This is one of the key elements to a successful web campaign, yet so few people actually do it! One of the first principals in marketing is a method in which you figure out your placement in the market, figuring out your placement is achieved by examining your competitors and seeing what you provide that sets yourself apart from them. Guess what? That same method applies in web design.
A competitive analysis is an in depth look at what your competitors are doing on their website. After recording in detail all aspects and features of the site, you must reflect and see if you are able to provide the same but better. If not, you should focus your attention elsewhere, so that your site has features that outshine your competitors.
What do your competitors provide on their website?
The first step is to make a list of what your competitors content focus is. Do they talk about their experience? how about the size of their company? low cost? customer service?
If you have evidence, reasons, and compelling copy as to why your product/company/service is a better choice in an area of your competitor then you want to include it on your website. If not however, it is best to focus elsewhere. For example, if your competitor has testimonials of fifty happy customers and you only have five, posting the testimonials on your site is just proving that your company is not established enough, or doesn’t have enough customers to obtain that level of testimonials.
What about special offers? Printable coupons? If you can offer a better deal, or if your customers don’t have these features this is a great way to set yourself apart when it comes to the web.
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Can you provide a newsletter, discussion, articles, games, or tools that your competitor can’t? Each of these will help visitors decide which site offers more reason to stay, which is better at what they do, and who to ultimately buy from.
The sad truth is many people buy simply based on which website is most aesthetically pleasing to them! If you can afford a better designer, it is a significant way to edge yourself in front of competitors.
A lot of these factors can be outweighed by visibility. If your competitor has no visitors to their site, it doesn’t matter if they provide discounts, newsletters and have a better design. Search engine optimization is a strong method of staying ahead of the competition, however be warned that search engine results are not permanent. If another site with better content and marketing starts to rank and you have done nothing to place yourself apart from the competition then your are in trouble.