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Things You Can Learn From Your Competitors

10 Things You Can Learn From Your Competitors

One of the first things an online marketing firm does when they bring you on as a client is competitive analysis.  They take a look at your competitor’s website and try and figure out why they’re in the top spot.  It’s a hugely valuable tool in the world of SEO but grossly overlooked when it comes to web design.  It really shouldn’t be and you can learn a lot from your competitors.

So before you set up your website, blog or ecommerce store have a look at the competition and see what’s working for them.

Questions to Ask

  1. What’s your first impression?

Even in cyberspace first impressions matter.  Functionality and good design are critical in making the right first impression.  How is the site laid out?  What type of content is featured on the homepage?  What are they using for a call to action?  What’s working and what would you improve upon?

  1. Is it user friendly?

Try the site out, it’s an effective way to try out some testing on a competitor’s site.  Is it doing everything you would expect and is it easy to navigate and find the information you want?

  1. Is their website responsive or mobile?

At this point in web development this should be a no brainer.  Mobile traffic now exceeds desk top traffic so not having a mobile site is just shooting yourself in the foot.  Not only will Google penalize you for it, you’re losing traffic and customers.

  1. Is the website easy to navigate?

This is another area that should be a no brainer as well.  Take a look at their site and see if navigating is simple, if it is a large site make sure search options are enabled.  The fewer clicks it takes for your visitors to find what they are looking for the better.  If your site is too complicate your visitor is leaving.

  1. Do they have a blog? Do they contribute to it regularly?

Blogging is the simplest way to add fresh content to your site regularly (Google loves fresh content).  It is also the easiest way to pass on information about what’s going on in your field and to connect with your customers at the same time.  People want to read articles about issues they can relate to, is the blog written for the audience?

  1. What are the keywords that the competitors are targeting?

Keywords are how you are found by customers using search engines.  If you haven’t done detailed keyword research, it’s a guarantee that your competition has.  Keyword research is the backbone of any online marketing campaign.

  1. How is media being used on the site?

The right images go a long way towards making a great first impression.  Pictures aren’t the only thing you need; video is more engaging than a simple static site.  With sites like Instagram and Pinterest people are just looking at your pictures they are sharing them too.

  1. What are you missing?

Pay attention to tools, features and downloads that rivals offer.  Do they give their audience free resources to download?  How are things laid out, ads, where is content placed…all of this will give you insight into their audience.

  1. What sucks?

Plenty of websites have unnecessary feature that take away from the user experience.  A few years ago it was the “in thing” to put audio or video on the front page that played automatically, it was irritating and for many users they couldn’t hit the back button fast enough.  Flash intros and animations were another thing that just ruins the experience.  Looking at a competitor not only gives you an idea of features you want but also things you absolutely don’t want.

  1. How active are they on social media?

Almost every site has buttons connected to their social media accounts, click on them and discover if they are keeping them updated.  It will give you an idea of their engagement and social shares.

 

Interactive Web Design

Why You Need Interactive Web Design

Your website is one of your company’s best tools to convey your message to audiences all over the world.  There are a ton of elements that go into making a good website, the design should be done so that is eye catching and it also needs to be engaging.  Web designers everywhere have searched for that holy grail of design and functionality since the first website was made.  Some of the most successful websites have an edge that many designers either ignore or can’t produce, what is it you ask.  Interactivite web design is it!

What is Website Interactivity?

To put it simply interactivity is an interaction between a person and a computer program, in terms of web design it is getting people to do things on your website.  No, reading and buying stuff is not what we’re talking about.  Think of the success of social media in the past couple of years, most social media sites rely on user generated content.  Facebook doesn’t actually post much or any of its own content and neither does Twitter for that matter it relies on the users to do so.  Social networks understand the value of interactivity.

Commitment and Personalization

Adding interactivity changes how people view your website, instead of just being an anonymous visitor the whole experience is more personalized to the user.  Don’t overlook how much information they provide you in return, account profiles, preferences and dialogue.  This is a win-win situation, you have better insight into your customers and what they want leaving you better able to give it to them.  Your customer is more likely to return to your site again and recommend it to friends.

How Do You Achieve Website Interactivity?

There are a couple of different elements you can use to get the right interactivity that attracts and engages the user.  First think about the topic of the website, this can give you some ideas into what type of interaction you can use.  Buzzfeed is a great example of interactivity.  It could be just another entertainment news site where you read funny stories about celebrities and pop culture, instead it has videos, quizzes and user generated content (anyone can be a contributor).  What  can the average site do to encourage interactivity?  There are a number of ways for instance ecommerce retailers can use interactive 3D Flip Book instead of the boring old way of seeing categories of merchandise.  Don’t overlook video, video has huge engagement compared to static sites.  Let your imagination run with it.