Almost every business has competition — and it can get intense. Take, for example, automotive manufacturers. Consider how much money they spend attempting to outdo each other in terms of product features and marketing.
Web design, at least at the freelance and small agency levels, does not have the same feel. A specific geographic location may include hundreds of design businesses. Nonetheless, they are more inclined to participate in a group get-together rather than openly criticize each other.
What is the reason behind this? For starters, the web design industry is built in part on collaboration. It’s a group of people who openly share their code, resources, and advice. The widespread adoption of open-source software only serves to reinforce this trend.
That isn’t to imply that web designers aren’t motivated to succeed. It’s simply that, even in a highly competitive profession, they don’t mind watching others do the same.
Nonetheless, it raises a number of problems. Is it necessary for web designers to spend time investigating their competitors? Should they be concerned about what other companies are doing? Is there even any useful information available?
Why Is Web Design Different From Other Industries?
Try to think of as many amazing web design rivals as you can. Can’t think of any? We can’t either. Nothing like Ford vs. General Motors or Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi.
However, the rivalry is not the goal here. That is a feature of web design that distinguishes it from other sectors.
Competitors frequently seek to learn everything they can about each other in order to distinguish themselves. The goal is to out-think and out-sell everyone else. This is especially crucial in high-volume enterprises where the quantity of sales is everything.
Volume, on the other hand, isn’t as vital for site designers. In theory, you can generate more money from a single major project than from a series of little ones. It is more important to locate the ideal clients than to accept anything that comes your way.
As a result, the conventional competitive attitude may not apply to site design.
The Challenge of Evaluating Competition
One of the reasons some designers fail to focus on their competition might be the difficulty in obtaining useful information. It’s not the same as, say, a shop. Simply browsing a competitor’s location (physical or virtual) and comparing product prices and stock may suffice. Web design is not as simple as it appears.
A quick search can reveal other businesses in your surrounding neighbourhood or perhaps your field if you’re looking worldwide. However, a number of classic elements of these enterprises are harder to come by.
Pricing and income, for example, are rarely revealed. As a result, it’s more difficult to determine where your company sits in comparison. Client listings in a portfolio may give some hints about price and target sectors, but that’s typically the extent of it.
Furthermore, a large portion of the business is made up of lone freelancers and small firms. They are not publicly traded firms and are not required to publish financial statements or other information.
That implies you’re limited to browsing a competitor’s website and perhaps some of the other sites they’ve created. This isn’t perfect for the high-level intelligence gathering seen in other businesses.
Yes, it is still worthwhile to be aware of the competition.
Given the distinctiveness of web design, studying your competition may appear to be of little use. However, this is not always the case. These other designers can offer some essential services:
Design and Marketing Assessment
When you compare your portfolio website to those of your rivals, you might get perspective. How do your design abilities compare to those of others? What kinds of information do other designers provide? What aspects of your website could be improved?
At the very least, you’ll receive some insight into what prospective clients search for when seeking for a designer. This can assist you in making good adjustments to better serve them and increase conversions.
Functionality and features
Looking through the numerous sites in another designer’s portfolio provides you an idea of what they offer their clientele. This is quite useful when reviewing your own services list.
While you may find yourself ahead of certain opponents, you may also find yourself behind others. There may even be some tools and technology that you may use in future projects.
The Company They Keep
Is that other design business a true competitor? One sure method to know is to check their customer list. They may be worth keeping an eye on if they deal with similar-sized firms or those in your industry.
On the other hand, there may be some benefit in seeing what larger and smaller businesses are doing. After all, lessons may come from anyone.
Identify Your Competition, but Don't Obsess Over Them
It’s unlikely that rival web designers will go after each other with boastful advertisements or aggressive marketing strategies anytime soon. That’s a positive thing since it continues the industry’s tradition of sharing.
Checking up on the competitors is more of a learning opportunity in our line of business. Seeing what other designers are working to allows us to better understand our own role in the environment. We may then make the required modifications to go to where we want to go.
However, this does not imply that you must spend hours upon hours conducting research. It is quite normal to have a brief peek around from time to time. And who knows, you could learn something in the process.