Competitive Analysis: A vital (but ignored) element of successful website design

Competitive Analysis: A vital element of website design

Friday, 1 September 2017

Competitive Analysis: A Vital (but Ignored) Element of Successful Website Design

Gone are the days where businesses could operate in secret.

Modern technologies have made finding crucial information about your competitors easier than ever before. The Internet (and plenty of online tools) make it relatively simple to see what your competitors are up to and conduct deep analysis.

Maybe you’ve already tried these strategies in your own business. Checking up on your competition can often spark ideas to improve your products and find better ways to serve your customers.

But there’s another way you can use competitive analysis to your advantage, website design.

Keep reading to see why most businesses are missing out… and how the right design agency can help you apply insights from competitors’ websites to make your website even more profitable.

Most Design Agencies Don’t Analyse Competitor Websites

Many design agencies can create beautiful websites yet far fewer take the time and effort to effectively analyse their clients’ competitors before getting started.

This might seem like a minor issue. After all, many web designers aren’t versed in marketing. Why would they be concerned with researching the competition? The process might sound like a waste of time… especially if you already have a clear idea of what you want your website to look like.

What happens when designers don’t analyse your competitors’ websites?

The final product might still look beautiful. But it won’t be the most attractive platform for your customers. You end up leaving valuable design, SEO and content opportunities on the table.

Remember, your website is your virtual storefront. It’s the face of your brand, and often visitors’ first contact point with your business. Failing to analyse competing websites might sound minor, but those who do can turn slight edges into significant long-term advantages.

Why You Can’t Afford to Skip This Step

Even though many agencies overlook competitive website analysis, it’s vital that yours doesn’t sweep it under the rug.

Why?

Because this analysis will help your designer create the most beautiful, usable, intuitive, profitable website possible. Just as competitive analysis is a key element of broader business success, the same goes for successful website designs.

The vast majority of design clients define a ‘successful’ website as one that’s both beautiful and an effective profit generator. Competitive analysis helps with both of those components. It allows designers to spot weaknesses in your competitor’s websites, aspects they do well, and opportunities to gain a strategic advantage. 
It’s easy for agencies to approach projects with preconceived notions of how websites are ‘supposed to look’ in your industry. But every business is unique. Paying close attention to how your competitors are handling things makes it easier for designers to spot and exploit valuable opportunities.

Even if you’ve gone over your competitors’ website designs yourself (always a smart idea to clarify your vision), there’s no replacement for having an agency take a look. Not only are they professionally trained, they also offer an invaluable outsider’s perspective, which helps you spot opportunities you might not see being so immersed within your niche.

Competitive Website Analysis: The Major Benefits Explained

What exactly do designers look for when analysing your competitors’ websites?

It goes far beyond just the aesthetic or visual appeal.

The most qualified designers also understand the marketing side of successful business websites. That means they consider a wide range of elements in a holistic analysis.

Some key element include:

Usability. Usability (or “UX”) focuses on how easy it is for visitors to navigate your website and find important information. This is perhaps the most overlooked element of website design. Because many designers get so caught up in the visual look of their websites they neglect their overall purpose – to serve as a platform which attracts visitors and turns them into customers.

Design. Your designer will study the aesthetics of your competitors’ websites closely. They still take note of common colour schemes, typography, and other visual elements. And they will also examine how these elements fit together to create the broader user experience.

Content. Quality design agencies understand that a great design ultimately supports the content you’re trying to get people to read and respond to. They’ll look at which information your competitors share with visitors, as well as key information that’s lacking. This will help them in their recommendations about how many pages of content to include and how to display it

Conversion paths. Your website design only “succeeds” to the extent it can attract more paying customers. With that in mind, designers will study how your competitors accomplish this in their website audit. They’ll review calls to action, landing pages, and other key elements to determine how to design the most profitable platform for your business.

Performance. Designers also review how quickly competitors’ websites load, especially at key places like contact forms and e-commerce check-out areas. Website loading time is an increasingly important requirement of ranking well in search engines and pleasing users. Designers will use these insights to come up with fast-loading solutions and implement them on your website.

Optimisation. Designers with an understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO) will determine how well your competitors’ websites are optimised to attract organic traffic and rank for critical keywords. They’ll also figure out where competitors get inbound links and plan how to best structure your website to drive search more engine traffic.

A Vital Part of the Website Design Process

Competitive analysis of your competitors’ websites is one of the most crucial aspects of making your new design succeed. That’s why it’s an essential part of our process here at ID Studio.

Unfortunately, this analysis is often overlooked.

Many design agencies don’t make the effort. But if yours does, it helps them model what your competitors are doing well, avoid what they’re doing poorly, and distinguish your website from the pack in a meaningful way.

Even seemingly-minor design tweaks can add up to a huge strategic advantage. Insights from competitive analysis only become more valuable as your website traffic and customer base grow.

So make sure your potential design partner embraces this process before deciding to hire them. It’s the best way to ensure your website is not only beautiful, but profitable as well.

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