I was explaining how websites work to a ‘fresh’ out of college student (my cousin) at the weekend. After about 15 minutes of starting off with the basics it didn’t take long for him to go cross-eyed! Bless him.
SEO, CRO, Visits, UX, Goals, Content, Keywords, PPC, Inbound Links, Page Ranks, Scores etc etc
I then had to break it down to him that a website should be like…well….Manchester United (that’s who he supports). This is how I explained the basics of a website and its functions to him:
“Your website should be like Manchester United. A well organised team who know what their own job roles are. Your team (website) is there to create you goals so that you can win more games (win business). To help you achieve these goals you will need players (web pages). However, these players (web pages) will need to be strong and will need to keep the ball (visitor) as much as they can in the form of possesion (traffic stickiness).
Sometimes, some players (web pages) will give away the ball (visitor) too many times (points of leakage) and they will need to be either replaced or trained up (optimisation) but you can only find points of leakage by watching each player closely (using Analytics). Some of these players (web pages) will occasionally receive the ball halfway (campaign landing pages) and will require extra flair and intelligence (content) in order to pass the ball (visitor) to another player (web page) preferably a striker.
Ideally that player (web page) needs to pass it to someone like Wayne Rooney (conversion page) who will shoot and most likely score (goal!!). There will be times when Wayne Rooney gets tired and goes off form (optimisation) and you will need to get him back into shape (testing) and ultimately increase his performance (conversion rate).
Manchester United don’t play the same opposition every week so therefore you will need to adjust your players (web pages) to handle different types of opposition (traffic type). Not every player (web pages) can handle the same opposition every week so they need to be flexible but good at keeping the ball (engaging content).
“Why don’t I just have a website full of Wayne Rooney’s then?” he said.
“Why has Sir Alex Ferguson bought players like Nani who can hold the ball (engaging content) and Antonio Valencia (landing page)?
Because Manchester United are a team (website) and they work together and they all need different skills in order to pass the ball (visitor) to the likes of Wayne Rooney (conversion page) to get you your goals (conversions, leads, business opportunities, money, sales)”
After I had explained it in this form he better understood the purpose of a website and then started scribbling what looked like a site map but in the form of a ‘tactics’ blackboard you would see in a football teams dressing room at half-time. My work was done!
So, my question to you is this “Are your Michael Carricks, Nani’s, Valencia’s and Wayne Rooney’s performing on your website?”
P.S – If your thinking about leaving a comment on ‘world-class’ and ‘Manchester United’ then don’t even think about it.
Great idea! Of course it’s not all about the match – the training beforehand where the different players are tested against each other (multivariate or AB testing) before being selected by big Alex (web team). If they don’t perform well during the game he subsitutes them for another (continuous improvement cycle) and gives the bad ones the hairdryer treatment (critical analysis by web team).
Yes, your quite right Lawrence. Training (A/B testing) is very important indeed in making sure you have the right players (web pages) with the right skills (content) to get you the goals for success.
“Your website should be like Manchester United” but more often than not ends up like West Ham United! Players (web pages) are changed on an arbitrary basis, new formations (pages, site structure, funnels) are tried without any form of testing, the management team changes it’s KPIs from League position, FA Cup to avoiding relegation (audience size, engagement, revenue etc) and understanding the fundamentals of tactics (anything more than a top line summary) remains beyond most, but everyone still retains the right to an opinion!
Stretching the analogy too far? Perhaps and it does paint an unnecessarily negative picture of web analytics. The same can’t be said for West Ham unfortunately!
Great analogy! I really like it!
Recently I started posting interestnig analogies I found on the web on blog.ygolana.com. I thought it could be a good idea to create a place where people can share useful analogies.