The most important thing to remember when making a website is to design it for your audience. Sounds simple enough but in our eagerness to get a web presence it’s easy to forget.
You must understand who will really be visiting your site and what’s necessary to get your message to your visitors. First acknowledge who your real market is. Who will be interested in what you have to offer? Is it a certain age group? Travelers? Those seeking information about a certain topic? If you sell jewelry, who would be most likely to purchase it? Loan seekers? Art lovers? Find out all you can about your audience, what their needs and desires are.
Getting a visitor onto your website is the first big step. If they’ve arrived, that means something has worked. People are hoping they have come to the right website, so it’s important to reassure them that they are indeed in the right place. They want clues that tell them they’ve found what they’re looking for, that they don’t need to spend any more of their valuable time searching.
Imagine that you are the visitor, that you are looking for the things you have to offer. What do they really want to see?
I would venture to say they want to feel the site is trustworthy, that prices are not too expensive, and that they can get someone on the phone when they need help.
The web site’s job is to get the visitor to the point of taking the next step, whatever that is. What is it that you want your visitor to do?
Take a look at your website and ask yourself some questions:
- What do you notice first?
- What do you notice second?
- What message do you get?
- What clues can you find that point to possible goals?
If your target audience is retired adults who want to vacation in a warm climate, for instance, your site should communicate warmth, sunshine, and perhaps activities that seniors enjoy. Your visitor will no doubt be asking themselves if your site (your business) will meet their expectations of warm weather and plenty of activities. If they feel that these immediate expectations are being met, they will move to the next step. The next step might be viewing a second or third page, spending time on the site to learn more about the location of your business and what you have to offer. And then they will move on to contacting you via email or phone to get even more information, or to make a reservation.
Look at your site through the eyes of your audience. Are you meeting their expectations? Are they in the right place? Will they feel enough trust to take the next step?