Competitive analysis: understanding the market context
"Competitive analysis, as the name implies, is an exploration of the companies in a given industry sector or market niche that are competing with your company’s products or services for market share. The analysis may be an in-depth exploration of the top five competitors, or a larger number of competitors could be examined (typically with less depth in the analysis). In most cases, the client will have identified the target competitors for you. While this article focuses on competitive analysis in the for-profit arena, it is worth noting that non-profit organizations can benefit equally from this analysis (which they might term a comparative analysis, if they viewed the other organizations as working toward a common goal with them)."
(Jason Withrow - Boxes and Arrows)
Competitor analysis - an alternative approach
Identifying what your competitors' sites do well gives you a head start when designing a website. The folks at Bunnyfoot argue that looking at the goals these competitors support is more beneficial than picking out what they do wrong .
Competitor analysis identifies the strengths and weaknesses of competing products or services before starting work on prototypes. A 10 minute tour of each of 4 to 10 of the most popular competing products showing how typical tasks are achieved is presented to a half day meeting of stakeholders. The competitive advantages of each product are discussed, and a short summary of the market position is generated at the end of the meeting. Alternative methods are market surveys or lab tests of competitor products.
How to conduct a web site competitive analysis
Conducting a competitive analysis is an important part of the job if you're a usability engineer or information architect. A good competitive analysis not only produces usability metrics but also aids decision makers in their strategic goal-setting and planning. Done right, a good competitive analysis can steer a web development project in the right direction.
Website competitive analysis: a visual approach
"This article describes a simple visual approach to competive analysis that can be used to quickly gain insights into what’s being used and what’s interesting at your competitor websites."