Web design basics: Know your target audience
Too often do we get clients asking for grand websites to act as a testament to their business. Immediately they jump into fonts, colour schemes and graphics, planning out extravagant site maps that cover every corner of the business. The end result is a beautifully designed yet impossibly convoluted website. They inevitably cost thousands of pounds yet somehow fail to deliver any tangible business benefits. It’s an unfortunate trap that people often fall into when designing their website – they forget who their website is for.
Who is your audience?
This is the first thing you should be asking yourself when planning a new website, and it’s the first thing any web designer worth their salt should be asking you. Business has been an online endeavor for some time now and you should think of your website as a kind of digital billboard for your business; one that’s main purpose is to grab the attention of passing traffic.
Think about who your average customer is and what demographic they belong to, then build your ideas around that.
What do your customers want?
So you know your market and you know what kind of content will attract them to your site, now you need to get into their heads. When somebody lands on a webpage they usually have a reason for being there and unless you want to see them leave it’s a good idea to give it to them as soon as possible.
A good practice is to think about the conversations that you have with your customers. Do they usually ask for pricing first, product specifications or even examples of your previous work? Then make this information as accessible as possible on your website. It will grab their attention, avoid unnecessary phone calls and improve the overall customer experience.
Even the slightest delay or design flaw can cause people to leave your website and look elsewhere. Therefore it is paramount that the important stuff is as accessible as possible for your customer otherwise you run the risk of losing their business.
What do you want?
Now we know what your customer wants from you it’s time to think about what you want from your customer.
Ask yourself what you want from your website, not just from a design point of view, but from a business perspective. If you’re interested in immediate sales and ecommerce you’re going to want to direct customers straight to the products that you want to sell – think about having a featured products section and an easily accessible product catalogue with immediately available pricing. If you’re trying to forge business and network connections then create a contact form that is accessible from the home page.
The idea is to remove as many obstacles between your customer and what you/they want as possible. The quicker they get what they want the better.
The most important thing to take away from this is that your website is ultimately a marketing tool – get it wrong and it’s a bad investment. Web design is a delicate balance between aesthetics and functionality; if it looks great but it isn’t bringing anything to your business then it isn’t serving its purpose.
Do you have any further questions regarding web design and development? Get in touch! We’re always happy to help.