Why Businesses Fail Online
Are You Giving Your Visitors a Reason to Buy?

Many businesses today have websites, but very few of them are successful. They don't attract customers, they don't drive sales, they don't generate income. As a tool to promote and market the business, they're a total failure.

Why is that?

One reason why businesses fail online is because their owners are trying to replicate their offline business online, without understanding how business on the internet actually works. I love to spend my holiday in places where there are very few people. But it would not occur to me open a shop there.

If I wanted to open a busy shop, I'd find a big town and busy shopping centre. I'd go where my customers are, where my business has a chance of attracting them to come in and check out my products.

The same applies when running an online business, but there's one important difference: On the internet, nobody will just 'come by' your website. Neither will they buy from you just because they've happened across your site by chance.

Your site visitors will most likely never meet you. They don't know you. They have no reason in the world to buy from you. By the time most online buyers reach for their credit cards, they know precisely what they want and most likely also where to get it: from a site that's earned their trust, from a site that's given them a reason to buy.

Web to Success: Why Businesses Fail Online

Still, many business owners think that if they put up a website, people will come in droves and buy. They

  • build single-page websites that are nothing more than an online business card. Sites that don't tell the visitor anything about the company or the benefits of doing business with them.

  • build brochure-style websites that are good to look at. These sites show off your business, but only rarely are they optimised for the search engines to find them and often they're not even submitted. Result: nobody finds them.

  • build online shops, expecting people to come and buy. This only works if someone wants to buy precisely what you're selling - and as most visitors look for information first, such websites bring little results.

If you've read the previous page in this series, Why Content is King, then you'll know that the internet is predominantly about information and that you must provide exactly the information your visitors are looking for to attract them to your site, to introduce yourself and your business and to gain their trust.

When you consider this, then it's very easy to see why businesses fail online. They fail, because they try to sell before they have provided information, before they've built trust, before they've even introduced themselves. It's like a rock band wanting to sell records without letting their audience hear a single note.

So that's why businesses fail online. Fortunately, failure is just the chance to try again and once you understand why your online endeavours have failed, there's no need to keep wallowing in misery.

NEXT: Find out why and how businesses succeed online