Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like a good website.  Wait, what?  For 364 days of the year, www.butterball.com is most likely a forgotten website.  But for 24 hours every year, its probably one of the most popular sites on the internet, at least in the US. Admit it, you, or someone in your household probably went there yesterday looking for the cooking time table. But traffic isn’t what makes a website “Good”.

butterball-screenshotWell, Thanksgiving is behind us.  The turkey, dressing (or is it stuffing…), mashed potatoes, dessert and all the other things people identify with Thanksgiving have been made and consumed.  Over time, the things that define a good Thanksgiving meal have become fairly universally accepted.  Websites haven’t been around for 395 years yet.  So the attributes of a “Good Website” are much less well established.

What’s the Point – Purpose Driven

When everything is compared, “Good” is really a replacement for the word “effective”.  Does it achieve its business goals.  Chances are, that the goal you have for your business’ website falls in to one of these categories:

  1. Brand Development Awareness – association of brand with key marketing points
  2. Customer Education – Learn about the brand, its products/services, or the salient details of how to do business
  3. Business Development – Take customers through the steps of conducting business
  4. Support – be a resource for customers and stakeholders

The reality is that every website is almost always a combination of these things.  It could be “Pretty” or “Memorable,” but there is no way for a website to be “Good” if it doesn’t succeed at its primary purpose. Butterball.com doesn’t sell Turkey.  It’s most visited pages are its recipes and cook-time guides.  So long as the purpose of the site is being a resource or developing a brand as an easy to cook, tasty product, then it is being successful and is on the road to being a “Good Website”

User Experience Matters

User experience (UX for all the tech geeks out there) is equal parts art and science.  But it really is an extension of purpose.  Are the elements of the site associated with its primary purpose intuitively presented?  Can users find what they are looking for?  Can they easily proceed through whichever steps the business wants the user to accomplish?

Design is a big part of this.  But it isn’t just about “pretty”.  Form has to enable function.  If it gets in the way of function it isn’t useful it isn’t a “Good Website.”

butterball-googleIf the point of the site is education or brand development, is the information easy to find?  Easy to find isn’t necessarily limited to easy to find on the site.  Is the information presented in such a way as the pages are found and information presented well in search engines?

If the point of the site is selling a product or service, is the product easy to find? Are upgrades or compatible products well positioned and easy purchases to make?  Is the shopping cart/checkout process free of pitfalls that may make a person want to abandon their cart?  Does the experience make the consumer want to be a customer again in the future?

Closing Out the Butterball Analogy

We’ve established the fact that the purpose of the Butterball website isn’t to directly sell Turkeys.  The argument could easily be made that its purpose is to make their turkeys an easy choice for a customer.  The site makes it easy to get your questions answered.  Site is well positioned in search engines to be a resource for your questions.  Butterball knows how to talk Turkey.

The colors are a great extension of the iconic yellow and blue of the brand.  The site is aesthetically pleasing.  The layout clearly presents information.

The site is as good as the Turkey Dinner I cooked last night.

 

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