Define your target audience

When you are planning your website, it’s important to think about your target audience-  the actual people that you want to visit your site. Who are they?  Are you planning for current students, prospective students, or parents? What do you need to communicate to them? What do you want them to do on your website?

The answer to these questions will help you plan your content, determine what functionality is needed and define a path for them to accomplish their goal.

Define goals for your site visitors

Once you have established your target audience(s), you need to make sure that your website will meet their needs. During the planning phase of your website, you’ll need to define for each user group, what it is you want them to do on your site and then make sure that there is a path to help them reach their goal. This is called a “user journey”. You’ll want to make it as easy and intuitive as possible so that they can achieve their goal quickly and without the struggle.

For example, if the ultimate goal for your target audience is to complete a form, you need to make sure that there is a clear path for them to find this form. We are not saying that the form belongs on the homepage of your website- just that it has to be intuitive to find with a clear path to the form.

We have made a downloadable worksheet to help you define your target audience, key content you want to communicate and goals for each.

Website User Goals Worksheet (PDF)

Website User Goals Worksheet (.doc)

Cover page of the "Target users and Goals" worksheet


Target audience: Who are you building this website for?

Primary Message: What is the primary thing you wish to communicate to this group?

Primary Goal: What is the main goal for this audience? What do you want them to accomplish on your site?

Path to Goal: What are the steps to get them to accomplish that goal?
Break this down as these steps will translate into content organization and content on your website- navigation, headlines, copy, buttons, forms etc - whatever makes the most sense to help your users accomplish this goal on your website.

Before site launch, you will need to check to make sure that your site has a clear path for your target audience to achieve their goal.

Measurement of Success: How are you going to measure your success? How will you know if your website visitors are meeting your goals?

Typically, you have something that you can measure and track- a button that is clicked, a video that is watched, a form that is submitted, etc.

Go through this process to define goals for each of your target audiences. The chart worksheet above can be used to help you with this process.