Twice per month, I get together with some fellow entrepreneurs and brainstorm with each other about our businesses. We typically have a part of the meeting where we have a topic for us to discuss. This is usually an aspect of business that we may have encountered and how did we react or take care of the situation. This past meeting we had a discussion on decisions and particularly on how we come to making those decisions. One of the questions we discussed was “Have you ever made a decision based on desperation rather than inspiration?” and it made me think about something that I tell my clients on occasion which is “don’t make knee jerk reactions” and how a knee jerk reaction could cost you money and time.
A knee jerk reaction is basically an immediate, unthinking, emotional reaction produced by an event or statement to which the reacting person is highly sensitive. Sometimes when it comes to the success of your website, we all tend to do that. We see that our main income driver from the site is not working the way we hoped or that there doesn’t seem to be an interest in our product or service. Our reaction is to try to “stop the bleeding” immediately without really giving it much thought.
If your site is setup properly, you should have a bunch of data already giving you some initial information about traffic flow and user sessions. In many cases, the owner has no idea what they are looking at nevermind the fact that they barely have time to look at their analytics and analyze them. They tend to just increase advertising spending or hire someone to do search engine optimization to try to drive more traffic and in the end they spend good money after bad to try to fix something that they assume is broken.
In a situation where there is a problem, the worst thing you can do is assume you know how to fix it. That would be the equivalent of self diagnosing an illness using Google. You need to take a step back (maybe even take a deep breath or two) and assess the situation. What is the real problem? What could be causing that problem? What are some of the ways the problem can be fixed?
When it comes to your website, there could be many factors but typically they fall into two categories, high traffic, low conversion or low traffic, low conversions. Depending on which one you have will depend on which direction you go in. For example, if you have a thousand visitors per month and ten sales what happened to the other nine-hundred and ninety? You could spend more money to drive more traffic and increase your sales or conversions but you may not need to. The problem can be with the site itself. If your knee jerk reaction is that you should spend more money driving traffic, you could be spending money on the wrong thing. Because many companies wait until there is a problem rather than monitoring as things move along, they tend to panic and make decisions based on desperation as opposed to being based on data and facts.
The best way to avoid knee jerk reactions is to keep an eye on things. Watching trends and making minor adjustments along the way will save you time and money in the long run. What you sacrifice in the time it takes to learn what you are looking at and understanding it, you will more than make up in desperation moves and unnecessary spending. It is certainly better to spend a little and learn a lot than to spend a lot and learn a little.