Editor's note: This post was originally published on the MyBlogLog Blog.
Every blogger knows that most of their traffic comes via referrals. Whether it's from a search engine, link from another blog, or via a tinyurl embedded in someone's tweet - readers flow across your site dropping by to graze on something that caught their eye then are off again just as quickly as they came.
Various plug-ins are out there to give readers a reason to hang out a bit longer on your site. Some of them present a list of similar posts from your archives, another creates a dynamic list of all-time popular posts so the viewers can browse your greatest hits.
Yet, none of these add-ons look at the stated interests of the individual reader, mostly because this data is closed off, hidden inside social networks and closed off to the open internet.
Just for You, released today as a WordPress plug-in, builds a list of headlines based on the expressed interests of the reader. The plug-in looks at each visitor to your blog and, if they are a cookied MyBlogLog member, looks up the tags attached to that user's profile. Using these tags, Just for You looks into the blog's archive for posts with matching tags or categories and shows a list of matching headlines in a sidebar widget.
The plug-in is configurable. You can also weight the recency and tag matching logic to determine the headlines you'd like to show. The idea is to engage readers with related content that's of interest to them. It's an innovation that cannot really be appreciated until you see how it performs for different users. Below are two sets of headlines presented by the Just for You plug-in from my personal blog, everwas by two different users.
Top tags are MyBlogLog and Yahoo!
Top tags are Alameda and Japan
If the reader is not a MyBlogLog user, Just for You will present a list of headlines using the collective tags of recent MyBlogLog visitors, which it uses as a proxy to determine interests of the current reader. Just for You was built by Mani Kumar and Saurabh Sahni from our Yahoo! Bangalore offices. They took the original concept and added much of their own semantic-matching pixie dust. A patent has been filed.
Powering Just for You is The MyBlogLog API, which is completely open so that developers can build hooks
in to take advantage what MyBlogLog users share on their profile. Take a look
at what Lijit (adds your blog url on signup page) and Thingfo (pre-filling in registration fields) are doing to personalize the user experience. As Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb says in his post about Just for You,
Just For You is a great example of what this API can do. There are
countless companies that have raised millions in venture capital to
offer publishers recommendation systems for their readers - commercial
publishers pay big money for this functionality. Now bloggers can have
the same type of thing for free and base recommendations on the
self-identified interests of their readers. That's really powerful.
If you're a MyBlogLog user, visit everwas.com and see what comes up in the Just for You box in the sidebar. If you're running a hosted WordPress blog, install the plug-in and let us know with a trackback to this post so we can follow it over to your blog and leave comments on your post on what comes up for each of us.