How Closely Should You Copy a Competitor’s Website?

Judging by the phone calls and in-person meetings we sit through, there is a certain level of ice cold dread that comes with finding out a close competitor has launched a new website. It’s not hard to understand why. Who would enjoy the thought of another company having a powerful tool to steal their customers?

Because things like income and prestige are squarely on the line, many business owners and executives will want to take immediate action when a competitor steps up to the plate. Specifically, they’ll inquire about copying certain parts of another website they have seen and liked. But is this a good idea?

Before we answer this question, let us point out that you’re always going to have competitors and it’s easy to over-react. When you see something new or interesting in your industry, try to look at it the way a customer would. Is the other company doing something valuable, or just vaguely interesting?

Once you have that mindset in place, you’re ready to come back to the original question: how closely should you copy a competitor’s website? To help you find the right answer, let’s go through a quick series of ideas…

Figure Out What You Like

Often, when a business owner tells us they “really liked” a competitor’s website, it turns out they actually appreciate a single feature or design point. This is important because you shouldn’t go and duplicate big parts of a strategy when you are actually enamored with a small part of it. It can be difficult to separate the various elements when you’re first looking at them, so break the website down into pieces and try to identify specific traits that you find engaging.

Separate Features from Gimmicks

Remember, the goal is to think like a customer. Often, the things we see on competitors’ websites seem fascinating to us as marketers but deliver very little in terms of payoff for customers. It’s important to be able to separate what is shiny from what is useful. Otherwise you could end up adding things to your website that get in the way of your success rather than adding to it.

Find Out What’s Feasible and Profitable

Suppose you determine there are elements of your competitor’s website that you really are fond of, and feel like your best customers would be impressed with. The next step is to find out whether you can add them to your own site legally, feasibly, and profitably. You certainly can’t copy word for word, but you might be able to add your own version of an app or a downloadable report. Talk to your web design team and figure out what makes sense in the context of your existing site or a redesigned page.

Put Your Own Spin and Improvement on the Idea

Rather than just copying something your competitors have done, why not take the next stepone most business owners and executives missand see if you can improve on the idea? Look for ways to put the unique spend on what your competitors have done or make it more engaging and valuable. Often this kind of brainstorming leads to groundbreaking innovations.

Get More Proactive about Web Design

Finally, regardless of whether you institute some version of your competitor’s idea or not, don’t settle for simply following their lead. Sit down with your web design team and internal staff and see if there are more ideas you can come up with that go beyond what is currently available in the market. Look for ways to give extra value to your customer base. The more often you do this the easier it will become to have the competition following you instead of needing to worry about catching up to them.

Ready to Start Leading the Pack in Your Market?

Far too many business owners feel as if they are simply following the herd online rather than leading the pack. If you want to have a website that gets your competitors worried about what they should be doinginstead of the other way aroundthen it’s time to get serious about thinking outside the box.

The 5 Stages of SEO Effectiveness

Business owners tend to think about search engine optimization (SEO) in terms of it either “working” or “not working.” That is, they believe you either dominate on Google or can’t be found anywhere in the first twenty pages of the search listings.

It’s understandable that someone looking at SEO from the outside might take this view, especially if you aren’t used to getting traffic from search engines. However, the reality is most marketers move through a progression of SEO effectiveness until they either stop trying or run into a competitor who was working harder than they are.

To give you a sense of what that progression looks like, let’s look at the five typical stages of a profitable SEO campaign…

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Why Some Business Websites Are So Slow

Have you ever gone to a website and realized it’s taking ages to come online? Don’t you hate that?

As it turns out, your visitors hate that too. Even worse, their definition of “ages” might be significantly shorter than yours. Surveys and user behavior studies suggest that you have around three seconds to interest someone in your website before they click away or visit another search result. If your website takes longer than that to simply load, your chance of winning a customer could be gone before it ever materialized.

You might be wondering, then, why some business websites are so slow in the first place. Let’s look at a few of the most common reasons…

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Why you Probably Aren’t Ranking on Google

Amongst business owners and marketing executives, search engine optimization (or SEO) is like a professional sport. Although most decision-makers haven’t done much content writing or technical HTML work, they stay up-to-date on the latest trends and ranking on Google algorithm shifts. They become armchair quarterbacks of search marketing.

That’s generally a good thing. Anyone who has a vested interest in helping their business grow should know what SEO and ranking on Google are all about. However, there is a downside to the intense interest they have and search. Namely that new clients come to companies like ours looking for complicated answers to simple problems.

The details of the search engine optimization campaign are important. However, they only come into play once you cover the basics. To help illustrate what we mean, let’s look at a few Google ranking factors… 

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4 Incredibly Easy Ways to Use Your Company’s Social Media Accounts

Amazing as it might seem, we sometimes meet with business owners and marketing managers who tell us they don’t have the time or patience for social media marketing. They are either overwhelmed with other tasks, or don’t see a clear benefit to engaging customers and prospects through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We can understand this line of thinking. For one thing, most of the people we work with don’t have a lot of free time. And for another, it is harder to use social media to create instant leads than it is to generate business from search engine optimization or pay-per-click ads.

However, that doesn’t mean social media marketing has to be overwhelming, or that it won’t pay off. To help you understand why let’s look at four simple and effective ways you can use your business social media profiles every week…

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5 Reasons Not to Move Your Website to a DIY Template

You’ve seen the ads on TV and online that promise that you can create a brand-new website in under an hour for one amazingly low monthly fee. Sounds like a great way to upgrade your business web presence, doesn’t it? Sign up to make your own DIY templated website and visitors will instantly come to your website. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

Unfortunately, the bargain probably isn’t all it’s promised up to be.

Don’t get us wrong: DIY website templates certainly have their place. If you are a solo-preneur or the owner of a startup with no budget, then crafting your DIY website is better than not having one. However, if you have an established company, or want to build one, then these services aren’t going to be a good solution.

To help you understand why their low fees for web design and hosting don’t translate into real value, let’s look at five reasons you shouldn’t move your website to a DIY template…

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7 Signs Your Business Website Needs Some Work

Occasionally, we meet with business owners who aren’t sure they need our services. It’s often the case that they have been referred by a colleague or even a customer, but can’t tell whether they should actually invest in some upgrades to their existing web presence.

That’s understandable. Web design is about technical skill and personal preference. Besides, no one wants to spend money on creative work that won’t actually help them attract more leads or customers.

At the same time, however, there are a lot of websites out there that need immediate attention. Today, we want to give you seven clear-cut signs it’s time to make some improvements to the part of your business customers almost always see first…

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