Website SWOT Analysis: How to Gain an Advantage Online

Learn how to use a website SWOT analysis to improve your site's competitiveness by examining your brand's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

POST UPDATED:

February 6, 2024

Website SWOT Analysis

Introduction


All of our brand audit clients have websites, and many of them have a search engine optimization strategy. Yet most are still struggling to improve their website’s rankings and attract quality customers online.

At first, clients think they need a better website or a new SEO plan to get the results they want. But simply upgrading a website or developing a new SEO strategy isn’t the answer.

Competing online is much like running a race. The Internet is the track. Your competitors are the other runners. To win the race, you don’t have to be the fastest runner in the world. You just have to be faster than the other runners on the track.

For your website to be competitive, you must first know what you’re up against. That’s where a website SWOT analysis comes in. Using the SWOT framework, companies can determine how to give their websites a competitive edge.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to do your own SWOT analysis. You’ll also find out how it can help you increase your brand’s online visibility and attract more customers.

Table of Contents
    A SWOT analysis is a study of a brand's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
    A SWOT analysis is a study of a brand's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    An Overview of Website SWOT Analysis: Purpose and Relevance


    SWOT stands for:

    • Strengths
    • Weaknesses
    • Opportunities
    • Threats

    A SWOT analysis is most often used in strategic planning to assess a company’s marketplace position. Organizations can also use it to determine whether a website aligns with its business objectives.

    A SWOT includes a review of internal factors. Operations and processes are examples. This review should also consider external elements as well, such as competitors, market trends, and innovations in new technology.

    Website competitive analysis reveals the strategies they use, their messaging, customer experience design, product features, and more. This helps you identify the positive attributes and unique features that differentiate your brand, as well as negative characteristics to correct.

    The first step in a SWOT is to create a list of questions that will generate conversations among your internal teams.

    Here are some sample questions:

    In what areas do competitors excel?

    How does their content marketing strategy differ from ours?

    What do competitor sites offer to the audience that we don’t?

    The customer journey and user experience play a pivotal role in a website’s ability to connect with the target audience. The findings from a SWOT should help your team improve both processes.

    To get the most from your SWOT analysis, it may be helpful to partner with a conversion optimization consultant. These consultants can identify the granular details that affect performance. Calls to action, ineffective design elements, or responsive design issues are examples.

    You should include customer feedback throughout the entire process. Customers can give companies different perspectives on performance and usability. As a result, you’ll get a clear picture of what it’s like for users to interact with the website.

    Performing a SWOT analysis periodically will help you stay up to date on customer needs and competitor strategies.

    What Is a Brand Audit?

    A brand audit helps organizations uncover strengths and weaknesses, improve target audience quality, become more competitive, and reduce marketing expenses.

    Website SWOT Analysis vs. Website Audit


    Before I go on, I’d like to clarify the differences between a website SWOT analysis and a website audit.

    A website SWOT can improve a site’s competitiveness. It can also help you identify new market segments and opportunities to increase market share.

    A website audit dives deeper than a SWOT. An audit involves intensive research and mapping of all site components, including technical issues. Here are some examples of areas that may be covered in an audit:

    • Duplicate content
    • Primary keywords
    • Load speed
    • Backlink profile
    • Plugins and security issues
    • Website accessibility

    An audit provides a detailed review of deficiencies in customer-centric web design and technical performance. Audits are especially useful when different departments and multiple decision makers must be involved—i.e., management, web developers, and marketers.

    A Comprehensive SWOT Analysis of a Website


    Before you begin, it’s important to define goals for the SWOT. With clear goals, you can then decide the specific elements of website design to review. For example, you may want to assess site’s calls to action, explore new markets, or review shopping cart design. Other goals may be to assess the content marketing strategy, lead generation rates per page, and customer service ratings.

    To get an accurate assessment of a business website’s performance, combine qualitative and quantitative metrics.

    Organizations will need website analytics data to perform the SWOT. Without access to this data, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to draw any meaningful conclusions or figure out how to improve. Examples of data include website visits, time on a single page, organic search rankings, bounce rates, and social media engagements.

    Be sure to rank the importance of each analysis goal on a priority scale from low to high. Each of these should be based on how much influence the goal could have on the site’s performance. Prioritizing SWOT goals makes it easier to identify the areas that will make the most impact on the company’s digital strategy.

    Internal and External Factors

    Several factors affect a website. Some are beyond your control, but there are some you can. Regardless, we must consider both.

    The internal environment typically considers elements the brand can control, such as design and user experience, content strategy, and marketing campaigns.

    The external environment relates to circumstances that are out of the company’s control. The most common external influences are:

    • Competitor activity
    • Consumer behavior
    • Political factors
    • Global economic trends
    • Technological advancement
    • New entrants

    Analyzing both internal and external factors can help companies identify impactful changes. They’ll also discover the factors they can’t change and develop a plan to mitigate them.

    Internal vs. External Website SWOT Factors
    Internal vs. External Website SWOT Factors

    Strengths

    To identify a website’s strengths, explore what the company can leverage to gain a competitive advantage. Examples of strengths might include brand image, innovative services, well-known products, exceptional customer service, and sound financial standing.

    The website should communicate the positive aspects of the brand. For example, an established brand may attract potential customers because it is trustworthy. Effective online marketing campaigns focused on the trust component could increase the quality of the website’s organic traffic.

    An innovative product line gives the website wider appeal among customers and niche markets. A sound financial standing gives the brand an opportunity to invest in customer engagement campaigns that competitors may not be able to afford.

    Most businesses are aware of their strengths. But, in our experience, companies always overlook some positives. So, don’t assume you know what your brand does well. Explore your values, messaging, products, and marketing to make sure no stone is left unturned.

    Weaknesses

    Most companies have a difficult time identifying their weaknesses. We’ve found that the perception businesses have of their brand, products, or services does not align with the market’s perception. The same is true for websites.

    Your website has about one-tenth (1/10) of a second to make an impression. At that point, users will decide what they think of it. So, it’s imperative to develop a website that grabs the audience’s attention right away.

    This is easier said than done.

    Often, companies create websites based on the marketing team’s preferences or the latest design trends. But just because the color red is popular right now doesn’t mean you should plaster red all over your website.

    To identify your website’s weaknesses, evaluate its user interface, navigation structure, quality of content, design features. Combined, these elements determine if visitors can easily access and interact with the site.

    Also, be sure to review page layout to discover those that aren’t engaging users or that might be too complex. Responsive design features should be in place to accommodate different devices (i.e. mobile phone usability, search engine ranking, and visibility).

    These are the components that make or break a website’s performance.

    To confirm your findings, review user behavior analytics to identify performance issues. Look for low bounce rates or significant drop-offs at specific points of the customer journey. These metrics might reveal flaws in the design or other elements of the website that should be changed.

    Conversion Optimization Consulting

    Consulting services for emerging or established companies that want to increase ROI on their digital marketing plan.

    Opportunities

    To take advantage of opportunities, a company must have a deep understanding of the market environment. Analyzing innovative products, technology trends, customer needs, and competitors provides clues for the next steps you need to take.

    As you study the market, make a list of potential opportunities. In time, these may help you figure out how to improve competitive positioning. It’s also possible to find opportunities to create additional revenue streams. You may be able to implement new technologies and design trends to provide users with a better experience.

    Positive changes can also come from exploring social factors. Improved outcomes can result from adopting new engagement methods, understanding customer needs, and enhancing content strategy.

    Threats

    External threats can affect every aspect of a company’s operations. Some examples include economic downturns, government regulations, and changing consumer trends. Technological advances or world events, such as natural disasters, are other potential threats. Knowing how to plan for and respond to these external forces is essential for any business strategy.

    For websites, external threats come from outside influences that a brand may not always be aware of or prepared for. Websites are vulnerable to a myriad of issues, ranging from fraudulent activity, viruses, or cyberattacks like identity theft and data mining.

    Changes in search engine algorithms pose another threat because they can cause significant losses in website traffic. The recent Google core update is one example. These events can diminish revenue and damage a brand’s reputation (i.e. negative reviews online).

    Web hosting servers pose another potential problem. When servers go offline, website service is interrupted, which often results in lost traffic and customers.

    Legal action regarding copyright infringement or privacy violations could have far-reaching implications. Preparing for external threats shows a company's commitment to competitiveness despite cybercriminals, unexpected events, and technology changes.

    We recommend developing a plan to manage each of these problems and any others that come to mind. Inevitably, every company will face one or more of these. Businesses that are prepared will recover much quicker than those that aren’t.

    SWOT Analysis template example
    Website SWOT Analysis template example

    How to Populate SWOT Quadrants and Create an Action Plan


    Populating the SWOT’s four quadrants illustrates how a website can leverage its capabilities and value. It also shows the company what it must do to protect areas of vulnerability.

    To complete the analysis grid, list each finding under the appropriate category. Include any related data or information as an attachment. Once action steps have been assigned, teams or individuals can refer to this information as they carry out the tasks. Examples of this data are competitive benchmarks, consumer research, and customer feedback on your product or service.

    Next, assess your team’s skill set and capabilities to make sure you have the personnel to execute all the tasks. Consider any gaps that need to be filled and areas where existing staff may need additional training or support tools.

    Finally, list any potential services or partners that may help support growth objectives or provide the technology improvements required. CRM software integrations, design platforms, or conversion rate optimization consultants are examples.

    Do you need a conversion optimization consultant?

    Click the button below to learn more.

    The Brand Auditors: Website SWOT Analysis Expertise


    Most businesses rely on guesswork when it comes to improving their websites. Focusing on design trends and individual preferences can inhibit website performance.

    The Brand Auditors can provide organizations with the expertise they need to take their online presence to the next level.

    Click the button below to find out how The Brand Auditors can help you with website SWOT analysis.

    Chris Fulmer

    Chris Fulmer

    Brand Strategist | Managing Director

    Chris has over 15 years of experience in brand development and marketing. He has designed strategies across various industries, such as technology, B2B services, and healthcare. His areas of expertise include brand positioning, competitive analysis, content marketing, and web development.

    Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?

    Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies optimize performance.

    • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
    • Reduce marketing expenses.
    • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

    We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.

    Related Content

    Web Strategy

    How to Create a Web Strategy for Digital Brands

    Does your website work for or against your brand? This post shows you how to develop a winning web strategy that enhances your company's value and authority.

    what is a brand analysis

    Elevate Your Customer Experience With a Brand Analysis

    Is your team struggling with a business problem? Discover how a brand analysis can reveal the underlying cause and what to do about it. Read our blog for more.

    Website Optimization Strategies

    Boost Google Rankings with Website Optimization Strategies

    Discover the benefits of implementing website optimization strategies for higher search engine rankings. Explore our blog for more information.