The Reality of Website Personalization
Amanda Lee loves writing, photography, and coffee.
While by no means a new concept, website personalization is as popular as ever as companies seek to give site visitors a unique experience tailored to their needs and requests. However, tailoring a website to fully engage different types of visitors comes with a few difficulties. The following are three main factors that often make personalization a challenge.
Personalization Takes a Significant Amount of Resources and Time
Although website personalization will ultimately make your company money in the long run, in the short term it takes a lot of time and resources to do it correctly. Think of it this way, if you are personalizing a section on your homepage by audience, you will need to decide how to target each demographic. Then, you will need to create specific content for each audience. Finally, even after those tasks are completed, you are stuck with the additional task of deciding what the overall goal is so you can track the success of the personalized experiences.
After you’ve spent the time doing the above, you need to implement them in a personalization tool. Again, this requires resources and might even be a few days’ worth of work before your site is completely personalized. Once it’s up you and running will need to let it run awhile to let it gain momentum to give you meaningful statistical data. After enough time, you’ll need to go back and evaluate and possibly tweak the content. All of this requires a substantial about of budgeted time and capabilities to be possible. Of course, using a CMS such as Crafter, where the personalization engine is built directly into the platform, makes this effort so much easier than legacy systems.
Reporting Helps Determine Goals
So how do you know whether personalization has really improved your website? That’s when reporting comes to play. Because reporting can vary, knowing what should take priority will help you determine proper goals for your personalization campaign. In a nutshell, it comes down to conversions — more clicks, downloads, click ratio per audience, and navigation to other sections should all be part of the testing. For e-commerce sites, add shopping cart stats and revenue per customer. Again, nobody said website personalization is easy.
Without realizing how much time it takes to set up and report, many employers simply add the huge task of personalizing the company website onto an employee’s already-busy full-time schedule. This is a really bad idea. Adding personalization to someone’s current job responsibilities without giving it the attention it needs will not yield a successful campaign. Again, having personalization built-in to your CMS platform makes reporting and optimization much more time efficient.
Manage Team Expectations
Website personalization gives visitors to your site a very individual experience, but keep in mind it doesn’t always feel magical on the backend. You may hear people from your team say, “Why can’t we just set up a campaign for this?” (meaning, for every little thing) or “Just run a test!” But from the time it takes to create the content to execute it to testing it to optimizing it, personalizing “everything” just isn’t possible. Laying out how you will be targeting your audience should be established from the beginning, and then you can recycle those groups into new campaigns down the road to help you move faster.
Another expectation you will need to nip in the bud is the fact that personalization won’t necessarily drive traffic to your site. It will, however, keep quality visitors on your site longer, keep them engaged, and ultimately convert visitors into loyal customers. Your leadership team might not be comfortable, yet with the metrics involved with personalization, so you will need to help familiarize them with this type of thinking.
All in all, personalization can be rewarding and the key to success for your company site. But, as you just discovered, it is not easy or quick. To make personalization for your site as quick, efficient, and effective as possible, contact us to learn how a modern platform such as CrafterCMS can help you meet your goals.
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