If you don’t know who’s visiting your website, you can’t accurately guide them to the information they’re most likely looking for. That’s why before you begin planning a new website project, you should do a little demographics research. Your research into who’s using your site – the people who make up the segments of your audience – will prove invaluable when you begin working on a web building (or rebuilding) project. The best way to do this is to take it to a literal extreme by creating a user profile, sometimes called a persona. We use these in web development to help us imagine the many ways visitors will use a website and to know how different visitors’ needs differ. Think of it as a character profile for a book. You should know things about the person’s age, gender, financial background, job description, computer set-up, nationality, etc. It even helps sometimes to associate that persona with a picture and a name. That might help solidify the fact that real people go to your website, not just traffic numbers. Here’s a sample questionnaire you can use to begin thinking about the people who visit your website. Copy and paste is into a document and fill in the blanks. Flesh it out if you think you can come up with additional important characteristics.