If you’re running an online business (as a home-based business or otherwise), you’ve probably noticed that E-Businesses can suddenly slow down or screech to a halt for what seem like no apparent reasons. Sometimes external events such as major holidays, Wall Street events, sporting events such as the Super Bowl, and major hurricanes can have a huge impact for online businesses. During these times, fewer overall people are shopping online and business simply slows down. There isn’t too much you can do about these events. Most home-based businesses can’t do what large companies like GoDaddy do: purchase a Super Bowl spot.
However, web-based businesses can be slow for other reasons that are under your control. Some of those are:
- SERPs – Has your website suddenly dropped in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) of one of the major search engines? For example, was your site on page 1 last week and now it’s on page 10 of Google?
- Web Site – is your site up consistently? This might seem obvious, but it’s always worth checking with your site host to see if they are having extensive downtime issues.
- Shopping Cart – is your shopping cart working? That is always worth testing once in awhile, especially if your shopping cart is hosted and supported by someone else and they often add patches and updates.
- Payment Gateway – is your payment gateway having issues? External payment gateways (such as Authorize.Net) can have problems that cause your customers to get errors when they try to pay. Most shopping cart systems have a ‘manual mode’, but you need to be aware of the problem.
- Competition – is there new completion? Sometimes new sites offer slashed prices just to get on the board. You should be prepared to wait these out.
- Press Events – is there a major negative press event on the products you’re selling? A well-publicized recall for example, can put a damper on your sales.
Whatever the reason, don’t panic! Even impact from major catastrophic events (like Katrina) will taper off. And if the reason is under your control, deal with it in any way possible.