If you want your website to succeed then invariably there is going to be some competition for you to beat off. When you choose your niche you’ll probably find that you didn’t quite get there first and that there are several other websites and blogs currently hogging the limelight and hogging your traffic.
Of course it is your job to beat them and to come up with ways that you can provide a better value than those other sites. However at the same time you also need to think about what you can learn from those sites, and you shouldn’t think about your competition just as the enemy, but also as wiser versions of yourself that have been there longer and learned the ropes. Here is what they can teach you:
Take a look around at the top five sites in your niche and look at the design they use. If they are currently successful then you know right away that this is a look that works so there’s nothing wrong with emulating that to a big degree. At the same time though you should also look at features that the sites have in common – perhaps the color scheme etc. These are important because they tell you what your audience and your market are going to expect from a site in your niche. Make sure that you deliver and that your design fits with their expectation – while at the same time being sure to differentiate yourself (this is another reason to at least check out the competition – so that you know if you’re accidentally being a copycat).
You should also use your competition to find out how to market yourself and where you can build links. Look for inbound links to the sites you want to look like, and then consider offering reciprocal links with those same sites too. If the site is guest blogging then you should consider approaching the same blogs and asking if they will post your articles in exchange for a link too. This way you can quickly get the same amount of inbound links as your opposition without having to do all the leg work to find them.
If you are struggling to come up with ideas for your articles, then looking at the competition can help you a great deal. They are sure to have some articles on their sites which are popular and which you can emulate, so use this as some inspiration.
Gaps in the Market
As well as looking at what your competition does do, look at what they don’t do. Who don’t they cater for? And who will be left unsatisfied? Perhaps all the money making sites you’ve come across are too advanced and you’d like to write one that will be aimed more at beginners. Or maybe all the finance websites are written in dry jargon and you think you could write one a little more colloquial and entertaining.
Opportunities for Partnership
You should also look at your opposition as potential partners. You’re trying to achieve the same thing and you’re addressing the same audience – and they have all the tools that can help you to succeed. Note how internet gurus who are starting out always aim to associate themselves with other well-known names on the web through the use of guest posts and other strategies and see if you can’t do the same with those in your field. Become their contemporary and let them lift you up on their shoulders.