Handy Guide to Knowing Your Web Visitors

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.

Website User Profile

Age: Address: Marital status: Nationality: Other important demographic characteristics: Job description and responsibilities: How often will this person use the website: Computer and software capabilities: Technology experience: Physical limitations: Education: Reading level: Tasks they will perform on the website (be specific and list in order of importance):

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