Web site design if you focus on more than one target market

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Sitepoint reader Lachlan asks how Web designers/developers should create their websites if they focus on more than one target market. Great question!

First, let’s back up a bit. If you only focus on one target market, then you have a few choices:

1. If you focus on a geographic market, then your website can be general in nature. See http://www.gravityfree.com/ for an example of a web company that leads in a particular geographic market. Notice the local awards and portfolio of leading local companies that they present.

2. If you focus heavily on a single industry, then your website should be specific to that industry. See http://www.at-mortgage.com/ for an example.

2a. You might have a section that says, “Not a [insert your target market here, e.g. law firm]? Click here.” Then you can get into your general services for the 20-30% of your clients that might not come from your niche.

3. If you are just testing out a target market, you could do the inverse of #2a: Have a general website, and then a special section for the niche you are testing. This doesn’t always work well, and you can see one example at http://www.biztank.com/ . On left nav bar, see the TDKManager, which is an application for Karate Schools embedded in a site meant for entrepreneurs in general. Judge for yourself; personally, I think it’s best to commit and go all out with a focused site for a focused market.

Now, what if you have two or more focused niches at once?

1. If they are related, you can easily integrate them into a single site. http://www.fcq.com/ is a good example (although not a Web Developer/Designer). In their case, they have 3-4 different verticals within healthcare, all of which fit together elegantly on their site.

2. Otherwise, if your niches are not related, go with separate sites. For instance, you know me as a technology marketing expert, thanks to this blog and http://www.itprosuccess.com/ . But I also have consulting clients in: non-profits, foundations, universities, health care, law firms, real estate firms, publishing, oil & gas, and banking/finance, and professional services in general. With different sites for each (or no sites in some cases), I can pull this off.

Until next time….

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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