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Why and How to Track Website Changes on Your Competitors’ Websites

Posted by Emily Dumas on Wed Aug 08, 2018 09:00 AM

A website says a lot about a company - who they are, what they’re selling, how to contact them, and more. That all seems pretty typical of what you’d expect to find when you look at a company website. But, did you know that a company website can also give away hidden information? Without even realizing it, a company’s website is an open door into their business strategy. Websites can highlight essential company changes within their messaging, team updates, pricing updates, and product updates. If you track website changes of your competitors’ sites, you can gain insight into their strategy. Let’s dive into some examples of different updates and ways you can benefit from tracking these website changes.

Website Copy Updates

Website copy updates can give away a significant strategy change. Each page can be updated for various reasons leading to changes in business strategy. For example, back in June, Kaltura video platform made major copy changes to many of their website pages. One significant difference was the changes they made to their Partner Overview page. The page not only got a visual makeover, but the copy changed drastically.

The title of the page changed from “Channel Video Partners” to “Kaltura Partner Network,” which may mean that they are broadening their partner network beyond the channel or video focus. They also rewrote the copy on the page to be a brief but strong paragraph of their partner program, rather than five paragraphs as it was before. They also updated their list of partners to showcase their biggest partners.

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To see more website design inspiration, check out Inspire by Crayon.

Imagine that you’re a competitor of Kaltura and you see that they’ve made copy updates, specifically to their partner page - what would you infer from that? Well, it seems that they are putting more emphasis on their partner program than they were before, so they will likely be adding more partners to this page soon. This opens the opportunity for your team to evaluate the current standings of your partner program to see what can be changed or improved upon so that you can get the best partners for your own platform, too.

Web Design Changes

When a website gets a makeover, it’s usually a sign that something big is happening. At first glance, it may seem like a company is just changing an image, featuring a new product, or rearranging the order of their navigation. But, these subtle changes can be a sign of something bigger such as a new initiative or product being released.

In June, Wistia, a video hosting website, redesigned their blog. The overall look was changed in a way that is more visually appealing and easier to navigate. Some smaller changes to note are that they switched the main navigation from reading Blog, Library, Customer Showcase, Webinars, and Community, to different verticals. They relabeled it as Production, Marketing, Sales, Product Updates, Customer Showcase, and Wistia Culture. This change makes it easier for people seeking marketing or product resources to locate exactly what they’re looking for rather than sorting through the library or webinars tabs.

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To see more website design inspiration, check out Inspire by Crayon.

So, what does this change mean? It could mean that their strategy has changed to tailor more toward professional verticals and that they’re switching their targeting to types of customers. If you’re a competitor to Wistia, this could allow your marketing and design teams to rethink how the website is designed and organized. For your web designers, it may open up an opportunity to analyze the user experience on your website and see where you can improve to make your site appealing and easy to use. It can also give you insight into what types of content Wistia produces that you may be missing, giving you fresh ideas for your content plan.

New Details Added or Removed

Another website change to watch for is when new subtle details are added or removed from your competitors’ websites. This can show you when companies are expanding or downsizing in certain areas. If you’re just getting started with tracking website changes, three helpful pages to track are job pages, product pages, and team pages - here’s why.

Jobs

When jobs are added or removed on a website, it could mean a couple things. It could mean that the company is simply growing their team, it could mean that they have new openings due to promotions or someone leaving the company, or maybe they’re expanding into new verticals or product lines. Take for example this Amazon job posting which indirectly gave away strategic plans regarding their grocery services with the Whole Foods acquisition. Tracking the job postings of your competitors can shed light on strategic plans if you keep a pulse on their listings. In return, this can give you an idea of which direction your business should potentially be expanding.

Products

Product pages are a critical group of pages that you should track on your competitors’ websites. Even the most subtle change can add value to their product offering and potentially take away from yours.

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To see more website design inspiration, check out Inspire by Crayon.

In February of 2018, Vimeo, the video hosting platform, added a small but mighty detail to their product page for VimeoBusiness - they added “Tools for Teams.” While 10 member user capabilities were always an option on their Business tier, now it’s being highlighted. This shows that they’re putting more effort and resources toward their Business offering. When competitors update or change product pages, or even release new products, it’s helpful to benchmark your own product offerings and upcoming product launches against theirs to see where you can expand.

Team or Office

Tracking website changes on team pages or office/contact pages can reveal information about where a company is expanding. In addition to job postings, looking at executive team changes can show where more resources are being allocated. For example, if there is a new VP of Growth added to the team listing, but that position or person was not at the company before, it tells you that they are likely ramping up their growth strategy. On top of that, imagine that VP is on the west coast and now there are west coast job listings and contact information listed on the site. This tells you that the company is expanding to new territory. These changes can show you where internal growth is occurring as well as gain insight into their sales and market strategies.

A great way to gain competitive intelligence on your competition is by tracking website changes. A key part of tracking website changes is using your findings to infer upon your competitors’ next moves. If you get started by tracking these key changes, you’ll be able to gain a better understanding of your competitors’ strategies and use them for a competitive advantage.

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