Keeping Up With the Jonses: Why Website Analysis is Important
Search engine optimization. Keywords. Rankings. Traffic. Operating a website can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those looking to monetize their sites or make sales off of it. But if you want to stand out in the growing online crowd, your site will need to undergo a thorough analysis. It will help you reach your target goals, improve your return on investment, and drive more traffic – which, in turn, should lead to more sales or paid ads on your site.
Just one problem: What if you have no idea how to analyze your site? Whether you’re reviewing your own site or you’ve been asked to check out someone’s else’s site, you have to make sure you provide the kind of insight that will improve it.
What to Look For
A thorough analysis starts by checking out the competition. What are they doing well? What would you change about their site(s)? Do they have a blog? Do they use keywords? If so, how often and where? Do they have a social media presence? Whether you’re using a paid or free website analysis program, or if you’re simply doing your own research, there are certain key things to look for from the competition, including:
- Keyword Rankings: A keyword is a word or phrase that’s used in a search engine to look for something. For example, if you’re looking for a local pizza restaurant, then that phrase, “pizza restaurant” plus the name of the city you live in should pop up with several pages of restaurants in your search results. Analytics programs will look for keywords that are high ranking, meaning words or phrases that come up frequently in searches. You’ll also be able to determine the estimated traffic of that particular keyword.
- Speed is the Name of the Game: A thorough analysis should reveal the speed of your website. If you’re checking out the competition, you can see how fast (or slow) their website is, too.
- Onsite Content: You don’t need a program for this. Simply check out the competition’s website to see what kind of onsite content they have (including the landing page content). Does the competition have a blog? Do they have videos or live chat functionality? Do they have downloads?
- Engaging the Community: Again, this is something you can track on your own. Look for things like online contests or surveys, email newsletters, etc. See, too, if those items require registration.
- Is the Site Mobile?: If you’re company’s website isn’t mobile, then you’re potentially losing out on scores of customers. According to FirePoint Media, 20 percent of online traffic comes from mobile devices. And visitors are 51 percent more likely to do business with a company that has a mobile site. Digital marketing experts say mobile sites will soon overtake web browsing via laptops and desktops.
- Social Media: Check out the competition’s social media presence. Are they on Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? And how often do they post?
- What kind of content do they post? Generally speaking, social media marketing experts recommend against being too promotional.
Tools That Will Help Your Analysis
Of course, some of this is made easier with analytics’ tools. These tools will allow you to see:
- Keyword Rankings: This will show what keywords a competitor (or your own site) is ranking for.
- Traffic Estimates: Shows an estimate of how much traffic a site receives. You can then compare this to your own site’s traffic estimates.
- Page Ranking: How does your competitors’ page rank? Remember, the higher the page rank, the more likely the site will also rank well.
Other Factors to Consider
When checking out the competition’s sites, act as though you’re a potential customer. If you find things you don’t like, make sure your site does a better job. Some things to look out for include:
- Design: Is the design clean, clear and easy to use? Or is it so jammed up or crowded that you can’t easily see things like the “contact us” section, then that should be a red flag.
- Payment Options: Is the competitions’ shopping cart section easy to use? How do they accept payments?
- FAQ: The frequently asked questions section of a site should cover the basics, plus any other issues a customer might encounter.
- Contact Us: There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer if they can’t easily reach someone at your company. And if they can’t find that information on your website, they’ll turn to your competitor. At the very least, a website should include an email address that customers can use if they have questions or need to reach someone.
Why It’s Important
This is just a snapshot of what goes into web analysis. When in doubt, turn to an expert who knows how to audit a site (including the competition’s website). But if you really want to get a leg up on the competition, take what they do well, then do it better on your own site.