Understanding your audience in website design and management

The internet is an increasingly fragmented environment due to the large amount of competition and alternatives available, greater choice means audience are spread more thinly and it is increasingly difficult to get them and more importantly keep them. No matter what your role is on the internet, captivating an audience consistently and for a prolonged duration of time is imperative to the success of your website, and ensure loyalty to your site, especially if you are an online marketplace and your audience are consumers with money to spend.


The most important thing to understand is your audience. Knowing your audience is one thing but understanding them is of much more significance. Doing research to understand your audience is time well spent and will pay dividends in the future. The key to growing your audience is by maintaining a relationship with your existing audience and grow them from loyal viewers to advocates.


Research on your audience is an ongoing process and stems from ‘knowing’ who they are and you can use analytics to find out language, location, the device used and their journey onto your site, which is key information for your website’s decisions, what may satisfy your audience presently may not in the future and you should be looking at shifts in behaviors on your website.

You could employ a SEO consulting company to analyse your behavioral changes in your website. But more importantly is what you learn from this information and how you use it to understand your audience on a more personal level and therefore make some informed presumptions on some behavioral traits that they may have.


You should start by defining the purpose of your website, here are some common website purposes

* build your brand and create an online brochure

* provide product support and customer service

* provide product information

* sell advertising

* sell products or services

* Informations and news


From this you can apply your knowledge of your audience and therefore make a decision as to what content would be appropriate to fulfill website objectives and how it is conveyed.


The navigation of your website is a fundamental part of your website design and the ease of use for your audience will keep them coming back, there are numerous ways to test the usability of your website’s navigation, the main considerations should be

* “how well are webpages organised and grouped together?”

* “how many clicks does it take to get to the desired page?”

* “are their sufficient links between pages and search boxes on pages?”


By understanding how your audience thinks you can make more informed decisions regarding colours, type-faces, tone of voice and imagery.


Just remember Identify your audience – Understand your audience – Design the content, theme, stories and tone of voice around your understanding of the audience – Remember this is an ongoing process which you should refine regularly

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