Who are you building your website for?
A lot of businesses try to build them for everyone in the world, thinking about all the different possible responses anyone who sees the site might have.
Other businesses build the site for themselves, basing every decision on the owner’s personal preferences. Sometimes these sites are all about the reactions of the owner’s wife or brother.
Instead, consider developing personas for your site. Personas are hypothetical customers based on the people who are already your customers, or the people you’d like to reach but aren’t currently reaching.
For example, let’s say you’re an optician here in Jacksonville. You’re known for your stylish specs and fashion contacts, but you’d like to bring in the more lucrative family trade. How can you make your new website appeal to the new target group without turning off the fashionistas who currently love you?
Imagine a perfect client: Lucia. She’s a professional woman, smart, concerned about fashion, with an active social life and an active family life as well. She has two young children and a husband who is also style conscious. Lucia makes a lot of the financial decisions for her household, including making the opticians’ appointments for her family. She’s not concerned about price, but her time is precious, so she wants to know that she’ll be seen quickly and get good service. She also wants to be taken care of. With two little kids, she wants to be sure there’ll be a spacious waiting room and books or toys for her kids.
This may seem like a lot of detail for an imaginary woman, but once you have someone in mind, you’ll find that a lot of the other decisions you need to make come more easily. You need an upscale, stylish design to appeal to Lucia, and you should make sure to show trendy eyewear while also making it clear that kids are welcome. Those suggestions about giant “Only $25!” signs on the homepage can safely be scrapped, and you can be sure that she’ll appreciate links to your Facebook page.
You can develop more than one persona for your website if you have more than one market segment in mind. It’s still more workable than trying to appeal to everyone — and more successful than building your site just for yourself. Learn more about the process of developing personas from The Essence of a Successful Persona Project.