Every business needs a website, but just being online isn’t enough. Your website has to look great and perform to the highest standards to appeal to your visitors.
Your site’s design and performance depends, to a great extent, on the CMS system that you are using. That’s why many site owners choose to build their site on WordPress.
According to W3techs, over 35% of sites on the internet are using WordPress as their content management system (CMS). This means that every fourth site you visit will be powered by WordPress.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at what makes WordPress so popular. Then we’ll examine a number of examples of big brands that are using WordPress to power their websites.
Benefits of Using WordPress
For a beginner, choosing a CMS might be a real struggle. If you’re not familiar with the different CMS systems, it’s easy to get lost trying to identify all the advantages and disadvantages of a particular solution. So, to spare you the hassle of researching WordPress, we’ve listed the most significant benefits of using this open-source CMS.
Ease of Use
Wordpress is easy to use even for those who are not familiar with website development or coding. Every element can be easily adjusted via its user-friendly interface. That means, no matter your experience level, you can build a site on Wordpress.
Many other CMS solutions, like Drupal, require extensive knowledge of web development, while others require at least basic knowledge. WordPress, on the other hand, is ideal for both beginners and experienced developers. Additionally, WordPress’ vast online community can provide support and guidance to help resolve any problem you’re facing.
For many CMS platforms, even the slightest modification of its native functionality requires substantial coding efforts. And if the platform doesn’t have a necessary layout element — and you don’t have a developer to help you out — you’re pretty much doomed to live without it.
WordPress, on the other hand, has an extensive, easily adjustable formatting kit. It includes all the elements that an editor might need, from social media sharing buttons to headline styles. Plus, its page editors include all the necessary formatting features to ensure that your future posts have a great layout and a professional, polished look.
WordPress’s rich user management features also sets it apart from other platforms. If your site accepts guest posts, Wordpress has one of the simplest and most convenient systems to help you manage external contributors.
In particular, it lets you easily add new users and assign roles with particular permissions, which is a life-saver for a website that works with many external writers. This way, the admin or blog editor doesn’t have to manually upload all the posts they receive — instead, the freelance authors can do it themselves. This division of responsibilities drastically improves efficiency of the editorial team.
As your business grows, you’ll face new challenges. You may want to add a login feature to help customers save products in their carts, as well as save payment and shipping information. Or, you may need to accept additional payment methods on your ecommerce site. If not addressed in a timely manner, these growing pains can negatively impact the visitor experience, conversions, and your bottom line. The good news is that some issues can be easily solved with the help of the right WordPress plugin.
Adding new plugins is a matter of choosing the one that fits you best from WordPress’s vast plugin catalog. There are more than 50,000 plugins out there.
Let’s imagine you made a decision to sell something on your website. If you’re not using a CMS, then you’d have to hire a developer to set up an online store, create a new billing system, and so on. But if your site is powered by WordPress, all you need to do is to install WooCommerce or another eCommerce plugin.
The same goes for contact forms, capturing leads, improving website speed, advanced analytics, and much more — WordPress offers extensions to nearly every third-party tool you’d need to run your website.
Wordpress was initially created as a blogging tool, but over the past decade, it has grown to be much more. Today, it’s a powerful open-source CMS that is used across multiple industries to host all types of sites, from personal blogs to corporate sites.
The platform is becoming especially popular for eCommerce businesses, largely thanks to the amount of themes and plugins shop owners can use to build their online store. According to BuiltWith, WooCommerce, the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress, powers almost 7% of all the eCommerce sites on the internet.
In addition to thousands of themes and plugins, you can also edit the source code of WordPress to extend the functionality and customize the design of your site exactly as you want. Because of this flexibility, WordPress is popular among Fortune 500 Companies, such as Walt Disney, BBC America, Vogue, and Microsoft News Center.
Now that we understand a few of the benefits of using WordPress, let’s take a closer look at WordPress sites created by some of these big brands.
14 WordPress Website Examples of Big Brands in 2020
There are 27 million websites powered by WordPress. Some of these sites are major brands, like The New York Times, BBC America, and Sony Music. Let’s examine how these and other big brands are using WordPress to deliver the best digital experiences to their audience.
The New York Times was one of the first media outlets to fully leverage the power of the user generated content feature provided by WordPress. Back in 2012, they introduced a plugin for the CMS that allowed multiple journalists to work on the same article — it allowed changes to a post to be tracked and then accepted or rejected.
As a result of their efforts, they were able to reach 70 million unique monthly visits by May 2018. By February 2020, monthly visits climbed to 330 million.
In addition to using WordPress to publish and organize thousands of articles, NYT also features gated content on its site and has a billing system for subscriptions.
Furthermore, to accommodate their large international audience, NYT enables readers to switch from English to Spanish or Chinese with the click of a button. You can see these buttons at the top of the home page, right above its brand name.
Many bloggers admire the NYT clean layout, also known as “NYT theme”. You can add one to your website by downloading and installing it on your website or blog.
Reuters is a huge media company that delivers breaking world news every day. Powered by WordPress, the site is updated by the minute. On every post, Reuters includes the publish date and time so you know exactly when it was published. That way, you can stay on top of all recent events.
To stay updated on the stock market, Reuters lists share prices at the top of the homepage by using widgets that update automatically. There are dozens of WordPress plugins that do this — for weather, real estate listings in your area, traffic, insurance quotes, retail sales, and more.
Right above, you’ll see a navigation menu with categories like Markets, Business, and World, which are displayed in the navigation menu at the top of the screen. By clicking on any of these categories, you can find all the content Reuters has published on this topic.
Reuters upper menu invites you to switch between different countries' coverage through WordPress’s customizable menu options.
3. BBC America
BBC America is an entertainment network and a child company of the British BBC giant. The company mainly targets adults 25-54 and receives around 1.5 million monthly visits.
Its website hosts a streaming service with tons of video content and a shopping section powered by WordPress’s native eCommerce plugin.
BBC America’s website helps its audience navigate and learn through the intuitive interface of dropdown menus. If you want to learn more you can hover over the lower right corner of any video episode you are interested in.
BBC America uses a responsive menu plugin, or an animated burger menu, plugin from the Wordpress.org catalogue. No coding needed.
We wouldn’t expect anything less than a sophisticated website from one of the world’s leading fashion and lifestyle magazines. And that’s exactly what you get visiting Vogue. Vogue’s website draws 3 million unique visits each month.
To attract and delight these visitors, Vogue features lots of high-quality images and videos on its homepage. This multimedia has overlayed text describing the post’s title, author, and category so the reader can make an informed decision about what they want to read.
Not only is this layout visually appealing — it’s also responsive so that visitors on mobile and desktop can easily scroll through the site. Check out how the site is optimized for smaller screens below.
If you are searching for a CMS solution for a printed publication, Vogue is a great example of how to transfer paper to online simultaneously keeping the feel of flipping paper pages.
5. Sony Music
Sony Music’s website is as hip as you’d imagine it would be. A slide show of trending artists sits at the top of the landing page and there is absolutely no hint of a news story until you scroll down.
Targeting an international audience, the website has more than 33 million monthly visits. In fact, Sony Music Entertainment was named one of the Web’s top 10 entertainment music destinations.
“This rise in traffic reflects Sony Music’s ongoing focus on building Web destinations that offer clean and easy navigation, compelling user experiences that connect fans and artists, and innovative direct-to-consumer features.”
Some of these features include playlist recommendations, a rewards system for repeat visitors, and an integrated lyrics function so listeners can follow along with the lyrics as they listen.
The Walt Disney Company’s website is focused on informing, entertaining and inspiring its readership with stories about movies that the company produces. Moreover, it highlights the company’s policies, vacancies, investor relations information, and social responsibility projects.
The Walt Disney Company is very experimental with the upper menu: move the cursor to the upper part of the main page and the responsive menu shows up while the background becomes faded. These impressive animated effects are powered by WordPress. Hint: Try searching for any responsive menu plugin to mimic the same effect on your site.
Disney uses auto-updated widgets as well — the website has a tracker for company stocks where you can adjust the time frame.
If you want your About page to stand out, try using pop-ups for company employees, like Disney. This effect is achived with the Builder Plugin that you can find in the Wordpress.org catalog.
And the last but not the least inspiring WordPress-powered feature — a slider with the photos from the history of The Walt Disney Company starting from 1923.
7. Angry Birds
Angry Birds, initially a mobile game created by Rovio, took the world by storm in 2009. Quickly after that it became the most downloaded game of all time. Over the years, Angry Birds has seen rapid growth and evolved into an entertainment brand that covers not just mobile games, but books, animation, print products, and merchandise.
The website has several key sections displayed at the top of the homepage, including Movies, Games, Animations, and Shop. Altogether, it provides its visitors with tons of video content, mobile and web games, and an online store with branded apparel and souvenirs.
If you scroll down, you’ll see that the gaming company has a separate block for all the games that are available for download now on the main page. Each game design block comes with a button that leads to a download. WordPress allows you to duplicate this approach, add the pre-designed images, and change the sequence if needed.
The Angry Birds website provides a unique experience with their historical line of products they built since 2009 when the first game was released using a photo slider widget for WordPress.
You can go even further with your experiments – add an original artwork or symbol for each year. See the website as an example.
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global nonprofit committed to community-centered conservation, whether it be protecting chimpanzees and great apes in Africa while improving the lives of communities around ape habitats, or supporting youth-led efforts around the world to improve their communities.
Aimed at an international audience, the website has a modest reach of 50,000 monthly visitors. Featuring a built-in billing system, the JGI site offers its visitors the possibility to make a donation. Its online store with merchandise is powered by WordPress eCommerce widget.
The Jane Goodall Institute uses a photo slider that embeds GIFs to engage its audience on the homepage.
The website is also using the built-in block animation feature on its About page. You can find a similar plugin with any desired effect from the Wordpress.org catalog. If you scroll over any pic on the page, a description will pop up.
The Obama Foundation is a non-profit that was established in January 2014 to “carry on the great, unfinished project of renewal and global progress.” Its monthly reach is around 150,000 visitors per month.
Being quite simply structured, the website features articles, video, and social media content.
The website has an animated drop down menu visible when you scroll over the foundation logo.
The Obama Foundation is using animated blocks as well. Clicking on any of these modules will lead you to another page on the website.
10. Renault Group
French automotive company Renault Group uses their website to highlight their latest news, showcase their vehicles (complete with stunning high-quality pictures), and raise awareness of their environmental efforts. Half a million of their monthly visitors benefit from the site’s eye-pleasing layout and fast loading speed.
Renault has different designs for its menus for desktop and mobile to ensure customers are able to select car models even on smaller screens. WordPress allows you to painlessly create a responsive mobile website.
WordPress photo sliders, like used here, are flexible and allow you to create unique button designs. There are many slider plugins options available in the directory.
11. Network Rail
Network Rail is a company that owns and operates the entire railway infrastructure in the United Kingdom, managing 18 of the largest stations in England, Scotland, and Wales.
The company switched to WordPress from their previous CMS in 2017, aiming simply to upgrade the website to make it easier for users to find the service they are looking for. The new WordPress-powered theme greatly improved the UX of the site. Additionally, the ability to assign various custom user roles make it much easier for Network Rail personnel to manage the site internally. The new design layout is also far easier for users to navigate and the site is now responsive across all mobile devices.
To help customers to learn the latest company news Network Rail decided to implement a slider on the main page.
Widgets can make up a significant portion of the main page. Here’s another well made implementation of a career interactive widget that helps the audience to find a job opportunity with the company.
TechCrunch is an American online publisher focusing on the tech industry. It is the go-to website for the latest news in the tech sector with hundreds of stories being published each day. All in all, the company is pretty much on-the-ball with keeping its 15 million monthly users in the loop.
In addition to running a blog, TechCrunch also hosts worldwide tech events, providing users with the ability to buy tickets directly on their site.
TechCrunch distributes gated newsletters, analytics, and articles. As we have seen before, WordPress comes in very handy for this purpose. Each post on their site has an embedded widget where the reader can easily subscribe — making it simple to convert visitors to newsletter readers.
The media outlet has also incorporated one of the leading search plugins for fastload websites called Swiftype.
13. TED Blog
TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to “spreading ideas that matter.”The website is a collection of stories presented in the form of video presentations of various lengths. Maintaining such a high amount of video content would be a challenge for another site, but aided by the WordPress CMS, TED exceeds its visitors’ expectations.
The TED Blog has scooped close to 14 million unique visitors over the last 6 months, which is a strong testament as to the value it offers.
The main page layout incorporates a featured image with a call to action button. If you scroll down you’ll see featured posts and new posts sections. There is a great choice of similar themes for companies who run events and want to promote videos on their website.
The TED Blog also leverages the powerful user generated content feature by WordPress. Similar to the NYT Opinion, people can submit blog posts and become contributors of a public blog.
14. Katy Perry
Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, and television judge. In 2013, Perry was declared the Top Global Female Recording Artist by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. She is the fifth top digital singles artist in the United States, with 101 million certified song units in the country.
More than 60 thousand people visit her website monthly, arriving from one of the most popular search inquiries “Katy Perry gallery”. It’s only logical that as a public figure and a popular creative professional that she places a huge emphasis on visual content, like photos from tours, professional photoshoots, and videos. To delight her fans, the website (built on WordPress) incorporates animated galleries.
The video section is a set of animated thumbnails of her official videos on YouTube. The main menu leads to the star merchandise store, official social media, links to any platform where you can buy her albums and singles.
Finding Your Inspiration
Maintaining an online presence is a must for any business. With a solution as versatile in functionality as WordPress any business can create a site that will meet their specific goals and delight their visitors. As we’ve seen in this article, brands of all sizes already benefit from using WordPress. So, now it’s time for you to try it out.
About the Author: Alexandra is a frequent speaker and founder of the digital marketing conference, DigitalOlympus.net. She also helps clients with digital PR, content marketing, and link building. Besides that, she regularly contributes to leading digital marketing blogs, including Moz, SEJ, Salesforce, SMExaminer, and many others.
Originally published Apr 9, 2020 6:02:02 PM, updated April 20 2020