For Web Design Best Results, Keep In Mind WHO You’re Designing For

First, I feel as though I should clarify that this isn’t a blog about Rodger Daultry’s famous English rock band from the 1960s–The Who.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t rock out with some groovy ideas for today’s topic–web design.

In the past, I’ve mentioned how critical a website is to your business’s success. A website today is basically your modern-day business card and can be a primary revenue source if you structure it the right way. 

But what is “The Right Way”?

Well, my friends, that’s a big question with a not so simple answer. There are a couple of primary factors you need to keep in mind to help you answer it for yourself.

Brand Identity

I recently read a great book called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. It’s a short, easy read with examples of how companies evolved over time redefining their purpose with the “why” in mind.

Whether you are a startup, going through a rebrand, or just needing to get back to your roots I recommend checking this book out. I won’t spoil it for you, but Simon Sinek gives some really great insight on how to identify your brand in a way that connects with your audience.

It’s not so much about what you do as it is why you do it that resonates with people. That may not be super clear at first but give the book a read and it will make a lot more sense. 

Once you identify why you do what you do, it will help you better understand your customer base and establish relationships with them. 


Purpose and intent are two critical points I’d like to discuss next.

I’ve put together a pretty detailed list of questions that you will want to answer when thinking about the purpose and intent of your website build. Shoot me an email at nick@pinckneymarketing and I’ll send you a copy of it, no strings attached.

Building websites back in the ’90s was easy compared to today. Having a website was a cool bonus but not a necessity and we didn’t have to worry about mobile experience, search engine ranking, search engine marketing, or anything else that is required to be competitive these days. Website users today, have an astonishingly short attention span. If they don’t find what they are looking for within the first few seconds there is a high probability they will bounce from your site to a competitor’s site in search of a quick, clear answer. 

This is very evident in the travel and booking industry. There are countless websites such as Trivago and Kayak that let you compare rates and options from multiple sites on one platform. They have created a website with the purpose of eliminating the need to go from site to site looking for rates and pricing. They don’t really have better pricing, and often times I’ve found they are a few dollars more expensive than booking directly through the hotel’s website, but they are successful because they have a clear purpose.

What is YOUR Web Design’s Purpose?

Depending on your industry, your business, and even your goal, your website may have an array of purposes. This area begins to blend into the next section of functionality and design but it’s important to begin thinking about it in an early stage. Here are a couple of examples that are general observations. There are exceptions and your purpose may contradict the examples below, which is fine!

An e-commerce site most likely wants to convert users to make a purchase. The product pages, inventory system, check out process, sorting, and filtering need to have a lot of intentional thought given to them. Content and tagging structures need to be well thought out for searchability.

A portfolio site for a musician or artist will have a different purpose. They will want to showcase their work or have a calendar of events of their next gig or show. The primary purpose is usually not to reach a sales quota but to connect with the fan base.

Many B2B companies that sell retainer services are not transaction-based and are not looking to connect with a fan base. They normally have a longer sales process and need to nurture their viewers giving them pieces of information to educate them or help solve a specific problem. Not too long ago, Pinckney Designer Amy wrote a blog about Web designing for Inbound Marketing, check it out if you’re looking to nurture viewers.

In each of these examples, the structure of the website will vary greatly. So it’s important to remember that you cannot take a one size fits all approach to web design. You really must think about “The Who” when identifying intent and purpose. 

Functionality + Design

This is where we get our hands dirty. Design and marketing have a very real element of psychology intertwined into it.

I wasn’t always the marketer that I am today. I actually went to school for graphic design where we had entire classes dedicated to color theory, emotion and typography, and other things that are much more interesting than they sound. To get the conversation started, let’s look at a few examples:


Luxury brands often use hand-scripted, elegant typography in their logos and other marketing because it is associated with handcrafted, refined, attention to detail, and craftsmanship.  


Brands that use earth tones and softer colors that are inviting want people to feel relaxed and at peace. Warm, vibrant colors that are found in gyms, trampoline parks, and fun centers evoke energy and happiness. 

Colors such as red and yellow are colors of caution. I once heard a theory that McDonald’s used to use lots of red and yellow in their restaurants because they wanted people to eat and leave quickly so that tables free up for the next customers. I can’t confirm that but it seems plausible.


Modern, edgy brands are known for taking big risks in the style and design department. They often want to be trendsetters which require a different way of thinking that sets them apart from the crowd. On the opposite side, a more traditional, nostalgic brand that wants to evoke a feeling of “the good ol’ days” would completely miss the mark by trying to create something progressive. The design style that is used for your website is just as important as the colors or typography that are selected. 

User Experience

Depending on your business, your audience could be teenage girls or it could be a more “seasoned” group of distinguished people or anything in between. Different audiences and different industries have different standards of what is acceptable for user experience. Your user experience often referred to as UX, is the overall experience a user has and the ease of use of a website. An audience that is more tech-savvy and cutting edge can bend the rules more compared to its counterpart. Most industries see about 60-70% of their website traffic come from a mobile device. So to create a good UX we must design for mobile first and optimize the website with some quality SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 

A good UX will keep users engaged in the content and flowing from page to page. Quality SEO will keep your site fast and help rank higher in search engines. With these two items working together you will see an increase in traffic and an increase in leads for your business. 

Here are two examples of websites that have very different looks and styles. Try to pick out a few things that really set them apart. 

Initially, these might seem like a cluster of obvious statements. But I would challenge you to take a step back and look at your branding and website.

Ask Yourself Who You Want To Attract

Then take a look at who you are attracting.

If the two don’t align then you may want to revisit some of these elements. Do your typography, color, and style make people feel a certain way that is consistent with your intent?

If not, you probably didn’t think about the who and need some adjustments. 

Still stuck on the who? Our team has created a guide to help you Understand Your Target Audiences. Download the guide here and you’ll be well on your way to understanding how to web design for YOUR who.

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