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Sitefinity Content Personalization: Personalizing Your Content Pages

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Written by
Brad Hunt

In Part 1 of this blog, we gave you an overview of Sitefinity’s Content Personalization feature. Here we’ll take a look at that process of actually building out different content pages for the different audience segments. To better explain this process, it will help to have a sample scenario to work from. For our scenario, I have created a fictitious bank web site. To create this website, I used all of the built-in administrative tools from the Sitefinity backend system. I was able to point and click and build out some simple site templates and content pages. The page structure I built out in the pages tree is shown in Figure 7.

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Figure 7: Page structure for our mock site

For the home page of the site, I built out a very rudimentary structure and some placeholder text. See Figure 8.

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Figure 8: Home Page of site

In our sample scenario, what we would like to do is show a different welcome banner to various segmented audiences. Because the banking products are divided into personal and business products, it might be helpful to profile our users into two different groups, and then we can show them a tailored marketing message on the home page that hopefully is specific to their area of interest.

In this example, we will build our two segments based on the characteristic of pages visited. Recall from the explanation above how to create user segments. First, I created a segment called Business Users. Users are placed in this segment when they meet the established characteristics outlined in Figure 9.

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Figure 9: Business Users Segment

As you can see in Figure 9, if a user visits any of the pages in the business section of the site, I place them in the “Business Users” segment. Note that I am using the “or” operator between the characteristics, so visiting any one of the business pages is enough for the user to meet the segment criteria. Users don’t have to visit all the pages in the business section of the content tree.

Using the same set of steps, I then created a second segment called “Personal Users” and placed users in that group if they visited any of the pages in the personal section of the site.

Now when I look at the personalization section of the admin, I will see the listing with both of the segments I created. See Figure 10.

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Figure 10: Two user segments

Next, we want to personalize the home page banner based on the segment. To do this, navigate to the pages tree and click on “Actions” next to the home page, and select “Personalize” in the context menu. This is shown in Figure 11.

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Figure 11: Personalizing the home page

After selecting “Personalize” you will be asked to create a new version of the page for a specific segment. See Figure 12.

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Figure 12: Creating the personalized page for business users

Now you will be taken to the edit page view, but you will notice in the upper left hand corner, that you are editing the page view for the “business users” segment. See Figure 13.

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Figure 13: Editing content for business users

From this edit view, I click on the image widget, and select the image I want to use on the home page for business users. The home page now resembles Figure 14.

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Figure 14: The business home page

For this exercise, I have only changed out the main image on the page, but I could have changed out the other content as well.

I repeated this process again this time personalizing the home page image for the personal group. The home page now resembles Figure 15.

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Figure 15: The personal home page

Now that we have the page personalized for the two user segments, it is time to test. For our sample scenario, this will be easy enough to do. We can launch the site home page, and the first time, we should see the welcome banner that is for all users. If we then navigate to a business product page, we will see the business message when we return to the home page. But what happens if a user visits pages from both the personal and business section. In this case, Sitefinity refers to the “priority” of the user groups. Refer back to Figure 10, and notice the column called Priority. Since the business users take priority over the personal users, site visitors that meet both criteria, will be placed in the business users group.

What if our user segment characteristics were not so easy to test? Fortunately, Sitefinity has a built in way to test the site as if you were a member of a user segment. To do so, select “Personalization” from the “Marketing” menu. Then from the “Actions” menu at the far right, choose “View site as…”

For example, if I elect to view the site as the business user, I will see a screen similar to Figure 16.

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Figure 16: View Site as a Segmented User

Summary

In these two articles you saw how easy it was to create user segments and display different content based on the user segments. An important item to note is that all this functionality is available to a non-technical administrator simply by using the built-in administrative tools. No coding was required at all. As you plan your content personalization strategy, remember to start by looking at the available segmentation characteristics, and then determine how you can personalize content based on the groups you can create from that segmentation.

 

Smooth Fusion is an ASP .NET web development company whose mission is to provide painless custom web and mobile solutions. We offer 10 core services that we’ve adapted and refined for more than 250 clients over our 16 years in business. We’ve completed more than 1600 projects across dozens of industries. To talk to us about your project or review our portfolio, send us a message and one of our project managers will reach out to you quickly.

 

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