You're going on a hot date tonight, what should you where? He's really into sports, so maybe a Dallas Cowboy jersey. He likes tall girls, so maybe a dress with heels. But his favorite color is green, so maybe that nice new sweater you just got for Christmas. Whatever the case may be, you must dress to impress, right? It's a no brainer.

Just like with any other type of attention you are trying to receive, treat your website with the same amount of fashionista advice. Luckily, most top names in the game know all the tricks, but do you? Have you ever looked at your website and thought, 'Am I appealing to the right crowd?" Do you sell soccer balls and have a hot pink polka site, or own a floral shop with a black site? You may take a step back and consider your target audience when deciding on what stripes or stars you want, when branding your companies new website.

First, the basics, man vs. woman. The biggest rival of all, since the beginning of time. Clearly, if you're going for a more feminine approach you aim for nice, bright colors. Your pinks, purples, pastels. Now for a more masculine site you darken things up a bit. Go for bold, with greens and blues. Not that this is the law or anything, you just want to grab their attention, as quickly and easily as you can.

Next subject, age. Are you appealing to a child or your grandma? From graphics to text, you need to make sure you're sending the right message. Children want to see a multitude of colors, cartoon characters, and big glossy rainbow buttons. Your grandma might need less graphics, nice big text for her to read without a microscope, and very clean and simple to navigate. The children of today can easily find their way around the most complex of website layouts, but grandma may need a little more direction.

Now let's take personal interests. An athlete will have a different take on appeal then a librarian. A person looking for a massage therapist needs something soothing. A customer looking for fine dining wants to see pictures of the delicious food you have to offer. So you want to make sure that whichever it is that you're appealing to, they understand the message you are sending as soon as they enter your site. A wrong message could send your user in a different direction.

So now we go straight to the source… the internet… to see how a couple companies do it best.

Now this site may just be the #1 example of all time, but it proves a point on a lot of levels. Nike.com doesn't play around when it comes to branding. They appeal to the athlete. From the grassy background to the dark color scheme, they clearly know who their audience is.

nike.jpg

Cartoons, games, videos, oh my! Nickelodeon doesn't think twice when considering who to appeal to. From the background, to the navigation, to the simple colors, and fairly busy layout, I'd say its clear who this site is for.

nick.jpg

Edgey, trendy, hip. MTV appeals to the modern day crowd. Age group is 20's – 30's that are fairly up-to-date in culture. Their website says a lot about who they are. Once a music station, that was taken over by a slew of reality TV and raunchy programs, their image reflects what they've turned into. My favorite part of their site… keep hitting refresh to get different backgrounds.

mtv.jpg

What better a way to entice the female viewer then throwing the latest line of inventory at them upon arrival? Coach knows the way to my heart, and probably every other lady that goes there too. From the vibrant colors, to brilliant imagery, they have no doubt what audience is going to their site. How do you not buy something?

coach.jpg

Hungry? Well good, because there's only one option of where to go when you check out Outback's site. The neutral, yet bright color scheme, and the delicious steak that then transitions into a piece of carrot cake, grabs the consumer instantly. They don't pick sides, they appeal to everyone! I know where I'm going for dinner.

outback.jpg

Looking to relax? This spa site really appeals to the female viewer looking for a day of Zen. From the soothing colors, to the modern layout, it's very inviting.

hiatusspa.jpg

Is your website sending the right message?