I’ve asked the question of people myself… when I am walking through a Craft Show with my wife, or at some other event where people have booths.

I’ve even asked it to places that I walk right into their store…

“Do you have a website?”

Sometimes they stare at me with this puzzled look on their face… as if to say, “You’re standing right here… why do you need to know if I have a website?”

That is when I realize that they don’t get it. They don’t understand what the website is for. They make the mistake of thinking that their website is only supposed to help you find them. They figure that, if I know where they are, I shouldn’t need their website.

Understanding WHY you have a website for your small business is the key to preventing it from being a failure.

Granted, you can do a classic ROI calculation and take what you spent to build and host the website and divide that by any sales you can be certain came as a result of it… but that really is just about making sure you can sleep well at night knowing that you didn’t waste money.

But it is about having a successful website so that you can grow you business.

So… here are my Top Reasons Your Small Business Website Will Fail… drum roll please…

Reason #1: You Don’t Have One!: Sometimes the most obvious things… the things that don’t need to be stated… well, they need to be stated. You can’t expect to have a “webpage” and succeed. Even a Facebook “page” is a series of pages. You need a “SITE.” You need to create a virtual place for your customers to come to where they can get the answers they need or the products they want.

Reason #2: It Can’t Be Found: The internet is an amazingly vast piece of virtual property. In order to be found, in order to claim your piece of that property and realize that “Location, Location, Location” applies just as well on the web as it does on the street… you need to create a presence in order to be present. Best way to do that is by having a content strategy.

Reason #3: Poor User Experience: You see, the reason I want to know if a business has a website is because I don’t always want to have to listen to them. I want to be able to go on their website when I want to, and get the answers I need. True, most of the time it is a polite way of saying, “I’m really not going to buy anything right now, so let’s make this easy for both of us.” But for the times that is not the case… if I get to your website and it is boring or out of date… you lost me.

Reason #4: You Aren’t Keeping it Up to Date: Let’s use a comparison here… let’s say that you have a storefront business. And let’s say that you painted it 10 years ago with the “now” color. Or worse… you have the same carpet you orginally did. And there is clutter in the store. And things are dusty. And the newspaper available as you walk in says, “BUSH WINS!!!” All good if you are tailoring to the out-of-date, poor sense of taste, antiquing scene. (And I know that the antiquing enthusiats will be the first to say that they DO NOT have a porr sense of tast. I get that. I am trying to make a point here about the importance of a fresh website design. Work with me.)

You need to “keep up” with your website the same way you need to keep up with your house, or your car. Investing along the way gives you “web equity.”

Reason #5: You Aren’t Putting It To Work For You: “I have a website.” I like to hear that from businesses. But what is more important to me is the answer to these two questions,”Are you using it?” and, “How?” You need to understand WHY you have a website to know HOW to use it. Your customer base may be different than mine, but customers are customers… they are people. They have questions. They want answers. They want things.

If your website is not being used to answer those questions, to let them know that you have those “things” (products/services/whatevers)… if you aren’t using your website to support your current customers… and to attract new ones…

Then it will fail.

So they’re they are. My Top 5 Reasons a Small Business Website Will Fail.

This is my list. It is not complete. What else needs to be on it? What is your list? Comment below.