Referral Source Messages on WordPress
Personalization comes in many forms on the Web these days. While you may not know everything about the user(s) visiting your WordPress weblog, you might be surprised to learn that you actually have a lot more data than you think about each user session.
Oftentimes data about user sessions is wasted while the user is actually visiting. Most of us don't do anything with the data being bassed by the referrer. By acknowledging the referral source of the visitor during the visit however and providing them a custom (hopefully compelling message), you can dramatically increase the chance the user either shares your message or converts on your unique selling proposition.
For example, say you want to encourage the Twitter followers that visit your weblog to sign up for an email newsletter. Or perhaps you want all visitors from search engines to access a specific piece of content, or to have visitors from Delicious or Facebook share the page they are visiting with their friends and colleagues. Sounds like a pretty good idea, right?
Here are two excellent WordPress plugins to make the most from what you know about the source of the visitor:
WP Greet Box is perhaps the best known of the plugins for displaying referrer messages to visitors. Notable features in WP Greet Box include the ability to choose where (top or bottom) greeting messages are placed, the ability to detect the visitor's search keywords, the ability to set a timeout, and a whole lot more, which make for an excellent experience for users. My favorite feature is the ability to detect the keywords that drove the initial visit; this enables you (the blogger) to show posts related to that search term or phrase (see below.
Referrer Detector is another plugin that provides comparable functionality to WP Greet Box. Notable features include the ability to set the message position, a custom tag which can be used when you don't want to show a greeting, option to exclude URLs, and a STAT panel to get data reporting about visitors. New in version 4.1 was the ability to display related posts and in v4.2 users can now opt to show the welcome box in lightbox stule using SimpleModal jQuery plugin.
Here's an example of WP Greet Box and its related posts feature (based on the keyword passed from the referral source):
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