Personalizing a Website
Every day, internet users are bombarded with choices about which sites to use, for everything from online shopping to reading the news. Sifting through all those options to find the most relevant sites can be overwhelming, especially when many come across as generic and distant.
Website personalization is a way to cater to your site’s visitors, with content specifically related to their needs. By using browsing behavior and location data to learn about your audience, you can display content that is more likely to engage them and build brand loyalty.
In this article, we’ll discuss several types of website personalization that can benefit site owners and users alike. Then we’ll suggest several plugins you can use to add personalization to your WordPress site. Let’s get started!
What Is Website Personalization?
In short, website personalization is a way to present your visitors with content that caters specifically to their needs. In many ways, online personalization mimics the experience of in-person customer service, by anticipating users’ needs and helping them find what they’re looking for more quickly.
Personalization is often achieved by presenting different content to each visitor, based on certain conditions. For example, depending on the time of day a user visits your site, your home page greeting might read “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon”, or “Good Evening”. You could further personalize this greeting by following it up with the user’s name if they are logged in to your site, as in: “Good Morning, Dave”.
To accomplish this and more complex personalization techniques, such as displaying targeted ads or location-specific content, you’ll have to gather data on your site’s visitors. In our previous example, the user’s time zone and account information are all that’s required. Other types of personalization use browsing or purchase history, user location, or referral source to display individualized content.
Top Ways to Personalize a Website
The top priority when it comes to personalizing a website is improving your visitors’ experience. How you choose to do that will likely depend on your goals for the site. Let’s explore four of the best strategies.
Option 1: Recommendations Based on Past Behavior
Personalized recommendations are common on eCommerce sites, blogs, and news sites. They often appear as messages suggesting products based on purchase history, or articles that are similar to stories the reader has previously viewed. Either way, they work by gathering user data and analyzing it, to present each visitor with suggestions based on their browsing behavior.
The impact of personalized recommendations is usually an increase in sales, since visitors don’t have to do as much work to find what they’re interested in when links to relevant products or posts are presented to them. These types of recommendations can also lead to increased page views and ad revenue.
Option 2: Personalized Ads
Many people find ads annoying, unless those ads relate to products or services they’re interested in. Just like personalized recommendations, personalized ads rely on the collection of user data. Ads can be displayed based on visitors’ past purchases, their browsing histories, or even their locations.
When you present more relevant ads, your visitors should be more likely to give them a chance. For any site using ads to generate income, personalization can lead to a significant revenue increase.
Option 3: Using Location Data to Personalize the User Experience
Location-based personalization can be applied to just about any website. Sometimes it’s used to show guests a certain background photo or greeting based on the time of day or the weather in their area. However, it’s also useful for promoting seasonal or region-specific products.
Similar to offering personalized recommendations, using location data can help you show users relevant products first, encouraging them to make a purchase. Even simple greetings specific to the time of day can mimic in-person customer service, and make visitors more likely to return.
Option 4: Personalization Based on Referral Source
A referral source is the method by which a visitor arrives at your site. They may follow a link on social media, click on an ad for your products, or happen upon your site organically. Separate landing pages designed to target users from different referral sources can enable you to offer discounts or other incentives to specific customers.
Separate landing pages are especially useful on growing sites that are starting to see higher levels of traffic, since having multiple landing pages can keep your site’s speeds high. Having all visitors coming to a single home page could cause slow loading times, which might discourage visitors from remaining on your site.
Best WordPress Plugins for Personalization
While you can implement personalization manually, it’s a lot easier to get help from a dedicated tool. With that in mind, let’s turn our attention to four WordPress personalization plugins.
Plugin 1: If>So Dynamic Content
If>So Dynamic Content enables you to display different content on your site for certain types of users. You specify conditions, and content will be shown or replaced for visitors who meet each set of criteria. You can even create default content for users who don’t meet any of your conditions.
This plugin lets you personalize content for users based on location, time and date, referral source, whether they’re a first-time or returning user, and recently-visited pages. This makes it particularly useful if you want to create landing pages for different referral sources, or display links to recently-viewed products.
Plugin 2: Logic Hop
Logic Hop works similarly to If>So, using conditions to determine what content is shown to which users. While it includes default conditions, it also enables you to create custom criteria if your needs are a little more specific.
What’s more, Logic Hop can be integrated with WooCommerce, Google Analytics, the Facebook pixel, ConvertKit, and Drip via extensions. This makes it compatible with functionality such as personalized email lists and advertising management plugins.
Plugin 3: Jetpack
Jetpack prides itself on providing a variety of helpful design, marketing, and security features in a single plugin. What’s more, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to website personalization. For example, this plugin includes a handy related posts tool to direct your visitors towards content they’re likely to be interested in.
Plus, it also enables you to implement targeted ads on your site. Partnering with Google AdSense, Facebook, and Amazon, Jetpack displays ads using data such as geolocation and browsing history. The downside is that you will have to purchase either a premium or professional plan in order to access the ad program.
Plugin 4: Beeketing for WooCommerce
Finally, Beeketing for WooCommerce is ideal for WooCommerce users who want to focus on providing targeted recommendations to their customers. This plugin is designed to help increase sales by recommending relevant products to users at ideal times, such as just before checkout.
While it offers additional features related to personalized subscriber emails and customer engagement tracking, Beeketing doesn’t provide much in the way of personalization when it comes to landing pages, location-based personalization, or targeted advertising. Like our last pick, therefore, this is best used in conjunction with another personalization plugin.
A Personalized Digital Experience
Personalizing your website can boost your number of return visitors, and improve user engagement. From targeted ads to landing pages for various referral sources, there are plenty of ways to provide a more individualized experience.
In addition to personalization, you’ll want a WordPress host that provides top-notch support for your site. Fortunately, WP Engine is a trusted platform that can help you create a high-performing site with personalized content for your users. Check out our plans today!