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Who is your website for?

February 14th 2013
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The first stage of every website design is to identify who it is for. If the website is centred around the needs of your customers it will work.

Having these needs identified means that you can assess a websites performance. You have objectives and measures by which you can see how your website is doing.

This does not only apply to new build websites. At any point you can do this analysis and see how your website is performing. 

Identify Customers

First we have to determine who your customers are? Who will be viewing your website? What do they want to see?

To start this process you can look at existing customers. Look through your history and identify your good customers, good to work with, pay well. Even down to demographic information like sex, age, location. You could come to the conclusion that your ideal customer is a Female from 24-40 located within 100km of your town. After these basics, you then identify their likes and interests. How do they relax? What do they read? What do they listen too?

You can see how this identification will assist creating your website and also identifying places to bring people to your website. 

Aspirational customer – this is where you do not look to your business history, but to your future. Where do you want your business to go? What would the ideal customer be like for that future business? If you build your website to cater to these customers, you will attract them to your business.

What do your customers want?

Now you have identified your customers you can begin to ask "what do they want from my business?". You can start with basic needs like your phone number. They might need to get in touch, they are doing a quick search to confirm your contact details. So the first requirement for your website is "Contact details are prominant on every page or easy to find".

There are these generic requirements for every business, but quickly the needs become specific to your industry. If you are in accommodation the customer may need "a clean affordable room for the night, close to restaurants". You can see how the aspirational modelling will fit in here too. Some customers might replace the word afforable with luxurious. "a clean luxurious room for the night, close to restaurants". This means those customers are willing to pay more for quality facilities. Another customer's user story might be "clean, affordable, sleeps 6 with kitchen".

Another thing to note is you have been in your industry for many years. You have your own lingo. Your customers might not understand this industry talk. You have to create content for their search terms. Speak their language. 

User stories guide design 

Now you have a few of these stories you can see how it will guide your design. You can repeat these steps, just get started with a few stories and see how you go and then circle back and add a few more.

Now a customer viewing your website will be assessing your business to meet their needs, to solve a problem for them, to fulfill their user story. You have to tick off their list and reduce their resistance to buy from you.

One user story might be "I want to stay in a clean room". So your website needs to reassure them that your accommodation is clean. How would they like this to be done? Obviously in the text on your website if you refer to the cleanliness of the rooms that is a good step. If you are proud of the fact and would talk about it on your website, that is reassuring. Maybe some photos of your rooms and bathroom, display the goods. Maybe some testimonials from previous guests. Testimonials both on your website and third party sites like Trip Advisor.

So far we have a website with prominant phone numbers, photos of rooms and text that includes references to cleanliness. Whats next?

Another use case we mentioned earlier was "clean, affordable, sleeps 6 with kitchen". So you will need a description of the rooms available and their facilities.

Now this might seem a waste of time, "I know my business, I know what people want. Just list the rooms, add a phone number, we are done". But if you take the time to work through these steps you start to think like your customers and can meet their needs directly. People are looking at lots of website, if yours answers their questions, reduces their resistance, makes them feel like you have thought about them, you are well on the way to a sale.

You might go back and add another user story now. "close to conference facilities, comfortable with coffee making facilities, book and pay now." So this is a business man/woman coming into town for a conference. They want to be able to finalise their arrangements now. The accommodation is up to their standard but they want to be able to secure that room now and know that that problem is solved. So you have to add to your growing list of what the website needs "payment facilities".

So you see how this iteration works and how your website can be designed with your users in mind. 

Next Steps

So you can now bring this list to us and discuss it. We can help you find a solution for all your customers needs that fits into your budget. We can create a custom website built for your customers.

If you have an existing website you can browse it and see how it performs against your user stories. You might need to do a update of the content, reword it, or include better descriptions. You might get us to add some new functionality.

But each change or update is moving your website closer to meeting the needs of your customers. This will increase leads and sales. 

Assessment

This process comes full circle by assessing the websites performance. By identifying who the website is for and what they need from your business you can then measure how the website is meeting their needs. With Google Analytics you can see who is visiting your site, what searches bought them to your site and what they looked at. We set this up for each of our clients.

The other way to assess the effectiveness of your website is to identify leads and sales from it. How many sales have you got this month from the website? How many phone calls? 

Conclusion

When building a new website or updating an old one, keep your customers needs in mind. Follow these easy steps to make your website perform better.

  • Identify your customers.

  • Create user stories.

  • Ensure the website fulfills these stories.

  • Assess the performance of your website.

Contact us today to discuss on your website design needs.