Your website might be aesthetically beautiful, but does it hit the high notes your target audience needs? When someone lands on your page, you want them to connect with your brand instantly. Think about how you can reach them on an emotional level and keep them reading.
According to Statista, there are approximately 4.66 billion active internet users, with 92.6% accessing the world wide web via their mobile devices. It might be tempting to decide something generic, but your goal is to reach only those people who are genuinely interested in buying your product or service.
A good design serves a purpose. It pushes users toward the objective of the page but makes them happy to go on the journey.
Why Is It Important to Know Your Audience When Designing a Website?
When you focus on a narrow segment of people, you’ll create a site relevant to their needs. You’ll better understand the emotions driving them to seek a pain point solution and how you can fix their issues. Study demographics and psychographics to understand your users fully.
With millions of websites, it’s essential to stand out if you want to keep visitors on your page. The only way to do so is through personalized content. You must know your user to customize your site for them. The better you know your typical customer, the more you can hone in on their desires.
So, how do you design your site with your target audience in mind? Here are some favorite ways to create an experience for your site visitors they’ll remember.
1. Provide Relevant Content
Identify and segment your audience into groups. Create buyer personas for each audience type. What are their preferences for language, topics and the way it’s delivered? You may have to make some best guesses.
For example, if you serve Gen-Zers primarily, you might find they prefer to consume information via videos. Create authoritative footage and share it on their favorite social media platforms such as YouTube.
Identify the pain points for each segment and create content that solves those problems. However, make sure you deliver the details in the right way for each audience.
H&M has a lot of younger customers. They showcase some of their trendy styles with photos of models wearing outfits. The company also offers a student discount to encourage Gen Z to shop there.
2. Choose the Right Color Scheme
There is a psychological impact behind each color on the spectrum. Red can create excitement, and blue is dependable or soothing. Think about the emotions you’d like to evoke in your site visitors and choose your color palette accordingly.
Start with a primary color for your design. Add complementary colors in hues that speak to your target audience. Younger people might be drawn to brighter shades, while seniors may want soothing tones.
3. Personalize the Landing Pages
People are tired of feeling like they’re just another number on your giant list of customers. They want a customized experience that addresses their needs directly. You can easily achieve this for each segment of your audience by creating separate landing pages.
You can also more easily track marketing campaigns by providing separate landing pages for each one. You’ll be able to see which results in traffic and conversions. Repeat the successful advertising attempts and replace the unsuccessful ones.
In addition to using cookies to target local customers, register those you can. Sites such as Amazon.com make suggestions based on previous buying and browsing behavior. You can target product page collections to the specific preferences of each person.
RefiJet is based in Colorado and specifically targets users living there. Notice how specific the landing page is. They don’t try to be everything to every person online. They know who their audience is and what their needs are. The headline meets the needs of their typical customer.
4. Seek Mobile Responsiveness
The Ericsson Mobility Report predicts 5G will make up 80% of all North American mobile subscriptions by 2026. Faster connectivity and higher screen resolutions point to more and more people using their mobile devices exclusively to access the internet.
If your site isn’t ready for smaller screens, you’re missing out on a big chunk of your site visitors. Make sure your text and images scale to size. Think through your site’s usability and how easy it is for smartphone users to complete information and navigate through your website.
Know what devices your visitors use to access your site. How can you improve your design to serve them even better?
5. Define Your Layout
The layout of your site should be intuitive, but how scaled back you make it may depend on your users’ tech-savviness. If most of your customers are senior citizens, you may need to simplify navigation and other elements. If you serve younger clients, you can get by with more advanced features such as hamburger menus.
Think about where content naturally resides. Most websites place the navigation bar across the top of the header. Headlines layer over a hero shot. The logo sits in the upper left corner or the center and links back to the home page.
If you change things up from what users expect, you better have an excellent reason for doing so. Don’t risk confusing your users. Your goal is to move them through the sales funnel without missing a beat. It’s better to have a design seen as slightly blah than to lose a lead because they bounce away.
AMA Waste keeps everything in the location users expect it to be, but they add a bit of modern interest by layering the hero shot on top of a gradient background. They stick to the traditional for their logo and link it back to the home page. The navigation is also predictable. The site is the perfect mix of trend and classic design.
6. Check Speeds
You have mere milliseconds to make a first impression on site visitors. If your pages take too long to load or are ugly, users may bounce away. Even the slightest improvement in loading times can keep more people on your page.
There are several ways to make your site faster. Buy the best hosting package you can afford. Shared hosting will never be as quick as a virtual private network or a dedicated server.
Test your site on platforms such as Pingdom to look for hidden issues. Disabling scripts and optimizing photos can speed up load times. You should also limit the items on each page. Cut the clutter to speed up your site.
7. Engage Users
You aren’t just competing with the other websites; you’re also up against the entertainment value of video streaming, instant messaging and social media. People can read a book, talk to a friend, go on a walk or do a hundred other things rather than stay on your website.
If you want to keep your site visitors on your page, you must engage them from the moment they land there. Add interactive elements, animation and things to keep them active on your page. The more you entertain them, the more likely they’ll convert into customers.
The Anne Frank House is a museum in Amsterdam. Note how when you land on the website, there are mouseovers that change the images slightly. As you hover over Anne, the box turns partially red, highlighting the text. The color also matches the CTA button, which encourages visitors to click on it and get more detail about the museum.
8. Study the Competition
You can learn a lot about your website design by studying competitors. Look at their unique value proposition and how they highlight the benefits of their brand on their website.
Study every aspect of their design. Look at content, layout, color and typography. You should even pay attention to the language. Not every competitor will think through these things so carefully, but even if they don’t, you can learn what works and what doesn’t.
Make a list of the things you’d like to incorporate on your pages and what you feel could improve. Compare their sites to your site. Do you have enough information? Perhaps you have too much content.
Put yourself in the shoes of your average site visitor. Does your design meet their needs?
9. Define Your Marketing Goals
There is a fine line between serving your site visitors’ needs and seeking your own marketing goals. Know what result you’d like to achieve from each page on your site.
Perhaps you want the user to sign up for a newsletter. How can you offer users something they enjoy while encouraging them to share contact information? Go back to pain points and figure out what knowledge you have to solve the problem they face. Offer a trade of their email for your info.
One of the best ways to improve your website design for your target audience is by running A/B tests. Try new elements and conduct split testing to see how well your site visitors respond. No effort is a waste. If something doesn’t work, you simply remove it and try a different idea. Eventually, you’ll hit on the perfect design for your users.