Ten Top Reasons Why Online Businesses Fail

monopoly-e-commerce - Courtesy of Daniel BrocheOnline business can be very  lucrative.

Yet many online businesses fail.

Let’s take a look at the ten top  reasons why online businesses fail.

Ten Top Reasons Why Online Businesses Fail

Every year thousands of people start up in online business and launch a website.

Many of these people then give up on online business and come to the conclusion that “you can’t make money online”.

This is of course a nonsense. E-commerce and online business is a vast and still growing sector. There’s  plenty of money to be made online.

It’s a question of knowing how to do things properly and which mistakes to avoid.

I’ve made most of these mistakes myself in the past.

So here’s my list of the top ten reasons why online businesses fail.

1. Not being clear about your audience and the need you’re aiming to meet

Successful websites are targeted at specific niche audiences.

Your site has to address a particular need of  that audience.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Concentrate on a specific sub-niche and produce useful content and information of value to that niche audience.

Always have the needs of your target audience uppermost in your mind when you are writing content for your site.

2. Thinking in terms of “make money online” or “get rich quick”

This is a big mistake which many people make.

If you were going into business with a traditional “bricks and mortar” business – involving opening a store, an office, or a workshop, then you wouldn’t primarily be talking about “making money offline”.

Instead, you would be thinking in terms of the service or product you will be offering and the needs of your potential customers that you will be working to fulfill.

It’s no different online. Focus first and foremost on the need you are setting out to meet with your online business – and not on vague “making money online” ideas.

The money will come if you focus your attention on the former. But it’s unlikely to appear if you only think about the latter.

3. Not investing money in your business

If you want to be successful with your business, if you want it to be more than a hobby or an interest activity, then you need to take your business seriously right from day one.

This means investing and spending money. On proper web-hosting, on training, on know-how, and on marketing tools and promotional activity.

There are a lot of decent resources available online for free (and also a lot of outdated or poor quality junk). But some people try to do everything on the cheap or without spending money.

But the fact is, any proper business cannot be established without some financial outlay.

There are lots of high quality, top end material available online often at a reasonable price which you should also take a look at and invest in.

Trying to build a business without spending money simply isn’t a viable option. Quality, paid-for resources always pay off in terms of solid business success in the long run.

4. Obsessing over SEO and keywords

Too many website owners still get obsessed by SEO, often to the detriment of all else. They let it practically take control of their online business activity.

Having the correct keywords included in your content is always important. It’s how new readers will be able to find you via the search engines.

But some people get so obsessed by keywords and SEO (search engine optimization) that they end up creating poor quality content that is just written mainly for search engine robots to analyze and index.

Concentrate first and foremost on your human visitors, not the search engine robots. Because it’s the former and not the latter who will become your readers and eventually also your customers.

5. Fussing over the appearance of your website rather than the content

Content and value is the most important aspect of any website, not what it looks like. A decent website design also helps, and it can be useful to modify or change your design from time to time. But don’t spent too much time fussing over graphics and design.

What matters is how useful your website is to your audience and the service you are providing, not it’s graphics and logos.

6. Thinking that joining courses, schemes, and online communities will guarantee you success

There’s only one thing that will bring you success with any business – whether online or offline: the amount of effort you put in yourself.

Training courses and support communities are important and valuable and I would recommend that most, if not all, newcomers to online business sign up for a relevant course in blogging or ecommerce.

But the course will not by itself guarantee you any success. Business success always comes from taking action and implementing.

The course can explain how things work and how to implement. But it’s still up to you to actually take the necessary action.

7. Getting blogged down

Some people become so focused on creating content or blogging that they forget about actually selling to their audience. I call this “getting blogged down”.

Others shy away from offering anything to their audience for fear of being labeled a “spammer” or appearing too money-minded.

The fact is that people can’t buy from you if you don’t offer them anything for sale.

If you have a quality offer which provides value to your audience, then there’s nothing wrong with bringing it to your readers attention and suggesting that they purchase it. On the contrary, you will be doing them a disservice if you don’t bring their attention to what you have to offer.

When you are running a business, blogging is a means to an end. That end is to serve your audience by providing information and value to them so that they can make the right buying decisions that they otherwise wouldn’t be in a position to do.

8. Giving up before giving your business a proper chance

Success in online business for practically everyone is a gradual process. It takes time to get training, to learn how things work, and to find out what doesn’t work.

You can’t do this overnight. It takes time. It takes effort. And it takes investment – both financial and in terms of activity and persistence.

Too many people give up too easily before giving themselves a proper chance for the results to develop.

9. Worrying too much over search engine rankings

Too many website owners fuss unnecessarily about their search engine rankings. They live constantly in fear of a “Google Slap” or being de-ranked by the search engines.

But search engine traffic should only ever be one factor in your traffic generation process. Too many people fail to consider other traffic sources. They often fail to pay attention to creating quality content.

This makes them vulnerable and exposed to a search engine ranking reshuffle. You can’t build a successful business for the long term on such shaky foundations. Make sure you diversify your traffic sources. Never become too dependent on Google or any other one single traffic source. If you do then you will be handing control of your business to them.

And finally,

10. Not keeping an eye on your statistics

Traffic, click rate, email sign ups. conversions, sales. All these are vital stats for every ebusiness. If you are to steer your business activity in a profitable direction, then you need to know how well – or badly – you are doing.

You need to know where you should be improving,  what is working, and what isn’t working. That way you can invest your time, effort and money in the most profitable areas and avoiding wasting resources on activities which aren’t yielding a return.

So make sure you integrate a decent and reliable stats analysis system into your sites. Use one of the leading analytical systems, such as Google Analytics, Open Web Analytics or ClickMeter to monitor your traffic. Regularly check your stats with your affiliate marketing networks and monitor  your online marketing strategy.

So that’s my list of the top ten reasons why online businesses fail.  Being aware of these mistakes when you start your business will help give you the best chance of success.

Good luck with your online marketing activity!


Image: monopoly-e-commerce – Courtesy of Daniel Broche

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