Popular wisdom states that most people make up their minds about someone within seven seconds of meeting them. And while that might seem extremely short, studies show that when it comes to websites, first impressions come even faster. According to Inc., most consumers form a first impression of a website in just 50 milliseconds. For comparison, the literal blink of an eye ranges between 300 to 400 milliseconds, which makes this statistic even more staggering. So how can you ensure your website is making the right first impression? You may be surprised by what you learn after some simple website comparison. Taking a hard look at what others in your industry are doing (and more importantly, how much success they're generating) can help you inform your own business approach and ensure you're making the best first impression possible.
Auditing Your Call to Action
The importance of a good call-to-action cannot be overstated, as it's generally your first (and potentially last) pitch for conversions. Taking a look at how your competitors are enticing consumers to click, sign up or purchase can help inform your own design. Do they use a button? Bold, contrasting colors? Do they lead with a strong verb? By looking at what your competitors are doing right, you can identify what you're doing wrong and correct as you go.
While we all know that social media is a huge piece of the marketing puzzle, it shouldn't simply exist in its own world. If you aren't linking your social media profiles to your website, you could be missing a valuable connection method that could turn casual browsers into repeat customers. Taking a look at how your competitors integrate their social media accounts with their websites — by adding "share" buttons to products, for instance, or including badges for social media profiles — can help you brainstorm new ideas for your own site.
A Word of Caution
Although website comparison is a great way to get a feel for what others in your industry are doing, it's important not to take too much direct inspiration from your competition. While you can get ideas about what works and what doesn't, copying elements of your competition could land you in hot water, as plagiarism is not something that's taken lightly. While you might not set out to specifically copy competitors, it's important to be mindful of any changes you're making and double-check to be sure you're not accidentally taking too much direct inspiration from other websites.
It may seem strange to look to your competition for online inspiration, but website comparison could lead to your next breakthrough. You might be surprised by what you can learn!