This summer we have done a lot of work with small businesses working to grow into larger businesses. As WordPress development projects go sometimes, we often field projects from small businesses or solo-preneurs just getting started. We also work a lot of projects with larger companies that have been running for quite a while.
Lately, we’ve been helping clients grow from that first camp into the second.
The most important part of this shift is moving from gut feelings and good ideas into facts, data and most importantly, decision making based on facts and data.
This is never a perfect process. We never have perfect data. Some untested ideas and instincts based on experience and educated guesses will always be needed.
The trick is to reduce the unknowns over time.  Make fewer decisions from the hip, and more decisions based on what is proven to work from data.
3 lessons on decision making from a professional poker player

How do small businesses running WordPress websites to augment or extend their business do that?

One of the best ways is to leverage Google Analytics, Goals, and Conversion Rate Analysis!
It’s easy to setup Google Analytics to run on a site. Accounts are free, getting the tracking code from google and putting them on a website is typically a copy paste affair.
If you need or want more, you can use a number of plugins that make it even easier.
Google Tag Manager is another means of getting analytics running as well.

Setting up goals, requires more.

We have to look at the business and ask ourselves, what do we want for the business from our website?
We also need to look at how to measure what we want. Will we measure it in dollars, in ecommerce transactions, in lead generation or phone calls or emails or forms filled or time spent on a website or how many people watched a specific video on a page…
Every business is unique, but this need not be complicated. Neil Patel provides an excellent leap off point here, with specific examples and supporting articles to explore important topics as needed.

Sidetrack through a Compelling reason to do business with someone

Judy Knight gave a terrific presentation a couple weeks back at a local WordCamp. I believe she is making the rounds with this and promoting an excellent service to help Web Developers or Agencies improve their game with a Web designer Mastery Course.
At a high level, she helps designers understand where they are in their professional development and fill any gaps. This is not just about ‘designing’ websites. This is much more about running an effective web design agency or business.
I am a good target audience member for this course. I have a decade of experience working with WordPress. That experience serves me well in solving problems for clients. However, there are aspects of my own business organization that are not serving me well and as a result, I’m not operating at the level I know I can, because I have in other ‘jobs’.

A Compelling Call to Action

Some of her lessons led me to exploring in depth topics relating to asking the right questions to help people (visitors) get off the fence and choose to do business.  Three articles helped me dive deep on this topic:

Don’t waste your time on deals that have no compelling reason to act by Bob Apollo

3 Simple Questions That Will Increase Your Close Rate by Rizan Flenner

Compelling Reasons to Act Now by Elay Cohen

So I’m using these 3 great articles, as leap off points, brain storm starters as I re-approach a site with a long time client, who is reinventing their own business and doubling down on their efforts too.
I’m excited to see how we might improve their conversions on their home page as well as 9 other niche focused landing page variations.
We’ve already increased conversion rates, we’re working with data and I’m looking forward to making more improvements and measuring that improvement with a/b analysis (comparing statistically, the changes made on a page and going with the best performer after the test).

The Knowledge to Wisdom Continuum

The day after I wrote the article above, more of a synthesis of videos I had watched and tabs open on my browser that I couldn’t quite close yet…
I woke up and watched this second Ted Talk. It describes the speaker’s experience working for Airbnb.
His discovery of the benefits of synthesizing knowledge workers tendency to know the tech and work the data with Generation Xers and Baby Boomers tendency to work their wisdom from years of experience with humans clicked.
I realized that when I wrote about ‘gut decisions’ above I was talking to Boomer clients. When I was talking about using facts, I was talking about giving them the new and current benefits of the knowledge industry and latest incarnation of the tech revolution in big data.
In retrospect, I think it’s important to recognize and self identify where we are at on the continuum of human wisdom and tech and data knowledge.
Then pivot to our area of weakness to gain new strengths and realize our own new synergy.

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