Your website is created to satisfy your business goals. The goal may be simply creating awareness of your business, or more complex goals of generating revenue through online sales. The main purpose of understanding your website visitors is to create a site that satisfies both their goals and your goals.

You probably already have a clear idea about your business goals. Have your goals list handy, we’ll need it soon.

Who are your website visitors?

Next, we’re going to look at your website from the visitors perspective. We need to get inside their heads to understand their motivation and goals. Why are they visiting your site? What do they hope to accomplish? There may be several types of users, with different goals and motivations, so we’ll start by making lists of the users goals, needs, abilities, and technical capabilities (how they access the site).

The best way to determine visitor goals is to ask some of your actual visitors. If that’s not possible, write down the major groups of users who will be using your site in different ways. You may have returning visitors, prospective new visitors, customers, pro users, etc. Write down the typical goals for each group. For example:

  • New visitors may want to get a general idea of what your site is about. They will also likely want to compare prices for your products or services.
  • Existing customers may need support/help.
  • Pro users will need quick access to the main functions.
  • Users on old computers with slow internet connections will still need access to the information, but may not care about the fancy welcome video.

A handy way to organize all these attributes is with “personas“, a mental model comprised of goals, characteristics, habits and values of the target audience. Give your personas proper names. It helps you identify with them. Making design decisions for “Jim, the teacher with 3 kids” is a lot easier than for some abstract notion of a middle-aged man.

Aligning business goals and user goals

Once you have your personas, it’s time to line-up user goals with your business goals. Say your main business goal is to get website visitors to call your office. The user goal might be to learn more about your services. Aligning these two goals, we would put the office phone number just under the services listing with a call-to-action like, “Call now for a free consultation 777-665-6565”.

As we align and prioritize users goals with business goals, we begin to get the building blocks and paths through the site we want users to take.

Next, it’s time to create the content!


  1. Deejay on December 31, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Enlightening the world, one helpful article at a time.

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