Although Hollywood is known for taking huge liberties with the stories it puts on the silver screen, nearly every biographical film you see has certain elements of truth in it. This is certainly the case with Moneyball, where Brad Pitt and some dramatic screenwriting have helped to share an interesting sports idea (based on a book with the same name) with the public in general.

If you aren’t a baseball fan, or haven’t seen one of the hundreds of previews that seemed to accompany the movie’s release, then we can sum up the premise of Moneyball easily: Rather than sitting on established traditions, the general manager of a small-market team decided to evaluate players solely on statistics. The result was that the team won more games despite one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball.

Doesn’t that sound a little familiar?

It should; small business owners, marketing managers, and e-commerce experts are fascinated with the idea of trying to get more out of less. Whether it’s working with niche retailing outlets or trying to squeeze high-impact marketing out of low-cost avenues like social networking, we are always looking for a better return on investment than what we’re getting right now. And yet, there’s always room for improvement, and there are always old patterns and ideas that seem to persist, even when they aren’t backed up by the numbers.

And so, the question is: Are you taking a Moneyball approach to your website?

Here are a handful of tips to help you get started on trying to get more for less:

Remember that you can’t use the numbers until you have them.
 Even though Google analytics, one of the most powerful pieces of metrics software out there, is freely available, a lot of companies don’t use it… or don’t use it to its full advantage. Get up close with the numbers behind your business website, because they’ll put you in a position to make better decisions.

Always build on what works first. Wherever you have found success in the past should be your starting point for future online marketing campaigns. Rather than throwing a big piece of your budget in something that might not work, put the biggest piece of it into what you know will be successful, and then experiment with the rest.

Set a time limit for any new idea to show a profit. 
Sometimes, you have ideas that you just know will be profitable in your business someday, but it’s getting hard to figure out when that day is ever going to arrive. Even slower-moving marketing tools like search engine optimization and social media marketing should be evaluated on a given timeline, even if it’s six months or a year down the road. Otherwise, you could keep pouring money into something that’s never going to show a profit.

Question anything that you don’t know to be true for your business or industry.
Believe it or not, there are businesses that survive, and thrive, without things like SEO or an online newsletter, and others that couldn’t survive without them. Because every business and industry is different, make a point of questioning anything you don’t absolutely know can be successful and keep a close eye on the metrics.

Life isn’t often like the movies, but when you’re looking to get the most out of your business website, following the Moneyball strategy isn’t a bad way to go.