Pay attention to the five ways the audience determines the design of your website
When you’re designing a new website, there are many things you have to take into consideration. What do you want the website to achieve? What should its appearance be? Who’ll participate in the website’s design? How will you attract the right audience?
These questions are certainly crucial in getting your site off to a flying start and moving in the right direction. However, you are unlikely to get anywhere if you don’t have clarity from the get-go on who your website’s target audience is. It’s especially important when it comes to your choice of design. In fact, many web design agencies, such as Lead to Recovery, focus on a specific industry whose audience and needs they have mastered.
Here’s why audience matters for design.
Functionality and Features
Knowing who your website is addressed to will help you zero in on the most important functions and features to include or prioritize. The site must have the ability to do whatever it is your target audience expects it to do when they visit.
You probably have grand ideas of all the spectacular capabilities you’d like to incorporate on your site. However, this is likely to be unrealistic for two reasons. First, you have a design budget and each additional feature will cost you. Second, you have to balance features against site performance.
Ergo, you have to narrow down your scope and focus on the ones most relevant to your audience.
Understanding the audience you’re building the website for helps the designer figure out the most fitting option for the site’s look and feel. You will have to adopt a different approach when targeting corporate donors than you would middle school pupils. Audience has implications for numerous design elements including colors, font style, photos and layout.
Content and Tone
Once you are clear on who your audience is and what their goals are, create content that satisfies their needs. Write about the things your audience will be keen on reading when they visit.
As a general rule, content is best done in a conversational tone. Nevertheless, the suitability of a conversational tone will depend on the nature of the target audience. Your tone must be different when writing for pre-teens than it is for senior citizens. The core role of content is to be accessible and engaging thereby driving lead conversions.
Your website will have multiple sections and pages. Not all content on your site is of equal importance. Build your site in a way that brings to the fore and makes accessible the content that people will be looking for first.
Navigation should be smooth, intuitive and seamless and designed to take the visitor to what they want to read with the fewest number of clicks possible. Utilize dropdown menus as they help you make available a large list of options without cluttering the page.
Knowing who your audience is has numerous implications for search engine optimization (SEO).
First, you must choose keywords that your target audience will be most likely to type into the search engine. Do not fall into the trap of going for the most popular keywords that seem relevant for your site. Some long tail keywords may not attract the scale of traffic more popular keywords do but they will draw in a high concentration of visitors who have the most likelihood of following through on your calls-to-action.
Second, tailor your keyword choice to the knowledge and sophistication of your audience. If they’re already seasoned experts in the content you provide, then it may be alright to include keywords that contain industry-specific jargon. If, however, the people you seek to appeal to aren’t as familiar with the subject, then avoid jargon.
Third, recognize that there are multiple potential sources of visitor traffic. Search engines will likely be responsible for the overwhelming majority of traffic to your pages but you could also draw sizeable referral traffic from social media, industry forums, subject-matter blogs and news sites. Your target audience will be predisposed to certain types of sites that will, therefore, become the source of most referral traffic. Know what these referral sites are and make sure you align your SEO strategy accordingly.
If you haven’t fully settled on the definition of your target audience, take a look at your past customers (if your business is already operational) and commission formal market research. The better you understand your target audience, the more likely you will be to design a website that resonates with them.