First…Why Do Personas Help In Website Design
Anytime a new website is built, for it to be successful, you must first figure out what the goal of the website it. Some websites are designed to be an online business card – giving insight into the business. Some websites are lead generating sites, e-commerce websites are obviously designed for making online sales. All of that seems like a pretty basic idea, but in reality these basic things are sometimes not fully discussed prior to beginning the websites design. In addition to having an understanding on what the site is designed to do, an equal amount of time should be spent on figuring out exactly who your customer is. If you ask a business owner who their customer is, they can most likely tell you. Laying out in great detail who your customer is, is what is called creating a web persona. Developing multiple personas of your customers will greatly influences the engagement you will receive and how much your site will resonate with your customers…leading to your sites ultimate success.
What is a Web Persona?
Personas are simply fictitious characters that represent the multiple groupings of people that will visit your website. In many ways you can look at each persona as a character in a play or a movie. Each persona should describe not only the physical characteristics of the user, but their personality type, income, education, pastimes, passions etc. You should end up with a full, detailed description of multiple people, each being a potential website visitor. Each of those people will be a persona.
Define Personas in the Planning Stage
Multiple exact personas of the customer should be laid out in the very early stages of the website’s design. For instance, if you anticipate that the majority of your customers may be older than 65, you may want to lay that site out using larger fonts, large descriptive icons etc. If most of the personas for your site are in a particular industry, you may want to use some of that industry lingo. If you come to the conclusion that one of the personas have a large amount of disposable income and donate heavily to charity, you may put your companies charitable donations front and center on your site. Many of the decisions that will be made in the creation of your new website should have the persona of the end user in mind. Personas help you to experience your own website through the eyes of different people; this will help in neutralizing your personal subjectivity.
What Does a Personal “look” Like?
Here is an example of a persona:
Frank is 46 years old in lives in a suburban neighborhood. Frank is married with two children and is college education. Frank has had the same job for 17 years, but has recently started spending less time on work and more time at family activities and his personal projects. Frank prides himself on his personal integrity but is doesn’t mention it much. He is somewhat quiet, so if he feels someone is disingenuous, he will quietly no longer associate with them. Frank is very much a team player and many times pushes his personal successes as successes of his team. This may get more detailed but you get the point?
How Do You Build A Persona?
It’s important to remember that a demographic is not an attribute of your persona. For instance, a demographic may be that someone has children; an attribute to your persona may be “enjoys spending free time with family”. Keeping in mind that the demographic is not the attribute, demographics can be a great place to start building your web persona. Look for consistent demographics within your existing customer base and try to figure out WHY those demographics are consistent. Work to figure out their values and what makes them tick. Try to build as many unique personas as are relevant, giving them names and defining their personality.
Using Personas For SEO
In addition to assisting with the development of your website, personas can be beneficial for implementing a successful SEO and Digital Marketing campaigns. If you know your user, you should be able to figure out the keywords they would type into a search engine. This substantially helps in keyword research. The personas should also help you design your landing pages as landing pages should be a minimalist design and get the point across quickly—-knowing what is important to your end user comes in very handy.
If you have an existing site and you are getting ample traffic but not getting the conversions you expect, you may need to build out some personas just for optimizing your existing traffic
It’s Not Over
This is simply an introduction to creating a persona and how to use them in your website design and digital marketing. If you are thinking about a new website or a website re-design, you should speak with your website developer in detail about building personas to define your customer.