What Else Needs to Happen For Website Personalization to Be On Every Site

By Shoshana Brickman

website_personalization_to_be_on_every_siteIf you remember watching Cheers on TV, you’ll know that one of the best parts of the show was the theme song at the beginning. The song was “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” and it even made it to the billboard charts.

In a nutshell, the song reflected the show’s general feel-good feeling: that life is nicer when there is a place you can visit, every day or every now and then, where people greet you by name.

Fast forward to the internet in 2016, and there are few places that people visit where they are known by name. The personal touch that was part and parcel of Cheers simply doesn’t exist on the internet. I mean, Facebook may greet you when you log in, but your average website does not.

Caption: Not every SMB has Facebook-sized resources to invest in website personalization.

In some ways, this is a good thing. I mean, you don’t really want every site you visit to know your name, birthdate, and favorite ice cream flavor. On the other hand, it would be nice if a website could respond to what time it is when you visit the site, your geographic location, or the device you’re visiting from.  

That’s where website personalization comes in.

It’s the ability for a website to identify visitors according to certain criteria and adjust the content that those visitors see accordingly.

Website Personalization: An Example or Two

For example, a restaurant website generally has all of its menus available on its websites. Visitors at noon who want to know the lunch specials usually need to click Menus > Lunch to find what’s usually served at lunch.

With website personalization, that same website could show a popup with the lunchtime menu to visitors who come to the site at noon. This saves visitors the hassle of looking for Menu in the navigation bar and then scrolling for the right menu.

Moreover, if there is a seasonal special (like Spicey Pumpkin Soup in autumn, or Chilled Cucumber Soup in summer) visitors could see that with a time-sensitive popup that’s scheduled to appear according to both time of day and year.

Further personalization could include a Click-to-Call or OpenTable button for easy table reservations for visitors that came to the site from a mobile device.

Another example of website personalization is also the ability to know the geolocation of a visitor and respond in kind. So if a visitor arrives on a website for a store that has several branches, the brick-and-mortar address of the branch that’s closest to the visitor’s geolocation would be shown. And if the visitor lands on the page from a smartphone, displaying a Click-to-Call button can enable the visitor to call if they have an important question to ask before arriving.  

Many companies already use website personalization to greet visitors. Facebook’s greetings are one example, of course; Amazon’s “related item” suggestions are another. But these companies are huge, and the technology and resources that they have at their fingertips are well beyond what average SMBs have at theirs.

Does this mean website personalization is for Fortune 500 companies only? No way!

It just means that a few things need to happen in order for web professionals of every size and type to integrate personalization into each and every website they build.

4 Things That Need To Happen to Make Website Personalization Happen

  1. Awareness

The first step in any change is recognizing the need for that change. In the case of website personalization, it’s pretty clear that a personalized website will appeal to users more than an impersonal one. A website that shows breakfast menus in the morning and suppertime specials at night will probably attract more converting customers than one that shows the same thing all day, all year.

The key is recognizing how easy that change is to make happen. You don’t need fancy programming skills and you don’t need a huge budget, either. In the past, website personalization may have been the forte of large companies like Amazon; today, it is accessible to SMBs, too.

The learning curve is minimal and there is no need for coding experience. It also doesn’t need to be something that’s enabled through a complicated installation process. With Duda, website personalizations are part of the website building platform, which means they are completely synced and harmonized with any Duda website.

  1. Affordability

If website personalization costs too much money, it’s not going to be readily available. But even so-called free personalization tools can be resource-expensive if they require skilled developers to code, and intensive maintenance to maintain. For website personalization to be widely available, implementation and maintenance must not require too many resources.

Let’s take a look at Ikea, the furniture company that “aims to improve the life of ordinary people by making furniture that everyone can afford.” You don’t need to be rich to buy a bookcase from Ikea, and you don’t need to be an engineer to assemble it.

Website personalization needs to follow a similar principal. It should be easy enough to use that it can be set up and maintained by people who have no coding experience. Even free personalizations are worthless if they take too much time to implement. After all, there’s nothing affordable about spending hours planning and implementing a website personalization when entire websites are waiting to be built.

The key here is to make an affordable solution that doesn’t require an expert web developer to build, program or maintain. In other words, to enable complex technological processes to be implemented by someone who doesn’t have a degree in computer engineering. Just like you don’t need to be a master carpenter in order to build a bookcase from Ikea, you shouldn’t have to be a master programmer to implement a customized trigger-and-action on your website.

  1. Simplicity

The last thing any of us need is a more complicated world. And if affordable personalization is complicated, no thank you!

Running a business is hard enough, and involves more than enough considerations and concessions. Making things more complicated by having a personalization tool that needs to be loaded separately to the website is just another source of work. Furthermore, if a personalization add-on is hard to use, expensive, complicated, or requires updating on a regular basis, it makes life harder, not easier.  

So the best website personalization solution is one that is easy to use, and ideally part of an existing website editor, a tool that’s already integrated with the toolbox being used to build websites. With Duda, this tool is not an add-on; it’s part of the website builder, and completely synched with the builder, ready to be used when you want.

  1. Access

Having a cheap (or even free) solution is no good if it’s not accessible to the masses. Even if those masses are web professionals with excellent website skills, they may not have the time or resources to invest in personalization.

By access, then, we mean that the technology behind the available website personalization must be easy to use and accessible. Access also means that personalization cannot be too time-consuming, as this make it unrealistic for people who need to build websites quickly and efficiently. Finally, accessibility means that the tools should ideally be part of the website builder itself, and not something that is added separately and susceptible to system errors, unstable updates or bugs.

Come and Knock on Our Door

All of this brings us to the theme song from another great sitcom, one that ended its run just about the time Cheers was starting its. That sitcom was Three’s Company, and the theme song invited everyone to come and knock on their door.

When you build a website, you’re building a virtual door that you want people to knock on and enter. By making that door as inviting as possible for visitors, you create the best possible experience for them. Website personalization is a great way of building that door. You can make it perfectly suited to each and every visitor so that each and every visitor walks right in and feels right at home.  

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About Shoshana Brickman

Shoshana Brickman is a content writer, product writer, and professional typo-finder. Shoshana strives to keep her writing clear and concise, though she does try to sneak in an occasional poetic device when possible. When Shoshana is not writing, she is reading, ruminating or running.
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