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Know your audience and your business

It may seem like an obvious thing to some, but I want to tell you why it’s important to know your business thoroughly before you build your website.

Here are some things you should be able to answer before you start working on your site:

  1. Who is your target audience? This includes age range, gender, budget and location
  2. What services do you offer?
  3. Who are your competitors?
  4. What are your unique selling points which set you apart?

The first thing you need to consider is your target audience and customer base. You need to attract the right people to your website or your traffic is meaningless, which is something I’ll cover in a larger post later. For example if you sell products to make life easier for people with limited mobility, you don’t want to accidentally attract a host of young people to your site looking for a totally different type of scooter. You also wouldn’t want to make any assumptions that an older audience, who could be less likely to spend time online, would understand icons and navigation patterns which aren’t intuitive. Without knowing who your business should be targeting, it’s impossible to know the best approach to take for your design.

Once you know who you want to attract to your website you can begin to think about what it is they’re going to be looking for, as well as how to answer the questions they have on arrival. There will be a few ways customers can reach your website depending on how good your SEO is, how much you talk to people about your site or how active you are on social media. Each of these people will be looking for different things, so you need to make it simple for them to find what they need.

Throughout your website you’ll need some actions people can take to encourage them to contact you or view more of your work or products. It’s important to make sure that you know what services you offer and that you explain them well, as well as providing good photos to show them off.

Knowing your competitors is useful so that your web designer can gain a broader understanding of your industry, and get a benchmark for the standards of website in your industry. You should also make sure you know who you’re up against to understand how saturated your industry is and how tough it might be to convince people to choose you over someone else.

Once you know your competitors you should then be able to figure out what sets you apart from them. Are you cheaper? Do you offer a product or service which few others do? Have you been running for years and have a wealth of experience? There are lots of things which could potentially make someone choose you over another, so it’s important to think about this and really highlight your unique selling points.

Something else to consider is the areas you operate in. How far would you travel for a job? If you sell products online do you ship worldwide? Do you want to target only local areas?

Once you have all this down and really know your business it’ll be much easier to communicate it with your web designer. This is very important, because a nice looking website won’t do you any good if it says nothing about your company and leaves people confused about what you do. If you work with a web designer who doesn’t take the time to understand all of this, chances are you’ll be losing potential customers from the minute your website goes live.