Who is your website for?

This is an important question. Obviously, it’s for your customers. But who exactly are your customers? The better you know, the better you can design your website.

As a quick example, let’s look at two potential customers for your Hawaii business. The first is someone who lives here in Hawaii. The second is someone who travels to Hawaii for vacation. Does your website need to be designed differently?

If your customers are located in Hawaii they may care more about how long you have been in business and how you support the community. You may want to consider a warmer design that reflects your history. If your customer is coming from outside Hawaii, they may be more attracted to a brighter, tropical feel. What about companies whose website needs to promote to both? What about the design that you like? Isn’t that also important?

Webdesign for Art or Purpose?

I recently came across an article about retro web design. You can find the full article here. The article discusses how some companies are choosing to use websites reminiscent of the 90s. Having built some websites in the 90s myself, I can tell you it wasn’t a great time for web design. I wish I still had them for the nostalgia. In fact, playing on the customer’s nostalgia is what some of these sites are designed for. They have taken their customers preferences into account and are using nostalgia as part of the design.

But what about using any design for just the creativity of it. One person in the article refers to wishing the web was more about creativity. Creativity can be implemented in any website, but when you are running a business, your website serves a purpose. Whether your website is informational, contains your store, or is designed get your customers to contact you, it needs to be designed with your customer in mind. Your website is a part of your business and should be as effective and profitable as possible.

If your business is known for its creativity then you can show this to your customers by incorporating it into the design.  Your website should show a little of your personality. A company could also create a website that is so unique people want to share it. Notice there is a purpose to the creativity. It still focuses on the customer rather than the designer or the business.

So how do you choose the right design for your customers? You create your design and content to cater to your ideal customer. Following the 80/20 principle these customers are likely responsible for the majority of your business.

Creating a persona

A persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer. A persona has a name, a profile, and buying, reading and internet habits. A have included a sample persona below that a real estate company might create.

  • Name: Susan Hawaii
  • Age: 49
  • Married with two grown children who have moved out.
  • Location: Lives in Pheonix and visits the Big Island twice a year
  • Watches 2 hours of tv
  • Spends at least 2 hours a day on the internet and is active in social media (mostly Facebook)
  • She is a home owner
  • Makes $80,000
  • She likes her job but hates the daily rat race, the commute, and the stress. She is also tired of the hot dry summers and cold winters of Phoenix. She is planning for an early retirement and is currently considering purchasing a vacation home in Hawaii that she can rent out and eventually move into when she retires.
  • She thinks Hawaii is expensive and not sure if she can afford a home on her retirement. She is also concerned about the difficulty of moving all of her belongings and choosing the right location. Though she travels to Hawaii twice a year for vacation, she mostly goes to the same locations. She is also not sure she can convince her husband and worries about being away from her kids.

Using a Persona to for Website Design

This is just an example, but it gives us a ton of information that we can use to design a great experience for our customers. We know she is 49 years old. We can design a more mature looking site with larger text. We also know she is web savvy which allows us to add some more advanced features which might be helpful for her when searching for a home. Content can be created addressing some of the concerns she has. Knowing she uses Facebook allows us to advertise/communicate with her there.

Content can be created addressing some of the concerns she has. This content will be useful for her and also help bring traffic into the site. Because we know her income, we can choose to display properties on the homepage that are in her budget range.

All of these things together create a great user experience. An experience designed as much as possible for your ideal customer.

Incorporating Landing Pages into Your Website Design

What if you have different types of customers? Not all of your customers are the same. But they may have things in common depending on where they are finding your website from. One great way to deal with this is to create different landing pages.

A landing page is a web page that has a specific purpose and is generally used to get your potential client to complete an action such as making a purchase, inputting their information, or getting in contact. You can create a separate page to target customers depending on where they are coming from. This also helps you better track the success of your marketing promotions.

Let’s look at an example of how to use a landing page for a print ad.

creating a landing page

Of course, this once again starts with a persona. You will make your print ad based and choose its location based on a specific type of customer you are trying to target. On that ad you will reference your website but rather than using your home page for the link, you are going to create a new page that is specifically designed for your new customers and the promotion you mention in the ad. This will allow you to have the right content and promotions for specific clients. It will also allow you to track your how many hits you get from a specific add.

It’s Simpler Than it Sounds

Creating a new page for different campaigns might sound difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, once you have done the first one, you can use it as a template and create the others. While it does add a little extra work, it actually makes things simpler because it allows you to differentiate your campaigns and better track their success. Knowing which campaigns and promotions are working saves you money.