Our friend Bob Sawyer, Pixels and Code, has a great question for discussion. How do you offer to help without offending?
I came across a web site last night that is in dire need of help. This is a landscape supply company. The site was built in 2002. Aside from being poorly coded (the owner even apologizes on the home page to users who experience “text overlapping some images” – they’ve tried to fix the problem but failed, apparently) – the site loads slowly, breaks in some browsers, etc. The order form does not work, and they send users off-site to calculate their own shipping before returning to complete the order process. Lastly, the site is not optimized for search engines.
I could go on. There are problems aplenty and they’re all relevant to the success of the company’s web presence. My wife and I are actually planning to order from them, but we’re going to have to call and place the order over the phone because their web-based order system is so buggy.
So my question is, how do I approach the owner in such a way that I offer my help in fixing his site, without offending him? If you had a web site that you built from scratch yourself, and someone approached you saying, “you know, you’ve done an OK job here, but it could work so much better, and I can do that for you?” would you be offended?
Now, obviously, I’m not going to call him and say, “Dude, your web site stinks!” But would even the idea that someone called and said, “I’d like to help you improve your web site” and followed with the laundry list of things that could be improved upon make you more or less interested in taking the caller up on their offer?
Thanks for the assist!
How would you start that discussion? What would you ask, and what would you say?
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