How will you compete?
With a website, the competition is only one click away. When people see your site in search engine listings, they’ll see your direct competitors at the same time. When they see a link to your site it will almost certainly be among many other links. If you advertise your site on another site, you need to compete for attention with the content people choose to see in the first place. What do you offer that’s special enough to entice visitors to your site?
Companies often talk about having a “unique selling proposition”(or USP), which is a fancy way of saying what differentiates them from the competition. You need to think in terms of how your website benefits the visitor. What do you do better than all the hundreds of similar sites out there? It’s easier to compete if you can, in some way, be unique.
It pays to do some basic market research early on. Find out which other sites cater for your audience, what they do well, and where you can make improvements. To find potential rivals, think broadly. Search the web for names of products, people, places, and benefits. For example, if you’re building a site for a book shop, search for the names of authors and books, the subject area of a book you sell (such as “learn web design”), your town, plus the phrase “book shop” (and “bookshop” too).
When you find a site of interest, Alexa (www.alexa.com) can provide detailed intelligence, including estimated traffic levels, visitor demographics, reviews, related links, and popular keywords that deliver traffic there from search engines.
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