Who Are the Stakeholders in Your Website Venture?
Your initial meeting with the client will give you some pertinent information regarding the target audience for your website. However, the website you create has multiple audiences. You must consider everyone when defining your audience and goals for the site. Generally speaking, everyone falls into one of two categories:
Internal stakeholders are the people who work for the company that hired you to create its website — managers, public relations people, IT, marketing professionals, customer service reps, salespeople, and so on. Even if you’re creating the website for your own company, you’ll have a similar cast of players. All these people have needs to consider when planning and creating the site, and they must all be kept in the loop.
External stakeholders are website users, who, oddly enough, are often the most overlooked part of the equation. Getting caught up in all the other details of planning and deciding how the site will support the goals of the organization can easily take you away from considering the real needs of the external audience.
Often, website visitors are referred to as a target audience and are described in very broad terms. Unfortunately, the discussion of a target audience is generally a short one and not very detailed. Failing to think carefully about the needs of visitors will result in a site that looks great to the site owner but probably won’t be useful for site visitors.