1 – Target Readers
The importance of defining your target audience demographics in web design is to ensure the readers actually looking for your content can find your website and make the greater part of your web site traffic.
Who do I want to read my website?
The Internet is Global.
Although the index of search engines (like Google) does return local area results for local business searches, even 50 local websites who are all competing for 10 spots on Page 1 of Google, for a popular keyword search, is 80% more competition than will fit.
Anything you can do to target specific readers will help you.
The importance of defining your B2B target audience will be fairly obvious to most business people considering making a website. After all creating a 2 colour website like Facebook with it’s flat tight simple design may appear contemporary to young people, but will it visually project stability, experience and wealth to an older business person who may never have visited Facebook and doesn’t want to?
Are your readers older, say over 40? You might want to consider using a slightly larger font. Are your readers young and likely to be reading your website on a mobile phone? If so, make a note to look into creating an extra theme for mobile users to make it easier for them. This is what target audience demographics is all about. Sure anyone may want to visit your website, but which people will enjoy and react favourably to what you are offering them.
So… watch your language!
You target readers by speaking their language. If your demographic is young, it can handle it if you b casual with sm txt slang thrown in, lol you lamo!
However, if you are making a site for a company or business, or for education purposes, then it will be important to get spelling and grammar perfect. You don’t have to use stuffy business-speak, but do take care to show that you paid attention when you were at school. These things are still important.
Speaking the “local lingo” can help to make people feel more in tune with you and feel comfortable on your website. So if you want to target a local audience, speak of the local area and mention it’s events.
If you cannot narrow your audience demographically, by age or economic means or education, then narrow the scope of your audience by targeting people looking for specific things. Like writing articles about problems your readers have, especially if you can solve them. This is a great draw card to target a demographics that is very specific. this will be important to your traffic.
So while you are planning your colours and pictures, define your website message and target readers.
Your website starts talking as soon as the home page loads.
It’s ok to be colourful but unless you are selling stained glass, restrain yourself to three main colours and use related shades of these.
Pictures are great, but unless you are an artist doing a portfolio site, keep them in the smaller range because pictures take time to load and slow your site down. This is a trade off though, because pictures definitely make your site more “sticky”. (people stick around and read more)
Target a Niche
A niche is a word used to describe a place where something can survive. A species for example, need to find a niche that provides them with sufficient food and any other needs they have, with enough of it available for the ongoing survival of their species.
You cannot compete with Amazons unless you have a specialization of some sort, that readers find attractive.
If you try to target everyone – you’ll hit no-one.
Find your niche, target a specific topic, with a lower number of pages and websites covering it, and aim at the target readers who are interested specifically in that topic.
Then find out what they want to know and publish articles that help them, or entertain them, or interest them.
Find a niche’s target readers and you’ll hit the bullseye!
Not doing this, is a common mistake when making a website.
Fame appears to happen overnight, but if you speak to people who have it, they are likely to tell you that they worked for years building an audience or readership before they reached the tipping point.
This is no different for websites. A constantly updating website, beats out a static one. You can increase the spread of a target audience gradually, as your website grows with new articles over time.
To start with though, you need a specific target audience in mind and you need to discover what they want to read about and to make a website that appeals to them. Do this and you can gradually build your target readership into a more general community of readers.
How do you define your target audience demographics?
Defining your target audience.
Start by using the Internet to research demographic information. Make a list of your topics main keywords and run them through the MSN Adlabs Tool and then check out their other related tools for commercial intent etc.
If this type of market research is all new to you, browse through the magazines in a newsagent or library. Magazines are great examples of what a website can be like, as they are made up with short articles, which follow a theme that appeals to a targeted audience.
Notice how teen magazines target their audience, compared to those magazines whose readers are older. See how magazines that target women as readers differ from those which are targeting men. Designer magazines target people who are financially well off, while DIY magazines target readers with less money to spend.
When you target readers, then you are taking the first step towards the final step, 29 in this series, to target web site traffic. It is a journey and all the steps are connected, so think carefully about this step and make some notes in your notebook.
Your target audience are your readership and the reason for making a website. So please don’t under estimate the importance of your target audience in web design.