One of our most popular client projects in 2012 was a competitive web SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). While this analysis offers a lot of value and guidance in redesigning your website, most businesses are not familiar with the process so I will outline what a competitive web SWOT is below.

Typically when an organization is looking to redesign their website they may invest in User Experience (UX) Evaluations or ask for third-party analyst feedback.

In my experience you will get detailed feedback from UX and can even have your customers or prospects monitored closely in a lab (watch on Video, or record clicks). Two challenges with this style of research are that you are not observing your customers in a normal environment and UX testing can be time intensive and costly.

Larger organizations may rely on third-party analyst reviews of their website. In a former marketing role at a global IT outsourcing company we had calls with Gartner analysts to review our website. Their feedback often focused on the latest web trends and a lot of costly updates we should do to our site to measure up to our competitors. The weakness, however, that I found was that they didn’t always consider the importance of these web updates for our business. (Ex: How valuable is Facebook to an international company that wants to use their website for lead generation?) Access to these professional industry analysts requires a costly subscription to Gartner or other industry adviser organizations.

For a competitive website we use the following steps to customize this analysis for your business.

1)      Get to know your business and your website goals (branding, community building, demand generation, lead-generation, all of the above, etc.).

2)      We work with you to customize your Web SWOT by identifying your top competitors and website analysis criteria (messaging, customer evidence, social media activity, etc.).

3)      We review your website, including all pages, and compare it against your top competitors ranking your performance versus their performance in each criteria area.

4)      We then identify summary findings based on your known business and website goals: What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?

5)      We then offer recommendations for improving your website and an action plan for executing them based on priority.

This method offers the value of a third-party perspective, a customized analysis with results that will support your business growth, and a lower-cost web research alternative when compared to UX or third-party analysts.

-Stephanie Vanterpool, Senior Director

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