6 Reasons Your Online Business Isn’t Thriving

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The business of the interwebs (how my sister and I refer to the internet) is filled with endless possibilities. Social media has been the vessel that has made some obscure, out of nowhere brands successful, gave life to dying ones, and also killed the success of others.

I have built dozens of websites over the years. I started way back in my days as an administrator at Hampshire College when CMS (Content Management System) websites were non-existent and all we relied on was Dreamweaver to update pages. Now the interwebs (hehehe) makes it easier for just about anyone to get an idea, build a website and launch a business. Website builders, such as Wix, as well as the 1-click installation and builders that are offered with just about every single hosting plan takes the guesswork out all that tedious coding us developers have to do. I personally almost always recommend my clients to go to an experienced designer or developer to build their website rather than use a website builder service, but that’s something I will address later.

I often walk into one of these scenarios–I get asked to build a website…and I do, but then sales are not coming in. Or I inherit someone else’s web work and I facepalm my way through the back-end in horror. What…the…
There are of course more scenarios but I rather not dwell on that.

So I made a list, because I like lists.

Here are the reasons, in my experience, your online business is not succeeding or reaching customers the way you hoped it would.

  1. Poorly designed website. I have been put on to articles stating that web design is dead. I don’t think it’s dead. I just think that those website builders and the internet as a whole has evolved to the point that the creativity and vision of designers has been cut out. What most people end up with is a generic website, with mediocre layouts, and inability to customize it to your brand’s needs. Cluttered home pages are an immediate turn off as it is a page filled with ads. It is very likely you would have lost a web visitor that encounters this type of home page without even seeing what you offer. Additionally, your entire website should be responsive – that’s just a given. Always remember that you get what you pay for!
  2. No SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While I am just scratching the surface on what I’ve learned so far with SEO, I can tell you that it’s more than just verifying your URL with google and other search engines. The problem is that most people don’t realize that SEO is a separate job altogether. And it’s time consuming. But that doesn’t mean your web developer or even yourself cannot learn how it works and how you can make your website better to ensure it ranks well.
  3. Not implementing social media properly. Sure you got those cute little share buttons via a plugin. Or maybe the Wix site builder has something that lets you drag and drop the buttons to make your life easier? Cool! So do this – share some content from a blog post or your website to twitter, or Facebook. Is the appropriate image attaching to the article? What does the excerpt say? You have no idea how important these meta data tags are to your brand! People respond better to things that appear more “legit”. It is important that when a link is shared, the appropriate image and content excerpts attach themselves properly. It builds trust, it lets the reader know…”hey, I care about you and I don’t want to mislead you”.
    6 reasons your online business isn't thriving

    a successful online business will have all these elements working harmoniously

  4. Not using social media to its full potential. I get this all the time. Website is built, but it just sits there. No sales. No activity. No hits. Nothing. Dead silence. How would people even know you even exist, especially if you are new brand! The solution is to get on social media and start advertising and promoting! Invest in either learning or hiring someone to create images you can use. Post motivational quotes. Start a conversation. Whatever it is, get on social media! Don’t get caught up in the “I don’t want to put myself out there” stuff. This isn’t about YOU as a person. This is about your brand or your product, whatever it is you want to sell from your website. Use Facebook and Twitter ads. Offer giveaway and have special sales. I have actually worked with clients who have established their social media accounts, and because of this, the sales on their websites have been very successful.
  5. You are ignoring your mailing list. I didn’t think building an email was as important as people made it sound. Until I actually started investing time and energy as part of a marketing strategy for a brand I work with that I began to see its success. It doesn’t matter if you have 2, 2000 or 20,000 emails. Use them! Send out updates, or alert your followers of an upcoming sale. Most major brands do this…a LOT. So why shouldn’t you!?
  6. Your content and/or products are outdated. Maybe it’s time you revamp things to make them look more with current times. It might be something you have in stock that is just not relevant with today’s generation, or maybe your content is just not aligned with the current state of our culture. This will require for you to re-examine your goals and decide ways in which you could refresh your brand without losing its integrity.

I used to use the phrase “if you build it, they will come” as my motto when working with web clients. Now it’s more …if you build it, promote it, and optimize it, then they will come!

Hope you enjoy this article and found it useful. Leave your comments below!

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