Sizing up your competition can play an important role in developing or redesigning your own website.
Your website is often the first interaction a potential customer has with your business, so a deep dive into how your competition is greeting and nurturing their own site visitors will tell you a good deal about their company and strategy, as well as the customers they’re pursuing.
Identify the top-tier competitors in your industry and plan a thorough exploration of each of their websites.
As you conduct your research, note similarities and differences between your site and theirs.
Now, ask yourself these KEY questions:
What first impression is YOUR COMPETITOR'S website making?
First impressions matter, even (especially?) online. The design and functionality of a website is critical to making a memorable first impression, so consider these questions:
- What do visitors see first on your competitor’s website?
- How is the layout set up?
- Is the website engaging?
- What type of content is featured on their homepage?
Identify what elements are working and which need improvement.
How does your website stack up?
A useful way to get great design tips is to run user testing on your competitors’ websites. InVerve Marketing offers FREE WEBSITE ASSESSMENTS that can provide valuable insights on design and performance, as well as telling you how competing websites are (or aren’t) meeting the needs of their customers.
IS your competitor's site fully responsive?
Responsive web sites should adapt to fit just about any screen size, and by now most business sites have been updated. However, it’s not uncommon to find a business that perhaps didn’t fully upgrade to responsive design across their entire site, so it’s worth browsing on multiple devices to check for any pages they may have missed.
If a competitor has a key product or service page that doesn’t work well on mobile, they’re missing out on web traffic – and you just spotted an opportunity to steal market share.
Is their site easy to navigate?
User testing can help out in this department. Take a look and see if their navigation approach is simple or complex. How many times does a user have to click in order to get to the information they’re looking for? Compare the navigation set up to your own company’s website. How many times does the user click to get to your information? The fewer clicks, the better. If users can easily find what they're looking for, they are more likely to stay on the page longer.
Do they have a blog? What are they blogging about?
Blogging is a great way to get information to consumers without interrupting their day. Consumers are interested in reading posts they can relate to, on topics they would like to learn more about. If your competitors have a blog, browse through the list and note common topics. Pick out the top articles customers are engaging with and take a peek at the comment section to gather insight.
If you're not already blogging for your own site, now is a good time to start. When you're ready to get writing consider these questions:
- What content have your competitors failed to provide that would likely interest your ideal customer?
- What content do customers respond well to, that you could rewrite even better?
What keywords are competitors targeting?
Organic search is generated by a consumer typing a keyword into a search engine. If your competitors have done their own detailed research, they will have put serious consideration into which keywords to include based on stats like search volume, ranking scores, and more. Look at the page titles, descriptions, headings, content, image tags, and URLs. Evaluate which keywords are effective targets for your own audience.
What does your competitor have that you don't?
Look at some of the tools and features competitors offer on their websites. What are customers responding positively to? What are you drawn to? Does the site have guides, free resources available for download, or other helpful offers? What about a simple search option to crawl the website?
While you should never copy a competitor's website from the top down, identifying what works and what doesn't for them can provide great insights and consideration for you. If something works, consider creating or including your own version as you build out your own website plan. If something clearly isn't working for them, consider it a great opportunity for you to redirect those customers they're pushing away.
Be a Savvy Marketer.
Glean what you can from others before investing in that awesome new site of your dreams. You know your website is an increasingly important asset, so make sure it performs like it should so it can deliver better returns on investment.