Create recommendations for returning readers

I was in Starbucks the other day, grooving while Amy Winehouse’s Rehab played over the speakers. I noticed a small screen in the corner was showing what was playing and, in the corner, what had played before it. There are many websites that keep track of the stories you’ve read and display them somewhere on the page.

But this can be taken a step further. As I was walking out of the coffee shop, latte in hand, I recalled Amazon’s built-in recommendations engine that tracks both the items you’ve bought and perused and recommends other items you may like. This same technology can be applied to news sites. Your site can track what stories the user has read and based on this data recommend stories he or she may also enjoy. This can also be displayed in the form of a custom start page. I, and I’m sure many others, hate registering for a site unless it is absolutely necessary, but a custom news homepage would be worth the extra few minutes.