Plan Your Internet Success – Part 3 – Research Your Competition and Learn

3. Research your Competition and Learn

The best and easiest way to do this is search through Google, Bing, and Yahoo! or via directories for competitors using the keywords that you found. Take a look at the companies listed on the first two pages, including those found in the sponsor boxes. Review what they do well and not so well, including the “look and feel,” presentation, style, content, navigation, etc.  Make a checklist of what to do to improve or what not to do when you come across competitors that are not doing it right. Print out the pages of the ones that you find interesting and make notes that will help you remember why you liked the pages or what you did not like.

See how they rank by using services like Quantcast (http://www.quantcast.com/) to measure their success on the Net. If you are checking ranking with Alexa, be very careful since Alexa can be skewed very easily and may not reflect reality.

Another simple way to do this is to input the company’s URL on Google or Yahoo! and check the number of links they show; remember, the more, the better. Keep these links in mind for later and make a note of the sites that have the most. These Web sites may be businesses with which you may want to have your own links as you get established.

Resources: Search:

http://www.Google.com

http://www.Bing.com

http://www.Yahoo.com

Resources – Business:

http://www.hoovers.com/free/

http://www.ryze.com/postaddprocess.php

http://www.corptech.com/

http://www.digitallook.com/

http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-small-business-marketing.html

Finally, never underestimate your competition, especially on the Internet. You have no idea what their resources may be and how well they can reach their target audience, no matter how trivial their copy, or how poor their Web site may look to you.

The complete manuscript is available at http://www.jtouboul.com

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