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The Benefit of Personalised Home Pages

One of the biggest advantages of the internet over other media is its ability to offer a flexible, personalised service. Web surfers already have the option to filter the content of a website, choose what email alerts to receive and even save certain website interactions for later referral.

Now, more and more website administrators are offering personalised landing pages to users as the next level to this phenomenon. The most high profile example of this is the BBC which allows visitors to extensively customise their very own home page. They can chose what aspects of the BBC home page appear when they arrive, what orientation it appears in and they can even assign the background colours.

Other sites go a step further. For example the UK version of the NFL website asks for a few personal details so that it can offer a personal greeting to visitors. ‘Welcome Jonny’ certainly feels like personal service. Nfluk.com also allows the user to input their favourite team so that the news section can be refocused from general sport wide news, to news related solely to that team.

The attraction of this strategy to the sports industry is clear. Sports fans have already established allegiances and a website that has the flexibility to cater to these allegiances and effectively ‘decorate’ its home page with the fans’ team colours is certainly at an advantage.

So why are website increasingly going down this personalised route and how easy is it to do?

Personalising allows the users to improve their experience while also saving time. It offers the opportunity for providers to build a closer relationship with users, which is likely to precipitate a longer relationship. All of this equates to more visitors, greater visitor loyalty and a better bottom line.

The best bit is that it is not hard to do. All you need is some asynchronous JavaScript + XML (Ajax). “An Ajax application eliminates the start-stop-start-stop nature of interaction on the web by introducing an intermediary between the user and the server,” says Jess James Garrett of Adaptive Path. The Ajax engine allows the user’s interaction with the application to happen asynchronously — independent of communication with your dedicated server. So Ajax offers the flexibility for the end user to customise their experience.

So there is nothing holding you back. Get closer to your visitors by offering home page personalising.

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