Website persona

Why you need to create web personas

By Mark
Last updated
10 June 2022

Don't even think about designing navigation and page layouts until you've at least given personas some thought.

Profiling your website visitors and customers is essential to producing an effective website. Creating personas is basically gathering intelligence on the people you want to visit your website. This will help you build a successful website because:

  • Your website content will be based around the needs of your customers.
  • Your website visitors will stay longer as the site will be more engaging.
  • Creating web personas actually makes the design stage quicker because it maps out what your site needs to do.
  • The end result is a better performing website.

How do I create personas?

Think about who will be visiting your website. This will probably be split into two types of visitor – new customers and existing customers. You then need to gather information on each type.

content planning is exactly like this

New customers

Who are they (please don't say everyone)?

Split into “segments”

Examples

  • Females aged 40-50 in London
  • SME's in the IT industry
  • Customers who own saloon cars
  • Aim to have 4-5 segments at the most

Existing customers

Split your customer base into broad “segments” using criteria that focuses on their importance to your business and their characteristics eg spend, location, gender, etc.

Examples

  • Customers that purchase weekly/monthly
  • Male customers based in the UK
  • Companies in the Research and Development industry.

You'll need 5 at the most for personas.

well

Split your personas into new and existing customers

Ask more questions

You now need to build typical personas for each segment but you need some more information. Take each segment and ask these questions.

What do they want from your business?

  • Which of your products and services does this customer want?


What do they want from your website?

  • Put yourself in their place. What benefits/information/incentives etc do they need from your website?


What content will they like?

  • Creating personas helps you create appealing content for different types of customers eg video, reviews, downloads etc.


What content will they not like?

  • This will help you focus on good content. If a customer is not interested in the history of your company then you do not need to donate large areas of the site to it.


Very importantly – what do we want them to do?

  • It sounds obvious but list down the preferred outcomes from every site visit. These could be an online sale, email sign up, telephone enquiry, or another action.

Producing personas

Once you have produced segments for new and existing customers you can now produce a typical persona for each one. These profiles are “fictional customers” and you are aiming to build a picture of their behaviour and requirements so that your website is designed for them.

Here are some example personas:

Rachel The Gardener

Gender

  • Female

Age

  • 28-40

Status

  • Professional with high income.
  • Busy and time poor.
  • Typically married with kids and living in own home.

Interests

  • Interested in gardening, typically at the weekend.
  • Also interested in food, fashion and interior design.

Internet usage

  • High, uses Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, news website and spends time online shopping.

What do she want from us?

  • Visits garden centres on Saturdays and Sundays to buy plants, get info, eat and drink.
  • Quite often visits with her kids.

Personal website requirements:

  • Plant information, what to buy and when
  • Products in stock and prices
  • Special offers
  • Online ordering and delivery or store pick up
  • Gardening advice
  • Opening times
  • Cafe menu
  • Contact details – telephone and email

What do we want Rachel to do?

  • Buy online
  • Visit our garden centre
  • Become a loyal customer
  • Sign up to our email list

Frank the small business owner

Gender

  • Male

Age

  • 45+

Status

  • Owns his own small business employing 9 people.

Internet usage

  • Mainly for business, sourcing suppliers, information, competitors websites
  • Prefers face to face business.

Goal

  • Needs IT to keep his business efficient and competitive.

 What does he want from an IT company?

  • Needs a reliable IT company for support, hardware and software updates and maintenance.
  • Needs to be nearby and someone he can trust.
  • Price sensitive.

Website requirements

  • Product and service information in a language he can understand.
  • Case studies and existing customers.
  • Company, people and location information.

What do we want Frank to do?

  • Call or email us for an appointment.
  • Sign up to our email list.
  • Download a company brochure.
  • Send an email enquiry form.

Charlie the Chef

Gender

Male

Age

40-50

Status

  • Existing customer.
  • Professional Chef who runs a successful restaurant kitchen.

Customer details:

  • Purchased two high end oven products 6 months ago with monthly support and maintenance contract.

Goals:

  • To maintain a smooth running kitchen 

What does he want from us?

  • He needs the best and most reliable equipment he can afford and good support and service at all hours.

 What does he want from the website?

  • Customer area with account information and all contact details for services, support and emergencies.
  • Relevant Product information, technical downloads.
  • Training for relevant products – manual PDFs and video.
  • Accessories and spares, online ordering.
  • New product information and the latest technology.

Where are they in the buying cycle?

To help you build up the latter stages of your profiles you can map out buying cycles. Buying cycles typically show the process new customers go through before they make a purchase.

For example a B2B buying cycle for a new IT supplier would probably be:

  • gather information on suppliers based on requirements.
  • shortlist and arrange meetings.
  • analyse supplier proposals.
  • choose supplier.

Your potential customer may view your website at any stage of the buying cycle so decide what they need at each stage.

Finally…

Customer personas are a great way of thinking about the intents of your target audiences, and what content they'll need. You can use this information to help develop your website plan. and understand what content you need to create.

Personas are just one of many planning tools for creating a better performing website.