Eyeing The Competition
What Are They Doing Right Or Wrong? Now Improve It!
Revised March 4, 2015
Originally Published September 30, 2008
Websites are integrated into mainstream business and consumer activities; a part of day-to-day life.
For businesses to get the most for their website marketing dollar, it is imperative to keep an eye on the competition and make note of:
- what is the competition doing right or achieving?
- what is the competition failing to provide or accomplish?
Surveying the market, what the competition offers, and gauging where a website excels or could use improvement, is required in order to be aggressive and get ahead online.
When analyzing competitors and related website features, there are many important questions to ask. Depending upon the industry, there will be unique, industry specific questions to ask as well.
Questions to Help Analyze the Competition
The following are some general questions in the areas of Design & Navigation, Content Setup, Website Functionality, and Customer Service:
Design & Navigation
- Does the website have a professional appearance?
- Is the site viewable on mobile browsers and tablets, in addition to regular platforms such as laptops and desktops?
- Is the overall layout and navigation easy to understand and use regardless of platform?
- What type of color scheme is used and how does it affect the customer?
- What kind of images are used on the website, and are they in cross-platform compatible formats?
- Are the images used within the site clean, clear, non-distracting, and quick to load?
- Does the website offer online sales of products and services?
- Does the site allow online scheduling and appointment setup?
- What other types of online services does the website offer?
- Online Signup
- Account History
- Payment on Account
- Gift Certificates
- Online Billing
Customer Service, Sales & Support
- What kind of online customer service support and help do they offer? (Online Chat, Email, etc)
- Do they have a resource library of related information for customers?
- What type of related resource information is available?
- Do they offer industry related news or online newsletters?
- Does the company have online social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Alignable) for reaching out to consumers and providing a public forum for feedback?
In addition to the above general questions for competitive website analysis, there are some important unique factors to consider as well:
Unique Elements of Review
- Analysis of any unique, industry specific factors that may pertain only to websites within certain business sectors, factions, or genres.
- Locality, regional culture, and social norms are also imperative factors when analyzing a website, and how to properly "speak to" and "identify with" the target market of the local area.
Implementing Positive Change
Once we understand how a website compares to the competition, it's easier to see where a website is lacking, and needs assistance; in addition to where a website exceeds the competition and expectations.
Unless a website is utterly intolerable, changes are best implemented slowly, and methodically so as to avoid consumer inconvenience or confusion. While change can be good, change can also cause chaos and loss of business if not implemented in a positive, easy to understand manner.
Successful competitive market analysis is on-going and should be approached in a phased, long-term manner.