The importance of Competitor analysis for Website Design Projects
Website design is the use of graphic design software and programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe Acrobat, jQuery, Adobe Dreamweaver and some other codes to create a beautiful and lively website that is informative and useful.
In website analysis, there is the comparative analysis and competitive analysis. However, we are going to examine the competitive analysis of a website in this article. Competitive analysis is when you can make a deep survey and x-ray the strategies, skills, and resources of your potential competitors with the aid of the internet as a valuable tool; and you can do a result oriented research and analysis towards products innovation, services improvement, lead generation and customer retention as against that of your competitors. This is the basics of website design and it is usually implemented for professionals that are new to the industry; and novice to search ergonomics, labeling systems, designs, information architecture, and usability. They are particularly interested to know who their competitors are, what they are doing and how to do it better than them. However, your research and analysis should be based on usability and user experience design while the websites to survey and scrutinize should be those within your niche or professional domain. Therefore, you should concentrate on collating data and information that will be useful and helpful towards improving your website design.
Therefore, your website designing agency will base his project on the result of this research and strive to create a more attractive and appealing interface that will be inclusive of valuable design, content opportunities, and search engine optimization (SEO). This tool gives your designer the chance to identify loopholes in your competitor’s websites as well as their strengths and opportunities; and to maximize it.
There are some key factors to note when conducting a competitive website analysis project. They are:
- Who are your competitors?
- What should you analyze in a particular website?
- The procedures and strategies for analyzing a website
- What are the benefits of analyzing your competitor’s website?
- What are your reasons for carrying out a website analysis project?
- How do you complete the spreadsheet for your website analysis project?
- What are the limitations of a competitive analysis?
- The effective tools for competitive website analysis project
- When can you conduct a competitive website analysis?
Who are your competitors?
In most cases, every company or business owner knows her competitor in the business arena and market place as they usually have names of businesses and companies on their target list; and as a website design analyst, you will be given a list of these potential competitors. There should be at least, five names of competing companies or not more than ten to compare with their own company. However, you will be able to do more research to find out some other companies in that niche and especially the core products and services offered by these companies that are related to their own products and services, and the ways to beat the quality of their productions and services. This could be done by increasing the output and quantity of products, or by improving on the quality and content of the products and services.
Furthermore, there is another process to follow in determining a company’s competitors and that is by tracking the companies using a classification code known as Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. You can use this code to locate and trace other companies and businesses in the same category and offering the same class of services and products. Moreover, you should endeavor to find out the targets, goals, and missions of this company, that is simply, the types of products and services they offer and match these with relevant offers correctly.
There are other ways you can acknowledge potential competitors and dangerous enemies using their strong branding, total revenues, geographic location, and total profits.
- Strong branding: any company in the same profession or niche with you having a strong brand name is a potential rival you need to beat or leverage on their performances and productions.
- Total revenues: you need to measure your potential competitors using their income indices that mean the total money the company is receiving from its business activities in a particular period.
- Geographic location: the proximity of a rival company to your own business makes it tough for you to succeed in that business environment except with strong competitive analysis and a resolve to make innovations in products and services that will match or exceed that of the opponent.
- Total profits: a company’s exponential growth and viability is measured by its profit margin within a particular period, for instance, in a month, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly.
Conclusively, there are three basic ways to determine who your competitors are like through personal contacts and knowledge, companies found to be in the same class of business through searches and keywords related to your brand, and those companies your prospective customers considered your rivals and competitors that are leading in your market and business environment.
What should you analyze in a particular website?
After you have carefully collated the list of competitors, their geographic location, total revenues and profits, and brand strength, the next list of items to consider are the things to actually, analyze in a website. These things are home page, site marketing and organization, navigation, readability, links and labels, ranking and search results, performance and website speed, and content.
- Home page: you should consider the information content of the home page to know if it is incisive and understandable to the visitors and users. The key calls to action displayed on the home page should be relevant.
- Site marketing and organization: here, you should find out if the companies have blogs, downloads, and if they are using videos to market their goods and services. You should also find out how they communicate with the visitors and customers on the website, through live chat, contacts, e-mails, or phone numbers. The next thing to check here is the way graphics and data are organized on the site. You should be able to know if you can easily recognize the details and understand them.
- Navigation: you should check for the consistency of global navigation from section to section and page to page respectively. There should be no variations in the different pages and sections.
- Ranking and search results: you should consider the keywords that are ranking in the search engine based on the advanced and basic search functions and search results. Moreover, you should consider if the search results are relevant and useful to the contextual ideas searched for and if it could be traced to the information, you really need. Then you should estimate the traffic rate on the site.
- Readability: you should test for the readability of the graphics on the site by checking for the font size and length of words used in the expressions.
- Labels and links: the links should not be confusing and useless. Moreover, this assessment will help you to determine if the labels on sections’ heading and content groups are simple to recognize and you should know if the links could be distinguished from one another. You should be able to check if the links are well organized in sidebars, in groups, or just spread out in the documents.
- Content: you should be able to check the weight of the content and analyze if it is relevant and appealing to the target users and audience. You can also find out how the site is harnessing its information resources and website contents.
- Performance and website speed: in this analysis, you should be able to consider the search engine friendliness and assess the optimization of graphics and applications on the website for quick viewing. You should be able to find out the website speed and the rate at which the search and multimedia presentations and pages load either quickly or slowly.
The procedures and processes of analyzing a website
Having made a list of the sites you want to visit and conducted your analysis about them, and made a list of the different factors you want to check in those sites, you need to analyze the methods and processes you should use in actualizing the project. Do not be in a hurry if you want to get an accurate result and try to be consistent with your approach towards the search results and analysis. There should be no discriminatory and narrow-minded procedure in your analysis and avoid distortion of facts. Furthermore, you should search the sites one after another following the same procedures for each site. You should also document your facts and data, as it will guide you while preparing your reports for the business executives. Do your best to rate and score each site, and section you visited, as this will be useful at the end of your analysis for you to make good reports. You will establish some good logic and fairness after searching the websites of the competitors. Lastly, if the company you are analyzing their competitors have a website you should rate their site last comparing it with the performance of the other sites you visited to give you the accurate position of their site and company in the market place.
What are the benefits of analyzing your competitor’s website?
In order to achieve success in your website design analysis, you need to consider some key benefits this project will give to the company conducting the research like usability, design, content, conversion paths, and performance.
- Usability (UX): this refers to the main purpose and mission of establishing a website and that is to be able to attract visitors and convert them into customers.
- Content: during the analysis, you would check for the quality of information that is available on the site of the competitors for visitors to read and respond. You should indicate any other vital fact and information that is not represented on the site and make recommendations.
- Design: as a website designer, you should check the beauty and graphics of the competitor’s websites. Examine the choice and use of colors, the web layout, and other aesthetics on the site that will enhance and attract user’s fancy.
- Optimization: in order to drive in more search engine traffic, as a website designer, you need to structure how to attract organic traffic and ranking for keywords and search results.
- Performance: the website designer should be able to find out the loading speed of the competitor’s website in areas like sign up forms and other critical information that you need about the business. Your designer will use this information to create a more result oriented and fast speed website for you.
- Conversion paths: this entails the ability for your website to attract committed customers that will patronize your goods and services. Website designers will review your site for landing pages, calls to action, and other important details in order to create a good platform for your business.
What are your reasons for carrying out a website analysis project?
There are many reasons for conducting a competitive website analysis such as:
- The main objective of this analysis is to form your own digital marketing strategy and plan how to reach out to your customers.
- This analysis project will help you to understand the way other competitors are managing and handling usability.
- It will guide you to know the position and acceptability of your products and services in comparison with others in competition.
- Website analysis will guide you to formulate concepts and notions to handle usability matters.
- You will be able to understand how to take advantage of the weaknesses and loopholes of your competitors with the aid of the usability information.
- One of the reasons for carrying out this project should be if a good and complete analysis has never been made before.
- If you are planning to introduce a new product or service into the market, you need to carry out this analysis.
- Competitive analysis should be done annually or bi-annually to maintain the fashions and styles in the market.
How do you complete the spreadsheet for your website analysis project?
In order to give an accurate account of the websites reviewed, you need to keep a fairly understandable and simple record of your findings in a spreadsheet divided into units. This should have headings such as the techniques unit, discoveries unit, approvals and commendations, management summary, and appendages.
- The techniques unit: in this unit, you will be able to explain the methodical procedures you adopted in choosing the sites and how you rated them during your reviews.
- The discoveries unit: you should be able to summarily, express your discoveries for each site. Begin the sub-units with the names of the sites and sites’ URLs. Then state the overall score for the websites how they are ranked and the site unit score. This analysis should be made for each of the sites you reviewed.
- Approvals and commendations unit: here, you will make commendations and give directives for future operations and management of the company. You should state the benefits of applying the best practices and online behaviors of the other sites into their website and company’s policies and practices. For instance, if the other companies and sites use live chats or videos to market their products to the customers, they should embark on such performances for better results.
- Appendages: in this unit, you should give detailed information of your findings including the raw data used in your reviews and analysis.
- Management summary: this is usually the last part of the report to write. You should provide a summary of the report and analysis to indicate the reasons for embarking on this analytical project for the company. There should be a summary of the site’s rankings among others and you make your recommendations for further actions.
What are the limitations of a competitive analysis?
Website analysis as an important part of your business success has some limitations such as:
- It cannot show you how to start innovations that will turn you into a leader in that industry, although it can make you to understand what to do and be at the same level with your competitors.
- The websites analyst or reviewer may be constrained, as he may not have the full knowledge of the trade secrets of those companies he has reviewed.
- Competitive analysis needs to be a regular project if you want to succeed in your business but it takes a lot of time.
The effective tools for competitive website analysis
These tools include page rank checker, Google page speed insights, search metrics, and others.
This is a tool used for viewing a site’s link portfolio. You should record the number of domains these links originate and the inbound links.
Google page speed insights:
You can be able to see how fast a site loads and it is a sign of the site’s accessibility.
You can use this tool to see the keywords your competitors are ranking for in the search results.
When can you conduct a website analysis?
You can organize a competitive website analysis when you want to do a website re-designing project and if you are starting an online-based company.