Monday, October 23, 2017

Being a webmaster. increasingly difficult

Being a webmaster. increasingly difficult

When content doesn't seem to be king anymore

Hi webmasters, I always research and try things before posting a thread of a problem, sometimes I find the answer and other times when it's a discussion I might be surprised answering my own question, this is not the exception but can't find the light. 

Been a webmaster for years, first website in 1998, and several running with decent traffic to this day. I remember the Wordpress chapter, when everybody said WP was the solution to everything, easy to use, etc, this is not about WP or against it, is about that time when people thought X brand or X cms was the universal answer to all questions. At that time it was difficult to sell something that wasn't Wordpress based, and sure Google even supported blogs and their ecosystem with pingbacks etc. During that period I had two choices (1) keep working to sell non-wordpress and talk about the risks, and (2) work some WP and still talk about the risks. Sure, many had their sites built on WP (by me or by someone else). Soon problems appeared... get a new hosting company, increasing costs, the site is slow, upgrades break the site, plugins breaking the whole thing, etc. It would take too much for a webmaster not knowing what I'm talking about, WP is not a word for problems, but you know how things can turn out. 

Later I found clients and companies walking away from WP. "WP? no thanks!", WP is not bad but lost the crown on being an universal magic solution. At that point I haven't mentioned clients or companies talking about content because that's... difficult to find, rare. No WP? good, still many asked for it while hating it, why? they wanted something easy to give to someone else, another webmaster, or one webmaster in the long list to come. I understand standarization, when you want and need something that other developers can pick up. Propietary systems are often rejected in that area, often... didn't say always. 

Now. Seems like a ghost shadow of the WP chapter. It doesn't matter if you can build a solid website, content, traffic, etc, people and specially companies want to hear you talk Angular, React, Ruby, Sass, Django, Kendo, Laravel, Symfony, Yii, etc. The profile asked for a regional webmaster, here... usually demands: C#, C++, Java, Laravel, Ruby, Cake, Skeleton, Bootstrap, Jquery, .NET, Crystal reports, MYSQL, PHP, Oracle, PostGress, VB and Microsoft Dynamics (also Facebook, FB marketing, social media, video editing...) No kidding, all of them basically (some ask some more). Then you question yourself what kind of task demands all of that, is the system built with duct tape too? you might be an expert on something and might fail on one of the test in other areas. 

One big problem is... I've found new hirings are rarely being made by people in the field (coders) is mostly done by human resources personel. I rarely (never?) hear people talking about UX, interface design, testing, traffic, content, strategy... instead they replaced Wordpress by all of that "but you talk PHP + some-weird-framework?". Then I see the job position open again in 6 monyths, workers being replaced and if you think "oh God I finally got that job" being good, then you surprise yourself pickup up ugly code written by someone who has no idea of what was doing, at times seems better not to get that job rather than getting it. 

Clients? is happening again. Years ago desktop coders created a chaos, now is happening on the web: clients with terrible past experiences not wanting to invest, why? nobody told them 5 pages of terrible content on a WP would get them nowhere. Still charged big bucks don't want to spend anymore. The local webmaster market is looking more and more like a bad place to be. When you bring this up people tell you "oh but... here and... you did something wrong there" 
only to discover this person telling you this never buit a decent website, 200 steady visitors per day seems like a miracle for them, but sure they talk to clients about thousands and thousands of visitors (an actual lie). When you prove your work has 1,000 visitors per day minimum, o worse, more: 2K, 3K, 4K... they don't get it and look at you as if it wasn't true. 

Been working on my own for quite sometime, but the market is not good, kinda dead. Working for a company has proven to be a nightmare and I'm finding more and more sad stories from developers. The only ones that seem happy are 20 years old. A quick search on the web about "I hate being a webmaster" is bringing some interesting results with similar stories, also searches like "I quit my job as a coder". For most jobs in the region, when you make the numbers about hours-work-paid-sallary, you think "meh..." but when you actually take a look at the amount of hours per week... it looks terrible, you begin early, leave the office really late and you must be connected, you know how this is, online work never ends. If something fails at the office everyone can pick it up next week, not the webmaster... not the webmaster. 

Doesn't look fun, doesn't even look like a good idea anymore. Comments?