Where to start
Many of the aspects that we need to consider for defining our target audience are the same ones that would be considered politically incorrect if they were to be used in other circumstances (such as a job application form).

They are exactly the same things that advertising companies take into consideration when creating an advertising campaign for a new or existing product.

Not all of them may apply to your particular web site, but many of them will. Let's have a look at some of them.
Age Group
A web site to give advise to teenagers is going to appeal to a fairly specific age group. As would a site designed for retirees, although at the other end of the age scale

However, if your site is about some sort of hobby like photography, then the age range of your visitors could be very wide.
Yes, I know that the boundaries are changing all of the time, and some people say that there is no job that a man can do, that a woman can't. Well that's not quite true, a woman can't be a female impersonator - Think about it.

However although many sites are aimed at both genders, there are many sites that are targeted specifically at one gender or the other, just like magazines. In fact most magazines now also have a web site and a Facebook page available.
Race & Religion
Hey, WWW stands for World Wide Web, this means that people from just about every country and every religion can access it, so there are sites catering for all of them.

If you want to create a site about The Roman Catholic Church, then you can be safely make the assumption that the majority of your visitors will be Catholics.
Profession & Income
No matter what your occupation, you will find something on the web somewhere. Actually to try and prove my statement wrong, I typed "car park attendant" into my favourite search engine. I got over two million results

On the first page of results I found six sites with jobs being advertised and even a page on the Lonely Planet web site; this was about a National Park in Japan , where the car park attendant hands out maps of the local area, oh yes, and the parking cost 140 Yen per day by the way - isn't the Internet wonderful?
Is all this necessary?
If you are creating a personal web site for family and friends, not really.

If you are creating a site about your hobby, unless it is really obscure, then there will be many people with similar interests to you As long as your site is findable, then visitors will come and have a look. If your site is interesting, then they may come back. If they are really impressed, then you may get added to their bookmarks, or even added as a link on their web site.

However, if the main purpose of your site is to make money, then you will have to consider all of the above factors, and make sure that your site is designed for your target audience.

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Please be aware that this website is currently being overhauled and updated. This will mean that any statistics shown will be out of date, and there could be a some broken links. These will be attended to ASAP