Alaska businesses live and die by their websites. Alaska’s proximity to the lower 48 and connection to overseas makes Alaska business ripe for an online presence. That’s why Alaska business owners will make sure to constantly evaluate their website. The problem many face is figuring out what metrics to use. Asking the wrong questions doesn’t only lead to the wrong answers, it wastes everyone’s time and effort. Here are few questions you need to ask to properly assess your business website and its performance.

1. Who are you trying to reach? Is your target market inside or outside of Alaska?
2. Are you using the right language?
3. Does it Represent Your Brand?
4. What Does Your Page Talk About?
5. Can Consumers Understand What You Offer?

Who are You Trying to Reach?

Everything must have purpose. The primary purpose of an online business’ website is to reach the right audience and generate sales through that reach. Many businesses fail when they’re unclear about their target audience.

If you’re not sure who the site’s trying to reach, figure out your target audience. Think about what problems your offering solves and who would have that problem. Do they need a specific lifestyle? Are the majority of people who have that problem in a specific demographic?

Are You Using the Right Language?

Phrasing is important. Choose the wrong words or make references to things your audience doesn’t understand or care about and they’ll lose interest. Think about discussing the continental U.S instead of our local colloquialism “the lower 48”. This will be a re For Alaska businesses, it could be the kiss of death.

Review your site’s wording. Is it using industry jargon or is it talking in a manner relevant and understandable to your target audience? Keep in mind that depending on your offering, industry jargon can be appropriate. Think about how your audience understands your product and their needs.

Does it Represent Your Brand?

Everything about your online business should hold true to the brand. The way you interact with customers, the colors you use, even the way you package your product – all must be unified in message and style. This includes your website. At a glance, people should recognize it as your company site.

Take out your brand style guide and asses your website. Does it have the right colors? Is your company logo easily visible? You must also figure out if it feels like something that’s part of your company. The last one is difficult to assess and may require outside judges to do properly.

What Does Your Page Talk About?

Business owners tend to be prideful, often for good reason. They made an online business with a product that investors trust enough to put money in. They’ve done something many others only dream about. Pride is fine, but not when it takes over the website. When all you talk about is how great your product is or how amazing the business is, people will lose interest.

Your customers are interested in what you can do for them, so talk about that. Talk about the problems you can solve or how it can make their lives better. Focus on answering their needs and figure out if the website does that.

Can Consumers Understand What You Offer?

For many businesses, timing is everything. Often, it’s about beating the competition to the market. Other times, it’s a matter of launching your product when your target market can understand its value. One of your website’s primary tasks is making sure your audience knows how your product can improve their lives. This is where many online businesses fail. They over-focus on getting people to click a “buy” button, forgetting to explain why they should.

Have somebody in your target market who’s unrelated to the company read through your site. After they do that, ask them if they understand what you’re offering. Their personal interest would be nice, but you’re primarily looking to figure out whether or not you’re properly articulating the benefits of your product.

If you want your online business to thrive, you must assess your website constantly, consistently, and correctly. Asking the right questions isn’t enough – you must do it every few months and make sure it remains relevant to your target market. Do so and your site will remain effective and efficient for your years to come. Slack off, and it’ll fall behind.