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GPANW Competitive Analysis 5 May 2010

Posted by sbrashear in Competitive Analysis.
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For my term project I decided to implement a WordPress site for the Greyhound Pets of America: Greater Northwest, (GPANW) a greyhound adoption organization that helps rescue retired greyhound racers from tracks through out the U.S. While the organization doesn’t have competitors in the traditional business sense, comparing the GPANW site to other dog rescue sites might be helpful in determining how to design a WordPress GPANW site. As a not-for-profit organization GPANW relies on volunteers, most of whom do not have a coding background. A WordPress site would enable them to make changes to the site’s content and design relatively easily. Comparing it to another local greyhound adoption organization, a greyhound adoption organization not based in Seattle and a local organization that rescues and adopts pugs will serve as the basis for the competitive analysis.

General Observations: With the exception of the Seattle Pug Rescue, the other three sites, all of the greyhound adoption sites suffer with serious design problems. The greyhound adoption sites look like they were designed in the mid-nineties and have seen a smattering of updates since then. The pages appear to be static, making it difficult to update on a regular basis.

Competitive analysis:

Criteria:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What purpose does the site serve?
  • How well does it serve that purpose
  • Should it serve other purposes?
  • How easy is the site to navigate?
  • How well does the site’s design aid navigation?
  • How often is the site updated?
  • How easy is the site to update?
  • What sort of social media is the website implementing?
  • What sort of analytics are employed by these sites?
  • How important is SEO to these sites?

Organization name: Greyhound Pets of America: Greater Northwest

URL: http://www.gnwgreyhounds.org/

The audience for GPANW like the other sites are those interested in adopting greyhounds (but could conceivably be anyone looking to adopt a dog), organization volunteers, and owners of greyhounds.

The main purpose of the site is to put those who are interested in adopting greyhounds in contact with the organization. It provides information for potential owners including a questionnaire as greyhounds require some specific care and consideration. It features a gallery of available dogs as well. It also has information on the care of retired greyhounds, giving potential owners ideas on what to expect. The site includes information on veterinary care for greyhounds as well as store.

The site has a lot of information, which could be organized and presented more effectively.

The site would also benefit from a blog and a calendar that could remind volunteers and announce upcoming events. It could replace a PDF newsletter of which the first and last edition seems to have been in the winter of 2007/2008.

A forum might also be a nice feature. Currently the site uses and Yahoo! Mail group, which can be unwieldy. Part of the forum could be open to the public while other parts of the forum would be members/volunteers only.

The design of the sit is rudimentary. Navigation is not terribly difficult. A set of navigation buttons go down the left side of the page. On most pages it is one column but on a few it is two columns wide. A few of the tabs could be consolidated for the easy navigation as there sixteen tabs. The home page is dull. The pictures are small and the largest visual element that is not white space is a block of text that begins “GPA Greater NW is a non profit 501(3)(C) organization … ” While I’m sure that is necessary, it doesn’t need to be the first thing viewers see. The home page could either open with pictures of available dogs or some nice stock-type pictures. A news or Twitter feed might work well on the home page. The text block probably doesn’t get many readers as most users are keen to see adoptable dogs.

The site appears to be updated as often as the organization gets dogs, couple of months or so, though I cannot be sure. A calendar page looks to be update on occasion, but the calendar determines events by using terms such as “every fourth Sunday.” WordPress could provide them with a perpetual and easily editable calendar, with an option to use a mapping program to provide directions to events’ locations.

Judging by the how often the site appears to be updated, it does not appear to be updated very often. When it is updated, it is updated by the designer, a volunteer. The designer uploads photos of available dogs.

GPANW does not appear to be using any sort of social media. If it is, it is not integrated into the website.

The site does not use Analytics

SEO might not be necessary, but couldn’t be detrimental to the site either.

Conclusion: The GPANW site could certainly use an overhaul.  A WordPress site would make maintaining the site more efficient. It would allow them to create calendars and pages with relative ease. Information could be updated easily. Pictures of newly available dogs wouldn’t be dependent on the designer to upload. The site could be more of a resource for current owners of greyhounds as well as prospective adopters, provide more information regarding the breed.

Organization Name Name: Puget Sound Greyhound Adoption

URL: http://www.psgreyhounds.org/

Who is the audience? Prospective adopters and current owners of Greyhounds

What purpose does the site serve? A place where prospective adopters can view available dogs, get information on the breed and begin the adoption process

How well does it serve that purpose? The site has a lot of information. The FAQ portion is fairly well organized, but the rest of the site is scattered, especially the home page. It would benefit from a reorganization of the site.

Should it serve other purposes? None that are evident.

How easy is the site to navigate? Getting around the site is easy. It is small. The information a user is looking for might be a bit more difficult to find.

How well does the site’s design aid navigation? The site design looks like it was originally designed in the mid-90s, complete with beveled photos and a gif animation of an American flag.

How often is the site updated? According to the site, not very often. It was last updated in seven months ago

How easy is the site to update? It appears that the site is static. Much of the design is old and probably not easy to update.

What sort of social media is the website implementing? It does not appear to be implementing any sort of social media.

What sort of analytics are employed by these sites? Analytics appear to be non-existent.

How important is SEO to these sites? Considering how often the site is updated Analytics does not appear to be very important.

Conclusion: The Puget Sound Greyhound Adoption site is a very basic website that like GPANW needs to be redesigned. It is probably needs a redesign more than GPANW. However, it is less active.


Organization Name: Royal Hounds Greyhound Adoption

URL: http://www.royalhounds.org/

Who is the audience? Like the other greyhound adoption organizations, it is a platform for prospective adopters

What purpose does the site serve? It provides prospective adopters information regarding the breed and available dogs.

How well does it serve that purpose? It provides information mostly likely sought by most visitors in a quick and reasonable simple design

Should it serve other purposes?

How easy is the site to navigate? Being a smallers site, it is quite easy to navigate the links articulate clearly the information that pages contain.

How well does the site’s design aid navigation? The time static design makes for easy navigation. There is no clutter. The navigation links are clear.

How often is the site updated? It is not clear, but it seem to be updated every time

How easy is the site to update? As it is a static website, updating it could be quite a chore.

What sort of social media is the website implementing? It does not appear to be using any social media

What sort of analytics are employed by these sites? Analytics seems non-existent.

How important is SEO to these sites? Like the other adoption sites it may not be necessary. It depends on how much attention the organization wishes to attract.


Organization Name: Seattle Pug Rescue

URL: http://www.seattlepugs.com/

Who is the audience? Pug enthusiasts, prospective adopters

What purpose does the site serve? It provide pug owners with organization events as well as a listing of pug available for adoption.

How well does it serve that purpose? It seems to do quite well. The Site is up-to-date. Has several ways for people get involved with different activities beyond adoption.

Should it serve other purposes? None that I can see

How easy is the site to navigate? The site is simple and simply designed withe clear navigation bar that appears on every page.

How well does the site’s design aid navigation? The site is easy to navigate. Links are clearly labeled. However, with seventeen links in the navigation bar, it could be whittled down a bit.

How often is the site updated? Not sure. The calendar includes fairly recent events. Upcoming events are highlighted on their home page.

How easy is the site to update? It appears that the site uses dynamic pages so it appears that is might be easy to update.

What sort of social media is the website implementing? The site has a Facebook page and a Twitter pages that seem fairly active.

What sort of analytics are employed by these sites? The site uses Google Analytics

How important is SEO to these sites? It is difficult to tell, but since they are using Analytics the might be looking to get found by search engines. Since greyhound organizations don’t have any competition with greyhound breeders for prospective adopters, SEO is imperative.

Conclusion: Of the four sites the Pug Rescue is the only site with dynamic content. Though it is not A WordPress, it allows members of the organization to update content easily, something that the greyhound sites lack with the exception of pages that feature available dog. These organizations have ongoing events as well as special events throughout the year, including fundraisers that could be featured better if the sites were more dynamic. The special events are nowhere to be found on the site. A WordPress site would allow the GPWNW to have a more dynamic site that can be found by more people than those who are looking to adopt greyhounds.  It can create a more open community as well as be a resource for greyhound owners across the country as well as in the Pacific Northwest.

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