When it comes to building your first website, it’s sometimes tempting to fall into the trap of creating something based purely on your own personal preferences.
And why not, right? After all, you want your business to be a reflection of you and your personality, so why wouldn’t you dive right in and starting designing something that really appeals to your tastes?
There’s one good reason: What appeals to you might not be what’s best for your customers. Sure, it’s important to create a website that you’re happy with, but it’s even more important to ensure that your visitors are happy. When they come to your site, those visitors expect certain things from you. They expect a clean, attractive design, they expect to find what they need quickly, and they expect to be able to buy from you without any fuss.
Still, no two audiences are exactly the same, so to provide the best possible experience for customers who visit your website, you’re going to need to learn a few things about them first.
Who they are
At the heart of every good customer profile lies a real understanding of who exactly you’re selling to. This includes both key information such as their age bracket, their gender, and even the kind of income they bring and also softer stats such as their hobbies and interests. Putting this kind of data together can help you paint a clear idea of the kind of visitors you’ll be attracting, and how to perfectly pitch your products or services to them.
Where do they currently buy from?
In other words, who are your competitors? If you can get a good understanding of where your customers are currently buying from, you’ll be better armed to make sure your business stands out from the crowd and design your website accordingly. If you’re planning to launch your own web hosting company for example, doing a bit of research into which companies your target audience are currently using for their hosting needs means you can do things differently, and look at providing an alternative.
What if they’re not currently buying from anybody? If that’s the case, then you’re going to need to do a little more research, as this could either be a blessing in disguise, or a strong indication that you should shelve the idea for your new website and try something else.
On the one hand, the fact that your potential customers aren’t getting what you plan to provide could indicate a gap in the market that you’re well-equipped to fill. On the other, it could well mean that there isn’t actually as much demand for what you’re selling as you might have first thought.
How do they use the web?
Are you aiming for a young, web-savvy audience who are more likely to be logging onto your site on their mobile smartphones or tablets? If so, you’ll perhaps want to invest a lot more time and resources on responsive design and ensuring those visitors enjoy the experience of checking out your site on those devices.
Do your customers use social media? If so, on which platforms are they most active? Find that out, and you can go where your customers are when it comes to actively promoting your site after it goes live.
What do they search for?
The visitors who don’t come to your site via social media will probably find you through major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, so it pays to know exactly what those visitors will be looking for when they’re trying to find sites like yours. Get that data, and you can better optimise your site to appear higher up in the search results, increasing the likelihood that those potential new customers will be clicking on your site, rather than those of your competitors.