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WordPress Obesity – Is it Mortal Yet?

I used to think that I was the only one that ever heard the word “obesity” come out of a doctor’s mouth. But if reports are accurate, most of you are fat. I know, I hate to start a post insulting you. But the truth is the truth – 7 out of 10 people are overweight. And over half of them are obese.

But that’s not the main point of this post. On this site, we talk about WordPress. And friends, we have a problem.

Somebody went and got obese

WordPress themes are getting chubby. Big boned. Thick. Heavy. Fat.

While we weren’t looking, it went and got hefty. Large. Plump. Bulky.

WordPress Obesity: The Stats

One of the most downloaded themes is Twenty Ten. Know how many files it is? About 50. Know how big? Less than one meg.

Know one of the biggest sellers on Themeforest? Avada. Know how many files? Over 1100. Know how big? About 15 MB.


If you’re an end user, I get it. You want options. You want a single purchase to go as long as you can make it last, so having every option under the sun seems to make sense to you. But trust me on this: people don’t stick with themes forever. Remember that first house you bought? The one with the 30-year loan? Did you stay in it for 30 years? No. Did you think you would? Yes. Until you didn’t.

Your theme is like that. You’re going to change your mind. But when you do, the dependencies you’ll have created will leave you unable to look at a lot of other options.

That’s because Avada isn’t just a theme. It’s a theme and about ten plugins all wrapped in one. And when  you change later to a different theme, you’ll lose a lot of that “plugin” functionality.

So don’t do it. Look closely with a critical eye if the theme is over 6 MB. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m saying look twice. Or you’ll be taking a beefy theme home.

If you’re a developer, I get it. You want to drop it on the server for your client and either configure it or walk away. Either way, don’t do it. You know your clients will call you back anyway.

And what happens when they want something the theme doesn’t provide? You going to give them a different theme? And then code everything from Avada into it? To keep it “equivalent?”

Educate your customers. Explain the difference between themes and plugins. Or better yet, don’t teach them anything, just build your site from simple themes or solid frameworks.

Slimming Down

Slimming down isn’t easy. Think about it – you’re still eating poorly. You’re not exercising as often as you should. You still spend too much time sedentary. And you already know better. So you can’t really blame WordPress developers, designers and customers for heading down this road.

But it’s an unhealthy road. Think about it this way – that theme you’re loading onto WordPress may be bigger than WordPress itself (about 10-12MB) and about 1000 files.

Would you ever put on an outfit that weighed as much as you did? Seriously?

Things have gotten out of hand.

So do something different. Instead of starting with “the look” of your site, talk about “the purpose” of your site.

Figure out the “objectives” and determine the “metrics” you’ll monitor (to demonstrate successful conversion).

Then let your design flow from your function. 

Trust me, it won’t take 1100 files to make your function shine!

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