7 Reasons Your Small Business Website is a Failure

When it comes to websites, the Internet, and technology in general, there are a lot of reasons why your small business website might fail to bring you business. Maybe one of your plugins is broken. Maybe your contact form is spitting out error messages. Maybe it takes too long for your pages to load. Maybe shoppers can’t complete the checkout process.

The whole point of having a website is to make it convenient for customers to give you money. That’s why it’s essential to avoid the following seven pitfalls.

1. Your website is just plain annoying.

I can’t believe this is still a thing. Don’t set music or videos to play automatically on your website, and don’t require a login to browse your site unless membership and proprietary content are your business.

2. Your website loads slowly.

One thing consumers don’t have a lot of these days is patience. This infographic from Kissmetrics.com states it pretty plainly: 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, and a whopping 79% of shoppers who don’t enjoy their experience on a website are less likely to buy from that website again. You can test your website’s speed right now. MakeUseOf.com has compiled a handy little list of free online tools to test your loading speed.

3. Your site looks like it was created in 1999.

A current design lends to your company’s credibility, and a crappy design can actually damage your business’s reputation. The world is full of talented web designers and even some pretty outstanding and affordably priced templates, so ditch the Geocities look, pronto!

4. Your shopping cart is broken.

Don’t wait until a customer reports a problem checking out on your site, because by then it’s probably too late. There’s a good chance some customers who went before simply abandoned their carts never to return. If Wilford Brimley were giving you website advice, he’d tell you to test your website and test it often. 

5. Your contact page is kaput.

Sometimes people have questions, and they need to get those questions answered before they buy. Make sure customers can reach you through your contact page. And, just to be on the safe side, provide as many other alternative methods for reaching you as possible. Include your phone number, a general email, and a live chat option whenever possible.

6. Your site is cluttered.

Websites with poor navigation are detrimental to your bottom line, so it’s best to go for a minimalist approach. Provide copy, images, videos and links for the stuff that’s necessary, and scrap the rest of it — no matter how cool or cute you think it is. Clear, simple navigation is essential.

7. Your site is hard to find.

Launching a website doesn’t guarantee you traffic; you have to work to bring potential customers to your site. There are lots of ways to get your site noticed including: SEO marketing, advertising, blogging, and social media sharing. When consumers start searching for the stuff you provide, you should have in place as many pathways to your website as possible.

Think about it from the consumer’s perspective for a minute. What glitches or pet peeves have turned you away from a business site?

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Emily Suess
Emily Suess is a full-time technical marketing writer in the software industry and a part-time freelance copywriter. To learn more about marketing your small business online, check out her copywriting blog, Say It With Me.


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  1. Pingback: Danseguin.info » No Need To Suffer From A Business Website That Takes Forever To Load

  2. Thanks for shedding light on this subject, I know how easy it is to let these areas of your business slip. I’ve struggled with these elements myself at times in my business. These tips would definitely come-in handy.

  3. Your website looks like it was created in 1999 is my favorite tip. There are way too many small business websites out there that get some great traffic but I don’t think there is a bigger turn off then seeing an outdated website pop up. Check your bounce rate please, if it is high this is most likely the case! Great tips Emily!

  4. Yes, yes and yes to number 7. It’s so sad to see business owners who put a lot of effort into a site design but the site goes completely unnoticed online. You’re absolutely right about creating more pathways to be found – blogging being one of the best of course.

    Thanks for sharing Emily.

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  8. Most of the above “reasons” are similar to a checklist for your vehicle before taking a trip. There is nothing in the list to help with buying a reliable vehicle. We all know, or should know, that all websites are not created equal.

    You need a vehicle designed to attract your web market – this leads to…
    You need a vehicle that speaks directly to your web market – this leads to…
    You need to share useful information with your market – this leads to…
    You need to build a relationship with your market – this leads to…
    You need to build trust with your market – this leads to…
    You need to be of service to your market – putting their needs first
    You need to sell quality products or services to your market – so the cycle repeats

    In all cases it is the market that comes first, and you need to feed them if you want them to return the favor. If you want heat from the stove you first have to put in some wood. It does no good to promise the stove wood if it gives you heat first.

    Your business web site needs to do more than the usual lip service, it has to love your market and be of service.

    But that is only if you want to market organically and use the natural flow of the web, which is to share.

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