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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2012, 05:09 PM
ErinHill226's Avatar
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Default Is there a way to put this delicately?

A guy contacted me the other day about writing some content for their website. Today we chatted a few minutes on Skype, and he asked me to take a look at his site and let him know what could be improved. Turns out, there is not much that COULDN'T be improved. The entire site is very ESL... and underdeveloped... with no sales value at all. I wrote an email but haven't sent it yet because I can't decide if it sounds rude in any way. I'm probably being stupid. He ASKED for my opinion. It's just while writing, it started sounding really nitpicky or something. lol. Like: "You need to fix this... and this...and this.... and this... and this... and definitely THIS... plus this... and here's why... and this is also bad..."

I don't want to sugar coat it and have them wind up with a site that is sub par. I also don't want to come across as if I'm insulting them. I feel like my email is a text from Marketing 101 because I felt the need to explain why I was telling them to do certain things, but now it's just long and drawn out and I fear insulting.

What do you do in this situation? Do you just give it to them straight if the site is truly horrible (not in a rude way, but without dancing around the horribleness), or do you try to stoke their egos a little so they don't get insulted?
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:21 PM
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Can you give it to him straight but without nit-picking apart his site? For example,


Thanks so much for requesting my opinion. After reviewing your site, I believe you could benefit from a complete overhaul. Since Google changed its algorithm last year, websites have had to drastically change their content to rank high in searches. In addition, there are certain marketing techniques that could improve your sales. I recommend:

Re-writing your content to make it more search engine friendly
Adding call-to-actions on each page
Etc.
Etc.
Etc.


That way you aren't coming right out and saying 'your site sucks.'

ETA: I guess I didn't answer your last question, lol! I would do a little ego-stroking rather than risk sounding arrogant and losing a potential client.

Last edited by maryalene; 10-24-2012 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:11 PM
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Perhaps you could point out the top things that would need to be changed on his site. Giving him a quick marketing 101 on his entire site when he is not paying you for it is really him getting something for nothing.

Think about it this way. He could take your well thought out critique of his site and give the work to people who will do what you have written out to do for less then you charge.

Maybe you could give him a couple of the biggest problems and then quote him a price for an entire write up of what needs to be fixed on the site.

I know this is not exactly what you asked, but when I was reading your post I kept feeling like you were giving him so much work for nothing.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:27 PM
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I do not have personal experience with this, but I had to comment because I really like what maryalene said. It sounds great without giving away all of the specific changes you would like to make.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:47 PM
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I suggest that you give him the highlights without being specific. I had a guy who tried to get me to tell him how one of his sites should be edited and it was relatively ESL. I gave him one tip for one site, and he tried to ask me about some editing tips for another site. I refused, and a few months later he contacted me and asked me to help him come up with a name for a site. I blocked him.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:33 AM
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I've had to do this with writers who apply for writing positions and then send me samples that are clearly ESL. I always feel horrible, but I'll highlight a few sentences and explain why the grammar/spelling is incorrect. I always feel rude, but if you're applying for a writing position and hand over shoddy samples, I'd rather be honest and upfront so that they really understand why they were not selected.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:52 AM
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I like what Maryalene said too. It helps him without being mean or sounding like you really think his site stinks Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by maryalene View Post
Can you give it to him straight but without nit-picking apart his site? For example,


Thanks so much for requesting my opinion. After reviewing your site, I believe you could benefit from a complete overhaul. Since Google changed its algorithm last year, websites have had to drastically change their content to rank high in searches. In addition, there are certain marketing techniques that could improve your sales. I recommend:

Re-writing your content to make it more search engine friendly
Adding call-to-actions on each page
Etc.
Etc.
Etc.


That way you aren't coming right out and saying 'your site sucks.'

ETA: I guess I didn't answer your last question, lol! I would do a little ego-stroking rather than risk sounding arrogant and losing a potential client.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryalene View Post
Can you give it to him straight but without nit-picking apart his site? For example,


Thanks so much for requesting my opinion. After reviewing your site, I believe you could benefit from a complete overhaul. Since Google changed its algorithm last year, websites have had to drastically change their content to rank high in searches. In addition, there are certain marketing techniques that could improve your sales. I recommend:

Re-writing your content to make it more search engine friendly
Adding call-to-actions on each page
Etc.
Etc.
Etc.


That way you aren't coming right out and saying 'your site sucks.'

ETA: I guess I didn't answer your last question, lol! I would do a little ego-stroking rather than risk sounding arrogant and losing a potential client.
Very well put, your advice is "on point."
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:54 AM
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I'm working on a web site right now and he asked my opinion and I was like wow, you need a complete overhaul and a graphic designer. Of course, I didn't say that, but I have him a few suggestions and I'm completely re-writing his text.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:47 AM
ErinHill226's Avatar
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I sort of combined all advice. I put it nicely, but left out too many specifics. Giving too much info for free is something I have a problem with. I love giving marketing advice. lol. I really need to start that blog...

ANYWAY... he wrote back asking for a price, so I guess he wasn't too insulted. I may have to go into more detail into what is involved to get him to pay my price, though. He mentioned wanting a good deal. I'm guessing this will fall through. lol. My prices aren't the highest by any means (since I write fast and base my rates on what I want to earn hourly). But I'm not oDesk rates either... which is where he found my profile. He did tell me I was a great writer, though. So, maybe?

Thanks for the advice to all!
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