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Competitive Analysis – Portfolio Website 5 May 2010

Posted by elisemchisholm in Competitive Analysis.

I’ve chosen to create a personal portfolio website for my class project. Although I’m currently happily employed full time, I’d like to set myself up for the possibility to freelance in the future. On my website I’d like to showcase my background in marketing, advertising, and PR. I plan to share snapshots of successful marketing campaigns, media coverage, and writing projects. I also want to give website visitors a sense of my personality and interests.

My target audience is marketing communication professionals and recruiters on the agency or client side, specifically those in the food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and non-profit sectors. Initially I’ll target the Seattle area, though I’ll want to gradually expand my reach. Given the economy, creative talent is easy to come by. It will be critically important for me to differentiate myself from the competition.

I’ve defined the competition as individual freelancers and small freelance groups. For the purpose of this assignment, I’ll highlight the top two search results when I google “seattle freelance marketing professional.”



Brand positioning: A virtual solution to your writing and marketing needs.

Visual appeal: This website is not particularly visually appealing. The red, white, and black color palette seems outdated. Although writing is one of the skills this freelancer is trying to merchandise, the website feels copy heavy and the pencil/paper illustrations are too literal. More sophisticated colors, font styles, and imagery would improve the overall design.

Navigation/organization: The website has a left-hand navigation bar and is logically organized. Headers include: Home, Services, Meet Dana, Portfolio of Work, Testimonials, Book Reviews, Favorite Links, Contact Me, and Newsletter. If this were my website, I’d swap the order of the Services and Meet Dana pages.

Written content: First off, I think it was an unfortunate decision to intentionally misspell a portion of the business/website title – “Yourz.” This just doesn’t project sophistication. Otherwise, written content is reasonably conversational and flows well. I think this freelancer could go a step further and make it even more approachable.

Presentation/quality of work samples: The freelancer has provided links to her work, which is credible. I think the portfolio pages could be more interesting if screen shots were included as well.

Personal connection: A bio and headshot are provided, though this website is still somewhat lacking in personality.

Special features/functionality: Email list, presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Overall impression: This freelancer is a competent writer, but is not necessarily highly creative or experienced in marketing.



Brand positioning: Putting your best words forward.

Visual appeal: I find the Zazou website very visually appealing. The colors are modern and the font styles and illustrations suggest creativity. There is also plenty of open space on the page so I’m not overwhelmed by copy. My only criticism is that it feels like one too many font styles have been used on the home page.

Navigation/organization: The website has a left-hand navigation bar. Headers include: Article Writing, Business Writing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, Content Writer, Marketing Writer, Website Content, Portfolio, Guarantee, About, My Blog, and Contact. I find these headers very confusing – in my mind, the first seven could overlap. I have to question the credibility of a website with such illogical naming and organization.

Written content: I find some of the content redundant and the writing tips completely unnecessary. If the audience wanted to learn how to write marketing copy on its own, it wouldn’t be seeking a freelancer.

Presentation/quality of work samples: I really like how this website shows images of actual work samples and also provided easily readable text in a standard font. This leads me to believe a quality product will be delivered.

Personal connection: Relatively little personal information is provided by this freelance group. The only person specifically mentioned in the About page is the owner. This makes me question the true availability of skilled resources.

Special features/functionality: RSS, blog, login for special access.

Overall impression: This website suggests creativity and a reasonable level of sophistication. I do think it’s slightly lacking in transparency when it comes to identifying team members/available resources.



Brand positioning: Tagline is in development.

Visual appeal: I plan to include images of my work samples as well as a few images that convey my personality/interests.

Navigation/organization: At this point I’m planning to use top navigation. Potential headers include: Bio, Services, Portfolio (divided into Marketing Programs, Media Results, and Writing Samples) and Contact.

Written content: I plan to keep body copy on the website concise and conversational in tone.

Presentation/quality of work samples: If possible, I would like to show images of work samples and provide easily readable text below in a standard font, as Zazou has done.

Personal connection: I plan to include imagery and written content that conveys my personality and interests.

Special features/functionality: I’d like to provide access to my LinkedIn profile and also require login if possible.


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