Competitor Research4:05 with Dan Gorgone
Monitoring your competitors can be one of the quickest ways to spot trouble areas within your own website. By analyzing how websites with similar content organize and provide access to their information, it’s possible to adapt your current information architecture to meet the needs of your users.
So our last couple of videos were all about doing user research 0:00 to determine the best ways to label and group content. 0:03 And if you know your visitors' preferences and priorities, it'll be much easier to 0:06 build navigation and provide the right search options as well. 0:10 But another great source of insight already exists online and 0:15 it comes from your competitors. 0:18 Competitor research is pretty straightforward. 0:21 Make a list of the companies, groups, or apps, that are competing with yours. 0:23 These competitors might offer the same services or sell the same products, or 0:29 they might just create content about the same topics. 0:33 Once you have a list, go check out their websites and make notes. 0:37 What categories of information did they use? 0:41 In what order do they present them? 0:44 What links do they include in their main menus? 0:46 What do they call the main sections of content? 0:50 And overall, which terms did they use the most? 0:52 Here's an example, 0:56 two of the biggest home improvement stores in the US are Home Depot and Lowe's. 0:57 If you view their websites in their main departments use side by side, 1:02 you'd see a bunch of similar item listed. 1:07 Things like appliances, building materials or supplies, electrical, paint and more. 1:10 There's a lot of overlap here which is to be expected, but some categories like 1:17 molding and trim, or smart home and security are exclusive to the Lowe's site. 1:22 So, if you're Home Depot, what could you learn from this analysis? 1:28 Maybe you might wanna consider listing more categories or 1:33 including a couple of the ones you don't have. 1:37 But, if you look at this from Lowe's perspective you might think hey, 1:40 maybe we've got too many categories. 1:43 Or we might wanna test some of the labels we've used. 1:45 But if you're a new up and 1:49 coming home improvement store directly competing with these two companies, 1:51 looking at both of these menus gives you some immediate insight. 1:55 You know which menu items you should probably include on your own website, 1:59 other categories to consider, and you might see opportunities 2:04 where you could compete by adding items they don't have. 2:08 It goes beyond menus of course. 2:12 You could look at a competing blog and see what its main categories are, or 2:15 what they call similar formats of content. 2:19 Consider this scenario, if a few different websites produce e-books 2:22 filled with marketing tips, one site might call them resources while another place 2:27 might call them guides, and still another refers to them as e-book learning. 2:33 What's the right term to use? 2:39 It depends on your users. 2:41 What terms are they familiar with, and what do they use themselves? 2:43 By combining your competitor research with your user research, 2:48 you should be able to figure out some answers. 2:52 So, the key here is to monitor your competitors, make an actual list. 2:55 Do it in a Google Doc or a Trello Board, so your team has access to it. 3:01 If you're not sure who your competitors are, 3:05 ask your customers on social media or with an email survey. 3:08 If you're a sporting goods retailer, 3:13 ask what other websites do you visit to research or buy your athletic equipment? 3:15 And don't just look at these competitors one time when you're building things, 3:20 keep and eye on them. 3:24 Subscribe to their newsletters and visit their site regularly. 3:26 Look for any interesting ways they provide access to their content. 3:29 And don't be afraid to look at websites in completely different industries too. 3:34 If everyone you compete with does things the same way, you may have an opportunity 3:38 to try something revolutionary by offering a new kind of information experience. 3:44 Again, use competitor research to look for trends and opportunities, and 3:50 user research to validate new ideas before rolling them out. 3:55 You may discover a great new way to provide access to information. 4:00
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