According to the Yahoo Style Guide, researching your audience is an important step in creating “a profile of your target user.”
Websites are created for one, sole purpose – to provide information to readers. If your website provides information on a specific niche, or topic, you may believe you are hitting your target audience with content they will love and love to share. What you may not take into consideration is the age, demographic, and reading patterns of your content visitors.
Learning More From Your Target Audience – The Poll Booth
Polls are one way of collecting information from readers and visitors. Poll questions should reveal a quick snap shot of the responder. Age, gender, employment status, and income are all crucial to creating targeted content. As global browsing becomes more popular, global location and first language may also be important.
The information collected should be viewed as a microniche. While the main focus of your website may remain the same, with better knowledge about who is reading your content, you can choose detailed posts, articles, and updates based on the specific audiences. What does this do for the reader? Specific, targeted content gives your reader a sense of belonging and worth, which can equate to increased traffic and increased profits.
Analytics Provide an Even Deeper Look at Traffic and Reader Patterns
Do you know which articles are most popular on your website? What about popular links, topics, images, and subpages? Your reader leaves a trail every time they visit your site and that trail is the line of bread crumbs you should be following to better success writing for the web.
The most popular articles reveal which topics your readers are passionate about and thus provide a reliable source for additional content, products, services, and free offers. Article and content traffic patterns can also reveal which topics are of no interest to readers – having no value to your website in the future. Writing for the reader is a powerful tool for increased income, traffic, and website focus.
Now That You Understand Your Reader – What’s Next?
If your Internet marketing plan is up-to-date and active, inbound links should be naturally scattered all over the Internet. These links are often created by readers, social networkers, and bloggers. Links to your website are relied upon by search engines, like Yahoo, for ranking purposes. Links also provide a connection between an Internet user who has never visited your website and the link source.
This leads us to one of the most important facts about writing for the web, never delete a page or article just because it isn’t the most popular. Credibility is crucial to website success and if a reader stumbles upon an old link and is lured to the website by that link, they will hit a 404 page. Questions will immediately arise…
Why was the article deleted?
Does the website not cover this topic anymore?
Was the article copied from somewhere else?
Instant credibility decline. Instead of deleting old articles with very little worth, diagnostically, just choose to write on other, more popular topics instead.
Rinse and Reuse
Anyone who has worked on the Internet for any length of time understands the power of trends and fads. Polls and analytics provide a snap shot of what is popular – RIGHT NOW! The results could change in a day, week, month, or year. Repeating the steps to write for the reader is a given. How often the steps are repeated is up to you – the content / website creator. The more often you read your readers, the better suited to your current visitor website content will be.