Frequently we have startup businesses ask us to design their web site. After we ask them a series of carefully designed questions about their target market and goals, they often ask us to hold off while they do some more market research. But market research is expensive and time consuming, right?
Wrong. Here are three simple Internet Market Research Tips that you can use to learn more about your target market and what the competition is up to:
- Search in Google for your top two to five key phrases and look at the top five sites in each phrase. Look at the colors, the links, the images and the content. Compare this to your colors, links images and content. Often you will find something you should add or tweak as a result. Repeat this step with live.com and yahoo.com.
- Find backlinks to your top three competitors (in Google, type in link:<domainname.com> and press enter). You can see who is linking to your competitor’s sites and possibly determine why. This will help you determine whether you should pursue similar links. If you have an existing site, use the Google Webmaster Tools at www.google.com/webmasters/tools to get more complete results.
- Getting a high rank in the search engines is only one piece of the puzzle. Next you want to look at the text that goes with a high ranking. For example, a search for best web design finds the site bestwebgallery.com at or near the top. The text beneath the link says “Best Web Gallery is a showcase gallery that features all the best design Flash and CSS websites on the web”. This text isn’t visible on the page but it is in the Description MetaTag. So the text that you put in your meta-tag will help searchers determine whether they will click on your link or not. Check out your competition’s wording and make sure that description tag is GOOD.
If you want to get to grow your business, take time to research what the competition is up to. It doesn’t cost anything more than some of your time. And if you take the time, you can uncover nuggets of information that will help you grow and prosper.