You’ve got a new business idea. The perfect logo and business cards to match. Your Facebook page and Instagram account are both up and running. Now, you’re ready to tackle a website.

First of all: yay! Congratulations on your new biz and also for doing some research before starting your site.

Next: let’s talk about your audience for this new website and business.

How to determine your website's target audience

If you’re anything like most of us just starting out, you may have assumed that your audience is literally everyone who wants to buy your product or use your services. Big fat nope! That’s so not going to be the case, and you’ll have a heck of a time trying to resonate with EVERYONE. In fact, you’ll likely end up reaching very few folks with this approach. If you’re trying to sell to everyone, then you’re really selling to no one.

For the longest time (I’m talking years here), I tried SO hard to do a little bit of it all for anyone and everyone who would use my services. And guess what? This approach made me like EVERY other web and graphic designer out there, it led to unfulfilling work, and it definitely did not create any raving fans. I was floating around in the sea of sameness.

When you start to define your target audience, here are a few things to consider:

Think about your absolute ideal client.

Brainstorm on this one for a bit: if you could work with anyone in the world, who, exactly, would it be? Be as specific as possible and write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind: age, gender, location, income, interests, personality—you name it. Here’s an example: “My ideal client is a female entrepreneur between the ages of 25–45. Her location isn’t important to me because she’s tech-savvy enough to be comfortable with my process of conducting meetings remotely. She’s got a lot on her plate, as she wears many hats getting her business up and running, and so she needs a web designer she can 100% trust and hand over those responsibilities to. She knows what a valuable marketing tool a website can be, but she’s just not quite sure how to put all the pieces together, and she wants to make sure she portrays herself in a beautiful way online.”

If your business is already established, take a good look at your current customers.

Take note of some of the common characteristics they share. For example, before I really started narrowing down my own target audience, I looked at my most frequent clients: female entrepreneurs, usually between the ages of 30 and 50, and usually working in the health and wellness industry in some capacity. And it just so happened those were the people I usually loved working with the most.

Look at your competition.

You’ll want to see who your competitors are targeting and who their current customers are—not because you want to copy them, but to see if you can find a gap in the market. Is there a segment of folks who are being missed in your industry that you might be able to reach? Consider the pain points you’re helping to solve. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers: think about their specific needs that aren’t currently being met that your product or service is helping to solve.

Once you have a good idea of your target audience, you’ll be able to make the rest of your website decisions based on who you’re actually building the site for. If your target audience is women between the ages of 40 and 50, your site is going to be heck of a lot different than if you’re targeting men between the ages of 20 and 30.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Target Audience Questionnaire