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I got an offer to take over as webmaster, now what?

Struggling magazine site's webmaster is quitting



2:07 am on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A quarterly *widget magazine, which was voted one of *widget Digest's best 101 websites for writers, is losing its webmaster. The last 4 months, on a volunteer basis, I have been in charge of one small section of the magazine's site. Now the webmaster says she can't work on it any more, because it doesn't pay much. I've been offered the job, with pay, but don't know what to ask for!

The site features columns by about 10 or 12 people that need updating once or twice a month, plus other updates now & then. No forums, java, flash, or anything like that.

The site desperately needs some recoding because it is extremely slow. I would like to tell the magazine's publisher this & get paid for modernizing & recoding it to proper CSS standards.

I'm no expert but I've been doing websites for about 6 years, and have been running a medical reference website the last 4 years. I also wrote the search code in php that makes it run; sticky me if you would like the url.

I have no idea how much to ask for. I appreciate any advice you all have for me!

[edited by: stuntdubl at 2:19 am (utc) on July 2, 2004]
[edit reason] widgetized [/edit]


4:01 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

1. Make sure that the webmaster documents everything he/she does, so that there are no surprises. From Hosting/Programming/Databases

2. Ask for a set list of duties/responsibilities in writing.

3. Offer your own goals and objectives.

4. Finally make sure they have a profit-sharing plan, so that as you gradually improve the profit of the site, so you get a benefit of that.

Put it in WRITING

It's too ez to get stuck on low pay.


4:08 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

4. Finally make sure they have a profit-sharing plan, so that as you gradually improve the profit of the site, so you get a benefit of that.

Are you kidding me? As a business owner I would NEVER enter into a profit sharing arrangement with a webmaster, SEO, or other. Most smart business owners don't - employees get paid a specific wage to do a specific job. How much I make is of no concern to you.

To the original poster, ask for a specific salary based on your region, experience, and how much you want to make - if they can pay you what you want, great. If they want to negotiate go for it but don't settle for less than what you think you deserve. If they can't pay you what you want (or need) then don't take the job. But don't even suggest a profit sharing model, any business owner worth their weight in salt would boot you out the door immediately.


8:58 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanx, digitalv and crosenblum. The mag's publisher told me in an email how much she paid the last webmaster. It isn't much, but she's crying poverty now and thinks she paid too much ... sez she had other offers that were lower.

Since I've proven that I know how to code a website for speed, I think I should get at least as much money as the previous webmaster. I emailed the publisher back & said I thought the amount she's been paying is reasonable. Waiting to hear further.


10:47 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I second digitalv
And unfortunately in reading in between lines
I am afraid that you will run head first in the slaughterhouse

Have you done some research on their financial side?
Verify that they are not pulling a fast one on you and will close the door tomorrow
Verify that you are not the one filling in while they are preparing for a chapter 7
Ask the previous Webmaster for his/her in depth reasons for leaving (aside $)

Good luck


11:31 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Introduce them to Adsense - perhaps their "widget" site would be monetized well with contextual advertising. Then they'll have a reason to pay you better.


3:38 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The magazine already runs a few ads for related products, both in print and online. It is known to be struggling but I don't think it's going to fold. I've known the publisher online for two or three years & she strikes me as honest and helpful. I don't know of any instance where she ripped anybody off for anything.

So what's the problem ... the figure she quoted was really low to begin with & she acts like she doesn't even want to pay that much ... I suspect she's collecting quotes from other people, which she has the right to do. I am not going to pursue it unless she decides to pay me at least as much as she paid the webmaster who left.

Thanks everybody!


11:21 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

People who are "collecting quotes from others" should always be invited to come back when they are done by which time your prices will have risen by 10% ....

People who say this kind of thing should generally be avoided anyway ...

I go with digitalv ..ask a fair price ...percentages of profit are stupid and an invitation for one side to feel suspicious and the other to lie ...

And ..like the man said "whats it to do with etc" ..

Personally I wouldn't work for her ..sounds cheap .


5:18 am on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Shutting the door on profit-sharing based on the limited info you offered is bad advice. Everything should be on the table and discussed as a possibility. I think what crosenblum was getting at was additional incentives, this could be based on sales,revenue,etc.--call it a salary with additional "bonus structure based on performance"....

So let's get this straight: They want you to do brilliantly everything the other webmaster did badly. That gets you the same or less $ as the previous webmaster? How much money is at stake at this website? Are we talking about low thousands or more? Is the website a valuable part of the company or just an ornament? If valuable, how much is it worth? If not valuable, do they want to make this a profit-center or keep it as a costly ornament? (if ornament then skip to bottom)

If it's valuable and there is the prospect of a turnaround you need to start playing some hardball. Give them some concrete examples of why you are the one to turn this thing around. What about your other site you have--does it make money? Are you a proven winner? Convince them that you are it. Get a ballpark figure of how much this is worth to them.

Get a full, long list of ALL your responsibilities. Make sure to write down how the last webmaster screwed up each item. Go through each item, about how much work it is, about why you are going to be doing a better job then the last person and your new employer will be happy because as a result you will be increasing the value of the website, make them look good etc. Get them excited. When you're done with this huge list and everything you are going to do and how great this is going to be etc. ... THEN you go back to salary.

If you do it right their salary quote will look ridiculous. Now they will be on the defensive. Say that you are willing to take a lower salary than you normally would (more than what they quoted you still) if there are performace incentives/bonuses. I guarantee that if you do this effectively you will end up with at least the numbers you are looking for (if not more) + some additional respect because you didn;t let them force-feed you an offer.

The reason is that most employers look at value not just price. Right now they feel BURNED by the last webmaster at the price they paid. That's why they want to pay you LESS, because they don't want to get burned like that again. After all, a webmaster is a webmaster right? You have to change that whole mindset around.

Good luck!

*** Then again if you are absolutely desperate ignore all that, plead for a position and consider yourself lucky to have a job. ***


9:55 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

*** Then again if you are absolutely desperate ignore all that, plead for a position and consider yourself lucky to have a job. ***

No, I have a full-time job that has nothing to do with the internet. The things I would do as webmaster would only take a few hours (maybe 3 to 4) a month. That is, other than the recoding for speed that I'd like to do if I take over and have my name on it. I'm not looking for a profit-sharing deal, just for a few little dollars that would make it worth my time. But I haven't heard anything more about it.


10:07 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If it doesn't pay well right now, profit sharing is a brilliant idea. When I used to join flakey, low paying startups .. stock options was the first thing I always insisted upon.

Beware of people who give you hard and fast rules. Everything is negotiable, nothing is for sure.


11:50 pm on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My experience has shown the more the client cries poor, the more difficult the client will be to work with. I stopped discounting a long time ago.

Don't take one penny less than fair market value for your services. If they won't pay, walk away and let them be someone else's headache.


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