I work with a lot of clients (especially now that COVID-19 is a big thing) who cannot understand my recommendation that their site needs to be reworked, fixed or altogether redone. They're pressing for more and more marketing ads, but don't realize that they'll never get proper conversions. When I explain this to them - how they must optimize and even do proper UX testing before they can expect conversions - they nine times out of 10 will shut down and just demand more ads.

What strong options exist (in the way of methodology or tools) to help convince website owners that they need to design adjustments or reworks or altogether new websites when they don't seem to want to listen?

Some tools such as GTmetrix have helped from time to time to convince folks "your site really sucks", but other than that I've not hit upon any solid tools that really go the extra mile in this regard. Just simple logic and experience, even when you've 20+ years behind you, don't help folks to appreciate your wisdom either unless you have some data to back you up that specifically pertains to their situation.

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This is a battle you just won't win all the time. Not all clients can see the value or business case for a website update, And quite honestly lot's of businesses at this point have had a negative or cumbersome experience with website builds or updates so they can be weary of pulling the trigger on such a decision.

As far as tools go I don't think you'll hit something that actually goes the extra mile. You need to convince and convert your clients to your way of thinking. As much as we can be experts in how to improve this online and through tools sometimes this is more strategic consulting and you need to know to speak to the room.

  • Data focused: Using tools like GTmetrix or any analytics will speak well to technical clients or e-commerce clients that are focused on the bottom line. Data == Value to all customers though.

  • Business focused: A Website Audit is what I'll commonly use in your situation. Thankfully I've usually had a budget to work with for the audit itself but sometimes this is time and effort you invest in the hopes of paid time on the flipside. The beauty of doing an audit is you can open with outlining their current business goal and then close with your list of recommendations broken out by business goals. The downside is if you this pro-bono to build the relationship there's a risk they could take you recommendations elsewhere.

  • Market focused: A Competitive Analysis is great for showing clients what they should be doing better. Envy/FOMO is a stronger selling point than data most of the time. Something here that I think would work well for your situation is you can use competitors ads -> landing page -> secondary pages/follow-ups to demonstrate some of the changes you want to make in your clients' User Flow.

    I hope this answers your question. It's maybe more the business of UX than UX itself. Reach out if you want to know more. I could probably dig up some examples for you, I just can't share them publicly, sorry folks.

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