Analyze Audience
Developing a profile of the people who visit your website

Analyzing your audienceAudience analysis is the starting point for any robust website design project. You need to analyze your audiences demographics: how old they are, where they work, what they earn, where they live, anything about their lifestyles that would affect your website design. The more that you understand about your website's audience the better your chances of developing an accurate profile of them. An understanding of your visitors mindset is a critical factor in capturing their interest and attention.

Capturing the attention of your audience

The success or failure of your website is dependant upon the interest that you generate in your visitors. And, knowing your audience demographics is essential if you want to capture their attention.
The following rules of website content development will help you design a plan that can accomplish this for you.
  • Analyze your audience (demographics)

    Analyze your visitors demographics. Who they are, their ages, the kind of work they do, etc. In fact you should strive to find out anything you can about your audience. Everything from hobbies to politics should be examined in your analysis. In this way you can better understand what will work best to keep visitor interest as you design your website content.
  • Identify your target audience

    After a through analysis you should be able to determine the specific audience that you are reaching. This is your target audience. Gear all of your website content to these people and provide them with the information they are seeking in a way that they will appreciate. Do this and they will respond favorably to your website and whatever message or product that you are offering.
  • Focus your website content

    The prime focus of your website content should be to appeal to your target audience. Developing specific content ensures that you will be reaching the people who are visiting your website and providing them with a positive experience. Everything from webpage layout to the method of presenting your content must be geared to them. The following graphic puts this into perspective.
Audience analysis process: analyze audience (demographics) + target audience = website content

Use this formula to develop website content that will appeal to your target audience.

Demographic analysis involves finding out as much about your visitors as you can and then designing a website tailored to their needs and interests. Areas that should be considered are; age, language, location, interests, politics, religion and lifestyles. Any information that you can gain about who is visiting your website will help you create an online experience that will be pleasing them. By pleasing your audience you are increasing the chances that they will respond positively to whatever you are offering.

Understanding the psychographics of your audience

Psychographics is the study of your visitor's personalities. Things you should try to find out about your audience are things such as what makes them happy or sad. What are they seeking to accomplish on your website, what are their life goals, in short what makes them tick? Psychographic data points are any attributes of your audience that relate to their personality, personal values, social attitudes, private interests or their lifestyles. Knowing these variables will help you to laser focus your website content to their needs.

The people who patronize your website are seeking information. If you tell your audience what they want to know, in a way that intrigues them, their response to what you are offering will be positive. In short, you must focus your website content toward your audience's way of thinking. This is accomplished by knowing how your visitors think through the application of psychographics.

Collecting information about your audience

There are several methods you can use to gather information about your audience.
  • Provide a simple survey form on your website and invite feedback.

  • Check their region of origin through a website monitoring program.

  • Find out what keywords your visitors used to enter your landing pages.

  • Research the most popular pages on your website and isolate the main subject matter.

  • Develop an audience profile and use it as a guide to focus your website content.

It will be necessary for you to dedicate a great portion of your time toward the development of an accurate profile of your website's audience. But, the time and effort put into this endeavor will result in an ever increasing amount of traffic and user interaction.

The key thing to remember about this type of analysis is that you must have a well-defined audience profile at the end of the process. You must have a clear definition of the type of individual that visits your website. This way you will be able to focus your website content toward the specific group of individuals you wish to reach.

If your website is intended for a general audience there are still certain principles that you should apply to please your visitors. A lot of what you will discover in your research applies to everyone. Isolate those factors that are common to the population at large and use that knowledge to guide you in your website design. But, if you are seeking a certain type of audience you will need to know specific things about them. The more you know about the people who make up your audience the easier it is to reach them with your message.

Website audience analysis resources

There are several resources available for you to use in your study of the visitors coming and going on your website. Google Analytics is one of the best sources of information on website traffic and visitor behavior. It is free and comprehensive in it's scope. You can also gain insight into your visitors mind by researching their reading material. Collect and study consumer magazines. Most periodicals go after a well-defined demographic, such as gardening, photography, web designers, etc.. You can use these materials to great effect when analyzing your audience.

Remember, knowing your audience makes it easier to write effective, appropriate, and usable content that will best serve their interests.

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