Martha Stewart gives Web site a makeover

Redesign includes 15 years' worth of archived tips, recipes and video clips from several of Omnimedia's magazines.

Domestic doyenne Martha Stewart took the wraps off a new Web site on Tuesday designed to capture advertising dollars as well as devoted fans.

The marthastewart.com site features the mainstays of the lifestyle and entertainment expert's magazines and television show, but with a look and design meant to keep visitors from seeking the same information anywhere else.

It is part of a plan by the company she founded, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, to expand its presence online and its Internet income.

Key to that plan are expanded archives, which now include 15 years' worth of tips such as "simple and airy window treatments" and dishes such as potato salad with cornichons.

"We went back and we retagged and reindexed every piece of content we've got," the company's chief executive, Susan Lyne, told Reuters in an interview. "When you search for chicken, you're getting 6,000 results, you're not getting 40 results."

While the company is one of the few U.S. magazine publishers enjoying stronger ad sales, Martha Stewart and many others are pressing ahead with new Internet sites as growing online audiences cause print circulation trends to fall at many magazines.

The Martha Stewart site features more than 700 video clips of cooking and how-to advice and articles from Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Blueprint and other magazines.

"There are people who come to the site because they saw Martha do X or Y craft or make something with a chef," Lyne said. "They come to our site either to see it again or get the instructions or get the pattern."

In addition to content from magazines and the TV show, the site has videos and features that show up only online.

The idea, Lyne said, is to show off the site as its own source of information rather than make it an adjunct to the company's print and TV properties.

The redesigned site is good at keeping people from moving to other parts of the Web, said David Card, senior media analyst at Jupiter Research.

"If you go a couple pages deep, they'll be promoting other stuff very prominently," he said.

The Internet plays a central role in Omnimedia's strategy for the future. Lyne previously told Reuters that she expects the company's Web business to generate about a third of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by 2010.

Story Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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