Talk me off the Wordpress theme bloat ledge!

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I'd like to use something like the Avada theme for a new blog I've been working on, simply because it can handle the multiple styles of layout I'd like to use in different categories. But I know that thing is full of bloat like you wouldn't believe, and the shortcodes probably aren't standard if I were to switch themes down the road. (It's nice when they are, no need to edit hundreds of pages)

That said, it would make it easier and quicker to make better styled pages than the competition with a feature rich mega theme like that. Any suggestions on a compromise somewhere in the middle?
 

CCarter

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PicoCMS.org or PhileCMS.com (it's improved clone) - solves all that confusion and nonsense. I know people love their wordpress, but the vulnerabilities as of late - yoast having 2 within a week period this month, the bloatware, and such are not worth it. I've only been building on flatfile CMS going forward, and when I need to change the theme style of a page, I just input the new theme into the metadata - if not present goes to default theme I selected. That way Different categories, silos, and can have different styles without any problems.

This is how I change a page's theme with Pico:



^^ right there under template, and here are the corresponding files it will choose from (learning-center in this case):



I try to keep things light and simple - stay away from bloatware if you want to the speed.
 

Alex VanDavid

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I can second the above picoCMS flat file speedies, also kirby, statamic ($$), and good old fashioned static pages. Opt-Ins don't have to be plugins, interesting features don't have to slow down your mojo.

Design and function are in your complete control.

Use Markdown, move fast, live large, and...

 

emp

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wolfCMS .. not flat file, but nice and hacky.

::emp::
 

CCarter

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@CCarter would you use a flat-file CMS on a news website/magazine?

Also, would WordPress be better if flipping the site is the end goal?
No I wouldn't use a flat-file for a new site, since flat-file usually only has 1 or 2 people at max editing it and uploading through FTP or SVN - a bit more complicating. Wordpress is great for sites you are going to flip cause people are more familiar with it, and they can add users to edit it without a learning curve.

When you need more then 1 or 2 people to make updates to a site, like a news/magazine site - now or in the future 1-2 years from now, it's best to make sure you are counting on the lowest common denominator (stupidest possible person that will be editing the site), and go with a system that will make it easy for them to use it - Wordpress works well for this.

I'm not in a scenario where multiple people will need to edit any of my sites and my custom reasons for editing a section like a pseudo Facebook page/yelp page login/membership scenario would already need a custom solution so Wordpress is out of the question from day one anyways.
 

RiverStyx

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@Ryuzaki may have a thing or two to say about that theme...
I'd love to know any ideas about optimizing that theme for speed. A developer recommended it to me and I stupidly built a site on it before I realized how fucking bloated it was. The site is there and now I need to trim the fat. Any advice on optimizing this whale?
 

RiverStyx

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it's best to make sure you are counting on the lowest common denominator (stupidest possible person that will be editing the site), and go with a system that will make it easy for them to use it - Wordpress works well for this.
@CCarter, its funny to hear this because that was my thinking last year when I built a basic site for a client on wordpress. She still can't figure it out how to update it, ffs, I don't get people.
 
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While I agree that going with minimal, very light CMS may be a good choice for landing pages, not so content extensive websites, I don't see any reason why not to use Wordpress.

Yes, try to avoid Themeforest's these multifunctional, bloated beasts. They are indeed very slow (most of the times).

Just get a free responsive, lightweight theme and go with it - it will load just fine. And if you really need more speed, use some CDN.

You all are turning web speed in some kind of fetish.
 

Prentzz

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If you can improve a sites speed why wouldn't you? It's the same as delivering a shitty product in a store. Anything you can do to get ahead of the competition is a good thing right? Users notice the difference between a site that loads in 400ms vs one that loads in 1.5s. Your website is your business, up to you if you want to deliver a slower site, obviously theres a trade off with time and optimization, but to say that there's no reason to not use a light cms is maybe a little ignorant in my opinion.
 

Calamari

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Such polarization.

For most of us, WordPress is just fine and can load more than fast enough for the average web surfer.
 

Ryuzaki

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Wordpress can load more than fast enough (fastest even), which I'll be showing you guys very soon...

The problem with stuff like Avada is they are built bloated from the bottom to the top with a handful of plugin dependencies forced upon you. Everything is modularized with their own independent group of stuff forced upon you, like 10 CSS and 10 JS files per plugin and even more with the theme. They also end up loading a ton of 3rd party fonts.

By the time you look at just those issues, you're dealing with 50 http requests (the main problem). Then you start adding other plugins you might want and it just goes up higher. Add in non-optimized images, images used where CSS would have sufficed, not using x and y-repeat slices even when using images, no image sprite sheets, a quadrillion pings to the database, and on and on.

Basically, themes like that are built to turn every piece of editable code into a drop down option for non-coders. This gives users a nice options panel to work through and puts them visually on par with everyone else. It puts them leagues behind in regards to speed. And then a coder is hired to work on speed optimization and it's literally just a lost cause. By the time the site owner begins to think about speed, it's too late to swap themes without a complete redesign of all of the posts and pages.

Sadly, speed concerns always come last. When they come first, it's a non-issue. It can be fixed most of the times, or at least held up by a crutch like caching and a CDN, etc. But in the case of these types of themes... it's generally a no-go. It's possible to some degree but not worth the amount of time it would take and the specialized knowledge you'll pay for.
 

built

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While I agree that going with minimal, very light CMS may be a good choice for landing pages, not so content extensive websites, I don't see any reason why not to use Wordpress.

Yes, try to avoid Themeforest's these multifunctional, bloated beasts. They are indeed very slow (most of the times).

Just get a free responsive, lightweight theme and go with it - it will load just fine. And if you really need more speed, use some CDN.

You all are turning web speed in some kind of fetish.
Most of the themes from elite developers on themeforest are coming out with SEO optimized code, better page speed as well as it being w3c validated.

that said, avoid the multipurpose themes imo
 

Calamari

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99.9% of developers have no business optimizing my seo
 
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Great responses guys, thanks! For the reasons mentioned above, it thinks it's best I stick with Wordpress but ditch the avada theme.

Alright so are there any themes for Wordpress you guys recommend off hand that give decent functionality but are still fairly lean? I did some research, and most of the top selling themes on themeforest and other marketplaces are all multipurpose pigs.

There are some themes supposedly built around speed (like the swift theme) but look like shit out of the box for the most part. I also see another camp of troops who are ditching fancy themes and using this visual composer and the like front end editing plugins. I'd imagine in the end that wouldn't be much better, although at least you could optimize the way the plugin renders itself and switch out themes without content changes I'd assume.

Goodlayers seems to be getting more toward a compromise... Not quite as much bullshit, but still a ton of stuff I'll never use.
 

Calamari

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I use thesis.

I'm sure someone will come in here and say what a steaming pile of shit it is. It does what I need and I never have the same complaints that I hear other people cry about with their theme.
 
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I wonder how much weight google really puts into site speed from a ranking standpoint. Seems like a lot of theme hacking and labor to improve the speed of a wordpress site from 1.5s to 400ms or whatever. I typically just use W3TotalCache + Dedicated Server, and come out with around mid 90's score out of the gate. Not sure if it'd be worth all the extra headache and trouble to go from a 94/100 to a 99/100. Even at 94, I'm still better than 90% of the web probably and spent 1 min uploading my configured W3TotalCache file. Just seems to me like there's a lot better use of time than tweaking out on site speed, if you're already in the 90's.

Having said that, I wouldn't know what the fuck a css sprite was if it hit me in the face.
 

Alex VanDavid

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@ddasilva Honestly does anyone really give a shit what google does?
They are but one door in to that which entertains, delights and motivates one to act on my behalf.

The faster they do that the better.

I want hearts and minds of my customers, we all know google has neither.
They never bought anything from me either...

 
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Challenge accepted.

Which is a fully functional site:

Nice!

Btw are you providing on your site only content or also some functionality, like form submissions etc.? (which could also be potentially done if you redesign a google survey). I guess if you are trying to implement a SaaS product, then you definitely need some kind of database, which is, I think, not possible via the flat file system. Correct me if I am wrong!
 

CCarter

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I guess if you are trying to implement a SaaS product, then you definitely need some kind of database, which is, I think, not possible via the flat file system. Correct me if I am wrong!
That's dangerous having your front-end CMS also control your membership/Saas. A simple Wordpress exploit and your whole operation, members, CC information, and private data is vulnerable - that's insane. I recommend Pico or something to control the front-end - main site where visitors seen. The backend should be completely separate - separate server, even in a separate data center if possible. If one system goes down, the other should not.
 

CCarter

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Just to pop in here with some updates - PicoCMS is now back due to popular demand. Development on the CMS stopped for a while and that's where PhileCMS tried coming in and forking them and taking it from there - but now PicoCMS is back and being updated!

http://picocms.org/

Wordpress - what a waste of time...

 
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Although it can be a bit tedious converting a WordPress site to Pico. The speed difference and simplicity.. holy smokes. I have been converting my authority site over to Pico and nginx for the past two weeks and the results are blowing my mind.
 
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I've gone in to projects and bought themes with every feature going thinking it will be easier to build what I want. 99% of the time you won't even use 99% of the features. I will go with speed every time now.