As a web designer I look at a lot of sites, some good, some bad, many ugly. I find the most difficult thing to do is tell a friend or colleague that their site is lacking. I don’t want them feel it’s a sales pitch or I’m judging because it’s what I do, but as a friend and a professional I feel bad if I let them continue to conduct business in such a way. So I came up 5 nice ways to give friends the hint that their site it lacking.

  1. Ask where on their I can find information that I already know is missing. This hopefully prompt them to add or change it.
  2. Casually mention how nice some sites are in their industry. This hopefully prompt them to look around and bring their site up to that level .
  3. Ask them did they read my latest post, and send a link to my post that talks about their infraction ( this works great for my flash site users). If you don’t have your own post send them another great post you’ve read. I recently practiced this on an associate and they immediately made changes. WIN!!
  4. If I’m with the friend I pull their dated site up on my phone and ask them help me find information.  Many people never view their site on a mobile devices, different browsers, etc. so they do not realize how it looks on these other platforms.
  5. This tip is the most important. If they ask you what do you think of their site, TELL THE TRUTH! We tend to want to spare someone’s feelings and be nice.  Being nice in business doesn’t help, it leaves them open to learn the truth from public opinion and lack of sales.  If a friend approaches for you opinion BE HONEST.

I know I started this post talking to friends of business owners, but business  owners I need you to listen too. If you see a friend giving these subtle hints don’t get defensive,  instead say Thank You and go home and take a critical look at your site.  Also, don’t wait for friends to drop hints, asks friends for feedback. And don’t wait to ask when you start a new site or make major changes, but ask every few months. Poll a few folks and see what they think. Compare your site to competition and newer designs that are out their, and BE HONEST  with yourself  if your site doesn’t quite measure up.