As more and more small businesses are going online, many of them are finding it harder than expected to make their online presence make any business sense. Low traffic, and even lower conversion rates make it difficult to see the sense in being online in the first place. Why is this so? By helping businesses succeed online, I get to see first-hand some of the issues preventing many businesses from succeeding online.

In this post, I’ll share with you 3 reasons why small business websites fail, and what you can do about it.

What does success look like for you?

For a lot of businesses, success online is just a fuzzy dream. They don’t know what their target goal is and so, they won’t be able to achieve it. Ask yourself, what do I want from my website? Is it leads, is it to land a sale, is it to enroll a visitor for a subscription? The list goes on and on.

To succeed online, you have to know exactly what you want from your website. Take a moment and think about this, then write it down. From here, every effort you put on your website design, online marketing etc. should contribute to achieving this goal.

Leaving ALL the work to the web designer

This is probably the worst mistake that I see businesses doing. It goes something like this: A business needs a website, so they hire a web designer or agency. They build a website for the business and after a few weeks the site goes live. Then the business waits to reap the fruits of the new website. What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, for one the business did not spend time with the web designer educating them about their business. And since the web designer was just hired to build a website that looks good, that’s what he/she does. At the end the business is left with a website that looks good but does not serve their goals.

After you write down the goals you have for your website, it’s time to communicate that with the team working on your website. Don’t assume they understand your business or what you’re looking to achieve. Sometimes you may have to seek more suitable professionals to work on your website who understand your business and will stay long enough to see you achieve your goals. I wrote an excellent article on how to hire the best web designers for your next project.

Ignoring your audience/website users

Last but not least, ignoring your website users will only lead to failure. This is a tricky problem to tackle because, unlike meeting customers/clients face-to-face, online users are mostly anonymous which makes it hard to gauge their response to your website and its features.

Collecting user feedback will allow you to better serve your website visitors. To do that, there are a number of things you can put in place to achieve this with relative ease:

  • Post contact information prominently on your website. Having a phone number and/or email will allow visitors to send you questions and suggestions,
  • Install Google Analytics. This free tool from Google, when installed on your website, will show you how many visitors are coming to your website and a host of other pieces of information including the percentage of users who “bounce” off of the homepage,
  • Ask for feedback directly. If you have questions that might help you better serve your users you may run a survey to get users’ opinions. Survey Monkey can help you create surveys for free.


Succeeding online requires constant improvements and tweaking. You’ll stay ahead of the game if you just follow the solutions discussed here.

Now it’s your turn. What issues have you discovered that have kept you from maximizing the power of the web? Share your story in the comments section.