I do…) Most sites usually copy and paste what you sent them in your news e-mail. If the site has something negative mentioned about your news, you try to ignore it, if not you may send an e-mail to the website asking them to remove the news or modify it, fortunately this negative reporting doesn't happen very often, it's usually a friendly community built up of decent men and women, minus a couple here and there. If you happen to have some "scoopage" (exclusive content - NEVER EVER plagiarise other peoples work, this is treated VERY BADLY in the tech community and your website will be bruised forever. I hate it when it happens to me, so would you, so don't do it too other people.) news you may be lucky to get what is called "Slashdotted" by a popular website called Slashdot.org - "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." When you get "Slashdotted" you often find your site getting excessive amounts of traffic compared too normal, like thousands of extra "hits" per day.

 

it's about that time of day, already, your mail is about to be dropped off to your house, you wait in eager anticipation to see what will come in the mail for you, like new hardware, letters, cheques and so forth. (Usually, when you have a large website you often get new hardware in the mail daily to review and test, it's the best time of the day, it's like Christmas every day of the week and something you look forward to). You get new hardware...But, that hardware then gets placed in your filling cabinet and you notice it gathering up with all the other stuff you have waiting to be reviewed, you then get pressured and wonder when your ever going to find the time to review the stuff.

 

After this, it's about time for lunch (which you don't always have time to have, due to other obvious commitments), after sitting in front of the computer finishing that bread roll you check all the new e-mails (it's best to keep Outlook Express or whatever other e-mail client you use open 24/7) which have rolled in while you were doing the review. After contending to that new e-mail, you may actually have time to doing some personal surfing and check out all the latest PC news which has been floating around on various websites. (I don't normally have time to "surf" the web and look at non-computer related material…) After this, you find time to hit IRC and chat to friends on ICQ or doing other than being on the computer, the time is now 4pm and you are considering if you should post more news which has already started to gather up in your inbox, again. You decided not too, and do it later. After you have checked your email yet again, you notice a bug on your website which was reported by a kind visitors which requires time for fixing, once it is fixed an hour has past and it's about 5:30pm and you need a break from the computer. (Note, you actually leave your computer more times then I have stated…) After leaving the computer for a half an hour or so, you venture back to your computer desk (pictured below) wondering if you have received any important e-mail while being away, you do and respond to them promptly to keep everyone happy.

 

 

it's now 6pm and time for dinner, you leave the computer and have dinner and catch up on some "real life" news on TV. While you are sitting down watching TV you notice the time and automatically figure you should head back to the computer to check how the site is going, and yes, check your email again. After spending time replying to e-mails to check out a few of your favourite websites and read some of their latest product reviews and news. You think..."Hmm, I want one of them for review on my site…" You then proceed to contact the product maker asking for a review sample. The company says, "Yes, what's your address?" or "No, we don't have any of these in stock right now" for example. (it's usually quiet easy to get review units to review (Go figure), most PR staff from various companies I have dealed with are easy to get along with.) You are happy but remember your filling cabinet is getting more full each day with products waiting to be reviewed, you get a headache and do something else to take your mind off computers. After this, you decided to start another review, you are starting to get tired. You think, "Damn, it's too late now and I can't be bothered doing this review right now...I'll do it tomorrow." After checking the e-mail and traffic count for the last time for the day, you change your ICQ status to N/A, switch off your monitor and head to bed at around 11pm to be ready for what the next day may throw at you.

 

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