When you're deep into WordPress, you tend to load up every installation with all the stuff you think you need. 42 plugins, your bloated theme, and all kinds of stuff all over the widget areas.
I have a WordPress "kit" which I normally use to set up a new site, then I remove the stuff I don't need. This process saves me time and effort and I do it mostly to get my clients' sites up and running within 48-72 hours.
I highly recommend you do something like this if you're setting up more than one site each day. But sometimes, check yourself too.
Just recently I started working on the revival of an old blog I had, and this time I decided to do it all from scratch, and one small step at a time. Instead of using my go-to kit.
The joy of seeing a blank slate, unencumbered by dashboard pop-ups, and admin notices that scream I should do this, and go here, and upgrade that and the other was refreshing.
Out of curiousity, I headed over to Pingdom to test this fresh WordPress install plus Wordfence, and it just made me rejoice. Check it out.
I wonder how it will be when the site is "ready" for public consumption, with the plugins I need, widgets in place and whatever theme I decide to go with. But if I can keep the site loading under 2 seconds, and the page size under 1.5-2 MB.
I'll post an update when that happens.
Update ( a few hours later)
After I started added new content and trying to backfill the archives, I decided to add a theme. I went with Maker Pro, from the Genesis collection by Studiopress.
I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Performance grade went up one point, page size dropped almost by a factor of 5, load time went up by 0.03 seconds which is negligible, and there were 5 fewer requests than before.
This just reaffirms my affinity for the Genesis themes.