Business owners about to build or rebuild their website might feel overwhelmed by the project. Creating a website means making many decisions about the design and content. Will the way you organize the navigation make it easy for customers to find you? Will the content compel potential new clients to click the “contact” button? In the end, will those decisions add up to something that represents your business?
One way to organize your thoughts at the start of your new website project is to look at other websites, especially those of your competition. Your competition might be those within your market, but don’t ignore others. Depending on your industry, you might turn to a very large version of your company located in another city. They are likely not your direct competitors and may have invested more money in market research for their website, meaning you can try some of their approaches.
There are several things you can learn from competitors’ websites:
● What you love - While some aspects of web design are dictated by what marketers have figured out, your site should also have the flavor of your brand. Take a look at what your competitors are doing, but also many other websites. What design and content grab your attention? What colors do you love that go along with your logo and brand (if you have those)? Do you like clean and minimal? Do you want a video to play on the home page?
● What you loathe - Along those same lines, what parts of your competitors’ websites feel wrong to you? Why? If you can figure out the weak points, you can correct those issues in your own design, making your customers’ journey more pleasant. Is there something that looks like a button but doesn’t click? Does the site feel overwhelming? Does it impart a sense of trustworthiness?
● Your goals - Try to identify the goal of your competitor’s website. Can you? What is your goal? Is the core message clear? A website isn’t just a pretty page for people to learn more about you; it should convey your brand and sell your business. Take a look at how the competition approaches this part of web design and consider how you want to present yourself.
● Content ideas - You want to stand out from the competition, of course. However, you may get some ideas of what’s working (and what’s not) by reading their content. That’s not just blog posts, either. What wording do they use on the Contact page and the Home page? What calls to action are they using? You might also see some missed opportunities of which can you take advantage.
● Online marketing approaches - Are they running a lead generation campaign, using some content to gather email addresses? Do they have Pay Per Click (PPC) ads out there? Do those go to their website or a landing page? While this may not directly impact your website decisions, you may find some useful ideas by knowing this information, and it will help you later when you set up online marketing.
Building a website is daunting, but after studying other sites, you may start to form a picture in your mind about how your business should look online. Contact us to guide you through the process and create a beautiful and functional website for your business.