WordPress is no longer just a blogging tool. These brilliant examples of WordPress websites will help get that inspiration flowing…
Once regarded as just a blogging tool, WordPress has quickly become a fully fledged content management system (CMS) for professional web designers and agencies, used on millions of sites across the world. Yet many still think of it as a tool for amateurs and hobbyists. To set the record straight, we’ve picked some of the best WordPress websites around to show you just what this incredible content management system is capable of…
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The independently-owned design and digital marketing agencyEntyce, based in Chester has shown its worth in salt even on its own portfolio site. Creative director Jane Entwistle reveals that, for the site, they used the world’s most popular CMS, WordPress.
“WordPress is an established system, and we like the concept of open source – it’s very versatile and can easily be modified and styled as required,” she adds. “As with any software there are a few flaws, but in our opinion these are outweighed by the pros”.
In advocacy of WordPress, Entwistle adds: “It’s a great software to work with and it’s free! It’s easy to use, well documented and has a great community with lots of articles if you get stuck or need help”.
Bluelounge designs and creates innovative and sleek products that support the customers’ digital lifestyle including cable management, chargers, iPhone/iPad accessories and soft goods.
The site is built on a combination of the CodeIgniter framework, Interspire Shopping Cart and WordPress. Michael Sunarlim, a web producer at Bluelounge explains: “I chose to use CodeIgniter as the main platform when we decided to redesign our website because it’s a great framework,” he says. “As I was more of a frontend developer, CI easily won my preference to build a structured and expandable website without sacrificing PHP’s strong values.”
Ghosthorses is the portfolio site of Stephen Fairbanks. This lovingly crafted site, laden with visual treats appealing to both the casual observer and the web-savvy, serves to delight as well as showcasing his works.
When choosing the CMS to drive his major redesign, Fairbanks knew it had to be WordPress. “I’ve been using WordPress for as long as I’ve been building sites because I like how malleable it is, and the fact that it’s so popular means there’s a really good community of support behind it. Also the Featured Image function does all the legwork of cropping, resizing and embedding my images.”
He’s also felt the blight of WP’s limited media handling capabilities, but has found a suitable solution. “I’ve moved the Multiple Post Thumbnails plug-in into my functions.php file by default now for all my sites to easily add scrollable galleries.”
04. Olly Sorsby
Olly Sorsby is a student who’s just breaking into the world of web design. Olly’s portfolio site enables him to show off his work and introduce himself to the wider community.
He picked WordPress as the CMS. “I found with WordPress, once I got my head around where everything was, that it was very easy to navigate and use to produce the site. I think the plug-ins and widgets are great – the drag-and-drop feature is so easy to use. Being able to install a plug-in or widget which lets me drop a contact form where I like, then be able to get it looking exactly how I want, is great.”
Marketing agency Design the Planet is a group of self-described ‘planetary engineers’. Based in New Orleans, they claim to be able to break your brand free from ‘generic mediocrity’. Looking at the DtP portfolio site, they’re definitely the folks to do just that. To make it, Design the Planet chose WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS).
“WordPress is our go-to CMS,” vice president and COO Perryn Olson explains. “We find it easier to work with and much easier for our clients to quickly pick up on without having a steep learning curve like Joomla or Drupal.”
Olson is a big fan of established CMSes, it turns out. “We’ve seen a backlash against proprietary CMSes from prospective clients, because of poor experiences with previous companies,” she says. “Some companies feel trapped if they use a proprietary CMS – because they can never leave and their website becomes a hostage – while WordPress is universal and fairly portable from one company to another.”
06. Toronto Standard
Digital creative agency Playground was behind the design of this redesign for the Toronto Standard. Creative director at Playground Ryan Bannon explains, “The client was an investor who had purchased the rights to an old Toronto news brand and wanted to reinvent it as a purely digital, fresh voice in the Toronto editorial scene. That was about it; purely digital, fresh voiced editorial.
“The site uses mostly HTML5 and CSS3. One of the most important tools we used are CSS3 media queries, which allowed us to reorganise our dynamic grid to make an experience that always fit the browser size. On the backend, the entire site runs on WordPress so there’s not a complex proprietary system for contributors to learn.”
07. Harvey Nichols
This site for international luxury fashion destination Harvey Nichols was created by digital agency Pod1. Fadi Shuman, co-founder of Pod1 explains, “The brief was an exciting ecommerce proposition to deliver the luxury shopping proposition, to be flexible in its design for campaign imagery and themes.
“We were tasked with revamping the retailer’s online presence and upgrading its website using the Magento Enterprise open source platform and WordPress. Pod1 worked closely with Harvey Nichols, with a team of 10 people on each side in constant communication to make the project a success.”
08. Captain Creative
A true superhero of the web world has finally revealed himself. And he has a website! Brad James is a self-described “mild mannered designer and art director” based over in New South Wales, Australia. Although he works for agency, iQmultimedia, James has set up as his own online identity named Captain Creative.
To manage James’s online identity and leave enough time to save the world (wide web) he chose WordPress, “mainly because I knew I wanted a portfolio and blog combined into the one site,” says James. He adds, “I don’t write code so it also helps that it’s widely used in case I run into any technical problems. I’d also used it previously as a CMS for other website clients, so I was familiar with the interface.”
However, James warns, “It does have its downsides. I had a security issue recently where someone was able to modify the appearance of the site and even change my WP login credentials. Fortunately, I was able to sort it out without too much trouble. Lesson learnt: make sure you keep your version of WP updated!”
Digital creative agency Gladeye has developed a site for the iconic New Zealand brand 42Below Vodka. Interactive director Tarver Graham explains, “42Below is one of the coolest brands in the entire world. So you could say we felt a little bit of pressure to deliver on design.
“Working within the WordPress framework but still making a site that felt totally unique and original was a major consideration. We had to meet the brief and provide an extremely dynamic CMS and animated feeds within a look that worked for the brand, and didn’t feel at all like a WordPress theme.
10. Poster Roast
Poster Roast is a platform for UK artists to promote their screen-printed gig posters. The site first came about whenTelegramme was commissioned by Alex Curtis and Chris White. Director of Telegramme Studio Robert Evans explains, “I met them last year at various gigs and exhibitions they were putting on. We got chatting about the emerging gig poster scene in the UK, and the idea arose of giving all the artists an easy way to get people to see and buy their work.”
“The project was an extracurricular activity outside of our working hours. This meant we had to be thrifty and work out how to cut out time spent learning new code so we could concentrate on the design. It needed to be reliable, with good support from its original designers via email and forums. It needed to take the worry of ‘If I do this, will it break?’ We’ve worked with the guys at Organic Themes before and they’re really helpful.
“We used the excellent WP E-Commerce with gold cart plug-in. Tweaked for the specific usage of the site, we used the categories in a slightly different way to its intention. The plug-in is really flexible to cater for various uses and solid enough to play around with, without breaking it. The most useful element of this plug-in was its ease of integration within any theme structure. Widgets and short codes let you add categories and products wherever you need them, enabling you to drive traffic to where you want.”
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