Drive your website development using SWOT Analysis.

Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats

What is SWOT?

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Traditionally, it’s used to examine the business as a whole, for viability as an enterprise. But here, we’re focusing on using it to discover how to improve your website. A SWOT:

  • Confirms what you’re doing right. With a SWOT, you can, like a checkoff list, see what you’ve already accomplished.
  • Identifies areas that need improvement. And of course, it shows you where you need to focus your energies on next.
  • Helps you accomplish goals efficiently. SWOT always centers around accomplishing specific tasks, in this case making money through your website – whether referrals or direct sales.

SWOTs are powerful generators of ideas, identifiers of problems, and course-plotters. Come see how to do one on YOUR website that will drive your website development in the right direction.

How to do SWOT on your website.

SWOT analysis for websites.

SWOT analysis for websites.

Using the 7 Strategies to Internet Marketing Success, we can pass each strategy through the SWOT. The S-W-O-T definitions change a bit for Internet marketing SWOTs than your standard SWOT, so let’s define them right now.


Note the reference to Internal and External; strengths and weaknesses are internal to your business and website, opportunities and threats are external to your business and website.

  • S (Strengths) – You have it, your competitors may. You might have an established website that is 5 years running and your competitors are just entering the website field of battle. Or, your newsletter list is over 5000 subscribers, but none of your competitors have newsletters. The key element is that whether or not your competitor has this strength, YOU have it.
  • W (Weaknesses) – You don’t have it, your competitors may. You just don’t have this element to your website. Your competitor may or may not have this element. Again, this is an internal weakness, regardless of your competitors abilities. For example, your rankings are weak for the keywords your customers use to find you.
  • O (Opportunities) – You may have it, but your competitors don’t (or never will be as good.) You might be far along in the process to making that opportunity to pay off for you, or you may just have identified the opportunity. It might manifest as a chance to gain exclusive reciprocal links with a key supplier. Regardless, you have not fully turned this into a strength.
  • T (Threats) – You may have it, but your competitors do (or always will be better.) This covers both existing and upcoming threats. You may in fact have this component, but your competitor does also, or does it better, and always will. For instance, one of your competitors has been doing SEO with a professional for years, is starting to get into article writing in a big way, has the jump on you for content and will probably continue to accelerate. Or, someone has hired a professional writer to pump out content from dusk ’til dawn, 7 days a week.


1. Ask yourself each of the questions below.

Each strategy has a set of questions associated with it. Answer honestly! Feel free to print out this article so you can roundtable it with others.

2. For each question, put a check in one of the 4 columns.

You’re trying to get a gauge where you are in the process of Internet marketing. If you don’t know what the question means, then put a check in the weakness column.

3. Tally the checks at the END of the columns.

  • Did you have more strengths than anything else? Great job!  Move onto step 4.
  • If you have more weaknesses than anything, read the entire 7 strategies series (you have some homework to do – feel the burn, don’t give up, and enjoy the process!)
  • If you have more opportunities than anything, it’s time to brainstorm about how you’re going to develop that website by assigning web team roles and building up your site!
  • If you have more threats than anything, it’s time to call in the cavalry (that’s us.) You should also start monitoring your competition daily.

Regardless, you can move onto the next steps to find your greatest weakness.

4. Tally weaknesses INSIDE each strategy.

What is the biggest strategy weakness you have? Start with the biggest tally of weaknesses and click on the strategy associated with it (in the first column). That will take you to another article that might give you some great ideas about how to solve your problems.

As with any SWOT, it’s not a perfect science; there’s a bit of art in SWOTs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a ‘next step’ list with how to improve your website!

Internal (You)
External (Comp.)
Strategy Questions (S) (W) (O) (T)
1. Get noticed.
  • Do you have a strong online presence across both search engines and social sites?
  • Is your webpage ranking high in search results?
  • Is your website older than one year?
  • Does your search results rank for the keywords that describe your service?
  • Do you have a strong brand name and logo?
2. Drive traffic.
  • Is your results on search engines look like goggly-gook or does it make sense?
  • Are you showing ‘calls to action’ and ‘benefits’ in your search results and social sites?
  • Do you have many ‘followers’ on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites?
3. Be sticky.
  • Can a visitor instantly tell what your website is about?
  • Does your website present unique and intriguing content that people want to read?
  • Does your website succeed in grabbing visitor attention?
  • Is your website load time fast enough?
  • Do you have a simple and user-friendly website – easy to find information through search and navigation?
  • Do you have nice images that explain ‘1000 words’ each?
  • Does every page have a link back to your homepage?
4. Build trust.
  • Is your reputation good in the marketplace?
  • Is your navigation simple and easy?
  • Does your website have case studies and practical applications of product or service use?
  • Do you EXPLICITLY speak to the benefit of the customer?
  • No spelling and grammar mistakes
5. Stay in touch.
  • Do you have a newsletter?
  • Is your newsletter easy to sign up for?
  • Are your buttons to your social sites visible?
  • Do you give your customers reasons to call you on the phone?
  • Do you provide fresh content regularly?
6. Generate sales or leads.
  • Do you offer a unique product or service?
  • Is your level of expertise obvious? Is it better than your competitors?
  • Is your catalog easy to use and products easily found?
  • Is your checkout easy to use?
  • Is value of your product easy to understand?
  • Product or service range is good?
7. Create referrals.
  • Do you provide outstanding customer service?
  • Do you tell your customers to refer you, give them incentive to do so?
  • Do you reward your customers when they do refer you?
  • Do you know how to create a culture of testing that allows you to create even better customer service?


Further reading.

Greg Cox

Analytics Geek. Gregory likes Motorcycles, Cooking, and Sciencey stuff.