How to Plan, Part 3

Content Analysis

The type of content available on a site demonstrates a business’ credibility and competence.


In analyzing your competitors’ content, you will be able to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to gain an edge. Some questions you may want to ask are whether the competitors’ home pages have relevant and important information for their target market.

Is this content useful and reliable to interest their target audience? You also want to see if there is any information that they might have left out that is important to potential customers. How strategically have they placed the most important information and how well have they designed their titles, meta descriptions, anchor texts and keywords?

Benefits Analysis

A benefits analysis entails research on the benefits that your competitors offer their target audience. These may be overtly stated or implied; this shows you the competition’s competitive advantage or their USP (unique selling points or propositions). You want to see how they are using their sites to promote their products and services and how site users are responding to this. All this information will help you determine your own unique selling points and how you will position these and make them visible to your target audience.

Graphic Design Analysis

As you prepare to design your own website, you want to see what your competition is offering in terms of their web layout. This will give you an insight into the type of audience they may be targeting, and whether they have attractive and uncluttered sites. Remember that site users consider a website’s design to be a mark of credibility or lack of it. Additionally, take into consideration how effectively their site design helps in promoting and selling their products and services. Lastly, is their site easy to use? Write down the areas of improvement and apply them to your own site.

In addition to the website outlook, it is a good idea to analyze how functional your competitors’ site is. Functionality is determined by factors such as the availability of widgets and plug-ins that make it easy for visitors to use the site. You also want to determine whether they offer newsletters, an accessible contacts page, and easy to use shopping carts. Also, is the site optimized to be searchable at the main search engines?

Pricing Analysis

As you plan to bring your business online, it is important to know what others are charging for similar products and services. Although other factors may also determine how you price your offerings, knowing the prevailing prices will give your pricing strategy a bearing. Look out for how your competitors have bundled their offerings to attract customers to spend money on these offerings. Is there anything that you can learn or improve with regard to their pricing strategy? Can you compete based on price and still remain profitable? As you analyze the pricing, you also want to see if there is an opportunity for business-to-business collaboration. This is especially true for small businesses that are coming online into a niche dominated by big businesses. This way you can strategically work with and not against your competitors.

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