I'm Abinav Thakuri, an independent CRO/UX consultant from Kathmandu, Nepal. I help E-commerce & SaaS businesses solve expensive problems and fix leaky revenue. I have 8 years of client-facing experience.
I should start by saying that I am a UX/CRO consultant myself, so obviously, I don't really have the experience of hiring someone else. The first question that you've asked don't have definitive answers.
The most important thing you should look for is someone who really has a process and is very data-driven instead of just actionable tips that are according to tried and tested rules as they don't apply to all situations. What you should expect to pay depends on many factors such as the stage that your business is currently in, the person's experience, etc.
There's no need to look for a baller person or a firm. The important thing is whether the person excels at his field and is able to get you real results.
I do feel that you need CRO as you could be losing leads right now(I cannot confirm this as I haven't seen your site/landing page yet).
You could call or message me for any further questions that you may have. I'd be happy to help you.
I think with your future goal in mind which is to eventually have a bigger website with everything from every website, it is better to go with Option 1. Having an umbrella brand and then having sub-brands within it will make it easier for the customers to relate to the brand once you implement your final goal of the bigger Amazon-like website.
This also doesn't hurt your need to make customers feel that they are a part of something that identifies with them. You could have your Action Sports website for example to talk directly to the right Action Sports customers. You just need to have some kind of branding indicating that this site is a part of umbrella brand. I can't see how this can hurt. In fact, this could even be done without completely different websites for every category. You could have one site with different category landing pages that lead to listing pages that only contain stuff from that category like Action Sports for example. Shopify has done a lot of these kinds of landing pages that are very effective. Have a look at these two which are aimed towards ebook authors and pet suppliers respectively:
But I think you've already got the separates website working? It's fine and could work well. What you're trying to do is really good. I have a lot more suggestions in mind which could make your sites a lot more effective and make more conversions/revenue eventually. I would be happy to discuss this in detail through a call.
I went through your website and I can see so many improvements.
Firstly, I can't quite understand what your website does when I get on it. I would still be confused if you wouldn't have explained it yourself above. That is bad.
I'd suggest you start with making your website copy a lot better. A good copy goes a long way. Good copy can get your users/visitors to do what you want which is sign up for an account in this case.
After the copy comes the User Experience and User Interface. I see a lot of improvements small and big that can increase your conversion rate. Here's a hint, your Sign Up button is not so prevalent on the homepage. It could be improved. Using just plain Sign Up is not as effective as it could be when accompanied by a handful of the most important reasons for why they should Sign Up.
Your layout looks cluttered at the moment. It could use white space. Cleaning it up and setting it up more like a landing page then a listing page can be a lot more effective. You can effectively tell your visitors/users what to do in that way.
I have a lot more suggestions in mind that could make your website/process very effective. I'd be happy to discuss them in detail through a call.
I have some experience in the past promoting my own services, apps,etc on Twitter. I've been able to build up a pretty good following of around 84.8K followers at the moment. I'm not bragging though because I know a lot of those followers are not targeted because of some mistakes I've done before. But I have been able to correct those mistakes and have very targeted followers now. I used to have 100K+ untargeted followers but I have been able to bring it down to 84.8K followers whose majority is targeted. It took a lot of work and I've been able to learn a lot of things on the way.
You will need to have a structured plan on how you will promote your mobile app to your followers. You can't just promote it right out of nowhere just when you're going to launch. Instead give them some kind of value. Understand your potential users and what is of value to them.
I can't stress enough how you need to be getting targeted followers who really care. I know it's not possible to have 100% targeted followers. But you need to try your best to have the followers who actually care and understand your niche. There a really simple way to do that and that's to only( or at least 80% of the time) tweet about things that are related and of value to your niche market. You could write a few very valuable blog posts and post that on your Twitter. I found that just promoting your product on Twitter is not enough and you could be turned off when you finally announce your launch to your followers and it just doesn't get the results you were hoping for. So don't rely on it too much.
What worked for me is turning those Twitter followers to email subscribers. So what you do is give free high quality value to your followers through excellent valuable blog posts, valuable free short ebooks, etc. Your offering could be anything but just make sure that it's really valuable to your niche market. Now you need to collect their email in exchange of the value you're giving them for free(you can do this using services like Mailchimp,etc). So through this you will have built up an email list of people who are really interested in what you are offering. This is of lot more value than just having the Twitter followers. You can still tweet your launch to them but now you also have a highly valuable email list of people who are more likely to purchase. This way you've filtered your Twitter followers and captured emails from the cream of the crop!
There are a lot more detailed and highly valuable lessons I've learned and I'd be happy to go in detail and answer any question you have through a call.
I have been managing multiple domains/sites for my clients since a few years now and I think the easiest and best way to do it in your case would be setting up simple WordPress sites on each one of them and managing them with something like ManageWP(https://managewp.com/) .
If they're niche domains, you can monetize them through ads or use them as affiliate sites. Selling them can also be also an option. If you can get the sites to look fairly nice and if they are niche domains, you can sell them on sites like Flippa(https://flippa.com/) . Overall, you have many options.
I'd be glad to help you in detail through a call if you want.
I have worked with many WordPress slideshow plugins and most of them require the CSS change for text wrapping. You can use a page specific class or id in the CSS to only affect the about page.You can have a look at this tutorial to see how you can do this: http://graphpaperpress.com/tips/change-backgrounds-colors-fonts-on-specific-pages/
I hope this helps and I'd be open for a call if you need help with anything else :)
I have worked with many of these kinds of plugins before and have also developed custom plugins myself. Yes, both the plugins should work fine together. There shouldn't be an issue with doing using them together. I'd be happy to answer and guide you through any more questions and inquiries you may have by call.