Should you tell a business their website sucks? - CONTRAST
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Website Consultation

Should you tell a business their website sucks?

Proceed with Caution

Is it okay for an ad agency to tell a potential client that their website is a hot mess in an effort to gain their business? Personally, I think it’s a disservice not to bring it to their attention but it could also end in disaster if you end up offending them. Most of the time, when a client doesn’t recognize their website needs help it’s usually because they are not informed about the benefits of an update.

There are many reasons why the website might be subpar. For example, it may have been created at a time when funds weren’t easily accessible – this could be treading on shaky water because the owner or a close friend may have created it in-house – use caution when critiquing but addressing the issue and offering some free insight could also result in a new client. So what should you do? Challenge accepted!

Be Impactful but Tactful

This is where your communication skills are critically important – your tact and how you approach it are imperative. Begin with a few reasons why their website is lacking and what can be improved. Do your research – make sure to include solid reasons as opposed to saying “it doesn’t look good”. Ask questions but in a friendly tone and listen to their answers “Does it speak to the target audience? Who is the target audience? Is there a clear way to contact you?


Make it about them, not you.

Research the company and show that you know what you’re talking about.

Show positivity and your willingness to want to help them.

Talk about the user experience in design terms to create trust and legitimacy.

Ask questions about the overall goals and offer up some suggestions.

Show them comparable company sites or sites that you think would work for them.


Mention a proposal or pricing during your pitch.

Throw shade at the previous designer or developer.

Be a know it all or arrogant.

Create a Win-Win

In the end, demonstrate that you are the partner they’ve been looking for and can trust. Don’t be afraid to put in some time off the books – offer to take a look at the current analytics, if they have them, or the backend of the current site if they give you access. This could be a win-win because it’s allowing you to show off some of your expertise while providing a complimentary service for them. Sometimes offering free work leads to paid work – and you just got yourself a new client.

Do you think your website is in need of an update? Contact us for a complimentary assessment.

P.S. We are recognized as a top E-Commerce Design & Development Company on DesignRush.