This article was contributed by Mackey Kandarajah.
Your rivals can teach you a few things about web design. Your competitor’s sites will show you what standards and expectations you are working with, often revealing their approach and positioning.
So take a closer look and ask yourself these 10 questions when looking for insight from a site of a competitor.
1. What is the first impression of the website?
First impressions always matter, even in cyberspace. The functionality and design of a web-site are crucial in making a first impression that is memorable. What do the visitors see first when they get to the site? How has the layout been set up? Is the site engaging? What types of content are highlighted on their homepage? Choose the similarities and the differences from your own website. Now decide on the elements that are working and the ones that need improvements.
2. How does the website’s usability stack up?
A convenient way to get insight is to conduct user-testing on your rival’s websites. This will reveal to you how the website is or is not satisfying the needs of clients. You will get insight into the performance and design of the site. Some firms offer free website assessments which are used to estimate numerous aspects of your site.
3. Is their website responsive or mobile?
If your rival has a site that is mobile-friendly, or if the site snaps to fit different screen sizes, it is a sign your rivals are not only to up to date, but also in the loop. Responsive and mobile sites administer to the needs of the modern-day consumer. Clients are always on the go, surfing the internet on mobile devices and tablets. Examine your rivals’ sites and see how conversant they are with the trend. If they are not up-to-date, think of it as a competitive advantage.
4. Is the website easy to navigate?
In this area, user-testing is very crucial. Examine and see if their navigation method is complex or simple. How many times does a visitor click on the site to acquire information? The less number of clicks, the better it is. If users can easily point out what they are searching for, they are more likely to stay on the page for longer periods.
5. Do they own a blog? What are they writing about?
Blogging is an easy way to pass information to the clients without interrupting their day. Clients are interested in reading the articles which they can easy relate to and about issues. Choose the topics that they customers engage in a lot and think of writing a few posts on the same topic.
6. What are the keywords that the competitors are targeting?
Organic search is produced by a customer typing keying in a keyword into a search engine. If your rival’s research is detailed sufficiently, they will have the understanding into which keywords have the lowest competition and the highest searches. Examine the URLs, image tags, content, headings, and descriptions. Assess the keywords that are effective for your audience.
7. What is missing from your website?
Check out the features and tools that your rival offers on their websites. Does the website have guides or free resources for download? Your rival’s website tell you a lot about their organization, as well as your own. Examine the general site layout, content placement, and the different advertising styles. In doing so, you will gain insight into their clients and other individuals who might visit their site.
8. How are graphics used on the websites?
The use of the right imagery on your website is not merely for aesthetics. Services and products need not be dull and only text without matching imagery. Today, web-page visitors examine graphics, and they share them.
9. Are there any unnecessary features on the website?
Website features are vital for small enterprises as they boost brand engagement, improve your digital foot-print and create positive user-experience. However, in some cases you will find competitors with features that they do not need on their websites. These features clutter the website and drag on loading time. Avoid them in your own website. They include flash animation, irrelevant info, and music.
10. Does the website have social media accounts links?
Keeping up to date with the latest web-design trends involves having social media buttons that are linked to specific accounts. The majority of the website themes, have social media buttons incorporated. Check if your competitor is connected to active social media accounts and confirm if they are updating them. What is their strategy?
About the Author: Mackey Kandarajah is the Marketing technology specialist at Spark Interact a digital marketing and web design Sydney company. He specialises in marketing for mid-size businesses integrating web design and search with traditional marketing to produce highly integrated strategies that are simple and affordable to implement.