A website is important for every business, but if you run an ecommerce site and depend on the sales your site generates, your site performance is critical to the health of your business.

There is more to creating an effective ecommerce site than simply featuring pictures of your products and a “buy now” button. Many business owners have expended a tremendous amount of resources into creating a website and generating traffic… only to see their site fail to convert visitors. I’ve worked with plenty of business owners in this situation, and I understand how stressful it can be.

If your ecommerce site is underperforming, the good news is that it is never too late to make adjustments. To help you do this, below are four common reasons that e-commerce sites perform poorly:

  1. Confusing navigation. If website visitors have to work hard in order to find the products they want, they are going to give up and shop elsewhere. Your site must be easy to navigate and intuitively organized.

  2. Insufficient product information. If a shopper has questions about your products and can’t find the answers easily, they’re not going to make the purchase. Include as much information as possible—make it a goal to answer every conceivable question, however unlikely. But you must organize this information in such a way that a more casual shopper doesn’t have to scroll through a wall of text. “More information” tabs are a great solution.

  3. A complicated checkout process. Services like Google Checkout and PayPal make it easy to complete a transaction, so there’s no excuse for a complicated and time-consuming checkout process. Make checkout as short, clean, and simple as you possibly can. Industry leaders like Amazon.com do a fantastic job with this, and it’s a big part of their success.

  4. Unattractive design. When a customer arrives at your site, you have seconds to capture their attention. If your site creates a poor first impression, they aren’t going to look around. Identify your target market, and design your website in a manner that appeals to them.

When properly executed, an ecommerce site can generate a tremendous amount of income. But doing so is much easier said than done, and there are plenty of pitfalls that you can fall into. Are you making any of the mistakes we’ve covered above?