Sitecore personalisation - Up close and too personal?
Sitecore personalisation offers marketers unprecedented power to create engaging online experiences. Once you’ve caught the marketing personalisation bug it’s tempting to use your new skills to tailor every aspect of your site. But with great power comes great responsibility. In this post I’ll explain why it’s usually best to personalise sparingly.
Really great Sitecore websites make you comfortable by giving you a predictable experience. You don’t need to work hard. Everything’s just exactly where it should be.
If you over-personalise content you can upset that balance. Don’t you find it disorientating when a page you visited on one day looks completely different the next? It might be more personal the second time around. But it’s frustrating when the content you came back to see is gone.
This is a problem of “focus and purpose” (a phrase you’ll hear a lot at Kagool). Who is this page for and why are they viewing it? These are essential questions for writing good content, and they’re also important for Sitecore personalisation.
Personalisation should enhance and refine a web page. Tweaks to wording and more relevant supporting content is great, but the focus and purpose should never change. If you feel you need to entirely change some content to target a different persona, then you should consider making a new page specifically for them.
Sitecore personalisation works by storing a cookie in your browser. It uses the cookie to remember who you are and what you’ve been doing. But because search engines never receive one of these cookies Sitecore can’t work its magic. Google can crawl your site but it won’t see any of your beautifully crafted variations – just the base content.
If your site relies heavily on personalisation to change the focus and purpose of its pages then most of your content will never get indexed. That’s a real problem for SEO. So what can you do to avoid it?
Again, restraint is the key. Write a “base” version of each page that you want to be indexed. Then make subtly “enhanced” versions for each specific group you want to target. If you have some content that’s only for one persona then don’t use personalisation. Give them their own page and Google will get the chance to read it.
Sitecore personalisation features are truly impressive and feed into marketing automation capabilities. But don’t push it too far. It’s easy to get carried away. Guessing a user’s favourite movie or what cheese they like might show how clever you are, but it’s likely to scare them off. I think we’ve all experienced the “ick factor” from a site that seems to know slightly too much about us.
As always use a light touch. There’s nothing wrong with writing dedicated targeted content – the right people will find it. But good personalisation is about quietly enhancing a user’s experience. They shouldn’t feel “personalised at”.
So, what can Kagool do for marketers?
Finding the right digital partner is vital to great enterprise website design. At Kagool, we’re all about Sitecore. We’re a top UK Sitecore Platinum partner. And we’re the biggest UK partner to be exclusively Sitecore.
Our team is made up of more than developers. We’ve got digital marketers, copywriters and SEO experts. We understand the power Sitecore personalisation gives to marketers and we want you to get your hands on it.