20 WordPress Websites That See Millions of Visitors
WordPress powers a huge portion of the Internet.
How much is that exactly? According to W3Techs, more than 38% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress as their content management system (CMS).
To compare, the next most popular CMS (Shopify) commands only roughly 3% of the market share.
This means that WordPress is easily the most popular CMS out there. Their 38% market share means that around 455,000,000 websites are using them—and that number is only growing by the hour.
All these numbers are clearly impressive. But what might surprise you even more is the fact that a few websites you visit and use every single day are powered by WordPress.
That’s what inspired me to write this article. I want to take you behind the scenes of 20 different websites that draw millions of visitors each month—and rely on WordPress to do so.
20 WordPress Websites That Draw Millions of Visitors
Below are four different categories of websites that both use WordPress and attract millions of visitors each month and year.
News and media:
Personal blogs and websites:
State and Government
Let’s dive into each of them now:
News and Media
Monthly visitors: ~7.1 million
What they do: Owned by the American legacy newspaper The New York Times, Wirecutter offers incredibly in-depth and comprehensive reviews and recommendations for different products ranging from electronics, kitchen appliances, and home and garden gear.
NYT themselves run on a customized CMS platform—but many of their blogs such as Wirecutter use WordPress to support their content.
What they do: Variety gives readers the latest in entertainment news, with a sharp focus on film reviews, box office reports, movie production updates, and the occasional smattering of celebrity gossip.
Monthly visitors: ~1.1 million
What they do: BBC America is the British Broadcasting Corporation’s US-focused television network. They house and offer episodes of TV shows and movies they own and produce such as Top Gear, Doctor Who, Killing Eve, and The Walking Dead.
They also use WordPress to power their pop culture blog Anglophenia, which discusses news and developments around their TV shows and movies.
Monthly visitors: ~9.9 million
What they do: Rolling Stone is a legendary, American magazine that focuses on music and pop culture. They offer a monthly physical magazine as well as their daily digital reporting and articles on their WordPress-powered website.
Monthly visitors: ~7.1 million
What they do: WIRED is another monthly magazine. However, they focus on the intersection of technology, culture, and politics. Along with a monthly physical magazine, they also have their WordPress powered website that offers daily digital content to readers.
Personal blogs and websites
What they do: I Will Teach You To Be Rich is the personal blog and business website for personal finance and development expert Ramit Sethi. He relies on WordPress to help him manage his massive library of content going back more than a decade.
What they do: Tim Ferriss is an American author, podcaster, and blogger focused on lifestyle design. WordPress helps him power his incredibly popular blog as well as house his podcast.
In 2012, he even wrote a whole blog post about the 21 WordPress plugins he uses on his very own website to “keep him sane.”
Monthly visitors: ~1 million
What they do: This is the home page for motivational speaker, author, and self-help guru Tony Robbins. He gives you access to his private coaching program, retreats, supplements, and more.
Monthly visitors: ~4.1 million
What they do: NYT bestselling author Neil Patel WordPress-powered blog offers up his personal insights on all things digital marketing and SEO.
Monthly visitors: ~1 million
What they do: Peter Adeney’s WordPress-powered blog offers readers great advice on how to achieve financial freedom and success through tried-and-true systems. He’s also notable for having built a massive online community of personal finance and development enthusiasts through his Mr. Money Mustache forum.
What they do: This is the Walt Disney Company’s official website. Visitors can access the latest news about film and television releases from their production studios, as well as news and updates about their parks. There’s also sections dedicated to their investors as well as their philanthropic work.
Monthly visitors: ~ 600K
What they do: Spotify offers visitors the music they want to listen to when they want to listen to it. Their website that offers up the latest news about their business is all powered by WordPress
Monthly visitors: ~1 million
What they do: MTV is the stalwart, music-focused media company that Gen Xers know and love. Their news vertical which offers the latest in music and entertainment stories is powered completely by WordPress.
Monthly visitors: ~1.7 million
What they do: Playstation’s blog is a source of news and updates about the gaming console developers hardware and video games. They also give you unique insights into how their consoles work as well as announcements for new products being developed and released.
Monthly visitors: ~1 million
What they do: This is the online home for all things related to the greatest space opera of all time: Star Wars. For updates around their movies, video games, toys, as well as their popular television show The Mandolorian, fans head to StarWars.com for the latest.
State and Government
Monthly Visitors: ~9 million
What they do: The official website of the White House, the seat of executive governmental power in the United States of America. There you’ll be able to access information about the government’s economic, national security, budget, and immigration goals.
Monthly visitors: ~13 million
What they do: The official website for the United States State Department. Here you can find information behind the U.S. foreign policy initiatives as well as the locations of the Department of State’s bureaus and offices.
Monthly visitors: ~3 million
What they do: The official website for the United States Library of Congress, which is the country’s national library. Visitors can access a wealth of cultural information and artifacts from books, to music, to photographs and paintings.
Monthly visitors: ~76 million
What they do: The official website of the United Kingdom government. They provide a wealth of services, allowing visitors and UK citizens to access their birth, death, and marriage certificates; check their benefits; apply for citizenship; access voting information; and more.
Monthly visitors: ~2 million
What they do: The National Archives is the United Kingdom’s archives of government records, archival information, and more. It’s pretty much the UK’s version of the Library of Congress but across the Atlantic and with more tea sipping.
5 Tips to Creating a Popular WordPress Website
It’s easy to look at the examples above and practically salivate at the amount of visitors they draw in each month.
After all, the more visitors you bring in, the more sales and profit you could potentially make.
However, you need to keep in mind that a lot of the websites above already started with a solid foundation of devoted fans. You’re probably not going to get The New York Times-level of visitors—at least not right away.
However, if you put in the time and work, there’s no reason you shouldn’t build your own foundation that draws in millions each month.
Follow these tips to create a WordPress website that draws in the most visitors you can.
Pick an eye-catching theme
A WordPress theme determines how your website looks—which is highly crucial in keeping visitors on your site.
Don’t believe me? It’s actually backed up by science.
Google conducted research a while back that showed website visitors form design opinions about the website in just 17-50 milliseconds. That means in just a fraction of a second, they decide whether or not they like your website and want to stay–or abandon it entirely.
The elements that make up a good theme can be boiled down to two things: Simplicity and familiariarity.
In the same study by Google, they found that users who thought a website design was complex found it to be uglier. They also discovered that if a website’s layout was unfamiliar, users would perceive it as ugly even if it was a simple design.
Bottom line: Don’t get too complicated with it and rely on a tried-and-true layout.
That doesn’t mean you should rush through things. In fact, quite the opposite. Finding a theme that both matches your brand and business goals, while also remaining simple and familiar to your audience is going to take work.
Spend some time then going through WordPress’s theme directory. There’s nearly 8,000 themes to choose from—so you’ll have options.
It’s also worth exploring outside of the official directory. In fact, some of the best WordPress themes are offered via third-party websites such as ThemeForest, a site that boasts more than 46,000 themes.
Choose your host wisely
Your web host is one of the most sneakily important decisions you’ll make.
Why? For a lot of reasons. However, the most important reasons being uptime and speed.
If your web host doesn’t offer good uptime, your website will crash more often. That results in less traffic coming your way as a result.
If your web host doesn’t offer good speed, the time it takes to load your web pages might be too long. That results in your audience turning off your website in frustration—something to avoid at all costs.
Since WordPress is just an open-source CMS, they don’t offer a web host unlike places like Wix or Weebly.
Instead, you’ll have to get your own. Luckily, WordPress recommends a few web hosting options. They are:
Though those three web hosts are fantastic options and are optimized for WordPress, there are plenty of other web hosts out there that get the job done just as well–or even better.
All a web host needs is to meet the minimum hosting requirements for WordPress. That includes:
Get those things right, and you’ll be able to run WordPress on that web host.
Go deeper: Read our article on the best web hosting providers for WordPress for more options
Leverage Google Analytics
Remember the old adage: If you can measure it, you can improve it.
One of the best examples of that is with your website traffic. So as long as you know where your traffic is coming from and how much you’re getting, you’ll be able to create digital marketing plans that help improve that.
Perhaps the best tool out there to help you improve your website traffic is Google Analytics. Every website and brand worth their salt leverages Google’s web analytics tools in order to help them understand their website and their users.
Installing a Google Analytics plugin helps you gain those insights into your site visitors and how they behave on your website.
And while there are plenty of great plugins out there to help you out, the one we suggest is MonsterInsights.
Not only is their plugin incredibly popular (2 million+ active installations), but they also offer detailed audience, behavior, content, and even ecommerce reports all available directly on your WordPress dashboard.
That means you won’t have to constantly be bouncing between two different websites to get a quick glance at how your website is performing.
Go deeper: Learn to customize your Google Analytics to fit your goals with these 10 tips.
Be judicious with your plugins
When I created my first WordPress website, I went a bit overboard with the plugins.
It’s easy to do! There are tons of them out there and they all seem like they can help out your website in one way or another.
However, this is a big rookie mistake to make. Not only can it harm your website’s performance, but it also downright clutters your admin dashboard to no end.
The real trick is to pick a handful of good plugins and forget about the rest unless you really need them.
We’ve already talked about MonsterInsights, one plugin I consider a must have. Another plugin you definitely need to install on your WordPress website (especially if you’re a beginner) is Yoast SEO.
This plugin makes it easy to optimize your web pages and blog posts for SEO with features such as title and meta description templating as well as canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content (very important for search term rankings).
While Yoast SEO is free, their premium plugin is very much worth the price. It allows you to go even deeper, giving you options for related keywords, as well as internal linking suggestions as you write on WordPress.
Go deeper: Yoast isn’t the only option out there. Here are some of the best SEO plugins for WordPress for you to consider.
Optimize for mobile
This doesn’t directly have to do with WordPress—but it’s still worth mentioning because of how critical it is for your website.
You need to make sure that your website works well on mobile devices. Failure to do so means you’ll directly (and negatively) impact the majority of your audience’s experience with your brand.
That’s not an exaggeration either. The majority of all web pages worldwide are viewed through mobile devices. Here’s some data from Statista showcasing that growth over time:
What can we take away from these numbers? Mobile is king—and its usage is growing with each passing year.
Here are a few more numbers to support why you need to optimize for mobile:
That last point is very important. If you’re not optimizing your website for mobile, you’re going to see a hit in your SEO ranking. That is going to mean less visitors to your website and less potential income for you.
Bottom line: You need to optimize your WordPress website for mobile if you want to draw in millions of visitors each month.
All it really implies is that your website content looks good and readable on both desktop and mobile devices.
Make sure that the text is easy to read, the colors are pleasant to look at, and the links are clickable.
Go deeper: Here’s our complete guide to a mobile friendly website to help you optimize and grow.
Resources to Create a Popular WordPress Website
Below are a few of our very best resources on how you can create the best WordPress website that draws in millions of visitors each month.
To start, we reviewed the best WordPress Plugins for some of the most popular categories.
Here are our reviews for each:
Resources to Create a Popular Website
Below are a few of our very best resources and best practices to create a good website in general:
There you have it. 20 different WordPress websites that manage to draw in millions of visitors each month.
If you want to do the same for your own website, you just need to follow a few tried and true systems to get you there. Read the tips above to help you get started.
Good luck—and maybe we’ll add you on the list once you hit your first million visitors.
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October 21, 2020 at 11:05AM