Two evenings every week, I trek over to our local gymnasium where my daughter takes classes. Lucky for me, they have wifi, so I hunker down and work while I get to watch her balance on the beam, swing on the bars and tumble on the mat. Work and helicopter parenting—the best of both worlds!

As I was watching the girls practice their back handsprings last night (tip for those of you who are also working on your back handsprings: keep your arms locked straight up over your head—like they are glued to your ears), I was thinking, “Hmmm, this is harder than it first looks”. I have been watching the same group of girls work on their back handspring for what feels like forever. Initially, almost every girl got their back handspring right away. They stuck their arms up, bent their legs, and with a little guidance from the coach they catapulted themselves backwards and landed on their feet, arms still high, faces gleaming with pride and awe. They weren’t thinking, they were doing.

But, it’s not that easy, right? In the next class, they basically fell apart. Some girls were now too scared to try again. Others couldn’t land on their feet once the steadying arms of the coach were removed. And a few were doing it, but their form was all wrong.

And thus began the three months of endless back handspring practice. Some evenings a handful of girls ‘stick it’ (that’s gym speak), while other girls don’t. Other times, it’s like starting from scratch as they each fumble and fall. And once in a while they all nail it. But basically, the back handspring is a progression. Two steps forward, one step back.

I was thinking back to that first night of back handspring practice and how easy it was for them all. They had reached gymnast nirvana. But even though they ‘got it’, they needed to keep on working, perfecting it, trying again and again. Luckily, their coaches bring total patience to the art of back handsprings, urging the girls forward every week, prodding them when they start to get frustrated or lose focus.

It’s not a treadmill, but more like a hike up a mountain. For sure, the girls collectively get better every week. They are stronger gymnasts today than they were three months ago. But they don’t always score a perfect 10 (hah!).

And then as I turned my attention back to my computer, I thought: the same is true of conversion rate optimization.

Yes, I find conversion inspiration everywhere I look. Don’t mock me, I can’t help it!

If you skim case studies and download a few handy checklists or infographics, you can start to get the idea that optimizing your conversions is going to be a total breeze. And it might be. Just apply a few best practices, launch a test and…higher conversions! But, it might be a little harder than that. You might not knock it out of the park every time. You will need strategy. And technology. And analysis. You will have head scratching moments. You may feel stuck. You might not understand some results. You will have some big wins followed by some non-wins (that you were really sure were going to win).

Sometimes, conversion optimization isn’t a breeze. I think it’s a disservice not to acknowledge this. Kiss Metrics describes some of the complexity perfectly in a recent post, “Why website test results don’t always add up.”

Without conversion optimization you are certainly leaving conversions on the table. So although it may not always be easy, it will be worth it. And if you keep at it, you will master your back handspring increase your conversions. Maybe even decrease your cost per acquisition, improve your speed to market, outshine your competitors, enhance your brand. The benefits are endless.

If you apply patience, good strategy and analysis with well designed tests, and maybe a dash of coaching, you will achieve positive results. As evidenced here by the most beautiful back handspring ever:

Go girl (but keep your arms straight next time)! And people, let’s not try this sort of rogue back handspring stuff at home: