|The first thing you need to do is determine who your target market is. Headline here - It Isn't EVERYONE. You should be able to narrow down your target market to a spefic segment of the population. It might be based on age, income, location, gender, hair color, whatever it is, you need to know it.
After you have determined your target market you will then need to find out why people decided to buy your product or service. Did they buy based on price? service? reputation? availability? Once you have established your target market and why people bought from you, focus your website to emphasize those people and reasons.
If children are your target market your site will need to be fun, colorful, and attention grabbing. You may want to use animated graphics or create a fun cartoon character to use throughout your site. On the other hand, if you are a funeral home your site needs to be done in softer colors, giving the feeling of support, understanding and comfort with a clean organized look.
Another aspect to think about when designing your site is the ability of your target market to have the latest and greatest in technology. Let's say for example you are targeting children and you decide to add a demo of your newest video game. In order to run the game the visitor must download a 24 MB file, which only takes 10 minutes to download at your office with a T-1 line. However, this same file will take over two hours to download using a 56K dial-up modem.
You also need to look at the programs you incorporate into your site. Programs like Flash, Shockwave, QuickTime, and Quake can create really cool graphics. However, in order to view them, the site visitor needs the plug-in. If the site visitor does not have the plug-in, they must leave your site and go to where the plug-in is, spend the time to download the file, install the file, possible reboot the computer, log back onto the Internet, and then return to your site. All this could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Would you do it? If your target market is people in the computer industry, they will most likely already have the plug-ins, but if your target market is teachers who are using the Internet at school they most likely will not have the plug-in and may be unable to download the program because of a firewall. (A firewall is a program the stops files from being downloaded to protect the computer from possible viruses.)
Whatever your product or service is, you have a target market that is looking for your site. Sites that are user friendly and are appropriate for the product or service tend to do much better then sites that just use the latest and greatest technology because it is there.