Starting Your Online Business and Understanding Your Competition

You have to know everything about your competition to make money online. Otherwise, starting an online business is nothing more than depending on luck for success. The low-cost business and worldwide reach of the web, although great reasons for starting a business online, will almost certainly level the playing field between you and your competitor. Fortunately, the same Internet qualities that give you a global business reach also make it easy to spy on your competition.

How to Research Your Competitors

First, you have to find out who your competition is! This is easily done. If you want to sell blue extra-large widgets, type “blue extra-large widgets” into Google. What do you see? You’re looking at the search results for web pages that contain the words “blue extra-large widgets”. Spend some time looking through the results.

Many of the results will lead you to your competitors’ websites. Make a list of these businesses and then individually type those names into Google for more in-depth information. You should join the email lists of your top competitors, because there is no better way to know exactly how they are marketing their services online than to receive the information firsthand into your inbox on a regular basis

What Are Your Competitors Doing on Social Media?

Now that you have located your competition, look for evidence of social media marketing on their websites. Find links to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and other top social media sites. Click through those links and see exactly how your competition is marketing their business.

Check for the number of followers each business has. Those competitors who have developed the biggest social media presence bear watching for good online business tips and practices. Are they buying Facebook ads? Do they attempt to sell directly through their social media pages, or do they build relationships first? What time of the day do they publish posts and updates? You can quickly earn an advanced degree in successful web business operation just by observing what works for your competitors.

Go Mobile to Monitor Your Competitors

Bing Finance and Google Alerts will deliver notifications to your mobile device every time a particular company or business name is mentioned. Type the names of your competitors into each application and receive free updates on their activity direct to your mobile.

Glassdoor and Feedly RSS Reader are two other sites that secretly spy on your competition and keep you informed. So when you are out and about, you are updated in real-time as to exactly what your competitors are doing online.

Finally, recent changes in the Google algorithm will penalize a site that isn’t properly optimized for mobile, as it delivers a poor customer experience to mobile users. Check to see if your competitors are optimizing for mobile, and make sure that you optimize your own site accordingly.