None of us can be sure about how 2009 is going to pan out, but it is obvious from the daily reports of well-known names going out of business or struggling to remain in business, that it is not going to be an easy year ahead.

However large or small your business is, it is ever more apparent that using the internet to promote your business and products is one of the most important ways forward. However, in order to do this successfully, one of the most important activities you should schedule in for this year’s internet marketing strategy is testing.

It is going to be even more important to ensure that not just are you bidding on the most effective keywords in your PPC campaign, have optimised your website correctly, and that your online and offline marketing is co-ordinated, but also that when visitors arrive on your website, you are achieving the maximum conversions from your landing pages, key messages and calls to action.

There are multiple methods to do this, and one of the easiest ways is to perform A/B and multi-variate testing on different areas and pages of your site so you can measure and monitor the results of changes you make to text, design, key messages, graphics and so on.

It is surprising how even small, seemingly insignificant changes can actually affect how a visitor will respond to a call to action, but it is only by testing these changes against one another that you will know how to capitalise on the visitors who you do attract to your website.

One great tool for this is Google’s Website Optimizer which allows you to test different versions of pages against each other (A/B testing) as well as different variations of the same page (multi-variate testing). There are clear instructions on usage, as well as detailed information on the considerations you will need to make when deciding what and how to test. Even if you only test the response rates to a single landing page, this may well improve your conversion rates sufficiently to keep you in business this year.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.