Is your website slow, hard to read, or simply a little messy? It might be time to declutter your WordPress site.

One of the great things about WordPress is how flexible it is. You can use plugins to extend upon it until you can create basically any kind of website. From a simple blog, to complex membership sites, and even social media sites. But, what that also means is that there is a lot of room for making a website more complicated than it needs to be.

In this tutorial, we’ll cover 6 different things you can do to get rid of some fat from your WordPress site.

01. Get Rid Of Unnecessary Plugins

Now, let’s get down to it here. By unnecessary, I don’t mean only plugins that you don’t use. Obviously deactivate and uninstall those as fast as humanly possible.

Rather, I’m talking about plugins that may not have a positive effect on your user experience.

For example, heavier plugins that cause drastic increases in loading speed. These are typically JavaScript heavy plugins that rely on multiple scripts to function.

These heavier plugins often tackle things like animation or custom functionality for WordPress.

Somtimes a WordPress site does absolutely require one of these to do what it’s made to do. Other times they are

Sure a lot of these plugins are neat, but is it worth adding whole seconds of loading time to your site?

Does that really add to the experience of visiting your site, or does it make it worse?

So, after you’ve gotten rid of all plugins that you don’t use I would recommend that you install the P3(Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin and use it to see which plugins are slowing your site down the most.

Then simply deactivate and uninstall those plugins. While we are on the topic of plugins, you also want to see our article on best plugins and tools to have from the Get-Go.

02. Clean Up Your Navigation

There are a few things you can do to make the navigation on your less cluttered, but one of the most common mistakes is excessive categories.

Reduce Your Amount Of Categories

There’s hardly any reason to have an overwhelming amount of different parent categories. Sure, some might argue that there is an SEO effect, and that you’re targeting x or y long tail keyword with a detailed SEO strategy. If you are, and you’re seeing results, great. Keep it up. Maybe consider making some of them into parents and children where appropriate.

If you have tons of categories on your website, and you don’t even understand what was going in the paragraph above with the SEOs and the long tails, you probably need to take a closer look at your categories.

(On one of my first WordPress sites, I would constantly add new categories, sometimes to something I only ever wrote about once.)

If it is something that you hardly ever cover, or there’s another category for basically the same thing, remove that category.

For rare or obscure topics, put it in a category like “Misc” and use tags instead.

If you run a big site, for example, a gaming site that covers many different games, you should definitely use child categories for each separate category under a certain game. For example:

Parent Category: CS:GO

  • CS:GO Tutorials
  • CS:GO Videos
  • CS:GO News
  • CS:GO Tournaments

(Or better yet, have separate sections of your website using WP Multisite.)

Sometimes it seems like webmasters are trying to do the work of the search function for it, with categories.

Prioritize your biggest, most popular categories in your navigation. (And add in child categories as child links where appropriate.)

It’s okay to let a small amount of people search for something in the search box, rather than making everyone confused with an endless amount of categories listed at the top of the page.

03. Use Enough White Space

If you absolutely need everything that’s on your page, use white space. Increasing the amount of white space can be a great way to declutter your site. Or at least, make it look a lot more organized.

(White space is the space in between each different piece of content. It doesn’t need to be white, it just refers to that empty space. It acts as a separator, a border between each piece of content.)

If there’s not enough white space, even a site with few separate pieces of content on it can appear extremely crowded.

But by increasing the margins and paddings a little bit, everything begins to seem more clear cut and organized.

If you want to learn more about white space, and how to actually add more of it your theme you should read:

04. Clean Up Your Content

If you’re always writing long, lecturing sentences and paragraphs, the huge chunks come together and make the main content area look like a big, unreadable wall of text. Because your main content is

On the subject of white space, one of the easiest things you can do to keep things from looking to cluttered, is to make sure that you use plenty of short paragraphs in your content.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to break your a paragraph into multiple paragraphs, even if it would upset your high school English teacher.

Unlike in English class, people are not getting paid to read what you write and evaluate it.

When you’re dealing with the short attention spans of 2016, making it as easy to read (and as appealing to look at) as possible is more important than debatable grammatical errors.

But don’t take my word for it, instead, study Jon Morrow, arguably one of the most successful bloggers on the planet.

His posts go viral more or less like clockwork, and he strongly advocates the use of short sentences and paragraphs, though it might break some rules.

Organize Your Content Better

Another thing you absolutely should do to your content, that will make it way more visually appealing, is making use of basic formatting like headers, quotes, and unnumbered lists.

Style Your Text Better

Maybe your problem is not with how you’re writing your content, but with how your theme presents it. If that’s the case, but you love everything else about the theme, you might want to take matters into your own hands.

In particular, you might want to change the line height, and the space in between each character. You can implement these changes quite simply using CSS. (To implement your own custom CSS, you can use a plugin like, Simple Custom CSS

Normally, the content section on a page or post in a WordPress theme has a class like “.entry-content”. (You can find out your theme’s by using Google Chrome’s inspect function, or the Firefox add-on Firebug. Simply right click over the appropriate text, and choose inspect. Then find where it says

<div class="entry-content">

or something similar.)

Let’s say we only want to change the settings for the small text, and not the headlines, we’ll want to isolate the paragraphs with CSS. That will look like this:

.entry-content p {  line-height:175%  letter-spacing: 0.5px;  }

If your font is the main problem, you can change that with CSS as well. If you want to use one of the Google Fonts, you can use a plugin like Easy Google Fonts.

Don’t Just Throw An Image In There

Lastly, stick to using visuals that actually complement the topic.

Don’t just throw an image in there.

If it feels like it has nothing to do with the written content, it’s just a distraction and it detracts from the reading experience.

Put some time into finding visuals that actually make sense with your content.

Find something with a connection, even if it’s just a metaphor.

And, if you can, go all the way and dig up some statistics if that makes sense. Legitimate graphs and charts are completely underused compared to random stock photos and clipart.

05. Clean Up Your Sidebar

What do you have in your sidebar? If your site is anything close to the norm, chances are you have a lot of things in there.

Take a long hard look at all those widgets.. do they need to be there?

Do they serve a purpose?

Do they improve user experience?

Only keep widgets where you can wholeheartedly answer yes to all those questions.

Continuing a bit on our previous point.. in some themes, there’s also not much space in between each widget.

If you have a lot of widgets, you might want to consider increasing some of the margins between each one.

Another thing that you sometimes see with sidebars, is that they’re full of different elements with harshly contrasting colors.

This clash can make a page feel crowded and messy, even when everything is perfectly spaced out with the right amount of white space.

06. Clean Up Your Database

Clean Up Your Database - Declutter Your WordPress Site

The last place to do some spring cleaning, does not take place on the front end, but rather on the back-end of your website. Having a cluttered database can make for a considerably slower website, in particular the admin area.

Think of your database like an old school filing cabinet. The less useless stuff is in there, the faster you grab the files that actually matter.

To clean up your database, you can use the plugin WP Optimize or WP Sweep. But remember to be careful and back up your database before you try to do any cleaning or optimization.


By getting rid of some of the fat, and making a few easy changes, you can easily declutter your WordPress site in a few hours (or less). The rewards can mean not only a better looking, faster loading site, but also increased audience loyalty because of the improved user experience.

We hope our article helped you declutter your site. You may also want to see our post on 20 of the Best Free Themes for WordPress.

Did you successfully declutter your site? Please let us know in the comments.

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