Picking the Best Tools for Your Webmaster Toolkit

Posted on September 13, 2013 by

Heard of the adage, “A bad workman blames his tools”? When it comes to being a webmaster, even a good one can blame their tools. That’s because how well you do your job is well defined by the tools that you use. Here are some of the most important tools that you must have in your virtual “toolkit”.

A Hosting Account For Your Requirements

 Website downtime is one of the biggest pain points of any webmaster. Traffic spikes, DDoS attacks, an inadequate hosting plan or simply a poor provider can all cause frequent downtimes of your website. Luckily, by doing a diligent comparison of the various hosting providers and their service agreements, you can pick a host who will be suitable for your requirements. One thing to remember with respect to hosting providers is that you do get what you pay for. Ensure that your hosting provider has a fanatical customer support – they really help take care most of the minor issues you face with your site thus helping in boosting your own productivity.

The Most Cost-Effective Internet Plan

 As a webmaster, most of your day time is going to be spent in front of the computer accessing various sections of your websites or that of competitors. It’s of paramount importance to have an internet plan that is not only blazingly fast, but also suits all your needs like bandwidth limit, number of parallel connections, etc. If you are in the online media business, you may also need to subscribe to a cable television plan to follow the latest news and reports. In such cases, you could check out combo-plans for TV and Internet. For instance, Comcast’s TV & internet plan includes a 20 Mbps connection along with a cable TV subscription of close to 100 channels for one price.

Software Subscriptions

 Webmasters are required to constantly monitor the uptime of their site. More importantly, they are also required to ensure that all their site visitors are able to seamlessly navigate through the site without any site loading issues. Thankfully, there are some really amazing tools out there that help you with this. Uptime Robot is a free website uptime monitoring service that lets you check in on the site automatically for every 5 minutes.  You may set the downtime notifications sent to you instantly via SMS or email. There are of course various alternative downtime monitoring services. You could sign up with more than one service to be doubly sure.

The second important software to use is quite evidently Google Analytics. Analytics lets you study the user navigation within the site. You could set up ‘Goals’ to monitor the number of people navigating to the purchase page or any other section of your site every day. Any drastic movement in metrics is an indication that something’s not right. And you could use this tool to study the problem and fix it.

Lastly, the Google Webmaster Tools is an important service as well. This service notifies you whenever Google detects any problem with your site including a unresponsive webpage, a malware attack or even a fall in search engine rankings. All these are critical metrics to measure the success of a website. Keeping these monitored using the Webmaster Tools is something really useful as a webmaster.

Content Delivery Network

 The final tool to surely have in your webmaster “toolkit” is a Content Delivery Network account. Most small websites do not sign up for a CDN service assuming they do not actually need it. But for any site that has a lot of static content (including photo and video files), a CDN is highly necessary. The job of a CDN is to cache the information on your site every few minutes and showcase this cached information to the visitor instead of directly hitting the server for every request. This ensures that the server is not heavily loaded which prevents frequent downtimes. Akamai is the most popular CDN although companies that are hosted on a WordPress, you could check out plugins such as WP Super Cache to achieve the same purpose.

These are definitely not the only tools a webmaster must have in their toolkit. Other tools depend on the kind of service you provide and other affiliated tasks you are responsible for. Eventually, what mattes as a webmaster is to make sure you minimize the website available at all times and ensure your customers get what they are looking for with the least effort required.

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