Building a website without first deciding who you are building it for is a lot like skeet shooting while blindfolded – you’re not very likely to hit your target. While you may have an impressive looking site, that alone won’t lead you to convert visitors into customers. And while your website text plays a very big role in converting clients, so too does your website’s design. So how do you design a website that appeals to your target audience?
First, there are a few givens when designing a website that sells:
- Your most important content should be above the fold. Meaning that your most important message should be visible when you land on the page without having to scroll down or click to another part of the site. After all first impressions are what either gets someone to stay on your site, or leave it.
- Your site should be clean and easy to navigate. When a visitor lands on a website that is so busy and jammed packed with content that they don’t know where to look never mind click, they will often just leave the site rather than waste any time trying to figure out what the site owner has to offer. On a clean site, your message will be more evident to your visitors, “Join my list and you’ll get an incredible free gift,” “Buy my product and it will change your life,” “Look at these great examples of my work and imagine what I can do for you.” No matter what the offer, visitors need to know what it is without having to wade through tons of ads and content to get it.
Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty: how do you design a site that speaks to your target market? The first step in this process is of course, to determine who your target market is. You might already know this information, but if you don’t, just think about what you are offering. Who are the people that will love (or already do love) your product. Are they businesses or individuals, women or men, parents or childless couples, young or old? Then, if your product requires it, go even further, is your target health conscious, animal lovers, introverts, sports fanatics? Think of any other specific categories that might characterize someone buying your product or service. For example, if your business is sells hearing aids, you can assume that your target market is women and men who are seniors, or at least approaching their senior years. This market is quite general, they won’t specifically be into animals or cooking, but we can assume that they are either retired, or approaching retirement and since they are interested in a hearing aid we can assume that they are concerned about their quality of life.
Next, think about the things that your target market would like to see in a website. For example, if your company sells women’s jewelry, you probably don’t want a masculine website with lots of pictures of men. You need a site that a woman in your target market can relate to. Going back to our hearing aid example, since you are catering to both men and women, the site should have a gender neutral look. Your audience is older, so your theme should have a mature, professional look. Since your focus is on seniors who are retired, or are approaching retirement and who are concerned about their quality of life, your images can reflect this by portraying happy seniors living well. Additionally along with being a senior comes a reduction in eyesight. An older audience needs text that doesn’t make their head ache. Sitting white text on a dark background makes a site more difficult to read, as does using small text and cursive fonts.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target market and surf the web. Take notes on elements of websites that you think your audience would like. Get creative and have fun! Before you know it you’ll have a website that converts more visitors into buyers.