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Trimming the Fat on an Old WordPress Site

My personal website EmpoweredMarketingGroup.com was 595kb and my goal is under 500kb. This site is very old because it used to be FranksDesigns.com and has had a couple different themes and MANY different plugins over the years.

Why would a WordPress Expert Use So Many Plugins?

You don't gain expertise without trying. To date I bet I've tested hundreds of plugins and several dozen themes. The cost of all of this testing is junk left behind by the tools you reject. Below are the items we addressed.

This brings up another thing: Why not use a staging website? We've tested many types of staging solutions and none were perfect and all of them caused problems. So yes, we do use staging - but on a limited basis.

Database Tables

There were several tables left behind by old plugins. I slashed and burned them after verifying that they weren't used. Turns out I had several from years gone by.

Font Awesome

I realized I was only using one Font Awesome icon that was from the "Regular" library so I replaced that with a solid icon and removed the Font Awesome Regular library.

Image Compression

I already compress all images but one image is the largest on that website. The background image of night sky. I opened it and tested saving it with medium quality. That reduced the image size significantly.

Then I was a bit stuck. What next? Oh yeah, CSS.

Cleaning up unused CSS

I reviewed my custom CSS which had gotten a bit bloated too over the years. Also some CSS wasn't needed for things like Gravity Forms because the CSS that comes with Gravity Forms has gotten better over the years.

What else?

Custom Functions

Fortunately there was no work required here. Partially because in the past two years I changed the theme on this website. So I reviewed the custom functions fairly recently.

Favicon

WordPress site identity leaves a lot to be desired. I removed my logo from there and added an old school favicon to the /public_html/ folder. This shaved off another 9KB and eliminated an extra request. Also speed up my overall loading time by a couple tenths of a second.

Results of Trimming the Fat

The trimmed down website is 20% smaller than the original. That is a solid improvement. Could more be done? Absolutely. If the background image wasn't important removing that would make a significant difference. On two of my personal websites I removed analytics tracking. Believe it or not, that makes a tremendous difference!

Why would someone remove analytics tracking?

  1. It doesn't change the bottom line
  2. Makes the website smaller and faster
  3. Information on website ranking is available from other sources such as SpyFu.com
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