Asset CleanUp Your new best Buddy
Are you doing all the right things. Following best practice most of the time. Yet your site still seems slower than you would like. Well Asset CleanUp may be the answer.
You may have run the speedtest and looked for the culprits that are having the greatest affect on your load time.
You may have arranged all the apps and assets on your front page to help it load lighter.
But still have seconds you would like to shave off that all important first paint or interactive time?
Well here is the thing.
Not everything that is loading is necessary or visible to you.
Its easy enough to work out the visible element such as images menus and Font packages that appear in the Waterfall chart of your speedtest.
It is not so easy to know what makes up the the code such as .css, .js and html.
You just assume it is relevant to the visible assets you see on screen. WRONG!
“So whats happening that I can’t see. How much of it is unnecessary and can be stopped or removed.”
Even if you know the answers to the last two questions,… how do you get control over a processes you don’t necessarily understand because you are not a Coder?
Asset CleanUp plugin
There is a way. And it can be done with a magic free plugin. We will get to that in a minute but first a little background to whats going on.
When you add functions to your WordPress website, you normally do it through installing a Plugin or activating options within you theme.
The functions you are activating may not need to be available on every page. Consider your Contact Form.
You may not want it on the front page. In fact you may have a page set aside purely for that function.
You wont be loading it on any of the other pages. As an example of this we installed the CF7 (Contact Form 7) plugin in a previous tutorial.
We set it up on a page we called Contact Us.
Works well, Great and very popular plugin.
The thing is that this plugin adds code to every page.
Bits of code, Hooks and css style sheets and .js files that prepare each page to run a Contact form should you chose to install one.
That’s great but often unnecessary on many pages. It adds more to the load time of each page.
While the impact may not cause much of an issue for many pages, it does for your frontpage where load time is critical in keeping your visitor.
This action is true of very many plugins. Adding hooks, stylesheets and .js files throughout the site for its functions. Often never to be used.
Another example is the Woocommerce Plugin. The best ecommerce/shop plugin in WordPress.
Why is it so good? Because of it immense power and functionality.
This functionality requires it to hook into every corner of your website.
Don’t forget all the stylesheets it uses too.
This in itself is not a bad thing, it makes it work flawlessly.
But if you intend your frontpage to be the gateway to your site, then your main shop will usually be on another page.
You may have promotion or latest arrivals on the front page but all the other functions of the shop will be on the shop page.
You don’t need them loading all their .css style sheets and .js files when they wont be needed on the frontpage slowing things down.
The biggest Problem ?
You cannot see these visibly on the front page till you actually use one of these functions.
Everybody has a different mix of theme and plugins and preferences.
Consequently its not possible to write a definitive list of what to turn off.
Let alone how do you access the settings to do that for each culprit?
Here’s where a magic little Plugin can do wonders.
Go to the plugin directory and hunt for Asset CleanUp. Or you can use the link to go to the plugin page to read and download.
Activate the plugin.
Now where do I go to start cleaning up my front page?
Easy. You can use the interface in a number of locations.
You can find Asset CleanUp in your site Front End
Here you see Asset CleanUp has been added to the top admin bar. Hover on the name and a dropdown menu appears. Third option down is “Manage Page Assets”.
Clicking this option will take you into the editing interface where you can turn on or off useful or redundant items for that page.
You can find Asset CleanUp In the Back End
In your Pages Tab in the back end. Open each page to edit and you will see Assets CleanUp has added a its interface below the content area.
Asset CleanUp will have scanned the page, and created a list of items that are loading on the page when it displays on your site.
Here is a snapshot of one of the items in the list.
- It identifies the plugin that loads it.
- It tells you what the script is, .css, js etc.
- It tells you where the path to the file.
- In the lower left of the snapshot is a slider button to enable or disable it from loading.
- Where there are dependencies on other files, it tells you where to look for them.
This is only one of a number of plugins, theme, and WordPress core assets in the list.
Assets Cleanup lists all the items in sections. It groups:-
- Plugins with Plugins.
- Theme with Theme.
- And WordPress Core with WordPress Core.
In this way you can safely decide what you should or should not mess with. Most of the time Plugins are safe to play with.
You can also find Asset CleanUp is in the Side
So as you can see there are multiple places to access and work with the plugin.
It depends on your preferred workflow.
If you are writing a page you probably would work in the page interface below the text editor before you close or publish the page.
If you were working on your general load speed you might access it from the front end.
You could also use the backend side admin menu to access the full options available there. Completely up to the individual.
Take a bit more care with Theme files in case it alters the intended appearance.
WordPress Core files are probably the ones to avoid unless you are completely sure about their importance and effect.
Have a read of the Plugin authors setup and usage information, then have a play.
Start by turning off a few things you are certain you don’t need on that page.
Then view the page to check it is loading correctly.
Next do a Speedtest to see if you made an improvement. (Good idea to do one before so you have something to compare against).
From my experience with Asset CleanUp, it gave an immediate improvement in load speed. With further testing I was able to achieve more.
My thanks to the Author of the plugin Asset CleanUp Gabriel Livan.