RT Cunningham


Pruning a Website is Kind of Like Pruning a Tree or a Bush

pruning shears Pruning a website like mine is a lot like pruning a tree or a bush. But that’s about as far as the analogy can go. It doesn’t involve reshaping.

I prune this website from time to time to keep it healthy. In other words, I remove articles that are practically dead. But only if I can’t rewrite them. I’m basically reinforcing what I wrote in that article.

Pruning the Dead and Dying Articles

It’s been well over a year since I described how I choose what to remove. A lot has changed since then. I converted my website into a static website based on WordPress. WordPress is running on my local host machine, which is where I do all of my web development. It’s not running online.

I’m now using only the Google Search Console and Google Analytics results to decide what to remove. I export the tables for 90 days and use a PHP script to see what doesn’t match the articles in my database. I also export the table of incoming links (backlinks) and compare them against that list.

I’m not just Pruning

The changes I’m making have as much to do with advances in technology as they do with web traffic patterns. Some of the changes are complete and others are works in progress.

One change is Accelerated Mobile Pages. I mentioned revisiting AMP and I did. All the articles (and only the articles) have matching accelerated pages. I’m still waiting to see if they’ll have any effect on anything. Nothing so far.

I’m replacing the “lead-in” images with their thumbnail counterparts. The thumbnails look better on cell phones than the size I was using, which looks fine on desktops. I get more cell phone visitors than desktop visitors anyway. It’s a slow process because I have to edit each article, one at a time.

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By RT Cunningham
September 1, 2017
Web Development