Gwen Davies

Write your website for a particular audience

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Your website, like all your writing, is going to a particular group of people. It is useful, especially if you have a larger website, to know a lot about these people. The clearer you are on your purpose for building a website, the easier it is for you to get to know your audience. You may want to create a user profile to help you do this.

Using the right language is one way to make sure your website reaches the people you want it to reach – I’ve taken this piece from my book 5 Keys to building a clear and usable web site.

“Look for the language that is most familiar to your audience.
You may need to do a little research.

This example comes from information sheets on vaccines. Both give the same basic information, but they give it to two different groups. Notice how different the wording is for each.
For parents, the writing assumes the person has no background; for health-care professionals, the writing assumes the person knows the background and terms.

Mothers are often the ones who look after new babies. You can protect your baby by getting a vaccine as soon as possible after the baby is born.
Fathers and anyone who takes care of the baby can get a vaccine before the baby is born. The whooping cough vaccine is free for adults in Nova Scotia.

Vaccines are the best way to prevent mortality and significant morbidity from pertussis. We need to make sure that infants and young children follow the recommended schedule, and that their caregivers and close contacts have been immunized recently.”

You may decide that your audience is everyone, the general public. However, if you check further, you will probably discover that there are some people you want to speak to more than others. Some people may be more likely to buy what you are selling – if they only knew you were selling it. Some people may find it harder to understand your service or to work through a website to apply for the service. Those are people you most want to accommodate.

Get to know your audience and you increase your chances of reaching them with your website.

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