Personalizing Your Website with dotCMS
By John Winter
In this post, I’m going to walk through how easy it is to personalize your website using the dotCMS content management system. I’ll cover how to create personalized, targeted content as a marketing editor with insight as a developer.
To cover this personalization in dotCMS I’ll explain it in a couple of broken-down pieces. First, I’ll explain the sample website that we’re working with. Second, we’ll look at how we create personas. The third point will cover how to tag content for personalization and lastly, we’ll focus on how to define personalization rules.
Website Personalization Use Case Scenario
For this personalization example, I’m using a sample vacation website. It’s a great use case for this post since visitors have different requirements when selecting their vacation; such as a relaxing beach resort, a weekend ski trip, or a safari adventure.
I’m going to walk through how we can personalize the website for those coming to the site and checking out vacations that feature safari type adventures so that they’re added to a persona and shown relevant content based on the content they’ve visited in the site.
Creating Personas in dotCMS
Within the dotCMS system, there’s a Content-Type called Persona, where we can create all-new persona content items. The screenshot below shows that we already have three personas defined:
To add our new Persona, we simply create a new piece of content in this location. In the screenshot below, I’m creating a Safari Enthusiast persona. The content is associated with an image and is tagged with the existing content tags Tanzania and Serengeti, we can add more tags to this in the future as and when they arise.
Once you’ve created your Persona, you can simply save and publish this content and it’s ready to use.
Adding personalization to your page in dotCMS
To personalize content for the webpage, we need to have content that will be shown to the user for visitors that test positive as showing interest in Safaris. So, let’s create a new promotion piece of content.
As we tag the content, we can also tag it with the Safari Enthusiast content type, note the icon showing this is a persona-based content-type:
With our content ready, we can edit the website and select the ‘Safari Enthusiast’ as our previewing visitor:
Once we accept, any changes made to the page will only be shown when a visitor is browsing the site that has been associated with the Safari Enthusiast persona.
First thing I’m going to do is replace the Ski banner with someone more suited to the persona, so I’ll remove this banner:
And add in my Safari adventure banner:
So we’ve created our personalization content type and we’ve created content that’s tagged with it, next we need to create a new Rule to wire everything up.
Creating a Rule in dotCMS.
dotCMS uses rules-based personalization, the best way to think of it is a series of If/then statements. For example ‘If the time is before lunch, show the breakfast menu. So in this example, if someone is browsing the site and is looking at content that is related to our Safari content (remember the tags we added to our content earlier) we can associate the user with the Safari Enthusiast persona. Here’s how we can achieve that by creating a new rule.
To create a new rule, simply navigate to Rules, under the Marketing section of the CMS menu, and click ‘Add Rule’
We’ll call this the ‘Safari Visitor Rule’
Now we can add the condition(s) of the rule, so hit the little drop-down, which shows the (out of the box) conditions available, note here you can extend these conditions to add our own custom ones as needed.
I’m going to select Current URL and enter the path to the page URL for Tanzania and then select Set Persona and select Safari Enthusiast.
With this rule configuration we’re saying if someone visits the Tanzania content, they’re interested in Safari trips, so let’s add that persona to their profile.
To test this, I’ve visited the Tanzania content and now when browsing our homepage, we can see it is now showing the banner and promo content targeted towards a Safari Enthusiast:
So there we go, a look at how easy it is to personalize your website with dotCMS using out of the box functionality.
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