Stand out from the crowd
When building your first website or going through a redesign it is very common to look at your competitors and other leaders of the industry to gain inspiration for your new look. You assess what it is working well for them and what you should avoid. This is definitely an important part of the process and something that is very familiar when devising a strategy for the face of your internet presence. Competition is often good for business but in some cases it may diminish what can make you unique and keep your visitors engaged.
When speaking with a client and discussing their ideas and needs for a website, I often encourage them to look beyond and take some time to look at other websites that are completely unrelated to the industry of their business. For example, if you are a big sports fan you may want to consider looking at the website designs of your favorite teams in order to get some fresh new ideas that are outside of what you would normally see on your website. It could be the way the page elements are laid out, a new style of navigation, or how they use color throughout their site. This is not limited to websites, but can be applied to other parts of your marketing including social media or a logo redesign.
The internet is constantly evolving and it is up to us to continue to grow along with it. Every year there are new trends and it can be difficult to keep up with everything that is going on. The average lifespan of a website is about 3 years, so while it may be easier to play it safe, you must keep up with what is current and innovate otherwise you will fail to stand out in a very large crowd.