It’s a new year! And fresh from a short break from the blog, to focus on presenting at the xDB training course in New Orleans and Sitecore User Group in Cardiff, I’m back. So let’s get to it!
I talk a lot about the value of extending xDB to store data relevant to the client and how to surface that data for Content Editors to use. I now want to cover how to use that data on a grand scale. From accessing that data for all your contacts in a performant way. Then using that data to create lists of similar contacts based on their interactions. Finally allowing you to target groups of individuals with relevant email communications, via EXM, or synchronize with a CRM (more on that in a future blog).
Sitecore 8.2 has been released and it brings a new option for publishing Sitecore Items – Sitecore Publishing Service. This is a feature that my brother Mike Robbins worked on and been so tight lipped about, so it only makes sense for me to dig in to see what it’s all about.
Quite a few of the clients I have worked with lately have asked about implementing Gated Content. Not Gated Pages – preventing access to pages requiring an account and roles but gated areas on an actual page. Essentially requiring a site visitor to give up some information about themselves before gaining access to some content.
This actually a good thing in Sitecore because we can request the visitor’s email address so that we can identify them in xDB. Meaning more and more of our Site visitors will be uniquely identified, tracked and ultimately targeted with personalised experiences.
Part 2 – The Experience Profile App
Sitecore’s Experience Profile shows a detailed breakdown of each Contact (visitor of the site) and is built using Sitecore’s SPEAK, so to modify the app it we are going need to use the Sitecore Rocks Visual Studio Extension. To refresh, here is an overview of what we’re trying to achieve.
We’re going to create a new Tab on the Experience Profile App for our Interaction Facet we built previously, the Tab will show the actions the User has completed on the site which are unique to the client. Within that Tab we have a collection of Sub Tabs, one for each Element of the Facet, e.g. Sample Orders, Videos Played etc. Then each Sub Tab has a Panel to display the data.
In my previous post I explained how to extend Sitecore’s Experience Database so that you can store custom data against each Contact (visitor) of your site. I also recently posted about updating an xDB Contact with basic information. This post will explain how to uniquely identify Contacts from one another and how to merge Contacts, and their data, once you have determined that they are the same User. Continue reading
Sitecore Personalisation – Automatically changing content
In the previous post I covered how to get personalization working correctly for your site. Now its time to start doing something exciting.
With Personalization working the next step is to structure your content so that it is in the form of reusable blocks and develop Sitecore sublayouts to dynamically display these blocks of content.
In this post I’ll go over the basics to achieve this and get you giving personalised experiences like a pro.
Sitecore Personalisation – Getting it working
I’ve been browsing around Sitecore forums and resources and there are often devs posting about Personalization not working working for their site or how to customise their site in a given scenario.
The thing is the former is fairly straight forward with a little guidance and the latter can be achieved with some knowledge and examples. Therefore I thought I’d help the community out by posting a short series of Quick Start Guides on everything from getting Personalization working to dynamically changing content and altering the site based on conditions.
I’ll start with everything that you need to do to get Personalization working in your site.