I made the newspaper! Now what?

Tracy Mallette gives good content.

Category: My journey and career tips

I’ve finally finished designing and developing tracymallette.com!

Homepage image of Tracy Mallette's website

Here’s a screenshot of the tracymallette.com homepage. I recently pulled an 
all-nighter to finish designing and developing the website.

By Tracy Mallette

I finally did it!

Although the tracymallette.com website’s been up for more than a year now, redirecting to my resume page, I’ve finally completed the design and built the darn thing!

I designed the site in Photoshop, then created the HTML documents and CSS in TextPad. My code is even W3C validated!

Then I conducted keyword research, competitor analysis and developed a user persona to write SEO content for the site.

Although a lot of work, I’m having a blast practicing all of the things I’m learning, while having something to show potential employers and clients!

I’d love feedback, advice or to read your own website design and development stories, so please share in the comments below!

The most thoughtful salary negotiation response I’ve ever received

By Tracy Mallette

Negotiating salary is one of the toughest tasks of a job seeker – especially in an employers’ market.

A poker hand on a box that reads "Do Not Fold"

“Your answer to question 7 belies the ‘poker hand’ nature of the employer/candidate relationship. I’m going to tilt my hand just a bit … in hopes you’ll show me yours.” – The first line of Brian Harris’ salary negotiation email.

I recently applied for the Digital Marketing Specialist position at SaaS company Bridgeline Digital. As a follow-up to the job application, they sent back a list of questions – one, of course, being my compensation requirements.

I responded with my typical pay scale inquiry: “What is the range you’re offering for the position?”

Usually, I receive the runaround reply: “I don’t have salary information since I’m not the hiring manager.” You know, the quick brushoff with the HR recruiter expecting you to just toss out a number. (It’s just one of the things companies do to annoy job applicants.)

In this economy of companies that expect job candidates to throw themselves at their feet for any pay, I was relieved to receive a thoughtful job compensation response from Bridgeline Digital‘s Digital Services Manager Brian Harris, who agreed to let me share it with you:

Your answer to question 7 belies the ‘poker hand’ nature of the employer/candidate relationship. I’m going to tilt my hand just a bit … in hopes you’ll show me yours. Our goal in asking isn’t to see if we can lowball based on your range, it’s to make sure your goal is within reach of our limit. If we told you our upper limit and you said it’s acceptable, how could we trust that you weren’t just acquiescing to get the job only to be frustrated shortly after, or even before, hire?

Why you should ask for what you deserve: We work very, very hard here. We expect very full weeks of the entire Digital Services team. You will be stretched to your fullest potential, and you will go home wiped out. A lot. Not bad-tired, just that wonderful brain-fully-utilized feeling that leads to great sleep. We also have fun, but suffice it to say, it’s as a reward for very hard, and successful, work.

Why you should mitigate your answer (at least a little): Tom Whittaker, my boss, hired us as a cross-discipline team. We have a great SEO specialist, a great Email Marketing specialist, a great Social Media specialist, etc. We even have a dedicated sales specialist focused exclusively on upselling our strategic services to our clients.

I see you as being a great Commerce specialist. We’d learn from you, but we’d also teach you a ton of great stuff from each of our areas of expertise in return. We’ve exceeded the company’s benchmarks for success at each milestone. You will grow tremendously here. The company believes and invests greatly in making rock stars of each and every employee.

Why you should not be afraid to state your requirement: To be candid, I’ve been with Bridgeline Digital fewer than 60 days. I was frank about my salary goal and because it matched the position and my experience, they moved forward. My final offer was made up of salary plus bonus for achieving corporate objectives. In this fashion, the company met my requirement. I am very happy with how it worked out, and therefore I put in very full, very hard-working, very rewarding days.

While I can’t tell you our number, I can say it’s not a range, it’s an upper limit. This is for a Digital Marketing Specialist position, not a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist (currently the only way to become a senior is to start as a DMS). Several candidates have answered question 7 with a number that exceeds my salary (as manager of the team) which implies they’d be disappointed with what we offer, and in my opinion, would carry a resentment as they worked … if I managed to convince them to settle for our limit.

I will promise that I don’t break communication simply because your requirement exceeds my limit. If I sent you the questionnaire, I saw something in you that I want on our team. Of the close to 100 resumes I’ve received, I’ve sent only a handful of questionnaires in response. Though we may not match your salary requirement today (I hope we do), I’ll stay in touch in case something changes on our end.

Ultimately I am trying to drive for maximum mutual satisfaction in this process: you want what you’re worth, and I want someone who works like she’s getting her requirements properly met. You’re worth your requirement, whatever it may be, and I hope it’s within our limit.

I look forward to seeing your hand …


Love it or hate it, I appreciate Brian’s thoughtful response, which also reflects well on his company.

It doesn’t bother me that he didn’t provide a pay range (or upper limit) because he thoroughly explained a legitimate reason for not doing so and treated me with respect.

I wish all employers would do the same.

Do any of you have job offer salary negotiation information or interesting responses? Share them in the comments below!

Top 5 Internet Marketing Resources

By Tracy Mallette

I commonly use the following sentence in job application cover letters: I’m constantly learning in order to keep up with the Internet marketing industry.

This leads hiring managers to ask what sources I use to keep up with online marketing.

Because they are useful for others in the industry and for all companies to improve B2B and B2C inbound marketing efforts, here are my top five resources for Internet marketing information. Most of these industry authorities sell products and services, but all of them offer an abundance of high-quality content for free.

  • Copyblogger: A content marketing essential, Copyblogger is the ultimate guide for creating quality, optimized blog content. The site offers free online content tutorials, blogs on blogging and an Internet Marketing for Smart People course. This content-marketing software company has positioned itself as a hub of Internet-writing information that potential clients seek out and share. This should be the goal of every business.
  • Search Engine Land: Search Engine Land is the go-to source for Internet-industry news. Subscribe to the SearchCap: The Day in Search newsletter to receive the latest articles from their site, their sister site Marketing Land, as well as news they’ve gathered from around the Web that includes SEM, SEO, link building and more. One of my favorite tools is
    The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors.
  • Moz (formerly SEOmoz): More than a marketing software company, Moz has built a community* around its brand and even has stats for the Top Moz Community Members. The Moz team is always coming up with cool new marketing initiatives to bring its “Mozzers” together, like the MozCation Meetups. (I attended the Portsmouth event, which you can
    see on Livestream.) The marketing company gives out a ton of free industry information. Sign up for the free Moz Top 10 email newsletter for a roundup of news from around the Web.
  • Google Webmaster Tools: This one’s a no-brainer. As the most popular search engine, everyone should take advantage of Google’s free Webmaster Tools that include a Webmaster Academy to teach you how to write and build websites that please search engines. Connect your website for analytics information, such as crawl errors, search queries, links to your site and more. Also, check out Google’s blog.
  • SuccessWorks: One-woman powerhouse Heather Lloyd-Martin (@heatherlloyd) has marketed her SEO copywriting business so well that I actually thought the name of her company was SEO Copywriter; a more forgivable faux pas considering her website is seocopywriting.com. To me, she’s synonymous with this term because she promotes herself by giving free advice in the form of quality, search optimized articles, blog posts and newsletter content. This content is not only a testament to Heather’s SEO copywriting skills, but is extremely helpful. It makes you want to take her SEO Copywriting Certification course – I’m taking it now.

I hope these Web resources help you in your online marketing initiatives. Please share others in the comment section below!

*Speaking of one-woman powerhouses, friend and high school classmate Joanna Lord was instrumental in helping to build the Moz community. She announced on her blog that she’s leaving the company to pursue her dreams. Congratulations on taking this leap, Joanna, and on your new adventures to come. You’re an inspiration.

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