April 21, 2017
As I’ve said before, one of the most important factors of a strong online presence is user experience (UX). UX is very much about the nuts and bolts of how your website looks and functions and how efficiently users are able to interact with your website has everything to do with how well they convert. That’s why UX creates an important added layer of competition between you and your competitors that you should definitely pay attention to.
UX is already critical for how your website performs on search engines because all of Google’s efforts are driven by the goal of providing users with the best search results possible-including UX. Your competitors also know this and are accounting for UX in their strategy, so what happens if theirs is better than yours? The slightest leg up your competitors have in UX could be all it takes for a customer to choose your competition over you. Think about it: if one website requires a user to fill out 10 form fields and another only requires 5, which will the user gravitate to? If your website is slow loading and your competition has a virtually instant page loading speed, which will users gravitate to?
These sessions add up to dollars, cents, and engagements you’re losing to competitors. You might think your UX is great, but the UX of your competitors might be superior and therefore holding you back. Fortunately, there’s something you can do. The best way to find out how your website stacks up against your competitors is to complete a competitive analysis of their UX.
A competitor analysis is exactly what it sounds like-an analysis of your competitors. As it applies to UX, a competitor analysis is simply the process of taking a closer look at the UX factors of your competition and comparing it to your own. It can help you identify weak spots and areas your competitors may be out-performing you so that you can make a plan for enhanced strategy and overall UX improvement.
Completing your own UX competitor analysis doesn’t have to be that difficult because even a topical investigation can reveal useful information about how you’re performing in comparison to your competition. Here are a few steps to break down the process:
First and foremost, decide what you want the criteria to be for analyzing the UX of your competitors. Since this applies to online presence, you’ll want to include the general components of UX, including aesthetics/layout/website design, social media buttons, page speed, displayed security seals, etc.
There may also be other things that apply specifically to you and your competitors, like content quality, the number of blog posts, average number of internal links in articles, displayed reviews, obvious prompts for users to enter the conversion funnel, or clearly displayed contact information. Depending on your industry, you may need to include criteria that relate to products or services you and competitors offer. Be sure to include any and all factors that contribute to UX so you can be as thorough as possible in your analysis.
The easiest way to organize the information from your competitor analysis is to make a chart. Along the top, you can list the name and URL of your website and your competitors’ websites. Then you can list the criteria you choose to analyze along the left side so all you have to do is fill it in as you go.
You’ll want to come up with a grading scale that helps you score the factors of UX. Maybe an ‘X’ can mean the competitor doesn’t satisfy the specific criterion, while a check mark means they do. It also helps to include a space for notes and observations about things that were done particularly well by a competitor or things you want to implement on your own website.
Once you put together your chart and criteria for a UX competitor analysis, it’s time to start filling it out. Work through each competitor slowly, paying attention to details. Ask yourself questions like, what makes users want to stay on this page? If I were my potential customer, what would this website have that I don’t? Is there something that is glitchy or flawed on the website? Is the website easy to navigate? Does it naturally prompt me to an action that would result in a conversion?
One tool that would be helpful in conducting your UX competitor analysis is SimilarWeb. It gives you an overview report of how your website compares to competitors within your industry and includes data on things like page speed, average visit duration, bounce rate, traffic, and more.
In completing your competitive analysis, it may prove beneficial to have an unbiased opinion conducting the review of your site as well as the sites of your competitors. Since you’re familiar with your own website and perhaps even your competitors’ websites, you won’t have the same reaction or experience that a new user or potential customer would have. The goal is to have as much honest and useful information about the UX your competitors provide, and sometimes the best way to achieve that goal is by using external tools and resources.
Two great tools to use in conducting your UX Competitive Analysis are:
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