I love decluttering! I get a dopamine hit when I delete, clean, and remove anything unnecessary. I’m a big fan of decluttering WordPress websites, too.
Let’s look at why and how to declutter various areas of WordPress.
Why bother decluttering your WordPress site?
- Increase site security: the fewer plugins, themes, and users you have on your site, the smaller its attack surface (the area available for hackers to target).
- Increase site speed: in general, the leaner your site, the faster it will run. People (and Google) love a fast site!
- Decrease site size: by shrinking your site, you make it easier for your backup system to back it up, and you save space on your web server.
Now, let’s declutter our way through several areas of WordPress. But first, make a complete backup of your site (files and database)!
I created a video walking through how to declutter a WordPress site. Below the video are notes.
Go through the Posts area of your site, deleting anything you no longer need. But first, save the URL and create a redirect to redirect that URL to the best match (another post, a page, a category archive, etc.).
Same as Posts (above). Go through the Pages area of your site, deleting anything you no longer need. But first, save the URL and create a redirect to redirect that URL to the best match (another post, a page, a category archive, etc.).
Go through the Media area of your site, deleting any files you no longer need. Cleaning this area is more difficult than cleaning others, because you don’t want to delete any images, PDFs, or other files that are in use. Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to figure that out.
How to Tell if a Media File is used on Your Site
You could try a plugin that finds duplicate media, such as DNUI (Delete Not Used Image), Media Cleaner, Media Deduper (not very popular) or Image Cleanup (more popular, but hasn’t been updated in 3 years). None of these have fantastic reviews, so proceed with caution.
If you don’t want to risk a plugin, or they don’t do the job, you can try the (painful) manual method:
Switch your Media Library to List View (icon at top left of page) and look at the Uploaded To column. That tells which page/post the file was uploaded to. This doesn’t mean that the file is still used on that page/post, or that it’s not used in other places (pages, posts, widgets, theme, etc.).
When you click Edit for an item in the Media Library, you’ll see a File URL field that contains the full URL. Then, edit a page/post, switch the editor to Text (tab at top right of editor), and look at the file URL. If that URL matches the File URL in the Media Library, it’s the same file.
Go through the Comments area of your site, deleting anything you no longer need.
Go through the Appearance > Themes area of your site, deleting anything you no longer need. Be careful about parent themes! If you’re using a child theme, it needs its parent theme (such as Genesis). If you click your active theme, a box will pop up and say something like “This is a child theme of [X],” and you’ll know then that you need to keep X (such as Genesis).
Go through the Plugins area of your site, deactivating and then deleting anything you no longer need. For more detailed instructions, see How to Audit and Clean Up WordPress Plugins.
Go through the Users area of your site, deleting anything you no longer need.
Custom Post Types
In addition to the areas built into WordPress, which we went through above, you may see other items in your Admin Menu (along the left side of your WordPress admin area). You may have Custom Post Types such as Testimonials, Portfolio, Sliders, and more. Use the same method as above: go through those areas of your site, deleting anything you no longer need.
Enjoy Your Decluttered Site
Now that you’ve removed the junk from your WordPress site, you have a clean workspace for creating more content that will attract traffic, generate leads, and bring you sales! If you’d like help decluttering your site, or improving it in some other way, please contact us!