“The Web is the ultimate customer empowering environment. He or she who clicks the mouse gets to decide everything”- Jakob Neilson
The Web is all about the audience. Its about the early adopters, the casual browsers and everyone in between. Because of this, it’s very important to understand the needs, capabilities and characteristics of your target audience, or site visitors. The better you are at understanding your audience, the more likely you are to succeed in building a great website.
So what are the needs of your audience?
Well, if you’re a business owner you probably have customers, and you probably know which products, promotions or services they enjoy the most. Using this information you already know will help decide what the overall goal is when a person visits your website. Understanding what they (your audience) need from your website will give you an advantage over your competitors and more importantly, allow your visitors to enjoy a more productive experience. Knowing the needs of your audience will also help design, develop and structure the content of your website in a way that satisfies those needs and keeps site visitors coming back.
But just knowing what your visitors need is not enough, you must also know who they are.
Who’s viewing your website?
A common practice of our industry is to profile our intended audience and identify their characteristics. If you’re familiar with your audience you might know that they prefer to browse websites in the morning, or maybe they’re more likely to make an online purchase if they have PayPal as a payment option. These are things you eventually learn over time and with the right tools, like Google Analytics.
But what if this is your first website? Or what if you’re offering something new, or in a different way? How do you know who your audience is?
Well you might know more than you think, for instance, if you operate a blog aimed at teaching people something, you probably have a few things in common with your site visitors, such as:
You hold a general interest in something.
You are somewhat knowledgable about it.
Taking advantage of the similarities you share with your audience will help you understand them better and give you a good idea of how they might interact with your website.
Keep your audience interested.
A good website will hold a visitors attention for as long as possible. It needs content that is easy to understand, includes interface elements that are operational, and must be accessible on as many devices as possible. You must aim to keep your audience engaged and interested for as long as possible. This is extremely important because after all, how will your audience know about your awesome product, interesting blog posts or business goals if they aren’t on your website long enough to find out about them?
These are all things to consider when trying to understand who your audience is and how you should organize your website.
Make them want more.
If you understand your audience and take them into consideration when updating or creating your website you will see results. The only way to do this is by understanding who they are, what they will do with your website and how to target them.