Website visitors, however, do not offer than same continuity. Unlike my best friend, the average visitor gives you about 30 seconds before they make a decision and put your website and company into a box. Your box can quickly become the “expert”, the “clueless”, or worse yet, the “has been”. Website visitors have short attention spans, multitasking lives, and they simply have to much data thrown at them to weed through useless rambling and ill contrived text.
I tend to compartmentalize things and people. I mentally place people in boxes and segment them out into groups like my nuclear family (husband and kids), my extended family, my neighbors, my best friend and so on. I’ve often referred to these groups as my “boxes” and I do not like them to intermingle or randomly change. These boxes structure my communication and they dictate how I interact with one individual versus another.
When I sit down with a prospective website design client, I always ask about visitor personas. A visitor persona is simply a box for your website visitors. It helps segregate your web traffic into manageable groups similar to what I do in my personal life. Personas help define your target market and helps web designers formulate a design that direct a more precise marketing message to the various personas.
For example, I know I can pretty much tell my best friend anything and she’ll continue to love me, which is an example of our boundaries and expectations. I know what she is expects from me and what she can give me in return. We have a mutual understanding of respect that has grown over the last decade.
When a client and I brainstorm website personas I usually ask a lot of questions and before you know it, we have our personas. By default, personas vary greatly between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) companies. A B2C company will have personas that include characteristics like gender, age, education level, or geography. A B2B company will have personas that include characteristics like industry, management level, and organizational department. Regardless of B2B or B2C segmentation, defining a website’s visitor personas will help place prospective users in a box.
Once you’ve defined your personas, put yourself into the box. Think about why your visitor might land on your home page, what might they be looking for, and what might they need to hear to encourage them to take action.
Why would a web designer or company want to segregate their web traffic into boxes? So the marketing message can be tailored to each persona or group of visitors. Once you have your personas defined, you can create unique messaging targeted to those personas, you can better articulate your offering, and thus convert more web traffic.
Two Very Different Website Persona Examples:
B2B Example – Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of B2B technology companies. There personas many times get defined into boxes that include IT, finance, users, and the c-level team. I don’t care what service or product you offer, those four groups digest and respond to information differently. They also have very different “pain points” or needs. Different pain points mean completely different marketing messages.
B2C Example – Since I’m a technomommy, my B2C example would be cereal. General Mills has placed their target market into boxes. There is the kid box and the mom box. Kids want to hear tasty and see colors and chocolate. Moms want to hear nutrition and see grams of sugar and see value. Both are your demographic and both have to be targeted from a marketing prospective. Let me just say, I’m certainly not buying Lucky Charms for myself, which proves the five year is a clearly defined persona.
Figuring out your website personas and placing them in their boxes is the hard part. Once you do this, their needs and their wants begin to quickly materialize.
I so strongly believe in website personas, I will not even consider the aesthetics of a new website until I do a deep dive into your marketing requirements. If I don’t know who we target or how many boxes we will have to satisfy, I can’t begin to think of possible web design options. It just isn’t possible.
Web traffic is measured to see the popularity of websites and individual pages or sections within a site. This can be done by viewing the traffic statistics found in the web server log file, an automatically generated list of all the pages served.
- The number of visitors.
- The average number of page views per visitor – a high number would indicate that the average visitors go deep inside the site, possibly because they like it or find it useful.
- Average visit duration – the total length of a user’s visit. As a rule the more time they spend the more they’re interested in your company and are more prone to contact.
- Average page duration – how long a page is viewed for. The more pages viewed, the better it is for your company.
- Domain classes – all levels of the IP Addressing information required to deliver web pages and content.
- Busy times – the most popular viewing time of the site would show when would be the best time to do promotional campaigns and when would be the most ideal to perform maintenance
- Most requested pages – the most popular pages
- Most requested entry pages – the entry page is the first page viewed by a visitor and shows which are the pages most attracting visitors
- Most requested exit pages – the most requested exit pages could help find bad pages, broken links or the exit pages may have a popular external link
- Top paths – a path is the sequence of pages viewed by visitors from entry to exit, with the top paths identifying the way most customers go through the site
- Referrers; The host can track the (apparent) source of the links and determine which sites are generating the most traffic for a particular page.
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