Website optimization with SWOT analyses

A SWOT analysis is a popular and well-known instrument in strategic marketing and is usually used to indentify influencing factors. But a SWOT analysis can do more than this: It is also an excellent tool for analyzing and optimizing websites.

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis can identify internal and external influencing factors for positioning. These influencing factors are catagorized as Strength, Weakness, Opportunity or Threat and are allocated to internal or external influencing factors. The resulting four fields give a matrix with internal factors (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external factors (Opportunity or Threat).

Why should I carry out a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis shows up the strengths and weaknesses of a website. It answers questions such as “Which technical modification will be implemented in the next step?”, or “In which points are we weaker than the competition?”           

A SWOT analysis also offers the following:

  • A comparison in real terms with competitors’ websites              
  • Identification of a company’s position on the market
  • A targeted analysis of all collected data
  • Recognition of expansion and potential improvement possibilities for the website                                              
  • Support in making strategic decisions
  • Help to prioritize possible measures

How do I carry out a SWOT analysis for my website?

Before starting a SWOT analysis, the aims of the website should be defined and examined. The S.M.A.R.T. criteria are useful in determining goal defination. According to these criteria, every goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. These criteria help to prioritize later on and to evaluate feasibility.                  

After goal defination, the SWOT analysis can be carried out. Factors which contribute to target attainment are put into one of two catagories: the opportunities or the strengths of the website. Whether they are classed as an opportunity or a strength depends on whether they are an internal or external influence factor. A simple, fast ordering process, for example, is designed individually by the company and is therefore an internal factor and strength of the website. New technology, however, is a factor with an outside influence and belongs to the opportunities.

Factors which could hinder goal attainment  are classified as weaknesses or risks.  Here too, each factor is examined on an internal and external level. Complicated and confusing navigation would be put in the catagory weaknesses, whereas companies can generally have no influence on risks resulting from new laws.

Internal influence factors

Catalogue the advantages of your website compared with those of your competitors:                                        

  • Customer-oriented design and address
  • Effective calls to action                  
  • Relevant content                             
  • Intuitive navigation and search
  • Fast and easy ordering process
  • Responsive design

Catalogue your weaknesses compared with your competitors’ websites:          

  • Old-fashioned design                                     
  • Lack of  SEO content                                             
  • Complicated structure and navigation
  • Long and complicated ordering process
  • Lack of optimization for smartphones            

External influence factors

Opportunities can have a positive effect on the performance of a website:

  • New technology increases user experience
  • Winning new markets
  • Finding new market segments or niches
  • New design trends

Risks which can have a negative effect on the success of your website:

  • Change in customer requirements
  • New laws or regulations
  • New browser software
  • Competitors copy features or ideas


How do I evaluate my SWOT matrix?

After identifying the influencing factors and putting them into the correct catagories, it is time to evaluate the matrix in order to find a suitable strategy for your website. Using the goals and taking into consideration resources and budget, the website’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks are prioritized. The resulting 4 priority lists provide the first overview and a basic strategy plan. The next step involves combining the priority lists, again taking goals, resources and budget into consideration. The resulting priority list is a strategic guideline for the optimization of your website and helps to implement the individual steps precisely and realistically.

Whether carried out at regular or irregular intervals, a SWOT analysis can also be used to check whether goals have been reached, for example, whether weaknesses or risks have been transformed into strengths and opportunities. 


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