Launching a new startup or website idea can take a lot of effort. But most people gloss over the process of researching other competition within your market. It doesn’t take a lot of work, but it does take some time and effort digging around in search engines.
Today I want to present a few tips for budding entrepreneurs who are looking to build a new series of websites. Specifically I want to focus on researching market shares between similar websites and what kind of audience is out there. We do not need any special technology other than access to the Internet. But I hope these tips will provide methods for looking into your market to determine the potential size of a brand launch.
Learn to Trust Google
The largest search engine has to be Google which serves well over 50% of page results. Websites on the Internet will see a much larger size of referral traffic coming from Google results over any other brand. This means targeting your site to rank for specific keywords is always a good idea.
One simple test you may try is punching in a series of both short and long-tail keywords. Comparisons like “chili recipes” vs “southern chili recipes free” will return completely different results. And you could potentially get even more specific. It is all about the market you are pandering to, and what type of results you’d like to see.
But the truth is that Google can tell you a lot about rankings. Natural traffic via keyword searches will provide the best turnover for interested users. And by plotting your keywords in advance, you’ll have a better idea of the competition and what may be done about it.
Looking at Similar Examples
I think by this year 2013 it is safe to assume the majority of markets have at least some representation online. From vitamins, video games, newspapers, cookbooks, TV show databases, and anything else that people may want. But that doesn’t imply all the current solutions are the best solutions.
I think it can be helpful to save a small text document with links to similar competitors online. These other websites should be prominent in the market, and have some type of business growth. You want to study what they are doing right and what they could be doing better. Then use this to your advantage by capitalizing on these better opportunities.
Some may argue it’s all about user interface design, or product design, or webcopy or typography. I personally believe it is a mixture of everything. Customers and users want to see businesses marching into unknown territory and doing it with some class. Give the users what they want before they even know that they want it!
Build Good Pagerank
I think a lot of Internet marketers ignore Google PageRank assuming the number doesn’t hold any real value. And while it may not directly impact your search engine rankings, it can provide benefits to other websites. Even a decent PR2-PR3 ranking is better than PR0.
It will prove to Google that your website has some reputation among already popular websites. Gaining backlinks from highly-ranked blogs, forums, and other sites will push your domain forward. And this offers a similar effect when you publish links inside a blog post. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do for expediting this process. Just try and get your links out there onto social networks where people will naturally share with other sites. Lots of backlinks will eventually lead to a very solid PageRank.
Appearance in Social Networks
Getting your brand into social networking websites is one other crucial piece for market research. As an entrepreneur you want to determine which sites present the best opportunity for link sharing and viral growth. There are some obvious common opportunities like Twitter or Facebook.
But consider the alternatives which are still very popular among users worldwide. YouTube or Vimeo are definitely the best choices for handling online video sharing. And Pinterest has gained a lot of attention recently, which allows for sharing any type of media. The same goes for Tumblr blogs which has a tremendous userbase for driving viral growth.
I think the best advice regarding social profiles is moderation. Choose your profiles wisely and do not bother signing up for 10-15 different networks. Or if you do, don’t try squeezing them all into your website layout. Generally I feel it looks nice to share 3-5 social icons/badges at most. This offers potential users/customers a chance to look deeper into your company without feeling bombarded at the choice of 10 different social networking profiles.
Any website idea worth building is going to require a bit of research. Market analysis is very common and it can help you determine what type of users you should be looking for. The process will not happen overnight, or even over a week or month’s period. But keep busy studying and I guarantee you will put together data trends and interface designs which become vital to your company’s success.