Working on a recent website project got me thinking about future of modern content design and delivery. It is often we think about the website as a bunch of static pages which are changed once a week (or once a month) based on the feedback from Google Analytics and figures from sales. This is, however, is not how I feel it should be in the year 2015.
Evolution of website development is happening and websites are getting closer to representing real business storefront. With services like chat on the page and click-to-call buttons it starts looking more and more as interactive, narrowing the “gap” between business and online visitor.
I think, it would be imperative to start developing websites which can customize the page user lands on, and proceeds to, depending on the data from previous visits and/or certain targets an owner is after.
I know some here will disagree, arguing that Google and other search engines will down-rank for this. It could be true, but at the same time search industry had shifted towards giving more credit to those running social media accounts recently, and may not penalize you for a little experiment you do on your homepage.
It would be nice to keep a user on your website “forever” closing a sale, wouldn’t it?
Some already do that. For instance Bloomberg.COM with their redesign now keeps loading new article after your just read current one, so you will never have to click – just keep scrolling down the content.
Others may benefit by presenting custom content on the homepage, or any page, depending on where you have come from (based on HTTP referral data), and what you’ve been searching for (search string is available as a part of the request data).
Let me sum up my ideas in this list:
- do not display standard homepage, or the same homepage to all users. Parse user data and always respond with customized content.
For instance, being a hotel in Brooklyn, you can customize homepage for web visitors from other states and feature certain promotions such as pickup from airport, while for frequent visitors (from NYC tri-state area) you can show slide with room amenities highlighting recent hotel upgrades.
- detect user’s previous visits to your website and try to start his/her visit from the last page/content he/she had seen.
Being a business consultancy business or a website design company you can load more information (case studies?) for a user coming back to your website after initially visiting it some time ago and learning about certain service / aspect of your business.
- to detect best content / sales path – use A/B testing to make decisions on the fly
- build logic to help you sell it to the user, linking content pieces of the website, instead of designing the pages
Let me know, what you think. Am I right or wrong, or am I thinking too far?