It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of launching a new website.
We spend night and day thinking about it and then it’s finally out there. We sit in front of our live Google Analytics waiting for the rush of visitors. But no-one comes. We wait a bit longer ~ but still, no-one.
How could this be? Why isn’t anyone finding my fabulous site?!
Before you even start planning your brand new site, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions ~ and this can be the tricky part. Let’s start with working out exactly who you want visiting your site; and what it is you need to offer them.
Defining your target audience
- What kind of content and style is your audience interested in?
- What really matters to them?
- Is your website audience the reader, or the ‘gatekeeper’?
- What don’t they care about?
- How will your content make their life better?
The answers to these questions will help you better understand the people you will be designing and creating content for. The images, the functionality and the content of your site are all determined by who your audience is. Don’t forget your online audience might differ slightly from your offline audience. It might be more geographically diverse, wealthier, older, younger, better educated or more technologically savvy.
Creating valuable content
No-one will be looking at your website unless you offer the stuff they want. You need to be interesting and distinct to attract the attention of your target audience and offer them content that they can’t get anywhere else. You need to become the ‘go-to’ site for their particular need or desire.
Your site content is only as good as the reader says it is ~ and if you and your words aren’t connecting with your audience your traffic could suffer.
So how do you know if your content is what your audience wants?
Try breaking down your target audience into 3 main groups and how you plan to create content for them.
Let’s say you write children’s books.
Your primary group would be children that read your books. This group could inform on the visual design and feeling of your site. In addition to a blurb, offer background stories to the characters; and fun stuff kids can download or print.
Your secondary group could be teachers and schools. Teachers and librarians often research authors when selecting books and looking for guest speakers. Teachers notes are popular and often featured on author websites. Consider taking this further by outlining what would be covered at a speaking event ~ then link this to other content on your site that shows past events and activities you’ve run in school workshops.
Your tertiary group could be parents who purchase books for their children and friends. For parents, you could discuss the themes behind the stories. Once you have established exactly who you want visiting your site, it will be much easier to create content that they will be seeking out on the web. Eventually they will land at your doorstep ~ and if it’s engaging, will share it on social media.
Website statistics and how they speak to you
Having analytics installed correctly on your site is paramount. It makes fascinating reading by giving you insight into:
- Who is visiting your site
- Where they come from
- How long they stay
- Whether return ~ and of course
- Which content is the most popular
Armed with this information, you then have the power to really carve out the community of readers that you want. Instead of stabbing in the dark, look at the behaviour of your audience ~ and how they’re ‘speaking to you’ with their clicks and taps. Optimise your site for what’s not performing; and build on what you’re doing well.
Target Audience? Check.
Creating content? Check.
Once you’ve got a steady flow of traffic to your site, how do you build a loyal fan base that keeps coming back for more?