Eyeing The Competition
What Are They Doing Right Or Wrong? Now Improve It!
Revised April 3, 2014
Originally Published September 30, 2008
Websites are a part of day-to-day life; integrated into mainstream business and consumer activities.
To get the most from one's website marketing dollar, it is imperative to keep an eye on the competition and make note of:
- what the competition is doing right
- what the competition is failing to accomplish
Surveying the market and what the competition offers, helps to gauge where a website excels, as well as features lacking and required in order to be aggressive and get ahead online.
When analyzing competitor and related websites and 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 site 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 how are they used?
- 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+) for reaching out to consumers and providing a public forum for feedback?
In addition to the above general questions for competitve 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 website within certain business sectors, factions, or genres.
- Locality, regional culture, and social norms is also imperative when analyzing a website and how to properly "speak" to identify with the target market of the area.
Implementing Positive Change
Once one understands 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 and 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.