Creating website content involves a significant investment of time and resources for any company. If you spend that much time, energy and money creating high-quality content, of course you want visitors to ‘consume’ as much of it as possible while visiting your website. The best way to accomplish this is by using smart content personalization. Customizing content to suit new or regular visitors offers a personalized feel and can help streamline certain tasks.
When some website owners hear about website personalization, they think it must involve highly sophisticated web tools or algorithms. In fact, personalizing content for customers can be fairly simple. There are several simple measures anyone can try to make their content more attractive for visitors.
#1. Recommend Related Reading
Perhaps the most effective form of content personalization is the “You Might Like…” recommended content found at the end of many websites today. YouTube was truly the pioneer in this field when they introduced the side list of related videos that came up as people were watching something. It led to something known as the YouTube Effect, which has been experienced by anyone who went onto the website to check out a video and wound up still there 45 minutes and 25 videos later. The same approach is now being used by a number of high content, high-traffic websites including The Huff Post, BuzzFeed and College Humor.
#2. Customize Content Attributes
In addition to offering related reading, videos or other content, it’s possible to customize the way content is offered depending on the type of visitors. Customized attributes identify the type of visitor to a website and then alters the layout slightly. A first time visitor to a creative development website, for example, might be given the options to learn more about the company, view its portfolio or request a quote on a potential project. A visitor identified as a returning one, however, would be given the option to check in with the team members on their project, get a snapshot of progress or access common files.
#3. Get Local
Content can also be personalized based on geographic information. Posts, videos, media and links based on a visitor’s zip code, for example, puts them in touch with your company on a local, hometown level. This type of personalization is ideal for organizations with far-flung members such as franchises, small business associations and non-profits. It beings a community together and shows visitors how they can get involved on a local level.
#4. Give Users Control
If you offer users the chance to make an account and profile for your website, then it’s fairly simple to also give them some control over how they view and interact on your site as well. Being able to tag certain posts or add them to a favorites list, change the way some content is displayed and request notifications when content related to their interest is posted are all simple options to implement on a website and they offer users a way to feel in control.
#5. Create Content With Customers in Mind
Content created for search engines will never get a feel of personalization. When creating website content, you should consider your customer’s/reader’s needs. Add value to your posts by learning your target audience and knowing what kind of information is interesting for them. Provide useful instructions or answer the frequent questions. Thus, your content will present value for the readers and make them come back for more.
#6. Keep It Simple
When writing about something, try to give clear and simple explanation. This will actually show that you want to be helpful and value your reader’s time. Such kind of content is always appreciated. Also, use a friendly conversational tone. It doesn’t mean you should go for slang or informal language, because that in fat can diminish your reputation and site reliability. However, your content should not sound distant and too formal. Think about your readers as the colleagues or fellows you are sharing information with. Then you will sound polite, friendly and not too pushy.
#7. Improve Your ‘About’ Page
Personalization works when it is a mutual process. You learn something about your audience interests and peculiarities – so you should share information about yourself as well, so it would be comfortable for your readers to communicate with you and trust you. People want to see same people behind the projects, blogs and websites. So, think about the best way to introduce yourself, your life and business goals, and other facts that will prove your credibility.
Communicate with Readers
Another easy way to keep tabs on what users think is to give them ample opportunity to tell you. As you work towards your ideal website content or design, give users the chance to give their own feedback and to control the level of personalization they receive. Being able to see how most users adjust their settings as well as reading through their feedback will help guide the development of the website and your marketing strategy.
Why is Personalization Necessary
As businesses grow and reach out to new users, it’s important that visitors don’t feel as though they’ve gotten lost in the crowd or, worse yet, forgotten in the rush to attract new clients. Content personalization solves this problem by giving visitors and clients an individualized feel but, as with anything, moderation is key. The level of personalization can be adjusted to offer users the right mix of individualization and standard content and design. This approach prevents users from feeling as though they’re nothing more than an anonymous face in the crowd without becoming overly familiar or intrusive. Ultimately, any company can use some level of personalization to make visitors feel comfortable, welcomed and valued.
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