Website Persona Development: Demographics & Beyond

Website creation includes multiple different aspects — structure, layout, design. Unfortunately, many website owners fail to consider one crucial element — the user. Having a functional and well-developed website is one thing, but making it customer-centric by predicting your users’ needs and preferences is an entirely different story.

Every customer is unique, but they can still be divided into specific groups based on their behaviours and expectations. That’s where the Persona comes into play. If your goal is to create a more user-friendly platform and attract new customers, then creating a Persona can help you achieve that.

What Is a Persona?
In marketing, a persona is a character based on the website’s target demographic group. During the creation process, personas receive the demographic characteristics of the members who belong to the focus group.

Essentially, a persona represents the result of thorough research conducted to learn more about a specific group and improve the website’s marketing and success. However, keep in mind that personas are only as good as the research behind them. So, make sure to do interviews and include web analytics and user research to achieve the best results.

Elements of a Persona
When thinking about creating a persona, you need to take certain aspects into consideration. Think of it as creating a movie character. As you know, every protagonist has a backstory — a detail that stands out and makes them unique.

The same can be said about a persona. You need to create a well-rounded fictional character that could help you predict some behaviours, preferences, and expectations. Basically, you need to get inside the head of your potential user.

Below are the key elements of a persona:
Demographics — age, income, and work experience
Psychographics — likes and dislikes, decision making, education
Behavioural traits — skills, habits, media consumption, research methods
Environment — buying power, purchasing process, technology landscape
Create several personas based on the current clients or visitors you have. Divide them into groups, and consider naming each of them to make them more real and to provide additional context.

 

“You tend to canvas the user community, collect their requests for functions, and then provide them a product containing all of those functions. I call this the sum of all desired features.”

- Alan Cooper, 1998

What’s the Process of Developing a Persona?
If you’ve gathered enough information about your customers or target groups, it’s time to shape them into one representative, a persona of your choosing. In the paragraphs below, you’ll learn more about the creation of a persona.

Define All the Segments
The first step is to list all the segments you’ve noticed. Remember, you will use these personas as filters to ensure that your website is customer-focused. So, separate them into relevant categories, such as email subscribers, inactive members, buyers/readers, returning customers — the list goes on.

Define Demographics
Unfortunately, defining demographics won’t give you a whole persona. However, it will help you create a foundation on which you’ll continue to build your personas and develop them further.

You can start by answering the following questions:

● Where do they live?
● What’s their gender?
● What education level do they have?
● Do they have children?
● What’s their marital status?
● Do they have a job?
● How much do they earn?

As soon as you generate some answers, imagining a whole persona will be much easier.

Develop Their Beliefs and Values
The next step in the persona-creation process is defining their values and beliefs. Having a general idea of what the customers are thinking about while scrolling through your website can help you organize and develop the platform better.

Here are some of the things you should think about:

● What are their interests and passions?
● What are their life goals?
● What’s their personality like?

If you get stuck at this phase, check out social media channels, scroll through them, and see what these types of people like and do.

Get Inside Their Head
Now it’s time to take your personas to the next level and define their main motivators. While it sounds next to impossible at this moment, once you’ve collected demographic and psychographic details, this will be a walk in the park.

Here are some of the questions you should consider:

● How do they feel about themselves?
● What is their self-image like?
● What are their daily goals and missions?
● Are they looking to change certain behaviours?

Define the Value They Get From You
After pinpointing their core beliefs and self-image, it will be easier to predict what they want to gain from your website. As soon as you understand their point of view, you can anticipate their movement through your platform.

Give the Persona a Face and a Name
Once you’ve done all the background work, it’s time to start visualizing the personas. Pick their photos from a platform like Shutterstock, iStock, Unsplash, etc. Afterward, choose suitable names. The good idea is to combine the name with an adjective that would describe the personas best.

Share and Refine Your Personas
The final step is to share the personas you’ve created with the people in your work environment. Introduce each one to them, and pose questions like, “Who does this persona remind you of?” or “Does this persona reflect the real customers/visitors?”.

Having an open discussion will help you see whether a specific persona needs additional adjustments. That way, you can perfect it until it truly represents the real-life people that come to your website.
Benefits of Mapping Personas for Your Website

As mentioned, having a persona will help you consider the experience of real, everyday people while making important decisions regarding your website. If you’re still not sure whether your business needs a persona, we’ll list some benefits that might change your mind:

● A persona will help you understand your users’ needs and motivation and give you insight into how it all translates to their behaviour on your website.
● Additionally, you can use personas when communicating your vision across the platform or business. That way, you’ll be able to articulate what your target groups are more easily, and you’ll get to improve your design and communication with the users.
● They are perfect for understanding potential impediments or obstacles people come across when visiting your website. After defining what those are, you can find the solution.
● If you follow the entire process accurately and create well-developed personas, you can create a product that corresponds to their needs and expectations.

Remember, though — creating a persona is a serious task that requires a lot of effort and research. Defining only the basic information about a persona won’t get you the results. Prepare to do a deep dive into the market, comb through various analytics, conduct interviews and surveys, and use the information you have gathered to generate a unique persona that will help you grow the business.

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