We all visit web sites;  most of us on a daily basis.  So what makes one web site stand out over another?  Why do we continue to go back to one site rather than another?  I think that most of us visit some web sites again and again because they deal with a subject we’re interested in.  Maybe this subject is rare or unique and so the web sites where the topic is discussed are limited.

An example of this would be the Backyard Chickens web site that I visit almost daily.  Backyardchickens.com has taken a subject that is specific in its focus and has created a very active, interesting and informative site where people can meet, buy, sell and chat anything poultry related.  While there are other sites that also deal with keeping poultry, Backyardchickens.com, (BYC) is the most active and most visited.

From BYC’s “About Us” page

The site was originally just a simple chicken coop design . Over time more useful information was added. With more chicken information came more site visitors, some of which submitted their own coop designs.

As the content grew so did visits to the site and with visitors came questions… lots of questions. Everything from hatching eggs to how to raise chickens. We tried to answer as many questions as we could by adding information to the site but we realized there were too many different variables to create content for every situation. So, back in 2000 we started the first BYC Chicken Message Board. Over the years this forum has grown, moved, changed and moved again. Fortunately even when the forum had some very significant changes and moves (servers, software, etc.) the community has remained strong. At the time of updating this page, January 2009, we’ve got a vibrant community of more than 20,000 chicken owners who add about 4,000 new posts per DAY (on average 3 new posts every minute of every day)!

That’s an incredible record for such a niche subject area.  So why is BYC more popular than some of the other poultry sites?  From a personal point of view, I would say that the people behind BYC have been diligent in creating a place for poultry enthusiasts to share information, ideas and resources in a family friendly atmosphere.  They step in and edit posts when needed but primarily allow the BYC family to monitor themselves.  People that visit this forum to ask questions are provided the answers or are guided to the right place to find their answer.  Many share new ideas, equipment sources and daily life stories with their fellow BYCers.  I posted that I wanted some pictures to use in this post and within just a few moments, my BYC buddies have shared some great shots.  Here’s a few pictures of the kinds of things you’ll see on BYC.

This from Wifezilla:

Baby duckWho can resit a baby duck?

And this from Bil who shared his picture comparison of day old chicks to week old.

Chick comparison

This little peeper is being shared with us by Miss_Jayne.


And how’s this for paying the rent?  Look at those eggs!–from Steve


An example of what you can learn at BYC–how to help a struggling chick to complete their hatch.  (from Hangin wit my peeps!)  See how the chick is still wrapped in the membrane.


Here’s that same chick!

ahelp2And this picture shows how our feathered friends tend to look out for each other.  What a sweet picture!  And did you catch those names!  (credit goes to BYC member “Hangin wit my peeps”!)


BYC has also managed to keep their advertisers consistent with the theme of the website.  It is unobtrusive, not irritating and is marketing those products that poultry fanciers are interested in learning about.  The web site is easy to navigate with links that work and justifable pages.  In other words, any additional pages on the web site are all warranted.  Some web sites seem to have additional pages that are nothing more than a re-do of another page.  BYC includes only those pages necessary for an informative, easy to navigate, user friendly interface.

When looking at some of BYC’s competition, I find that while the sites don’t pull me in like BYC, they do offer the same types of information.  Why is it then that I prefer one over another?  I choose BYC because of the layout, design, colors, easy navigation and overall friendly feeling I get when visiting.  The bright colors and simple animations are appealing and the navigation bars are set up well.  The pages are not overloaded with animations and are consistent throughout the site.

So what makes a site truly bad?  I visited webpagesthatsuck.com to find out.  (Yes, that’s really the name of the site!)

What the top five winners (losers) from 2008 have in common is an insane amount of color!   Color and animations and so much minutia it almost makes your head hurt!  Check out this example http://www.havenworks.com/

and this one


I think when creating a web presence they should really test it on a focus group of some kind before unleashing it on the public.  I just don’t see how Fabric Land has earned any profit from that web site.

What do you think is needed to make a web site attractive and inviting?  Do you have a favorite site that you return to again and again?