Section 16. Match Your Design and Content to Your Audience

16. Match Your Design and Content to Your Audience


14 About Planning Your Site

15 About Focusing on What You Want to Present


17 Organize Your Site's Content

So now you've taken the first stepyou've decided what kind of website you want to build. Now comes an even harder part. You have to figure out who your target audience is, what kind of content to put on the site, and then match the design of the site to the information you want to present and your target audience. In this task, you'll learn how to do all that.

Define Your Audience

Knowing the kind of site you want to build isn't enoughyou also have to define what kind of audience you're after. And the best way to define your audience is to ask yourself questions about who they are. Be as specific as possible. Here are some basic questions to ask. Don't stop here, though. Add questions of your own.

  • If you're designing a site for a for-profit business, will the audience be existing customers, new customers, or potential investors?

  • If you're designing a site for a for-profit business, will visitors expect to be able to do business with you right on the Web, or will they use the Web to get information, and then contact you in some other way?

  • If it's a personal site, are you only interested in designing it for people you already know, or for strangers as well?

    16. Match Your Design and Content to Your Audience

  • If it's for a personal site, will your visitors be primarily family members , or other people as well?

  • If it's a site for a non-profit group, are you designing the site for members of the group so that they can communicate with one another, or are you designing it to do outreach in the community? Or do you want to combine the two purposes in some way?

  • Do you expect more men or more women to visit, or an equal number of both?

  • What is the average age of your expected visitor?

  • How technically savvy are they?

  • How frequently do you expect them to visit?

Create a Visitor Profile

After you answer these questions, you've got a good start on understanding your intended audience. Based on your answers, write a short profile of who your primary visitors will be. Be as specific as possible. Keep in mind that the content and design of your site should be aimed primarily at them, so you want to define them as comprehensively as you possibly can. You might also want to create a profile of your secondary visitors or even tertiary visitors. You can design part of the site for them as well. But don't let that distract you from the main point of this exercisedeciding who is your target audience.

Decide on Interactivity

No matter who your audience, make sure to ask yourself one basic question about them: Will they want interactivity of some sort with the site, with you, or with your business or group? For example, if they want to be able to get answers to questions, or to contact you directly, make sure to include a link that they can click on to send you email. And if you're creating a blog, decide whether you want to let visitors post comments. (See 193 Limit Who Can Comment on Your Blog .)

Determine the Content

You now should have a profile of your target audience. Now it's time to figure out what kind of content they want.

Start off in brainstorming mode. Don't expect to be able to figure this out in a logical manner. Get a piece of paper and a pen, and start off by writing down a comprehensive list of everything you think your target audience would want from your website. Keep referring back to your audience description, and focus on your primary audience first. Don't worry about trying to organize the information at this pointjust keep writing down ideas. And don't think yet about how you might present the information; that comes later.

Just in case you need some help to get you started with figuring out what kind of content you should have, here's a very short list of things to consider, for each kind of the three main types of websites you might want to create.

Personal Website

  • Hobbies and interests

  • Education

  • Resum ƒ

  • Public diary

  • Personal ramblings

  • Photos

Website for Non-Profit Group

  • Name and purpose of the group

  • Calendar

  • Notices of upcoming events

  • How to donate money

  • Articles or publicity about the group

  • Contact information

  • News

For-Profit Website

  • Name and purpose of the business

  • Contact information

  • Product list or list of services

  • Online buying, or information on how to buy offline

  • Shipping and warranty information

  • Directions on how to get to the company

  • Feedback form or email contact information

Include These Must-Haves

No matter the kind of website you're building, there are three piece of information that should be on it. You should include contact informationand if it's a personal site, you'll probably only want to include an email address rather than a phone number so that you don't get crank calls. You should also include an "About" statement, which describes the purpose of the site or group. And you should also have a FAQ area. FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions, and it's a list of common questions that people might ask. You'll be amazed at how much a simple FAQ page can help your visitors.

Put It All on Paper

Make sure that you put everything down on paperdon't assume you'll remember it all. Don't worry about organizing all your material at this point. Just get it down on paper. In the next task, you'll find out how to organize it into a coherent whole.

Sams Teach Yourself Creating Web Pages All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Creating Web Pages All in One
ISBN: 0672326906
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 276 © 2008-2017.
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