How did you become a Webmaster Relations Specialist at Google?
I started at Google fighting spam in the Trust and Safety Search team. My time there helped me learn a lot about search and also gave me a glimpse into a lot of interesting aspects about the web. After about a year, I started working more closely with the Webmaster Relations team. Improving the web by proactively creating documentation, listening to webmasters, and helping webmasters was extremely fulfilling and something that I truly enjoyed. Four years later, here I am hopefully still making a difference to webmasters around the world!
Which open source projects do you contribute regularly?
I’m a huge fan of open source communities. I try to contribute to the different web platforms because they’re so important to the web ecosystem.
How do you contribute?
Most of my contributions are around documentation. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and writing about ways we can best help people using Content Management Systems when it comes to web security and building mobile friendly content.
When did you first hear of Joomla?
I learned about Joomla basically when I started web development. It’s been a staple of the web ecosystem for many years, and I think it’s a great product with an amazing community.
What is your experience with Joomla, if any?
My web development skills are a bit rusty, so I haven’t done that much lately. However, I recently started experimenting with Joomla, and I’ve really enjoyed using it. There are a lot of options that can get you started quickly and easily, but I love its ability to really scale and give you a lot of customizability.
In a few words, what does it take to be a good webmaster?
Wow, that’s a hard question. I think I’d focus on two things: knowing your users and excellent administration. As a webmaster, you really need to know how your users interact with your site. Bells and whistles can make your site look nice, but if your users aren’t using them in a significant way, it can end up being really distracting and slowing down your site.
Excellence is a broad term, but what I mean here is to make sure your site functions well. Broken code, bugs, and poor maintenance can all lead up to a frustrating web experience for your users and introduce security vulnerabilities. Make sure you have maintenance plans in your design roadmap for updating components, plugins, code, and ways to address bugs. Treat your website like a living product and always strive to make it the best you can.
How do you see the webmaster ecosystem nowadays?
The web is so powerful nowadays and there’s so much untapped potential, so I think as a webmaster that’s really exciting. However, I think as more people get online with different devices, different data speeds, on different sized screens, there’s going to need to be an emphasis on balance and designing for these different types of users.
There’s also a lower technical bar nowadays for creating and putting up a website. This means that the average profile of webmasters is changing. As we continue to build tools, write documentation, and so on, we’ll need to take this changing demographic into account. Overall, I’m really excited to see how it all plays out in the next few years.
What does Google have in store for webmasters in the near future?
Google has a lot of great things in store for webmasters trying to enhance their mobile web experience. I think it’s safe to say that we’re squarely in a mobile-first world, and a lot of the exciting things that Google is building will be helping webmasters build better mobile experiences. Things like AMP, progressive web apps, web push notifications, are all great initiatives that are set to transform the mobile web.
What are your expectations on attending Joomla World Conference 2016 as a keynote speaker?
It’s really an honour to be invited to this conference, and I’m excited to listen and interact with everyone. I’m really hoping to learn as much from you all as you hopefully will learn from me. I want to hear what’s been good, what’s been hard to deal with, and everything in between.
I’m also interested in talking with anyone about how Google can help you build better sites. Best security practices, Search Console integrations and mobile friendliness are of particular interest. If you find me wandering around during the conference, please stop by for a chat!
What can we expect from your presentation?
I’ll be talking about AMP and the benefits that it can bring to a site. I think AMP is really exciting, and for the early adopters, it has proven to increase user engagement and improve accessibility. It’s a great open source initiative that’s growing quickly and has some exciting upcoming functionality.
I’ll also be talking about web security. We’ve seen large increases in the number of compromised and hacked sites the past few years and at Google we’re encouraging people to make security a priority in their development roadmaps.
What advice would you like to share with the Joomla Community?
Sign up for security alerts and keep your websites up to date. This is one of the easiest and least time-consuming things you can do to keep your site safe on the web.
Eric is 5+ year Googler who has worked in a variety of roles including search quality evaluation, webmaster relations, and security program management. He's a Texan at heart but loves living in California.
Come say hi to Eric Kuan and meet great Joomlers in Vancouver. Buy your ticket now!