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The 20 Largest ExpressionEngine Sites

Since May 2009, we’ve been keeping track of the largest ExpressionEngine sites on the Web. This year’s update proves once more that yes, ExpressionEngine can handle extremely large traffic, if you know how to set it up properly and if your hosting provider is reliable and robust.

So why the list? Well, we have been building large ExpressionEngine-powered sites for a decade, and we’d often see lists of the large organizations that used EE: Apple, BBC, Disney, Garmin, Nike, Sony, etc..  Nevertheless, until we first put this together ourelves, it was hard to find good examples of the EE sites that actually handled huge traffic, and not just the ones that used EE within their infrastructure somewhere but for smaller sites.

But wait… What exactly defines “largest”?

That’s a tough question, because some sites that have a huge amount of visitors might still be just one page in scope. Or a site that serves a niche audience and has a low global Alexa ranking might have crazy active forums. We consulted with many other EE professionals to come up with the following important factors, which seemed to be the consensus about what determines “largeness.”

  • number of unique visitors and pages / month
  • number of entries and comments
  • number of members and forum posts
  • awards and buzz

Combining all these data points from an initial list of more than 150 candidate sites, we came up with the ranking you see here, which was based on all the data we gathered plus a little bit of what we like to call “magic ordering sauce.” You might argue with the specifics of the order, however, we guarantee that you’ll be impressed, and surprised, by this list.

The 20 Largest ExpressionEngine Web sites, as of February 2016

  1. Barack Obama: You’ve heard of him, yes? This is his campaign site*
  2. Garmin: many of their mapping sites
  3. Donald Trump: u.s. presidential candidate
  4. Periodicos Zocalo: newspaper in Mexico
  5. Trend Hunter: trends and gossip

  6. iLounge: everything about the iPod and iPhone
  7. Totally NSFW: adult content (porn)
  8. Life Site News: Religious ministry
  9. Penny Arcade: comic strip
  10. Pizza Hut: Get a pizza RIGHT NOW

  11. CBC.ca: Many of their show’s sites
  12. Vertical Response: Email marketing tool
  13. Playbill: Theater business news
  14. Fodor’s: the travel guides
  15. Gear Live: gadget news

  16. My Newsletter Builder: Really? Two email marketing tools? Yep.
  17. VKMag.com: online magazine
  18. A List Apart: resource for CSS and design
  19. Getty Images: The story behind the photos
  20. Truthdig: progressive news site

(Items in green are new since last year; other sites may be new to the top 20, but were on the list last year.)

Notes for 2016

1. donaldjtrump.com was on ExpressionEngine from May 2015 to Sep 2015, according to BuiltWith.com. I have been unable to verify traffic levels at that time, or to determine what it’s running on now, but it deserves to be in the list.

2. Change.gov used to be the top site on this list; I’ve retired it because it hasn’t been active since 2009, though it would still easily rank in the top 5.

3. I didn’t find as many new sites this year.  Give me your tips!

4. The largest confirmed traffic I know of this year is still Garmin at 23,000,000 pages per month. The largest number of entries we know of is Periodicos Zocalo: 1,200,000. ZOMG.

5. The site I most wish had made the list? Butterball.com, the Thanksgiving turkey recipe site that I know must get huge traffic a few times a year…

If you’re looking for the names of big companies that use EE, the list includes Stanford, U of Miami, MIT, Mailchimp, Cisco, Boobieathon, Sony, Apple, Disney, Nokia, WB, Ford, BBC, Nike, Adobe, Toys R Us, Vodafone, GOP.com and Democrats.org. However, to my knowledge, these companies’ usage of EE is for sites (or sub-sites) that do not deal with the large volume of traffic that the ones listed above do, and this isn’t about name dropping, this is about BIG SITES.

Much of the raw data we gathered is available for you to use, so long as you credit us. Take a look:

 

Click here to view the spreadsheet directly

Also note, the spreadsheet is a living document, so it may in the future show a different ranking than the list in this article does. That’s because we’ve learned more and updated it.  The list is still the list, but the spreadsheet reflects live data.

Special thanks to the folks on Twitter who chipped in with suggestions, and to some folks who couldn’t help us on the record.

Please let us know of any missing sites, either in the comments or by contacting us directly. Thanks!

 

 

Job Opening - Project Manager

We have an immediate opening for a full-time project manager.

Update: This position is now filled.

We’re Canada’s leading ExpressionEngine design and development firm. You’ll be working on interesting and meaningful projects, using the latest tools and techniques, for clients in multiple countries. We’re looking to add a key role to our team—someone who can help grow our business by managing existing projects, improving our internal processes, and ensuring that new clients are brought on successfully.

The project manager will be responsible for proposal writing, project estimation, project planning, managing expenditures, scheduling, co-ordinating resources and personnel within the competing priorities of our existing workload, and managing sub-contractors and freelancers.

The best applicants will have many of the following skills at the “Very Fine”, “Near Mint” or “Mint” level, in something approximating this order:

  • Proven success in managing web site development
  • Experience using shared project management tools like Basecamp
  • Familiarity with mobile design and development issues
  • Excellent written and phone communication skills (we do most work remotely)
  • Experience and skill working with ExpressionEngine
  • PMP certification or equivalent
  • Experience and skill working with other CMSs
  • Advanced Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint skills

Yes, that’s a long list and no, you don’t need to be expert in everything on it; we’re primarily looking for someone with experience planning and executing Web site projects—the rest will make you stand out and get noticed. Be sure to mention if you have previous experience doing other aspects of online or offline development; being well-rounded would be considered an asset.

What are some other requirements?

  • Self-starter with healthy curiosity
  • Ability to keep tabs on all the details without losing sight of the big picture
  • Tenacious attitude towards tracking down loose ends
  • Good at hitting deadlines with a thump
  • Excellent emotional intelligence
  • Can foster teamwork and excellence among co-workers

Who can apply?

  • you must want a permanent position (i.e. not part-time or contract)
  • you must be able to start on Jan. 26 or so (i.e. you can give notice now)
  • you should live, or be willing to live, in Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • you should be able to work in Canada

Who are we?

  • We’re a 12-year-old company with a focus on media, non-profits and educational Web sites.
  • We’re fun to work with (if we’re allowed to say that about ourselves [we are -ed.]), and our clients are excellent as well; there are no waterfall death marches here.
  • We are located in downtown Vancouver, and we have an open, collaborative work environment (no closed doors).
  • We pay a competitive wage tied to experience
  • We work hard, but also have lives outside of work.

To apply, send a cover letter, your resume, and links to Web sites you’ve built. Send them to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

And don’t send your resume as a Word document. We mean it.

 

Job Opening - Intermediate Web Developer

It’s holiday time, but we have an immediate opening for a full-time Web developer, so take a break from your relatives and brush the cookie crumbs off that resume.

  Update: This position is now filled.

We’re Canada’s leading ExpressionEngine design and development firm. You’ll be working on interesting and meaningful projects, using the latest tools and techniques, for clients in multiple countries. We’re looking to replace an existing position, someone who can help maintain our existing clients and also assist in the development of new sites and tools.

The most interesting applicant will have many of the following skills at the “Very Fine”, “Near Mint” or “Mint” level, in something approximating this order:

  • ExpressionEngine
  • PHP (CodeIgniter)
  • Javascript (JQuery, JSON, AJAX)
  • HTML / CSS
  • MySQL
  • Common Web service APIs
  • Server administration (LAMP stack)
  • Web hosting and DNS management

In addition, experience using version control systems, doing unit testing, and building mobile / responsive websites will be considered a big checkmark in the “pro” column.

Yes, that’s a long list and no, you don’t need to be expert in everything on it; we’re primarily looking for someone with experience focused on ExpressionEngine and Javascript and PHP—the rest will make you stand out and get noticed.

What are some other requirements?

  • Self-starter with healthy curiosity
  • Tenacious attitude towards problem solving
  • At least a few years of experience working in Web development
  • Good at hitting deadlines with a thump
  • Excellent written communication skills

Who can apply?

  • you must want a permanent position (i.e. not part-time or contract)
  • you must be able to start on Jan. 26 or so (i.e. you can give notice now)
  • you should live, or be willing to live, in Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • you should be able to work in Canada

Who are we?

  • We’re a 12-year-old company with a focus on media, non-profits and educational Web sites.
  • We’re fun to work with (if we’re allowed to say that about ourselves [we are -ed.]), and our clients are excellent as well; there are no waterfall death marches here.
  • We are located in downtown Vancouver, and we have an open, collaborative work environment (no closed doors).
  • We pay a competitive wage tied to experience
  • We work hard, but also have lives outside of work.

To apply, send a cover letter, your resume, and links to Web sites you’ve built. Send them to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

And don’t send your resume as a Word document. We mean it.

 

Meet Kurtis Stewart

Photo of Kurtis StewartThere’s a new duck in the house! We’ve put our wings together to welcome Kurtis Stewart as a full-time Project Manager. A native of this city, Kurtis epitomizes the Vancouver lifestyle in its most active form: he juggles a multitude of volunteer positions, teaches digital photography at Langara College, plays ultimate, and gets everywhere he needs to be on his bike, Monterey.

At Hop Studios, Kurtis is excited to design a more centralized approach to Project Management (“historically” Hop’s developers and designers have also done their own project management). He’s well-qualified for this task, since he arrives at Hop fresh from completing the Advanced Project Management Certificate Program at Langara. During his years working with the City of Vancouver, VRX Studios, the BC Ultimate Society, and other organizations, Kurtis found himself gravitating toward roles that required lots of hands-on knowledge, team coordination, and management. When a friend suggested he become a project manager, he discovered that his “jack of all trades” style of diving into his work was perfectly fitted to the role of a project manager and he went right off to get his “license to organize”. His many years as a freelance photographer make him particularly well-suited to web design, since he’s long accustomed transforming ideas into strong visual communication.

Kurtis is a self-professed communication junkie: “I. Love. Email!” His goal in his role at Hop is to ensure that clients are always in the loop on the status of their project. Kurtis believes every interaction should be like a game of tennis: quick, short, and to the point. We think his approach is a great match for both Hop Studios and our clients. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team!

You can reach Kurtis at the main office number 604.408.5722, or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Kurtis riding his bike, Monterey

 

Starting Up an Instagram Account Boosts Audience Interaction Across the Board

Rose's first post to Instagram Hop Studios has had the privilege and pleasure of working with cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum for a very long time. Working with Rose is a joy (although looking at all those photos of wonderful desserts and breads can be torture in the late afternoon). The very quality that makes Rose such an inspired cook and great Hop Studios client also contributes to her online success—she loves to try new things.

A month ago Rose signed up for Instagram, the popular photo and video sharing tool (available for iOS and Android). Rose had heard that using Instagram could help her to connect with more people online, and was especially interested in simultaneously sharing Instagram photos to her Facebook page and her Twitter feed, where she has reaching her readers for some time. When the first photo she shared on Instagram got its first batch of hearts in under a minute, Rose was hooked!

Over the past few weeks, Rose has posted a buffet of mouthwatering photos—freshly picked cherries, a grilled tomahawk steak I personally would give my right arm to have right now, iced cappuccino... In short, she’s posting cheesecake shots for the food lovers, if you can forgive the pun. And we aren’t the only ones ogling Rose’s photos, either. Already, Rose has earned many favorites, many comments, and more than 170 followers.

Image showing percentage improvementBut Instagram followers aren’t the only ones excited about these new photos from Rose. As she has shared her foodie adventures on Instagram, she has simultaneously been sharing them on Facebook and Twitter. Thrillingly, the result has been a skyrocketing response across all her social media platforms: there was a significant percentage improvement in Facebook social interaction during the week of her first Instagram post. Her Facebook engagement is way up, as are shares and retweets of her posts. Rose is hearing more from her readers and fans, and is excited to have feedback and interaction on these smaller tidbits of her life that likely couldn’t become a full blog post.

In 2015, it’s no secret that social media is a great way to extend your brand and increase its audience, and luckily, it’s sometimes loads of fun, too. Congrats, Rose!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, for some reason I’m craving cake and I’ve got to go find some.

 
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Web Design and ExpressionEngine Development Consulting - Vancouver (BC) Canada