5 Website Personalization Best Practices (+Free Tool)

Jahia is the only DXP that truly empowers you to deliver personalized journeys powered by customer data Learn how here

Website personalization is the process of using customer data to deliver relevant and engaging content to site visitors. Instead of all website visitors getting one experience, personalized websites leverage segments and customer profiles to display content that speaks directly to each visitor. Whether you are just starting your website personalization journey or looking for a tune-up, these 5 best practices for website personalization will help improve your marketing efforts.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is Website Personalization?

Website personalization looks to deliver the most engaging and relevant experience possible to each of your visitors. In order to do this, you need to know who your visitors are. Knowing who they are means capturing and storing customer data. Customer data can be used to create individual customer profiles as well as audience segments. Marketers can then dynamically change website content off of these profiles and segments. The result is content that speaks directly to the interests and characteristics of your visitors.

Why is Website Personalization Important?

Your website is the digital front door of your business and it’s here that an engaging personalized experience can mean the most. Despite this potential, it is often overlooked. When executing on “personalized content” most marketers focus on paid ad targeting and emails. Paid advertising platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, provide filters and look-alike technology that make targeted marketing simple. In email, many service providers have built-in features to segment audiences and dynamically pull in content. However, websites are often left without any personalization at all. Personalized website experiences result in visitors that feel personally connected to your brand. These personal connections are what drive growth.

Popular Types of Website Personalization

Popular types of website personalization are based on the following visitor characteristics:

  • Language: What language do they speak?

  • Geography:  What country is the visitor from?

  • Past engagements: How have they engaged with the website in the past?

  • Past purchases: What is their shopping history?

  • Demographic information: What is their age, race, income, and gender?

  • Job title: Is the visitor an entry level employee or the CEO?

  • Industry: What industry is their company a part of?

Website Personalization Best Practices for 2021

For excellent customer experiences that drive growth, it’s important to follow these five website personalization best practices.

1. Tailoring the Browsing Experience for Mobile Users

Nearly half of website traffic is mobile. It’s time to stop neglecting the most disruptive part of the mobile experience: page load time. There’s a big difference in the load speeds you can expect on your desktop vs. mobile device. Simply implementing a design that responsively shifts and resizes elements for the mobile screen is not enough. If you think about it in this way only, you’ll end up with bloated pages that take way too long to load; information that is hard to find; and actions that are difficult and time-consuming to execute. Instead, ask yourself:

  • What’s the occasion that someone will be using my site on a mobile device?

  • Is there a particular action that should be prioritized?

  • Conversely, are there certain actions that are unlikely on a mobile device and should be deprioritized?

  • Are the page elements large enough to click with a fingertip?

The answers to these questions will make it clear that a unique design for the mobile experience is necessary more often than not. This mobile-specific design is a form of personalization that improves the user experience of your visitors.

2. Utilizing User Data to Create Content Funnels

CDPs, like the one built into Jahia DXP, make it simple to connect website engagement to content funnels and provide the digital experiences that modern customers have come to expect. An easy way to start leveraging user data to create content funnels is with a ‘related content’ section. At the end of content pieces like a blog post, recommend other blog posts that are on a similar topic AND exclude posts that the visitor has already read. Giving them a place to go and keep reading will keep them on the site longer and will help them build a personal relationship with your brand. A ‘recommended content’ section can take personalization a step further. Based on content topics and what part of the funnel the content is associated with, you can use this to progress potential customers and prospects towards a demo with your sales team.

3. Personalized Product Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations are especially relevant for eCommerce brands. eCommerce companies should store customer information such as past purchase history and average order size to recommend products and make the most of their website traffic. With the power of personalization, it is much easier to turn an existing customer into a repeat customer than finding and selling to new customers.

Let’s say you run an online clothing boutique. If I’ve ordered 3 tunic dresses from you in the past, you should display a tunic dress on the homepage when I return to the website. Or if you have your inventory categorized by style, line, or designer - use these higher level categories to recommend tights, shoes, tops, or anything else with the same category tags to what I’ve purchased in the past.

4. Using Cart Check Out Data to Optimize Completion Steps

The cart check out process is at high risk of drop off so this is an especially great point in the funnel to focus personalization efforts on your website. The single best check out personalization technique is saving information from the last cart check out by each user, and defaulting to this information on returning visits. This can materialize as saved payment methods or saved delivery address(es), among many other ways.

If your site is mostly new traffic, then I recommend leaning into ‘Related Product’ suggestions at check out. You can use the check out data from other past shoppers to improve the experience of first-time shoppers. If there are items that are commonly bought together by past shoppers, make this recommendation at check out. For example, if you sell coffee products and a new visitor has a French Press in their cart, then recommend the coffee bean canister that is typically bought along with it at check out.

5. Personalized Search Results

It’s typically thought that the top search results are there because they rank highest for traditional ranking factors. However, with customer data you can bring new ranking factors into the mix. With stored customer profiles, you can tailor search results based on past searches or any other relevant information about the user. If someone on your site has just completed a search for ‘x’, their second search for ‘y’ can be influenced by the prior search to give an ‘xy’ result instead of just ‘y’.

What is Your Website Personalization Score?

Now that we’ve gotten a refresher on the fundamentals and five best practices of website personalization, it’s time to find out how effective your current website personalization is. I’ve put together a quick 3-minute assessment to help you figure out just that.

Find out your website personalization score > 

Kaeli O'Connell
Kaeli O'Connell

Digital expert by day, jigsaw puzzle aficionado by night.