How to check your digital footprint


Watch the webinar “Market Smarter with Next-Generation Competitive Analysis.”

Does your business have a mobile-friendly website—one that’s easy to read on a smartphone and doesn’t force visitors to hunt for your address when they’re pulled over on the shoulder of a busy road searching for your building?

If the answer is “no,” you’re missing out on an untold number of business opportunities. According to McKinsey and Google, 61 percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40 percent will decide to visit a competitor’s site instead. What’s more, Google recently changed its algorithm so that mobile-friendly websites tend to appear higher in search rankings.

Using competitive analysis to stay relevant

Every day, it becomes more difficult to stay on top of every aspect of your company’s digital presence. Fortunately, there are some great tools out there to ensure you don’t slip behind the 8-ball. You don’t want to find that your website and social media pages have stayed static since 2015, while your competitors have been preparing for the 2018 digital landscape and beyond.

One of those great tools is a digital competitive analysis. A digital competitive analysis is a review of key data points related to your business’s presence in the digital world. It’s designed to help you compare your business to that of your closest industry rivals.

A digital competitive analysis will assess your website’s accessibility, your digital content, your search engine visibility, your social media presence and your company’s online reviews. It also closely examines your ability to collect, track and analyze the data your website is generating.

The goal, of course, is to give you new information to bolster your strategic thinking and to help grow your digital footprint.

Tools to measure your digital position

As I discussed in a recent Fridays with Vistage webinar, “Market Smarter with Next-Generation Competitive Analysis,” (embedded above) you simply cannot perform a digital competitive analysis without the right set of tools. The good news is, there are a lot of free tools you can use.

For starters, every single business with a website should be using Google Analytics. Many businesses already do. But if you’re serious about growing and improving your business, you need to go beyond the basic implementation of Google Analytics. You need to visit Built With, enter a competitor’s website address and see which tools they are using. You can do this for free—and in a matter of minutes.

Next, head to this free Google resource to find out how mobile-friendly your site is, as well as how quickly it loads. Now, do the same thing with each of your competitors’ websites. If yours is slower than theirs, you are at a disadvantage—but your tech team can easily fix this.

Do a quick self-assessment

Don’t stop here. No free website testing tool—even one created by the geniuses at Google—is a substitute for the good ol’ time-tested powers of personal observation. Visit your website from your mobile phone. Visit your site from a tablet. How well does it display and function? How do your competitors’ sites compare?

A lot of the CEOs I’ve spoken to have never checked, and that’s often because they don’t realize that more than half of all U.S. web traffic is actually coming from visitors using mobile devices (i.e., smartphones and tablets). Read that last sentence again: According to comScore, more than half of all U.S. web traffic is coming from mobile devices.

So open your website on your phone and see if you can read primary headlines without reaching for your reading glasses. Check and see if you can quickly and easily navigate to your contact page. Can you click once to make a call or pull up the address and get directions via Google or Apple Maps? Or, do you need to pinch, zoom and squint to find what you’re looking for? How long did your website take to load? Visitor-abandonment rates skyrocket and visit-to-lead conversion rates plummet with each fraction of a second that it takes your website to become visible.

What’s next?

These are just two simple examples of the power of digital competitive analysis. Once you start giving your site a virtual checkup every quarter, I can almost guarantee you’ll get addicted to knowing where you stand. If you view business as a type of competition, then these are insightful ways to keep score.

And that’s a good thing. Because no matter what industry you’re in, your website should be one of your most valuable marketing assets. If it isn’t, then it’s time to make it a top priority.

Read more: Digital competitive analysis: The one tool every business needs

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