When someone starts a business, the first thing that they do is create a business plan. This is a document that describes their goals, research, and plans of action for making their endeavor a success. Creating a website should be treated in a similar fashion. Putting a bit of effort in before you start will make your project run much more smoothly and save you time and money.
This will be the first of four posts that will prepare you to build your website.
Understanding your audience and their perspective is one of the best things you can do when preparing to create your website. Start by examining your existing customers or clients. Who are they? What defines them? How do you interact with them? How do they want to interact with you?
You will want to tailor the tone of both the images and words on your website to fit your audience. In particular, the words you choose are going to vary greatly depending on your audience. For instance, you would speak with a group of teenage girls very differently than a crowd of military veterans or academic researchers.
As an example, let’s say you have a store that sells dresses. You want to make a website to show off your latest designs and sell them online. Are these prom dresses or fashion for senior citizens? Are they affordable or expensive? Are they professional attire or evening wear?
Identifying your target audience can be a very difficult exercise. Many people fall into the trap of thinking too broadly. If you find yourself getting stuck or worrying that you might be missing out on potential customers, remember the 80/20 rule: A select portion of your audience is more valuable than others, and they are the ones you should focus on.
One technique that I have used with clients in the past to make this exercise more digestible is to consider the 5 W’s. Take some time to work through this list and start making notes that you can reference when you are ready to start building your website.
Do you have other methods of identifying your audience and potential customers? Are there any good tricks for helping to put yourself in your customer’s shoes? Please leave me a comment to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions. Also, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter or RSS feed so you will be alerted when we post part two of the Preparing to Build Your Website series.
Read part two: Preparing to Build Your Website: Tailor Your Message
Multi-talento at Jimdo
Brent Gummow has been building websites for small businesses, non-profits, artists, and educators for the past 17 years in both Ohio and California.
He currently serves as the Multi-talento in Jimdo's San Francisco office, solving problems, educating users, and helping to grow awareness about Jimdo, the easiest website builder on the web.