A photo of Taylor Swift singing with a scribbled speech bubble that says “I Love Open Source.”
Website Reviews

Just one of us after all? A closer look at Taylor Swift‘s new website

What’s under the hood of Tay-Tay’s new website? And does the megastar have a soft spot for open source? A teardown from a WordPress perspective.

What do NASA, the White House, Angry Birds and Rafael Nadal have in common with Taylor Swift? All of their websites run on WordPress. In Taylor Swift’s case, a wider audience recently became aware of this fact when her website was temporarily unavailable during the past Grammy Awards and visitors were greeted by a WordPress logo instead. Of course, this didn’t go unnoticed within the WordPress community – which also prompted WordPress chief Matt Mullenweg to offer tech support to Tay Tay to avoid future outages.

What all examples show: Despite all the badmouthing, WordPress can definitely be the foundation for websites that attract enormous amounts of traffic. With such a prominent topic, however, is’s quite interesting for me to find out how such a project is implemented. Time for a look at and under the hood of taylorswift.com.

Caution – it’s going to be smartass and quite WordPress-nerdy! 🤓

Who and when

According to the site’s Terms page (appearantly last updated in April 2019), the website is operated by an arm of the record company, namely UMG Commercial Services, Inc. on behalf of Taylor Nation, LLC, presumably a business structure of the artist herself. A look at the style.css of the active theme suggests that an English agency called Push Entertainment was commissioned to create the website.

The website in this form is fairly new; according to the Wayback Machine, it was probably launched on or around February 5, 2024. The previous version, shown here on February 3, was already running on WordPress.

There is also an online store, of course, on the subdomain store.taylorswift.com, but it runs on Shopify. Perhaps Mr. Mullenweg would like to take the opportunity to pitch Woo?


The design of the website is quite minimalist and is fully in line with the design of the new album titled “The Tortured Poets Department“, which will be released on April 19, 2024. Beige tones, grainy backgrounds and photos, as well as a fairly classic-looking font selection with “Big Caslon” and “Nitti Typewriter” – all quite coherent and pleasing so far. And a bit lame, but that might just be me. Matching favicon and open graph image are there, so nothing to complain about here. 🥸

A look at the previous version of the website shows that they obviously want to strike a different note than before, even compared to the rather pompous design of the ongoing “Eras” world tour.

There is a logo in the top left corner, which I stared at for quite a long time in search for a “Taylor Swift” in the compound letter shapes – until I finally realized that it was the letters “TTPD” pushed together, the acronym of the aforementioned album title.

The menu bar is sticky at the top and is not separated by a line or a drop shadow when scrolling, which results in the content of the page disappearing behind the background of the menu bar, which is the same as the body of the page. This may work, but it’s a pretty lazy design choice IMHO. 🤷‍♀️


On the surface, the website consists of a fairly simple one-pager, with a few linked subpages for Terms, Privacy and Accessibility. However, a glance at the sitemap reveals a few more subpages, such as landing pages for the upcoming “Eras” tour in the US and worldwide, as well as a thank-you page for new subscribers to the newsletter. So far, so unexciting.

A screenshot of the sitemap
The index sitemap from taylorswift.com

What’s more interesting, of course, is that the sitemap here reveals two custom post types with the slugs video and gig. And the single posts of these CPTs are publicly accessible, see for example “Lavender Haze” or the even more accident-looking gig post “Hard Rock Stadium”. In the case of video, there’s even a rather unorganized public archive page.

Is that intentional? Hardly so, I guess. 😜

Stack and infrastructure

As you can already gather from the sitemap, the well-known Yoast SEO plugin is running here, as is always visible at first glance in the source code. The often criticized code comment “This site is optimized with the Yoast SEO plugin v20.2.1” also gives us a hint about the update discipline: version 20.2.1 was released on 2 March 2023. One or two updates must have been released since then, right? 🤷

Screenshot of a section of the source code with code comments referencing Yoast
Yoast has always had a slightly more aggressive marketing approach

Things are not quite as dramatic when it comes to keeping the WordPress software up to date: Taylor Swift is currently on version 6.2.3, which is from October 2023.

The WP Core blocks are extended by the Kadence suite of blocks (as it has already been observed). The CSS of the website is (at least partially) optimized with Autoptimize. In addition, an old culprit loads its assets: Contact Form 7 – even though there is no contact form on the website. There is a newsletter subscription form, but this is provided by the newsletter service provider, as far as I can see.

References to several other plugins can be found in the source code:

  • appreciation-engine-social-sign-in
  • umg-grand-royal-theme-plugin
  • push-global
  • umg-analytics
  • umg-aal

These plugins all appear to be custom developments that are apparently used on many artist websites from the Universal Music Group cosmos, as this index of the themesinfo.com website shows, for example on the websites of The Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols or Mumford & Sons.

The fonts used to design the website are supplied by Adobe Fonts/Typekit; a service called Listrak is used for the newsletter.

The website is apparently hosted by a provider called Imperva/Incapsula. A CDN doesn’t appear to be used here, Cloudflare only helps out with individual scripts.

About speed and other abnormalities

Subjectively, the website loads quickly, but Google is not exactly enthusiastic in its PageSpeed Insights. It’s fascinating that so little importance seems to be given to this.

Screenshot from the website test in PageSpeed Insights
Google doesn’t like the website so much

There is certainly a lot of potential for optimization, including some pretty low hanging fruit. In addition to the usual suggestions from Google, the following also stands out when poking around in the source code a bit further:

  • The fonts Roboto and Raleway are loaded from Google Fonts, although they are not used in the design of the website.
  • Apparently the same Google Analytics script is loaded twice.
  • A Google reCAPTCHA script is loaded, although it is not even used in the newsletter subscription form (as far as I can see).

Of course – and Google also criticizes this in its PageSpeed Insights report – a colorful bouquet of other services is called up on page load, which further slows down the website: Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, DoubleClick etc. (of course, without this even being mentioned in the privacy policy).


A complete accessibility check would go beyond the scope of this article – and besides, I’m not the expert here. But I would like to share a few cursory observations. It is difficult to navigate the website using the keyboard – no focus or active status is defined for the menu items. Links in the body text on subpages are underlined, but do not even have a hover status. The labeling seems to be a bit mixed up, I’m seeing stuff like aria-label=Taylor Swift - I Can See You…, for example. The heading order also seems to be rather arbitrary: A non-visible h1 is then immediately followed by an h3, and so it goes on blithely. The newsletter form fails the test: You can only guess which field is currently in focus or where the cursor is located.

Above all, however, the contrast of light beige text on the grainy, dark beige background is hardly sufficient from an accessibility perspective, which is fatally evident in the accessibility statement with continuous text in a very small text size and small character spacing. And a special bon mot can be found in the footer: In a font size of an incredible 5px, the following note is visible but illegible: “If you are using a screen reader and are having problems using this website, please call 866-682-4413 for assistance.” This is somehow reminiscent of SEO measures from the early internet days, where masses of redundant text crammed with keywords were placed in a minimal font size in light gray on a white background. 🧐

“UMG is proud of its ongoing efforts to ensure that the Website and Web Store, respectively, are accessible to everyone…”, this is proudly touted in the accessibility statement. Well, accessibility remains more of an hollow promise here.

Closin’ up

Look what you made me do – that was fun, once again! What remains to be said? Over at Swifts, they still put their pants on one leg at a time. It’s funny to see that the same or similar tools that I would use are also being deployed for such a prestigous project. The website will certainly achieve its goals (Ka-Chiiing! 💰), but there is still room for improvement.

In any case, it’s hard to imagine a more prominent ambassador for WordPress. Maybe Matt Mullenweg can put together a little swag package – The Time Person of the Year 2023 in a WordPress shirt, that would be something!

Why did I undertake this little review? Well, apart from the fact that it’s fun being a smartass, I try to improve my own web projects by scrutinizing the work of others. Basically, it’s how I’ve learned everything I know about web development – and I’m still learning, obviously.

As with other reviews, I’m naturally worried that my own (somewhat outdated) website and other projects of mine will be taken apart. Or rather, in this case: that I will be targeted by offended Swifties! I beg for mercy! (But of course I am happy to receive clever tips! 🙀

The title graphic is based on a photo by jurvetson/Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0 Deed, via Wikimedia Commons. Edits and additional illustrations are mine.

All screenshots from taylorswift.com are for documentation purposes only.

Now it’s your turn: How do you like the new T-Swizzle website? What have I overlooked? What do you think of this review? Let me know in the comments! 👇

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