Telegraph takes its first steps towards a personalised website

Telegraph.co.uk is set to launch news personalisation features as it expands the My Telegraph blogging platform it launched last week.

The new features, which could be introduced as early as today, will allow users to create a customised list of news feeds from the Telegraph – or any other online source with RSS capability – to their My Telegraph home page.

The blogging site's new functionality is the first stage towards creating a personalised version of Telegraph.co.uk, said communities editor Shane Richmond.

"Hopefully, by allowing them to bring their content in from elsewhere, we're going to encourage them to come to us more often. There's a loyalty aspect about driving traffic around the rest of Telegraph.co.uk," he said.

More than 1,200 people have joined the My Telegraph blogging platform since it launched last week.

The site, which is sponsored by Cisco for its first two months, is aimed at readers of the print editions of the Telegraph titles, and has been promoted more heavily in the newspapers than online.

"Our focus has been on getting readers blogging – we want this to be an area for Telegraph readers," said Richmond.

"We felt when we were developing it that we were asking them to take quite a big step, because a lot of these people aren't particularly web-savvy.

"They may think of blogging as something that is quite difficult and involved, that requires a lot of technical expertise, which it doesn't really. This whole approach is about showing them that it's really, really easy."

One aim of the project is to encourage people who identify themselves as Telegraph readers to speak to each other. The site uses their common identification with the newspaper and its values to forge an online community.

Richmond said: "One of the things we have found from allowing comments on the rest of the website is that we have an awful lot of readers who are convinced there are major things wrong with the country and that they know what the solutions to these things are.

"They all seem to think that they are, perhaps not the only people who have realised this, but at least among a small group of people who have realised it.

"This is an interesting exercise in bringing all those people together and showing them that they are actually part of a sizable group who feel in a similar way about certain things."

The planned personalised news features are the first in a series of changes to the My Telegraph site that are slated to be rolled out over the next six weeks, culminating in the blogging platform's integration into a broader redevelopment of the Telegraph.co.uk website set for launch in late June or early July.

The new features will include new ways of accessing the site's content, including a new front page that will highlight the most popular content over the past hour, day, week, month, year or ever.

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