You could do everything right in a business sense, but when it comes to running an online company, your success is heavily dependent on how well you can navigate through the world of the internet.

Even as you read this, billions of people are logged onto the internet, giving you brand infinite opportunities to reach your target audience. However along with the billions that are plugged in, there are also a multitude of competitors doing everything they can to snag your customers.

Your competitors may not have the best products or even the best service, but in the world of online business it is all about who can get to the consumer first and who can market their brand in way that instantly captures the needs and wants of the consumer.

While competition is a fact of life, it should also not be an excuse as to why your online business is failing. In fact, if your business is not doing as well as you would like online, here are the top 5 reasons:

1. You are not keeping things updated

Technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the world so no matter what you are selling online, you have to have a detailed understanding of the latest strategies in the industry.

What was working for your company before may be a completely outdated strategy today and often this can go undetected for months or even years if you are not staying ahead of the trends.

Marketing as well reflects the changes in technology and if you are not keeping up to date with the latest strategies, you could be severely harming your company.

For example, Google, the biggest search engine is constantly updating their algorithm which means SEO practices are constantly changing. In fact, at least once a year Google announces some new changes that can drastically effect the way consumers find and relate to your business.

If you are still relying on some old and outdated strategies, it may be time to reconsider changing things up a bit to see if you can create new results. Start by editing things in your business one at a time so you can see which updates are working.

Once you have monitored the changes, you can begin tweaking and updating your business more aggressively. In fact, rather than just going with the trends, your aim should be to stay ahead of them.

2. You Don’t Offer Anything Original

When it comes to the online world, it is all about which brand can be seen first, leave the best impression and be in the right place at the right time.

Because of this, many brands think that they can get away by copying their competitors and offering a very similar product, style and service. While this may still generate sales and income for your business, it does leave you limited as a brand and can be difficult in creating growth opportunities.

It is natural to copy a format that has been successful for others or in the past, but if you really want to grow your business you have to think about offering something original and unique to your consumers.

This could be something as simple as a different experience- for example Warby Parker is not the first online retailer to sell glasses, however they were one of the first to allow you to try a few pairs on at home before you purchased them. And gossip blogger, Perez Hilton was also not the first blogger to write about celebrities, but he was the first to present his information in the snarky way that he did.

Being original is all about building something that your customers can know you for. It also helps to set you apart from competitors and also provides your brand with plenty of opportunities to grow online.

3. You Have Lost Sight of Your Traffic

It doesn’t matter how good your website looks or how primed your sales funnels are, if you don’t have a constant flow of traffic than you will never turn around a high volume of sales.

Website traffic is crucial to running an online business however, not any traffic will do. Many online businesses fall into the trap of buying cheap traffic quickly, however if your traffic are not interested in your product than you could be wasting not only your money but also your time.

Targeting the right kind of traffic may be a little more costly, however in the long run it is definitely worth it as they are more likely to convert into paying customers.

In order to really target your demographic, you have to have an understanding of who your audience is and how you can swoop in and fulfil all of their wildest desires. This may take a little research, trial and error but when it comes to running an online business, understanding your market is number one.

If budget is a concern, work on getting the right type of traffic through your online door before you spend big money on a flashy website. Why? You can always tweak your site and sales funnels when you have an audience but when it is the other way around, it’s all pretty much meaningless.

4. You are relying too heavily on social media networks

Both Facebook and Twitter have updated their algorithms in recent months to edit what audience members see when they come to their news feed.

This is pretty much bad news for most businesses as unless your content is getting a lot of traction, chances are it won’t even be seen. Even if you pay to boost your posts or run ads, the number of people seeing it can vary greatly depending on the amount of likes, clicks and comments.

Most businesses have probably already started to notice the decline of social media traffic and engagement due to these changes, which is why it is becoming dangerous to use it as a main source of finding traffic.

While social media channels can have many benefits, like collecting leads and building a strong brand, it really comes back to the old saying- “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Running campaigns across a multitude of social networks is a good start but if you are not seeing pleasing results from this, perhaps it is time to start thinking about alternatives or changing up your strategy.

5. You are trying to be an expert instead of building real connections

One of the beauties of running an online business is that you can really reach your customers in a way that has never been done before through social media, blogs, vlogs and webinars.

The trap that some online businesses fall into however, is that they work so hard on becoming an ‘expert’ in their field that they lose sight on connecting with their customers and relating to them. Instead they become ‘unreachable’ or too high up on a pedestal, which can turn customers away.

This is not only relevant to service based businesses but also to product based or e-commerce stores as well.

Instead of chasing sales and doing everything you can to prove your worth, instead try showing your worth by reaching your customers where it matters most. This could involve something simple like running a ‘Q and A’ on Twitter or even something more elaborate like offering your leads a free phone consult.

In today’s economy if someone doesn’t feel connected to your message it is very unlikely that they would want to do business with you.

Start by working out what your message is, what your brand stands for and then communicating that to your audience. Even though it is all online, consumers always appreciate those who make an effort to genuinely connect.

If your business is slowing online, get back to the root of why you are doing what you are doing and start looking at where you can make some changes.