Planning a website:
Assess these 5 basic competitive factors to make your website stand out in your industry.
To really have your website stand out from the competition and to capture your visitors interest, then you would benefit from assessing the strengths and weaknesses of comparable websites in your industry, according to the 5 competitive factors described herein.
Planning a website: it’s all in the saying “look before you jump”
It’s a fact that you always get better ROI when your marketing actions are carried out taking into account what is wanted, liked and desired in a given market by a given clientele.
And it is just as factual when planning a website
In other words, it would be very worthwhile for you to visit certain websites in your industry so as to note various positive or negative aspects in terms of design, structure and marketing.
You could then work with this information, discuss it with your partners or colleagues in planning a website that will effectively stand out from the competition.
Simply put, this is a 2-step process
1- You begin by making a list of websites starting with 3 of your biggest competitors; to those, you add the websites of 2 or 3 important suppliers in your industry and, if applicable, other relevant websites that would be visited by your target clientele.
2- Then you visit each of these sites, analyzing and comparing their respective use of the five intrinsic factors to constructing any website: graphic design, navigation, content, interactivity and, finally, keywords.
The objective is to come up with observations and conclusions based on an overview of industry-relevant websites, so that you can then take those into account when planning your own website.
Here are the 5 competitive factors to assess when planning a website
1- GRAPHIC DESIGN : THE FIRST IMPRESSION
Practically speaking, graphic design is what welcomes visitors first, so it has the role of grabbing and holding their attention as soon as they land on your webpage.
In terms of assessing the graphic design of websites, you would :
– first note if the sites in your industry have a contemporary look, i.e. keeping up with the trends;
– then look to see if the graphic design properly represents their respective companies’ brand images;
– and finally, determine if the information, as presented graphically speaking, is easy to consult in terms of these 3 basic graphic design elements : the use of color, the choice and use of typography and, finally, the arrangement of all these elements on the pages of the site (also called, the layout).
2- THE SITE MAP AND ITS NAVIGATION
Basically, we navigate each site to see how easy or difficult it is to find what we are looking for, without getting lost. Naturally, this step does not apply when considering a stand-alonge one-page site or a microsite of a few pages where it is easy to go through the site menu.
Conversely, this step is very important when analyzing multi-page websites and catalog websites since these contain sections with subsections and even sub-subsections, not to mention the many pages with several internal links.
So, you pay attention to see how easy it is for any visitor who browses these comparable sites to find what is wanted and above all not to get lost in internal links.
3- THE INFORMATION, AS PRESENTED
It is also useful, when planning a website, to assess the what and how the information is presented in the various websites in your industry.
For all sites, you should assess these 5 characteristics:
a) firstly, note if there is a core branding message, and how well that message is expressed throughout their website;
b) the types of media used to present the information: videos, pdfs, sliders, etc .;
c) the quality of the presentation in terms of texts and visual elements;
d) and the amount of information offered so as to meet the visitors’ needs.
e) the value of the information, whether it is unique, up to date and reliable.
4- VISITOR INTERACTION : PLUGINS AND FUNCTIONALITIES
Internet technologies allow interactions of a marketing nature, hence the importance of using plugins and functionalities to capture visitors’ interest and invite them to interact with your site.
In this regard, while assessing comparable industry websites, you should list:
a) all interaction features such as forms of all types, requests for quotes, chat, quizzes or surveys, and others
b) and, if applicable, note any other marketing-related tactics integrated into the site itself such as the use of a blog or news plugins.
5- KEYWORDS RE: INDEXING YOUR WEBSITE
At the construction stage, we must plan to include keywords in a website so that it is perfectly indexed * (cataloged) by search engines.
Hence the importance of seeing which keywords specific to what you offer are also used by comparable websites that you visit.
More precisely, it is a question of seeing if these keywords are used correctly in terms of the basic indexing parameters of the search engines: URLs, Alt_Image, Titles (H1) and subtitles (H2), and meta-descriptions.
* Note that this article is not about doing an exhaustive analysis of the keywords, but rather of allowing you to gauge the quality of the indexing of competitive sites.Naturally, in cases where being at the top of search engine results is an important criterion for your marketing, then a more exhaustive analysis of keywords is essential; and it could be used to rethink your site map, depending on what emerges.
How can a competitive website analysis save you time and, ultimately, money?
You know it!
Not having a clear plan is a big, if not the biggest, time and money wasting factor in any project; and behind not having a plan is : lack of information.
Which is why doing a competitive industry-relevant website analysis is well worth the time spent, as it will save you time and money in the long run.
The fact is that you can take the information and hindsight obtained from an assessment of the 5 competitive factors and put those into an action plan for the development of your new website, knowing that it will stand out in your industry. Your decisions regarding budget and scheduling will be based on factual data, and not on suppositions.
In the end, “look before you jump” is more than a saying… it is a smart and practical approach to achieve a more than positive result.
Now, if you are planning a new website soon, here is something that might interest you
To thank you for reading this article, I’d like to offer to prepare and present to you the results of a 5-Factor Website Analysis & Tactical Recommendations Service, tailor-made for your website project, and it is offered at no-cost to you.
This service means that you’ll be presented with our results as to the following:
1- A 5-factor competitive analysis of a few comparable websites in your industry.
2- Five tactical recommendations that will make your new site stand out.
For more details on this no-cost service, you can choose to :
- Complete our quick ONLINE FORM
- Or email me (vincenzo(@)vcommdesign.com) with the subject line : COMPETITIVE WEBSITE ANALYSIS
Following your request, this is what will happen:
1- I’ll email back a few questions just so I know who you are, what industry interests you and other information, particularly to make sure that there is NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST with my present clients.
2- Following that, we’ll set-up a phone meeting to properly kick-off the project.
3- In due time, I’ll then present to you the results of our 5-Factor Website Analysis & Recommendations Service.
4- At that point you will have a lot of useful information to act upon and you can then go ahead to plan your website.
5- Naturally, if you liked the service and you would consider having us help you in your website development project, we can then talk about that and see if there is a good fit for the both of us.
So make your request a.s.a.p. : online form or email (vincenzo(@)vcommdesign.com)
Attention: First come, first served… and other standard conditions apply
Due to personnel and resources limitations and wanting to offer an excellent service, VCommDesign cannot guarante it can accept all requests, therefore reserving the right to limit the number of requests at its discretion; and it can end this offer without prior notice.
Vincent [Vincenzo] Sciullo
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