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Web site targetting : female audience/surfers..
.. do you? if so how ..

 5:14 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Following on from the Female Webmasters [webmasterworld.com] thread..

trillianjedi asked in msg#191
So as a general question to the ladies present - when you create websites, how many of you specifically target the female surfer, and how do you go about that?

having never explicitly targetted a female audience I too am interested in that bit, e.g. just this year I went and made a site design quite "feminine" although it's not targetted, I've had a lot of comments on it since, from both males and females

If you do target differently knowing you have a predominantly female audience do you do anything differently? e.g. change wording, design, make it have a "fuzzy" feeling ..

Would you say a male webmaster designer can target a female audience better or vice/versa?

Are we techy females too "geeky" to see the wood for the trees :o

what say you..




 6:46 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

What a fun thread. (referring to [webmasterworld.com...] ) Not silly and pointless at all. I like realizing how many other women are here in this forum. Because many names are gender neutral I hadn't realized I was in such good company.

I'm not only female but a senior citizen over 60. Yup, I'm an old lady webmaster. Of course at my age I only consider people over 80 as old. :)

I will have to admit my work is terribly right brained and would hate to have anyone look to close at my coding. It's a mess. I learned to write HTML in 1996 from looking at the code from other websites. Eventually I even bought a book. I learned my CSS from the forum here on webmaster world.

how many of you are the more tech savvy of your house?.
DH is more techie but hasn't a clue on the website stuff. He is handy for other computer problems though.

I figure to be a webmaster you need to build your own webpages but whether by hand coding or using an editor shouldn't matter. The only reason I don't use software is it never comes out how I want it and it's so hard to rewrite so it does work. WYSIWYG is not for right brained people like me (BTW men can be right brained too). You don't have to be a programmer to be a webmaster. I haven't done any programming since a hundred years ago when I took a class in basic.

My content is basically woman oriented. In the early days of the Internet there wasn't much of that so I jumped in and started writing articles on history and creativity topics. It's not so much a man couldn't have done it but that a man would not have been as likely to be interested in the topics.

If you do target differently knowing you have a predominantly female audience do you do anything differently?

Yes. For starters I've always been sure that my pages load quickly. Especially busy moms don't have time to wait for slow pages. My page design (background, graphics and lay out) aren't feminine froo froo but do have a feminine slant. In terms of promoting the site I'm not sure I do anything different from what a guy would do. I've spent a lot of time writing to related sites telling them about my site. I write saying they may be interested in this site rather than straight out asking for a link, maybe that is a bit feminine. I do sensible SEO in the sense of making sure my titles, headings etc make it clear to the spider what each page is about. I try to pick my key words carefully so the page will be found by the people interested in the topic. Stuff like that.

Although about half my visitors come to my pages through a search engine a great many come through links from other websites, bookmarks and what I call word of mouth (recomendations from other women through emails, message boards and such). I don't know if the word of mouth thing is more common with women or not.


 10:00 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nope - don't. Never really thought about it. Most of the sites I run have a generic appeal. Now that makes me wonder: I have a couple of domain names "stewing". Maybe I'll see about producing a "female-targeted" site, just for fun....

annej, I find word of mouth to be more valuable for many of my sites than anything else. And yes, it's usually women passing along the info. I think this might come under the heading of networking, and a college prof I know (male) opines based on 40+ years of sociology studies and teaching that women actually are far more "social-networking" oriented than are men, BECAUSE women are far more open and "verbal" than are men. I find this to be mostly true from my own experiences in life.

[As an aside, annej, I'm only a couple of years behind you agewise.... I've been messing with the net and websites since 1995 or so....]

Horse Feathers

 1:13 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm new to web site creation as a business, and only have a few clients right now, but I've always thought that I created the site based on the individual client, and not specifically male or female.

Of course, now that you've called attention to it, I'm actually working for my first male client next month. Should be interesting.


 1:18 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Most of my sites are gender neutral, although there are undoubtably individual pages that will appeal more to one sex or the other due to the subject matter.

I think there's a lot more to targetting a female audience than going all pink and flowery in the design, which may well put off more women than it attracts. Women are supposed to be more verbal, men more visual. So would a female audience be more attracted to a site that's slightly text-heavy?


 6:22 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Heh. Yup, Rosalind.... I don't DO "pink and flowery" myself.... I like earth tones and houndstooth....

I would think the "visuals" perhaps behind the content in importance no matter which gender one targets. But that's maybe because I don't worry about how a site looks when I get there so much as how it works (or doesn't), and whether it actually has what I was looking for when I found it.


 6:33 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Personally, I find that there is little or no difference in site design between a site aimed at a male or female audience, as long as you're avoiding both the clichés of "pink and flowery" for the girls and "superhero gameboy style" for the boys.

I would say in general terms that a female audience does take the look and feel of a site more into account, but it is the content that matters. Having said that, my forum has a 99.99% female audience (the rest is me!), and I have six distinct template themes and 300-plus smilies, by request from the members. Make of that what you will! ;)

It is also the content, not the design, which situates your site for your potential audience: if you write about issues that matter to women, you'll get that audience by default.


 7:54 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I tend not to hire women anymore, they quit very quickly. The work I do tends to be very repetitive and a bloke can sit and do the same thing hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Women are too creative, too ambitious, too energetic for what we have to do here. I prefer to hire part-time-monkeys (no offense John and Danny) - people who can shut their brains off and just sit hitting "copy" .... "paste" .... "copy" ..... "paste" ..... for days on end and then suddenly burst into creativity when it's needed.

Men tend to just be interested in the pay-cheque no matter what the job entails. Women seem to want fufilment, to enjoy their work and to try and make a difference in life .... I mean, where do they get these strange notions? ;)

All in all I think it makes the web a better place that there are so many women involved in website creation. It would probably be a very boring place without them .... for example, it was definately a bloke who designed the Google homepage! It's functional, clear and takes up minimal bandwidth and people will use it no matter what. Women would prefer to give their users a better experience whether it improves their bottom line or not. Am I right?

On a more stereotypical note - classic quote which is still funny whenever I picture her face: " ... this web cam makes my bum look HUGE!" Mandy, we miss you.


 8:20 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL internetheaven but re: the copy..paste...copy.. paste scenario I would've actually thought women were better suited to that, as that is the sort of jobs they tend to do in the offline world i.e. repetitive?

It is also the content, not the design, which situates your site for your potential audience:

Agree that content needs to be king as always, but very recently I (with my female surfer hat on) came across a site that was choc full of content I wanted to read, but after 5 mins the design got to me so much I left.. not saying that design is important, but I think it's perhaps more important to females perhaps? I suppose it's like everything else both bits need to be right for your audience.

"Pink and Flowery" doesn't do it for me either, though it probably has a place on the right site.. I like the bit about verbosity, yes I would say that's definitely a female thing.. they probably still "skim read" but they've still got more to skim :)

I was wondering too about site security issues do you think women are more security conscious (e.g. using their cards at the checkout)

Is it worth putting any 'extras' in place to reassure them them? (I know when i'm shopping online, I'm extra cautious checking on contact tel nos/addresses, or is that the techy in me?)



 9:01 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Women would prefer to give their users a better experience whether it improves their bottom line or not.

Can only speak for self here, but yes - that's my generalist attitude. I tend to think that a better experience eventually DOES improve the bottom line, though.


 10:39 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you do target differently knowing you have a predominantly female audience do you do anything differently? e.g. change wording, design, make it have a "fuzzy" feeling ..

I may be one of the few who purposefully has a "pink and flowery" website for women. But it's a sort of retro/ironic "pink and flowery".

Since I started working on this site, I do a lot of things I've never done before. Most of them actually have to do with word choice and voice. I use a lot of words I probably wouldn't use in the "mixed company" equivalent of the web for fear of upsetting potential customers, and a sillier, much more informal tone. When it's "just us girls", I feel like I have more leeway with language.

I seem to be getting only female buyers, but that may be because I'm only selling products for women. I'm getting positive comments (again, all from women), so I think my targetting is working.


 1:27 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is extremely unscientific as it's just based on my family, but it seems that the women (me included) have much less patience with sites that are hard to navigate or just aren't as good as they could be.

My boyfriend and I have very similar interests (karts and bikes) but he will happily wade through sites where everything is all on one page and information is just added as someone feels like it. I won't and I have even started ignoring sites which don't have RSS. My mother and grandmother are similar.

I definitely appreciate design more than many men, although I would choose cleanness over too much detail if I had the choice


 8:27 pm on Dec 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

MEN is always part of WOMEN. NO WOMEN with out MEN..But we made Our selves MASTERS..We are not MASTERS Without WEB..so became WEBMASTERS..we known to world by WEBMASTERWORLD...

Hats of to WEBMASTERWORLD.com........



 11:43 pm on Dec 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can't resist reverting to the originating theme.....

I usually sign myself Web Slave - rueful acknowledgment that I can't really stay ahead of all the wonderful technical and design trend changes that make the Web such a fascinating life.

Master or Mistress is really wishful thinking in this context.....



 4:28 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wish I could think of a good professional sounding title for myself. I need a one or two word title for my business cards and would use it in many other places as well.

Basically I design and put up all the web pages plus I research and write almost all the articles. I really don't need to indicate if I am male or female (my name pretty much takes care of that). I just want a good title that tells what I do.

Any ideas?


 4:53 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

annej: Rennaissance Implementor....


 9:02 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Web Producer wouldn't cover all of it but it gives people a good idea


 3:53 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmm. that might work, especially if I added and made it "Widget History Web Producer" or maybe 'website' producer. It still doesn't quite describe the one woman company where we do it all. But maybe it makes our company look bigger than it really is. :) Nothing wrong with that.


 4:46 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. Well, if you don't WANT to make your company seem larger, you could use something like "The One Woman Web"....


 5:42 pm on Jan 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you're selling online...quite a few studies show that the majority of on-line purchases are made by women. It follows that many web sites have a female audience whether they specifically target women or not. Enabling the unique buying behaviors of women (more browsing and comparison shopping, increased communication/collaboration, etc.) is key. This may be old advice, but go to a retail store that's very successful with your targeted demographic and look for the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral clues that make it a success.

There are a few very well written blogs that address these topics in depth. Send me a sticky mail and I'll reply with a few URLs.


 1:51 am on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wish I could think of a good professional sounding title for myself. -annej

I usually go for "Operations Manager" when the card needs a title and I am wearing many hats.

Ordinarilly I put nothing under my name, but make my name bold.

President, CEO (of a one man show), or other high-sounding titles for a small business are a reach if you don't have infrastructure, (like an admin or secretary to answer your phone), and having too high of a title never leaves the option of "...let me ask ___________ about that" when a customer inquires about something you're not ready to give a final answer on... (never mind trying to sound CEO-like when you answer the phone and one of your kids screams in the background right after "hello"...).

Self Unemployed


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