Why Online Businesses Fail And What You Can Do About It

Have you ever wondered why so many businesses fail? According to many sources on the topic, 90 percent of online startups fail within the first 4 months. Now that sounds alarming but when you look at how competitive the web has become, it really isn’t.

And frankly, even though product can sometimes be an issue, I feel that the main reason why online businesses fail is that they’re not getting any or enough website visitors that match their target audience.

You see, almost anyone can put together a website today but the real challenge is attracting qualified prospects and converting those people into customers.

Listen, no matter what you sell, the one thing that you’ll always need is the right people paying attention to your company. When people aren’t doing so, your online business is at risk of failing, period!

The winners are always those that can attract qualified prospects and convert those visitors into paying customers. But there’re other reasons why an online business may fail too. So let’s take a look.

Top 10 Reasons Why Online Businesses Fail

Here’re the primary reasons why your online business might fail. Knowing these dangers can save you tons of time, money and wasted energy.

1. No SEO (search engine optimization)

80 percent or more of consumers begin their research with a search engine. Ignoring this strategy has been the downfall of many online startups. Not to mention that Google alone, processes 4,464,000,000 searches per day.

Use SEO to increase your organic (or free) traffic...Click To Tweet

And to support any other ongoing marketing efforts. Plus if you think that most users click on paid ads, well, that’s just not true. Look at this chart from Similar Web, comparing where people click the most between organic and paid search:

why online businesses fail

As you can see, 94.95 percent of Internet users prefer non-paid search results. I don’t know the real reason why but I suspect it has a bit to do with trust issues.

2. Bad Web Copy

Writing for the web is different from other types of content. Copy on the web must be more inclusive and focused on each visitor. To effectively write for online viewers, it’s important that you consider using first and second person narratives.

3. Lack of Commitment

A lot of people want to start a business but very few actually commit to it. Lots more keep talking about it with their friends and family without doing anything (NO ACTION). Make a decision to go through with the entire process of starting a business and stick to it.

4. Poor Planning

The financial, mental, emotional and physical toll of a business can be crippling if proper plans are not put in place. Think of your situation and plan ahead to address these concerns.

Things like ensuring that you have an income source to lean on while you’re working on your business is critical in many cases. Also, the product or service that you want to sell may require that you spend more time building trust and authority (or your reputation) with the intended audience.

In situations like this, think of another product that you can offer right away without the need for strong mid-range reputation building. This can be a source of revenue while you’re setting your business up for the real crème de la crème.

5. Failure to Align Actions With Business Goals

Everything that you do in regard to your business should be moving you closer to your objectives. If you want 10k followers on Facebook, ask yourself why? If the answer doesn’t align with what you’re trying to accomplish, then it’s not a good idea to grow that platform. Instead, maybe growing your website audience is a better place to focus your time and budget.

6. Improper Use of Social Media

One of the biggest misconceptions is that you need to grow your social media following to increase sales and brand awareness. This was probably true 8 years ago but it’s not the same today and quite the opposite.

Social media companies have reduced organic reach in favour of ad revenue and they’re not done. Recently, Facebook reduced its organic reach again and we roughly estimate that it’s currently below 1 percent.

So instead, use social media platforms to attract visitors to your website (a platform you control). Marketing power has shifted to user-generated content and influencers. Therefore, people who grow their own platforms (build an audience) or leverage user-generated content (this is what social media companies do) are going to be in an advantageous position.

7. Not Clear About The Target Audience

Knowing your audience and where to find them is crucial to marketing success. Use research to create personas or fictional representations of your ideal customers. This way, you’ll know their potential interests, job roles or title, wants, pain points etc.

8. No Business Plan

Yes, you still need a business plan in the 21st century. Perhaps, not a traditional 45-page copy but you need one if you want to hit your goals. You should write a business plan that outlines your plans and objectives before you start a business.

And even if you’ve already started, just write one anyways. It’s like a roadmap to your success and you never know when you’ll need to use it to sway investors.

9. Zero Visibility of Founders/Employees

Put your best people out there! People want to know some of the individuals behind a company. It’s a great way of strengthening or building trust, which leads to more sales.

10. The “One-Man or Woman Army”

Trying to do everything yourself is inefficient and can be unproductive. There’s a reason why experts exist and you should use them. Because no matter how good you are at your craft, there’s always areas that demand a different set of expertise.

Things like accounting, legal, graphic design, marketing etc. Hire professionals to help you with the things that you’re not good at so you can focus on the ones you excel at.

Thriving Businesses Online That You Can Start!

It’s easier than it was back in the day to start an online business. Now that you’re familiar with the reasons some businesses online fail and why others make it, let’s take a look at some business ideas that you can consider.

Firstly, when starting an online business venture, it’s important that you lean towards your strengths, not weaknesses. But even so, you’ll still have to occasionally hire professional talent to complete those tasks that you may not excel at such as copywriting or custom web design.

However, launching a website is fairly easy today. You may use a website builder to create your own site in minutes and market it on social networks, forums and others for free.

All right, let’s get right to it!

Create a Blog and Sell Advertising

Do you have a passion for writing or interest for a subject? If so, then you’ve got a huge opportunity to start making money blogging. A blog is a regularly updated website that’s usually written in a conversational tone. They normally contain info on a specific niche but sometimes, you’ll find blogs that are general in nature.

Using a free service like WordPress, you can start your own blog or website and begin publishing, all on the same day! WordPress is a content management system (CMS) originally built for bloggers. But it quickly became the preferred choice for webmasters all over the world when it comes to building websites.

Part of the reason people love the platform so much is because you can easily expand the functionality of any website using the CMS with available plugins. It also eliminates plenty of technical issues, especially, SEO (search engine optimization) ones.

When operating a blog, your goal is to produce content that is of interest to your target audience and once you’ve got a decent amount of web traffic, you can start monetizing your site. So what kinds of content should you write?

Well, there are virtually no limitations except for ensuring that everything you publish remains relevant to your industry of choice. For instance, how-to guides, list articles, re-published newsworthy press releases (must give credit), any commentary, tactics and tips among others can make great content pieces.

There are several ways to monetize your blog and here’re a few suggestions:

1. Google Adsense

Your website can act as an extension of Google’s ad network and display ads from the search giant. However, do NOT join adsense until you’ve got a clean and well-designed website that receives a decent amount of traffic, otherwise, you risk getting rejected. You need to meet a certain quality standard to join.

2. Affiliate Marketing

The way this works is that you include links to products and get paid a commission for each sale you generate. To start, you’ll need to join an affiliate network like Commission Junction or ShareASale, where you’ll find a plethora of companies to form partnerships with!

3. Sell Banner Ads

You can sell banner placements on your site directly or through an ad network like BuySellAds, where publishers can offer ads on their websites.

4. Sell Freelance Blogging or Writing Services

You can become an on-demand freelance blogger or writer that helps others with content on their websites. In most cases, you won’t get credit for the content because that’s what ghostwriting is about and you’re being paid for the work. But it’s well worth it! In fact, really amazing freelance writers make anywhere from $50 to $300 per hour or more!

5. Offer Coaching to Other Bloggers

When you’re really good at what you do, it’s natural that you’ll motivate and inspire others. Use this to your advantage by offering a coaching service.

>> RELATED: SEO Tips For New Bloggers: It’s Easier Than You Think!

eCommerce Drop Shipping

The one major thing that prevents many people from starting their own e-commerce store is that they don’t want to deal with the financial cost and risk of housing inventory. Drop shippers eliminate these problems for small business owners. Essentially, you sell the product and they ship it to your customers as if your business did so. The consumer never sees the drop shipper’s details!

It’s a three-step process…

  1. You list the product for sale on your own website, eBay, Amazon etc.
  2. When an order is placed, you visit the drop shipper’s website to get the product.
  3. The drop shipper ships the item to your customer as if your company did it.

Make sure that you find a reputable drop shipping service because you’re still responsible for your customer’s experience. So if you work with a company that isn’t upholding high-quality standards and timely delivery practices, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.

Also, keep in mind that margins can be low with this method since you won’t be buying directly from the manufacturer.

Use Video To Make Money

It’s fairly easy for anyone to open a YouTube account these days. You can start your own channel and make ad revenue from the video platform. The more engaged viewers you receive, the higher your income potential. It’s much like blogging but in video format, often referred to as vlogging.

On YouTube, you’ll need to hit 10,000-lifetime views on the network to activate monetization. This is how the platform weeds out bad actors or people who have no business being on the platform other than pure selfish reasons.

Create amazing videos, leverage the wide-reach of the video network and you’ll soon be cashing in on your hard work. I know people who are successfully doing this.

Digital Information Products

You can offer digital products such as online courses or eBooks. Main formats for online goods are text, video and audio. Using these formats, there’s pretty much no limit to what you can do, so get creative with whichever you choose.

The important thing to remember is that your product needs to be engaging and highly useful. Also, once you place it on your website for sale, you can literally make money in your sleep because consumers can buy and download goods online at any time.

Become a Service Provider

The service sector is an ever growing area in the Canadian economy and it has never been easier to offer your services online. Bookkeeping, legal, financial advice, personal development, just to name a few, are regularly sort after by consumers on the Internet.

But remember that you can’t serve everyone on the web and be location-focussed. It’s a lot easier to rank your web page for a term like “bookkeeping Ottawa”, than it is to chase after the core keyword (bookkeeping) nationally or globally.

Would you like to create a marketing system that attracts visitors to your website daily without even lifting a finger? That’s part of what we do at Tech Help Canada. We help you market your business online.

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