Three years ago we reviewed Martha Stewart's women's lifestyle website, marthastewart.com. At that time, April 2007, the site had just undergone a web 2.0 facelift. Martha Stewart 2.0 included more videos, blogging and general community features such as recipe swap functionality and message boards. It planned to add further personalization and community features over 2007.
We thought it would be interesting to take another look at Martha Stewart's website, to get an indication of how mainstream websites have evolved over the past 3 years.
The design of marthastewart.com hasn't changed much since we last checked. It has the same pastel green color scheme and is organized in much the same way, around lifestyle categories: Food, Entertaining, Holidays, Weddings, Crafts, Home & Garden, Pets, Whole Living, Community.
However if we look more closely, several things have taken more prominence on the site compared to 2007.
The first is an increased focus on Martha's personal blog. In 2010 Martha has a daily updated blog, called The Martha Blog, with the tagline "up close and personal." This marks a change from 2007, when the main blog was called Bluelines and was written by the editors of company magazine Blueprint. The Bluelines blog was shuttered in July 2008.
The Martha Blog was started in August 2007 and began to be regularly updated in October 2007. The content on the blog appears to be written by Martha herself, although one can never be sure with celebrities. Regardless, it showcases the power of blogging - which allows average people and celebrities alike to speak in a personal voice to the world.
Twitter & Facebook
Martha's Twitter account has nearly 2 million followers (1,909,707 as of today, including this author now). She seems to be a regular Tweeter, which is great to see. Many of the tweets are promotions of her TV show, but then we're all guilty of self-promotion (ahem). You can see that the tweets are genuine though, for example this one about a late guest on her show: "who could this person be?- so irresponsible when he/she knows the show is live at ten!!! it's 9:39 we are all apprehensive!!!! oh my."
TV Show Promotion
Martha's TV show. It is given prime real estate on the homepage of marthastewart.com, with previews of the latest show and links to the archive.Another change from 2007 that we noticed was an increased tie-in with
Despite the TV show being a big focus, the website doesn't have a lot of multimedia content on it. The videos that are on the site are largely promotional.
This section includes 'how-to' articles that complement the TV show, for example this article on how to make a Tie-Dye-Effect Scarf (as featured on a recent TV episode).
Evolution of Martha's Website
Martha Stewart's website is clearly meant to be a complement to her main media businesses, the TV show and magazines. So you won't find much ground-breaking use of the Internet - there's little or no original video produced specifically for the website, for example.
There also wasn't a lot of personalization, which was promised in 2007. The community functionality in 2010 seems much the same as in 2007: message boards and the blogs. Although, Twitter and Facebook are both being used to enhance community.
It'd be nice to see more Web native content and personalization. The Web isn't Martha's main media presence, so we can understand why those features are lacking. However traffic seems to be on the decline, so perhaps Martha's web team should consider upgrading again.
2010 Martha Stewart website
2007 Martha Stewart website
2005 Martha Stewart website