Read the latest transcripts for the WP Plugins Podcast and training Videos.

It's Episode 313 and we've got plugins for Live Notifications, Sending Email, Drag and Drop Frameworks, Browser Themes, File management and a great way to handle refunds in WooCommerce . It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of WordPress Plugins A-Z #313 Live Notifications, Sending Email

It's Episode 313 and we've got plugins for Live Notifications, Sending Email, Drag and Drop Frameworks, Browser Themes, File management and a great way to handle refunds in WooCommerce . It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #313 here.


It’s Episode 313 and we’ve got plugins for Live Notifications, Sending Email, Drag and Drop Frameworks, Browser Themes, File management and a great way to handle refunds in WooCommerce . It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #313

John:                All right, this week here I’ve got three plugins here and they’re coming from themes that are a particular theme that I’m using. I just entered into the startup stages of a new project after having finally launched another project, so now this new project is a new theme of building an intranet website, which means BuddyPress is going to be part of this. So you’ll see BuddyPress plugins come in, you’ll see other plugins that were recommended by the theme developer to be included in their theme, and I’m going to bring these forward and also at the same time I’m going to kind of give a review on the theme over the next few weeks as this project develops and evolves, so you’ll hear a lot of plugins from that, just to clarify here.

The first one I’ve got this week is called Eonet Live Notifications and this plugin here, what it’s designed to do is when you’re building your intranet or a BuddyPress site and you’ve got all your users and they want to connect with each other and know who’s asked and who’s not asked for connections, that’s what this plugin does for you. It sends out live notifications and it also sends out notifications so when someone logs on, they get a popup that says, “Hey, someone wants to friend with you or connect with you.”

It’s also got a few other interactions in it that I haven’t quite figured out, but as I’m starting through, I’ll revisit some of these plugins. But I thought I would get started on them. Anyway, this is a really great plugin – so far so good with it – and it’s Eonet Live Notifications and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hm…interesting. All right, so the first one I’ve got is something that we don’t typically want to face within our e-commerce store. But if you screw this process up, I guarantee you’ll never get the same customer back to you again. This is called YITH Advanced Refund System for WooCommerce and what it allows you to do is make refund requests accessible and pretty easy to manage for both the user’s side and the customer’s side.

If somebody wants a refund, the worst thing in the world that you could do is make that hard for them to do that. You want to make it as easy and seamless as possible so that if there is any question or any products that they want to buy in the future, that they know that you’ve got them covered in terms of a refund (if something happens to go wrong). So what this does is allow customers to request refunds on the entire order or specific parts of the order. So if there are four or five different items that were sold and they only need to refund on one of them, this allows you to kind of discern and dive down deep to process that refund.

So what happens is the customer sends messages to the admin, the admin can answer them, and then you get to either approve or reject refunds and set on the processing for the physical goods or set requests on hold or things like that. It’s really easy to use, really simple, really nice to set up, and I gave this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s pretty decent. I like that and that could save you some headaches and hassles. Nothing worse than not getting a refund back to them when they actually deserve it, so…

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s a difficult process in WooCommerce and it’s mostly done on a manual basis, so there’s really no flow for a customer to actually request those refunds within WooCommerce that handles it in a very nice way.

John:                Looks like it as well. It looks like it flows quite nicely.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                All right, next up I have a plugin called Unyson and this is a drag-n-drop framework for WordPress website buildouts. Now, it looks to be a standalone framework but again, it’s included in this theme that I’m working on called W Office, which is an intranet, extranet, and BuddyPress theming system. This is the framework they decided to build on and so far as I’m working through this and starting to build out pages on this site, it’s a really nice framework. It’s comparable to the Visual Composer and several of the other ones I have used out there.

It does have one thing that I noticed a little different; it has its individual modules that can be activated or deactivated in this framework – a whole lot simpler than I’ve seen the modules in say Visual Composter (they’re either active or not). So this one you can turn off the ones you’re not going to be using or won’t use, thereby saving you some issues or possible conflicts. But so far, so good. I’m looking forward to the coming weeks of development and revisiting this plugin again. But at the current moment, we give Unyson a 4-Dragon rating, so go check it out.

Marcus:           All right. Well, John, one of the newest things if you’re using Chrome or one of those other browsers from a mobile perspective on Android or any of those, there’s a new tag out there called ‘theme color’ within some of these browsers. And what it is is it essentially changes that kind of slate gray browser bar up at the top —

John:                Mm-hmm?

Marcus:           — and you can change the color of that to match the rest of your theme. So if you have a company color or something like that, you can use this, so this plugin is called Browser Theme Colors. It actually allows you to change that color of the actual browser address bar at the top of your mobile browser. This is really nice. It just adds that little finishing touch. I love to get some of these things into the light because these little kinds of plugins help to shape the user experience. If you’re somebody that does development or client work, these kinds of things set you apart from the rest in terms of design, so check this one out. It’s called Browser Theme Colors and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s a pretty interesting plugin. Does it also set them for regular computer size or is it specific to mobile?

Marcus:           It’s specific to mobile because the regular computer browser does not use and utilize these theme color tags. It may in the future but for right now, I’m pretty certain that it only does it on Android.

John:                Okay. All right, well at least as it advances, it looks like it would be something great because I’m one of those people that does hardly any browsing on my phone.

Marcus:           So you’re the minority.

John:                I am in the minority now. Yes, I know. I realize that but those phones are getting harder and harder to read – something about age and eyesight – one of those things.

Okay, well next up I have a plugin – the final one today still comes from this theme and it’s called File Away. This is a file management plugin and in particular what it’s for is for managing external files uploaded to your site by you or your users for your users to access and use on your site, such as PDF files, Word documents, internal documents – things of that nature in this.

What this plugin does you can manage them through a frontend interface or backend interface. You can allow certain people with special rights to upload files. Then what you can also do is display the files as either a chart or you can display them as a list in here using shortcodes on the page. You can also limit access to people with specific rights, so if you have files that someone low, everyone can see; a little higher, different files for different people based upon their user roles. You can do that with this plugin here.

It also comes with support for YouTube and Vimeo videos, so if you’ve got external videos and you want to bring them into the filing system, it can support those and play them for people. There’s a lot that this plugin can do and as I work through the myriad of files that I have to manage in this website, I’ll know more and more about it. But currently, File Away is looking at a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out.

Marcus:           Cool. All right, I’m going to end things off here with a really nice plugin. This is called Email Sender. One of the biggest drawbacks I think I find is that a lot of times somebody will leave me a comment or somebody will fill out a contact form or something like that. I end up having to go into Gmail or go to whatever my mail is to actually answer them, so I’ve got to copy and paste what they sent and all the rest of it. It takes a while.

This plugin is called Email Sender and it gives you the ability to easily send a custom HTML right from the WordPress dashboard. You can send it to existing users that are already within your system, so if you want to make a One Note to a particular member or somebody that’s in the system, you can do that or just add your own recipient as you would any other email. You can also send to a group of emails in addition to just individuals.

Emails can also have an attachment – that’s something new that I’ve not seen yet in WordPress emails – anything that I’ve seen previously. It’s basically just a new menu item that’s called Send Email within the admin panel. It’s a really nice plugin, really useful – I know that I’m going to be using it on a couple of sites in particular, and I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That’s pretty handy that it allows you to do that. Now, does it also allow you to choose from your list of users in the site?

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                Okay.

Marcus:           You can do existing users that are already there and you don’t have to worry about copying their email address or anything like that. You can also do groups, so you can do everybody that has a particular role and send them an email.

John:                Very nice. That would be a nice way to manage your either membership or if you’ve got multiple administrators in the website or [inaudible] of editors and such and such. Hey, that could be pretty useful.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                It might be something we have to implement on WP Plugins as more and more people come on to help support us by donating time to the website.

Marcus:           Right. And when it comes to things like the intranet site that you’re building —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — this is also something that’s very handy because if you have any sort of system-wide shut-down or upgrades or any kind of notification that you need to send, this allows you to do that. And it doesn’t rely on things like MailChimp or previous signups or anything like that. It’s just people within the actual site.

John:                Yeah, that can be very useful. Okay, well that wraps it up. I covered up in this episode the Eonet Live Notifications that I gave a 4 to; the Unyson framework builder which I gave a 4 to; and then File Away, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I covered the YITH Advanced Refund System for WooCommerce which gets a 4 out of 5, Browser Theme Colors gets a 4 out of 5, and then Email Sender gets a 5 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

Transcript of WordPress Plugins A-Z #312 Gravity Forms CSS, Admin Notices

All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #312 here.


It’s Episode 312 and we’ve got plugins for Talking like a Pirate, WooCommerce for Logged-In Users, Gravity Forms CSS, Admin Notices, Tracking Site Changes and integrating ChatBots into your WordPress site. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #312

John:                This week here I have three great plugins as usual and of course right off the top, the first one is called KJM Admin Notices. Now, what this one is for is if you’ve got a website where you have multiple administrators and you want to leave notes back and forth, it will produce an administrative note that sits at the top of the dashboard area.

The nice thing about this plugin here is you can color code those notices – put a little color in the left-hand side stripe so that they stand out amongst the other notice that are there. You can use them to put information back and forth to the other administrators or if you’re working on something and you need the next administrator who’s taking over your shift to do something, leave a note there for them to take on.

It’s a really useful plugin in that aspect there. If you’re all by your lonesome in that website, it might not do you a lot of good, but a really great one when you’ve got multiple people working. Check it out: KJM Admin Notices, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice, okay. All right, so it’s no secret that one of the things that I’m really into lately is chatbots. I really think it’s going to change a lot of different things throughout the internet. I found a plugin called Chatbot for Facebook and what it does is it uses Personic’s chatbot. They are kind of a chatbot creator – their site – and what this does it allows you to use one of these Personic chatbots right within your WordPress site to deliver content to your subscribers. So the content of your blog posts are formatted so that they actually can render correctly within Facebook Messenger and it can interact with the content that is already on your site and give summaries of new content that’s out there. Depending on how you actually program your chatbot, it does a lot more, too.

So it’s kind of an entry-level way to dip your toe into the water of chatbots and integrate it with content that you already create on your WordPress site. You know, these are quickly becoming one of the most powerful ways to connect brands and audiences. Everybody’s going to be having a chatbot soon, believe me. A year from now, you’ll have a chatbot; it’s that pervasive in terms of the landscape. So this really will help you integrate your WordPress content into a chatbot and I’ll be talking a lot more about the chatbot space as we move along in the show. It’s something that I’m so interested in, I’m actually starting a new company around it in the near future. This is a great plugin to get started within the chatbot world and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                It sounds like an interesting thing to do. I have yet to explore chatbots or what they can and cannot do. I’m just beginning to understand them.

Marcus:           It’s pretty remarkable.

John:                One more of those learning curve items.

Marcus:           Yeah, like you know, ideally we could create a chatbot that somebody asks what type of plugin they’re looking for.

John:                Hmm…

Marcus:           And it could ask other questions like, “Do you run multisite?” “How is your hosting?” “What are the precursors that go into one specific plugin?”
“Do you use WooCommerce?” “Do you use Gravity Forms?” “Do you use all these things?” And then it takes that information and kind of finds the perfect plugin. That would be great.

John:                Sweet. That is an interesting idea.

Marcus:           If I could only get one to record the show for us.

John:                [laughter] Make it easier for you without all the coffee and everything to drag our butts out of bed in the morning.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                All right, well next up I have a plugin that goes with one of my most long-used plugins in WordPress. It’s called Gravity WP CSS Selector. Now, if you’ve ever used Gravity Forms for any amount of time, at least once you’ve had started to use the custom CSS for Gravity Forms. In other words, Gravity Forms has some custom CSS types that allow you to lay out the form other than that straight, perfect up and down form and other bits and pieces. That did require you to do a little bit of extra work. You had to type things in, you had to remember what was where, and sometimes you had to add custom CSS to your CSS file.

Well, this plugin here helps alleviate all that problem. It goes into the Gravity Form, adds a new form field for you in the appearance area to allow you with a drop-down to choose the custom CSS Gravity class via left half, right half, quarters, thirds – all of these bits and pieces – to lay out the form other than the perfect up and down. It’s a very easy plugin to use, it makes the job of using the Gravity custom CSS a lot easier, so that means I’ll probably start to clean up my forms and start to use it, because it’s no longer the insanity that it used to be. A great plugin; I found it was very smooth and it worked well. Check it out: Gravity WP CSS Selector and I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice. Okay, this one is for all you WooCommerce people. This is called WooCommerce for Logged Users. You know, John, sometimes you want to restrict your shop to members —

John:                Mm-hmm.

Marcus:           — or maybe even people that are registered customers of your site. And with this plugin, all you do is activate it and all users not logged in will be redirected to a My Account page to log in as registered before they’re actually allowed to even see the store.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           Now, I can think of a hundred different scenarios where you’d want to limit your WooCommerce pages to only register approved and logged-in users, and this set-it-and-forget-it plugin is great for doing just that, so check it out. It’s called WooCommerce for Logged Users and I rated it a 5 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that’s the way. We love the set-it-and-forget-‘em plugins that just do what they’re supposed to do and make your job easier.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, the final one I’ve got here today is just one for loads of fun. Now, it’s way ahead of International Pirate Day on September 19th, but it’s a simple plugin, just a fun thing to do to your site. And if you like pirates – well, as much as where I live here – we have an annual event here where I live that we spend a whole week that is dedicated to pirates. Buccaneer Days is what it’s called here.

Anyway, it’s lots of fun, has no other purpose than that, and what it does for you is it goes through your content in your site and when it displays the content, it changes out words to match up to pirate lingo. You know, it changes out things such as everywhere it finds the word “the,” it changes it to “ye.” I don’t know what all the rest of the lingo it does, but they do give you a list of words that if these words are in your post somewhere, the, yes, stagnant, hey, call, hang, stop, cover, it changes them all to pirate lingo for you. It gives you a little bit of flair to your posts and you can put them up there for International Pirate Day in September and just have some fun. A good old basic plugin, lots of fun: Ye Old Pirate. I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Cool. All right, wrapping it up here in the show, this one is called WP Blame. I love the name of this plugin, actually.

John:                Yeah, I saw that. I almost reviewed it myself.

Marcus:           And what it does is it makes it possible to keep a log of everything that’s happened on your WordPress website so you can stay in control even when you’re not there. So sometimes it’s pretty hard to keep track of everything happening on your website, so what WP Blame does is it logs certain actions for you and organizes them into a readable table so you can review it later. And while this plugin doesn’t keep a log of absolutely everything you with WordPress, it does keep a record of most actions. So by default only changes that are things like posts, pages, plugins, themes, and all that are logged, just due to the way that WordPress works it’s hard to keep an absolute log of every single detailed thing. But if you want to just track posts, pages, plugins, and themes, this is great.

If you’re using this for a client, there’s actually white lists that you can enable to remove yourself as the admin from the audit trail and review everybody else. So in that circumstance, you might as well call this one a client tracker because you can actually completely monitor what client changes are tracked within those metrics that I spoke about earlier.

John:                Which ones broke the website?

Marcus:           Exactly, yeah. So you can see exactly what the client is doing in terms of their own activity within the website because of this.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           So I rated this a 4 out of 5. Great plugin.

John:                Yeah, very nice. Yeah, it’s always nice to have the trackers. I do that for some of the sites I set up at least for the first couple of months when it’s most common for them to break the sites after I turn them over.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                So it’s always nice to know. All right, well that’s all we’ve got for you on this time. I covered up in this episode the KJM Admin Notices, which I gave a 4 to; the GravityWP CSS Selector, which I gave a 5 to; and then the Ye Old Pirate, which I gave a 3 to – arrrr.

[End of Audio]

It's Episode 311 and we've got plugins for Managing Popups, Hiding Notifications, Locking Down BuddyPress, Global Search and a New Look for your Old Admin Dashboard. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

WordPress Plugins A-Z #311 Managing Popups, Hiding Notifications

It's Episode 311 and we've got plugins for Managing Popups, Hiding Notifications, Locking Down BuddyPress, Global Search and a New Look for your Old Admin Dashboard. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #311 here.


It’s Episode 311 and we’ve got plugins for Managing Popups, Hiding Notifications, Locking Down BuddyPress, Global Search and a New Look for your Old Admin Dashboard. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #311

John:                This week here I’ve got three great plugins, the first of which I may have reviewed in the distant past. But since I had to use it again, I thought I would bring it back to the forefront. This is for those of you who are tired of Contact Form 7 and want to move to Gravity Forms, and one of the biggest problems that occurs is when you go from Contact Form 7 to Gravity Forms, you have to redo all your forms manually – not with this plugin here. Contact Form 7 Gravity Forms Importer – you set this up and what it does with a click of a button, it imports your Contact Form 7 forms and turns them into Gravity Forms.

Now, there are a couple of caveats here; it’s not 100% perfect based solely on the way Contact Form 7 designs its forms, as far as I can tell. But it does a really good job and most of the time, it gets about 90% or more of the Contact Form 7 correct into Gravity Forms and you’ve got to go correct a couple of issues here and there. Now, you also have to when you’re done go in and set up the new notifications to the user and the administrator and then the notification that says they sent the form, you have to redo those in it.

It doesn’t take all that long but it’s a very quick move, especially if you’ve got complex forms. It’s a really quick move to go from Contact Form 7 into Gravity Forms and start moving forward with the Gravity Forms. At any rate, a really great plugin. Check it out. I give it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Decent. You know what? It’s funny, because I reviewed one that went the other way —

John:                [laughter]

Marcus:           — Gravity Forms to Contact Form 7.

John:                Well, you know, people are always going backwards and forwards, depending on what they like and not like.

Marcus:           That’s right. All right, I am going to talk about something that I rarely talk about, actually. I did a string of it a while back, maybe about a year ago, but I’m gonna bring it back. BuddyPress is something that’s often overlooked in WordPress, and that’s because it kind of sucks. It’s not really that great of an add-on, but it’s the only thing that we’ve got for a social component that works well.

So this plugin is called WordPress Lock for BuddyPress and what it does is this allows a site owner to lock different components on the site for non-logged in users, different things like custom post types, different WordPress pages, various BuddyPress components – those kinds of things. Now, a site owner can actually allow pages to be visible for non-logged in users or you can have it to where a locked message will be displayed on the page and that forces them to actually register.

John:                Cool!

Marcus:           So it’s a very handy way that’s not built into BuddyPress natively to kind of lock down specific pages so you have to be logged in to see it, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                It sounds like it could be very useful if you’re using BuddyPress.

Marcus:           Yeah, if you’re using BuddyPress, this is a must.

John:                All right then, next up I have a plugin that can really save you developers grief from your clients. It’s called Hide All Notices. Now, one of the things that is so irritating with WordPress at times is that you will get these notifications of updates due or this is due, or please buy this plugin, or you didn’t enter your license – blah, blah, blah – all these things when you’re doing the sites. And those notifications can get quite annoying in the dashboard and sometimes you’ll get clients that’ll email you, call you, whatever, asking, “Hey, I got these notifications. What do they mean?” It’s like, “They’re okay. Don’t worry about it.”

What this plugin does for you is it hides all those notifications from the WordPress dashboard so that you don’t see them, your client doesn’t see them. It doesn’t remove them; it just uses CSS to hide them and keep them out of view. Now, it does get almost all of the notifications, especially if the plugin authors are using standard classes. But some plugin developers use nonstandard classes and the author of the plugin is made mention that they’re working on adding those as they’re discovered to the plugin.

Anyway, a great plugin. It worked very well, it was very smooth; I set it up and I just loved it because it removed a piece of grief from my life. So check it out: Hide All Notices. I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Nice. I’d like to have an optional add-on to that: you can add your own custom notification in place of those that says, “Hey, everything’s running great.”

John:                Yeah, there you go. There’s a feature for the developer.

Marcus:           Wishful thinking. Okay, John, anybody who runs a WordPress site needs this next plugin. It’s called Admin Global Search, and this is one of the best plugins that I’ve come across in a long, long, time. It does exactly what it says: you can search the entire site in a master global search queue for anything and it will tell you exactly where it is – and I don’t care if it’s a post, page, custom post type, tag, category – anything. If you’ve got that word on your site, this plugin will uncover it for you. Previously, you’d have to search your entire SQL database in order to find specific words or phrases or things like that.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           It even gets down to peoples’ bios within their user profile and such. So if there was something that you didn’t know about or wanted to search and you really don’t want to having to go piece by piece to find specific things, or maybe you’ve got an old shortcode somewhere or something like that and you want to find out where they are within the whole structure or everything, this is your tool. It is called Admin Global Search and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That will be added to our site.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                I’m constantly searching for stuff and it’s such a pain in the neck.

Marcus:           Yeah, right now – pause the show and go add it.

John:                Not right now. No, we’ll wait until the show is done and then we’ll dive into that. All right, well yeah, I’m looking forward to using that plugin.

Marcus:           Yep.

John:                Finally, what I’ve got up here today is called Popup Manager, and this is a plugin sent in to us by Janis Sprincus. And just for you developers out there, we have a feedback forum. If you’ve got a plugin you want promoted, send it in to us and submit it and it’ll get stuck in the queue for review.

At any rate, Popup Manager is a freemium plugin starting at about $35 per quarter, or every four months. Now, this is another plugin with this new type of pricing model that I’m beginning to see on more and more freemium/premium plugins, and where they charge more often than once a year for the license. They charge you monthly or they charge you quarterly or whatever plan they’re putting together, so it looks to be a new trend in licensing for WordPress plugins. So keep an eye out for that as you’re going around there.

At any rate, I tested out the free version of the plugin. It’s a very nice popup plugin for WordPress and the free version gives you four templates to choose from: one image type template, one text type template, three email templates. You can integrate it into MailChimp and a couple of other areas. You get more templates and other functionality by buying the premium version. They sell a lot of their templates on a piecemeal basis or you can subscribe to it. It starts at about $19 and goes up from there.

Setting this plugin up, it was pretty easy and pretty straightforward. It walks you through all the setup process — very little problems with it. I found it functional and I found it useful. I did find though that in the end, once I’d set up a popup that the only way to insert it into the site is via shortcode.

Now, sometimes when you’ve got a popup creation for your site, it’s nice to use it via shortcode or on a per-page basis, but it’s also nice to have one overall for the entire site – one spot, everything and done with it, so this didn’t seem to have that functionality. I did look for it, so maybe I missed it. But all in all, not a bad popup manager plugin. Popup Manager, check it out. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice, very nice. Okay, last but not least, this is something that’s only for the admin dashboard. This is called Flat Panel Admin Theme, and just as it says, it’s a theme just for the admin panel, and this is really nice. It basically gives that same WordPress dashboard that we all know and love a boost, a big splash of color, and a more refined flat panel design. You can easily change the colors, the look and feel, to reflect whatever best suits you and your website.

And a special hint to you designers out there and developers that create sites for clients, make an admin theme that matches the colors of the company of your client. Why not brand it a little bit? It’s an amazing kind of way to think about things in terms of a plugin giving you a whole theme, but this is exactly what it does and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. That can be quite useful, especially if you’re trying to impress your client with a little bit of over-the-top stuff.

Marcus:           Yeah, yeah – absolutely. Give it a little flare.

John:                Yeah. All right, well that covers up this week. I covered Contact Form 7 to Gravity Forms Importer and I gave it a 4; and then Hide All Notices, which I gave a 5 to; and then Popup Manager, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about WordPress Lock for BuddyPress, which gets a 4 out of 5; Admin Global Search – my new go-to plugin – gets a 5 out of 5; and we just talked about Flat Panel Admin Theme, which gets a 5 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

It's Episode 310 and we've got plugins for Better In-Post Links, Search and Replace, PayPal Payments, Multiple Admin Emails, A/B Splitting and using External Media without Import . It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 310 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 310 and we've got plugins for Better In-Post Links, Search and Replace, PayPal Payments, Multiple Admin Emails, A/B Splitting and using External Media without Import . It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #310 here.


It’s Episode 310 and we’ve got plugins for Better In-Post Links, Search and Replace, PayPal Payments, Multiple Admin Emails, A/B Splitting and using External Media without Import . It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #310

John:                This week here I have three great plugins of course as usual, and the first one off the top is QPP Quick PayPal Payments. This plugin here came about because I needed to produce a really quick PayPal payment form on a website and I couldn’t remember the last one I used for doing such a thing. PayPal has become so near impossible to just find a payment button in their system now that this goes something easy.

Anyway, this plugin here is a really great, simple payment processor forms you can create. Once you create the forms, you place them on your site somewhere via a shortcode and it makes the job of creating and placing the forms just a piece of cake. Now, the forms themselves, this is kind of an amazing one for a free plugin. It gives you the ability to create forms that either have plain amounts, preset amount, or you can set a sliding scale in it. You can add multiple options about information you want to collect in the form. You can go through the form, customize the form up by colorizing it, adjusting the colors, the layout, format – many different options are available for you to set this up and it doesn’t take very long at all.

I think it took me all of like ten minutes to get it all set up and with a really clean looking form for precisely what I needed done for a very simple payment. So it was a really great plugin. It worked just the way it was supposed to – one of those premium plugins that we just thoroughly adore, so I had to give this a top 5-Dragon rating. Check it out: QPP Quick PayPal Payments.

Marcus:           Nice! All right, I’ve got a very cool lazy plugin that actually should be something that’s part of core itself. It is called Multiple Admin Email Addresses, and you can figure out what it does. It allows you to replace the blog admin’s email with a comma separated list of admin emails. So if you have two different admin emails that you’d like to send it to (not just your standard one), or if you have somebody else that you’d like to kind of CC in all of the administrative tasks, this is it.

So you just go to your WordPress dashboard menu, choose Settings à General à Set Email Address à Comma Separate Multiple Email Addresses (2 or more), and you’re all set to go. It’s called Multiple Admin Email Addresses and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That could be useful when you’ve got multiple admins. Get them all on the same page when emails go out.

Marcus:           Yes, definitely.

John:                All right, next up I have a plugin I’ve probably covered in the past or at least one similar to this. It’s called Search & Replace, and I don’t think I used this exact one, because there’s multiple search and replace plugins. And of course again, I was having to do something I hadn’t done in a little while, which is dig through a database and do a search and replace in the hidden reams of the database for a URL that kept getting missed with all of the other tools, and without having to go into the phpMyAdmin and go through and do a manual query. So this was the simplest way to do it.

This one here is a really great plugin. You set it up, install it, and it allows you to go in and search and replace a little different than most of them. You can select all the tables or one or two of the tables you need, it’ll replace a domain URL, similar to the other URL plugin that I always use. It also will do a database backup for you, import SQL files, and a few other things in it. It’s a really great plugin. It worked very well for doing the task I needed. It felt relatively smooth and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out: Search & Replace.

Marcus:           Very nice. I don’t know if you were thinking of Pretty Link or one of those other ones, but anyway —

John:                No, no. I was thinking of Velvet URLs.

Marcus:           Oh, that’s right. Okay.

John:                That’s the one for changing your URLs, and that’s all it does. It just changes your URL from one to another and it doesn’t always get everything, because it misses some tables where URLs are often hidden.

Marcus:           Ah.

John:                That’s the one I was just thinking of.

Marcus:           Okay, so I have a cool plugin. It is called External Media without Import. We all know that by default adding an image to the WordPress media library requires that you import or upload the image to your WordPress site, which means that there’s always a copy of the image stored at the site. There’s really no use for dynamics in that; it’s really hard to make a featured image – a dynamic image – that loads somewhere else that constantly changes. You’re kind of stuck with loading the one image, either by adding it by URL or actually physically uploading it. You’re stuck with that one image and it can never change.

Well, this plugin actually enables you to add an image stored on an external site to the media library by adding it via URL, but this plugin will make sure that you don’t have to download it, so it’s an external reference to that link —

John:                Oh, nice!

Marcus:           — but it can change. So if you have a client or somebody like that that has an image that changes or they’re trying to look at the latest stock tickers or whatever it happens to be – anything like that – any kind of image that you want to load from a URL and not from directly on your site, this plugin works great. Now to me, it’s perfect but – that big but there —

John:                Okay.

Marcus:           — it’s not something you want to do with everything because every time you load an external image, it’s actually going to slow your site down a little bit. Just a little tiny bit, because it’s doing that external call-out, so use this with caution but it’s a fantastic plugin. It’s called External Media without Import and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! That can be useful but yeah, you’re right. You don’t want to have all your stuff coming in from an external source.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                Okay, the final one I have here today is called VC Splitter Pro and it’s also got a freemium version. This is a freemium plugin. It starts at $10 a month or free if you download it from the Repository. It was sent in to us by James Cantoni and I’ll be talking with him later today in an interview, so there will be more coming from him in a secondary show, so you’ll want to listen up for that.

Anyway, this plugin here, it allows you to do A-B split testing on your content easily if you’re using Visual Composer. It’s designed to work with Visual Composer and it gives you three levels of access where you can split test A-B buttons, split test A-B headings, or split test A-B images. Now, if you skip up to the next level of it which is the first paid version that you can get from CodeCanyon, it adds in things such as text testing, tracking views, clicks, and bounces, and a statistical dashboard.

If you jump into their full-on pro version which you get from their website, it allows you to test all Visual Composer elements. In other words, go into everything into your Visual Composer and A-B test it. You can set it up for multicolumn testing, row testing, and even mobile device testing toggles. So there’s a lot to it if you jump up to the pro version and they sell the pro version two ways, which I’m still not clear with but I’ll get that more clear with him later today, so you’ll have to listen for the interview with him to get the clarification about the way they sell their pro version. It’s kind of a different pricing format that I’ve never seen.

At any rate, the plugin is really great. It seems to be very easy to use and set up. It’s absolutely useless if you don’t have Visual Composer on your site (as I realized when I went to test it on one of my test sites that didn’t have Visual Composer – I wasn’t thinking). So just so you know, you’ll make sure you’ve got that component in your website. But if you’re doing A-B testing for just about anything, this is something you’ll want to check out. So check out VC Splitter Pro and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           That’s cool. All right, I love it when people send us plugins.

John:                Hey!

Marcus:           That’s pretty cool.

John:                Keep sending them in. All you developers out there that find us, listen to us, send them in to us, man and then contact me for an interview.

Marcus:           Yeah. All right, the final one – we are all aware of this kind of technology. Every time you go into Facebook and you put a link in or sometimes Twitter and put a link in, it generates kind of a little preview, and that’s what this plugin does. It’s called WP Link Preview and right now as it stands, WordPress on its own can do this when you link to other WordPress sites, however this is for every kind of site. It adds a button to your post and page editor which you can use to generate a link preview for a specific URL. The link preview gives off a title, a description, and an image, which results in a similar look as when you share a link on Facebook. So it kind of gives you that preview, picture, the title of the site or the link, and a little description in it as well.

That’s a really cool way, by the way, to link to different stories, different articles, different things that you want to talk about, and it does it in a way that is a little bit above and beyond your typical just straight blue link that you would add to your site. A really nice plugin; it worked very well out of the box. I like it a lot. It’s called WP Link Preview and it gets a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! That does look like a really sweet little tool to have in there.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s another one that should be in core. It is kind of with only other WordPress sites being able to use that, but this is a pretty cool thing.

John:                I don’t know why they couldn’t just take the one that included the WordPress site and modify the code and have it do this. That’s probably how somebody created this plugin.

Marcus:           I think so.

John:                So at any rate, I covered up in this episode here – I covered up the QPP Quick PayPal Payments, which I gave a 5 to; the Search & Replace, which I gave a 4 to; and the VC Splitter Pro, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I covered Multiple Admin Email Addresses, which gets a 5, External Media without Import gets 4 out of 5, and WP Link Preview gets a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

 

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It's Episode 308 and we've got plugins for Duplicating Menus, Video Thumbnails, WooCommerce Stickers, Disabling the Cart and Multi-step for Contact Form 7. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 308 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 308 and we've got plugins for Duplicating Menus, Video Thumbnails, WooCommerce Stickers, Disabling the Cart and Multi-step for Contact Form 7. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #308 here.


It’s Episode 308 and we’ve got plugins for Duplicating Menus, Video Thumbnails, WooCommerce Stickers, Disabling the Cart and Multi-step for Contact Form 7. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #308

John:                All right, the first plugin I’ve got this week is called Duplicate Menu. Now, I may have reviewed it previously sometime in the distant past, but it’s returned back to the front and center for me while working on a recent project. The reason for it is sometimes you’ve built out really fancy menus for your WordPress website and now you have to make minor changes to that menu, pull a few things out, or even strip out half the items and replace them or just drop items.

What’s nice about Duplicate Menu is you install it, activate it, and it’ll take any menu you’ve got and duplicate it and allow you to give it a new name. Then you can just go in there and adjust and change the menu items you need, without having to go through and remove a whole bunch of items or add a bunch of items or read a bunch of items that you’re gonna need, plus one or two more. So anyway, it’s a really great plugin. It’s one of those plugins that just works and because of that, I gave it a perfect 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Yeah! We need a cowbell.

John:                Ding, ding?

Marcus:           Something. Yeah, I need something on this end when we celebrate these 5 out of 5s – excellent. Okay, you know there are certain things on WooCommerce. I’ve got two WooCommerce plugins today, because I’ve been fiddling around with the WooCommerce store. It is like stickers that appear over your products when there’s a sale, say if you put a regular price and the sale price, then it kind of defaults to this sticker. But for the most part, John, don’t you think those stickers – they kind of suck as far as what they have on them or the limitations of them.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           So if you want to put a new ribbon on – anything you want to put on – I’m talking “New,” “Sale,” “Out of stock,” “Coming soon,” any of those things – any text that you want, any color you want, any image within it that you want, this is the plugin for you. It’s called Custom Product Stickers for WooCommerce. It does all those things. It allows you to set the custom image, it’s position, and overlay of the product, you can set the color and text of the ribbon, what it says, any of those things, and full CSS editing to fully customize, to fully make the fonts match, everything else that you need to do. It’s called Custom Product Stickers for WooCommerce, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                All right, well that’s a great one to have and I’ve always fought with that when I have worked with WooCommerce sites, so that’ll save you some definite time.

Marcus:           Definitely.

John:                So next up here, I have a plugin for dealing with videos on your website. I’m helping someone out with a video website. It’s a gamer who is throwing together a website to showcase the videos off of their YouTube channel. This first one here is called Video Thumbnails and what it does for you is it automatically goes in and grabs the YouTube video thumbnail and then attaches it as a featured image to the post that you’re creating.

Now, a nice thing about this plugin here is it also supports Vimeo, Facebook, and virtually every other video platform out there, including local uploaded videos to grab a thumbnail and then automatically stick it right into your post and also to take the image and stick it into your media library, helping to increase the load speed of your website in the process. All in all, a really great plugin that helps you out with everything you need video thumbnail-wise, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating so check it out: Video Thumbnails.

Marcus:           Nice. There are some contact forms that are out there, namely Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular because it’s free, and then second is Gravity Forms. The one thing that I like about Gravity Forms is the ability to kind of split the form up so that it doesn’t appear like it’s ten feet long as far as the form itself. You want to break it off into little steps. Plus, it helps to get people a different mindset when they’re in a different page. But Contact Form 7 doesn’t do that out of the gate, but with this plugin called Contact Form 7 Multi-Step, it does.

It’s a really simple plugin to use. There’s tons of different styles; you can do horizontal or vertical orientation within the form, works in all the browsers, you can combine different steps for validation or anything like that. It’s just a really nice way to engrain Contact Form 7 in your site and still allow you to do that kind of multipage form. It’s called Contact Form 7 Multi-Step and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s very nice. There’s some nice plugins added to Contact Form 7 to start to make it sort of an actual useful form plugin.

Marcus:           It’s coming around.

John:                Yeah, it’s getting nice.

Marcus:           Took them long enough.

John:                Nice, well, one of the biggest things with Contact Form 7 is a lot of the fancier themes you buy now have Contact Form 7 embedded in there, and ripping out Contact Form 7 or replacing it with Gravity Forms is really a bit of a pain.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                So having all of these nice features for Contact Form 7 is making it a lot easier to use those themes out of the gate, instead of having to work extra hard to make them work well with a contact form system.

Marcus:           Yeah, and frankly, I’m kind of sick of paying $100 a year for Gravity Forms. It’s nice but I don’t do anything with it that Contact Form 7 doesn’t do, and now this proves it even more.

John:                Yeah, that could happen. All right, the final one I’ve got here today is called Top Ten Popular Posts Plugin for WordPress. Now, in particular, the website I’m using this one on right now is the video website featuring videos. The nice thing about it is it goes through and it measures how many times people are looking at your posts and figuring out which ones are the top ten, which could be constantly changing, and then displaying those top ten posts for you.

This plugin here makes the job of doing that a whole lot easier. It allows you to track and display the top ten most visited posts on your website, then it allows you to display them in a widget or on a post page with a shortcode. One of the great uses is using this to showcase the videos so that he knows which videos are his top ten videos and showcase them right on the front of his website. So as soon as people get there, they can see which are the best videos viewed.

It’s really clean, seems to work very well, so I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out: Top Ten Popular Posts Plugin for WordPress.

Marcus:           Nice! And it displays thumbnails, all that kind of stuff?

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           Or just a list?

John:                No, it displays thumbnails. You can display it in multiple ways as thumbnails or a regular list or just a title.

Marcus:           Hmm…

John:                Yeah, it’s got multiple ways to display it. It’s really kind of nice.

Marcus:           And does it do it based on —

John:                Views.

Marcus:           — just views?

John:                Just views.

Marcus:           Not comments?

John:                No, just views.

Marcus:           Hmm…interesting. All right, we’ll wrap it up here with one final WooCommerce plugin. One of the things that people that run e-commerce stores and such have difficulty with is abandoned carts, right? You put a product in the cart and then they bail. Well, there’s an easy way to get away from abandoned carts, and that’s to disable the cart altogether. We’re going to show you this plugin and it’s called Disable Cart Page for WooCommerce, and it does simply that. It just redirects your customers directly to the checkout page as soon as they “add it to the cart” or hit the purchase button. It forces them to buy only one product at a time from your catalogue, but it also kind of changes the way that the whole checkout process goes and the way that you get to finalize your orders.

Now, is this for a store that has thousands and thousands of SKUs within WooCommerce? No. But is it great for if you’re having somebody sign up to one of two different levels of a membership site, a book, or something like that that you want to sell that you don’t think you’re going to get multiple units for anyway? Yeah, it’s perfect. So check it out; it’s called Disable Cart Page for WooCommerce and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. You covered exactly the only concern that I would’ve had with it. It makes sense that way.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, this week I covered up Duplicate Menu, which I gave a 5 to; Video Thumbnails, which I gave a 4 to; and Top Ten Popular Posts Plugin for WordPress, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I rated Custom Product Stickers for WooCommerce, which gets a 5 out of 5, Contact Form 7 Multi-Step gets a 4 out of 5, and Disable Cart Page for WooCommerce gets a 4 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 307 and we've got plugins for Creating Catalogs, Live Group Chat, Grabbing Youtube Subtitles, Google Customer Reviews and Custom User Profiles. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 307 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 307 and we've got plugins for Creating Catalogs, Live Group Chat, Grabbing Youtube Subtitles, Google Customer Reviews and Custom User Profiles. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #307 here.


It’s Episode 307 and we’ve got plugins for Creating Catalogs, Live Group Chat, Grabbing Youtube Subtitles, Google Customer Reviews and Custom User Profiles. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #307

John:                Okay, this week here I’ve got a couple of plugins for producing catalogues on WordPress, and catalogues are slightly different than your normal e-commerce store that you would build with WooCommerce in that you’re usually not displaying prices; you’re just displaying a set of goods or some information in such a way that it’s like a catalogue search. So I was having to do research for a project I’m getting ready to take on and this week here, I examined two – actually, I examined three but I’m only going to highlight two of them – the two better ones that I found. And so the first one I’ve got here is called Huge IT Product Catalogue.

This plugin was originally suggested to me by my client for what they might like to see as a product catalogue for the upcoming project. While I was looking at it and it’s a really nice, visually appealing catalogue in how it works, it did lack a lot of the essentials that are needed for the project. One of the essentials that we were in need of was the client has, you know, a couple of thousand items that have to go in here and if you’ve got to put these in here manually, it’s like a no-go. You’ve got to be able to import it via CSV, because they have the CSV file and we just want to bring all the data in and all you’ve got to do is modify the headers in the CSV file to match whatever you’re doing.

So this is one of the big things with this one; it didn’t have a CSV import or an add-on to allow CSV import. It also didn’t allow for custom fields to allow us to add in additional information that’s not built in as part of the catalogue. If you’re going to build a basic catalogue, you’re going to sell watches or jewelry or something, a good catalogue, very visually appealing, a very nice one. But if you’re going to go slightly off where we’re headed, this is not quite a plugin that will work for you. It would require you to do way too much work.

But all in all, pretty basic for a good basic catalogue plugin. Check it out at WordPress.org, linked in the show notes, and I gave Huge IT Product Catalogue a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Three, huh?

John:                Yeah, it doesn’t get a four because just – it’s a good basic one. It just – it lacks too much. It’s very visually appealing. I think the developers spent more time on the visual than they did the functional.

Marcus:           Hmm…I’m startled. That startled me a little bit, that three.

John:                Yeah, well…

Marcus:           Okay, well, we’ve got to warn you of that stuff, too.

John:                Yeah, I gave them…like I said, you get honest reviews here.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                Keep donating, get the honest reviews. You know?

Marcus:           Okay, so let me just describe a scenario of something that I was working on. I want to be able to do live streaming but do it not through Facebook Live or things like that. I want to make it so that my members can see it and no one else. And with that, your streams – your options – are a little bit limited. You could go with Google or some of these other things. I went with something completely different in terms of embedding that live stream, but I wanted to include a live group chat where people could also ask me questions live. But I wanted to make sure that they were members. I didn’t just want anybody getting into that chat, so I found this plugin called Live Group Chat.

And what it does, it’s just like any other full, you know, group chat, where a bunch of people can get on it. It’s very fast, very simple. It uses AJAX messages and operates just like a regular one does, but you can restrict this to only allow people that are registered within your WordPress site to actually ask questions. What it does is it uses an internal database to save the chats as well right within your site and it gets automatically deleted after one week, so you don’t have this lingering ongoing chat session. So you can actually copy it – which is what I’m doing, copying that chat and then pasting it in sort of the show notes so that you can see everybody’s questions and all the answers and links that go to it.

It’s very easy to configure. It uses either a widget or shortcodes for display and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! That can be quite useful if you’re doing group chats.

Marcus:           It’s one of the best that I’ve seen in terms of that. There are others that you can just embed the HTML code, you know, some external third-party thing. But this is one of the few that I’ve seen that interacts directly within WordPress and the WordPress user database.

John:                Nice. Okay, well the next one I’ve got here today is called Ultimate Product Catalogue. Now, this one here – while I was doing my research, I ran across this one and then I recalled it seems that it was actually submitted to us about a month and a half ago, which was very timely for me. It was sent in by Stephanie Hrubi from Etoile Web Design, the creators of the plugin. So I got to check out the premium version of the plugin.

This is a freemium plugin which offers up both of them, but you can get the free version over at WordPress.org and it is a very nice plugin. The visual is very good but one of the best things I found about this plugin is even in the free version you can do a CSV import and export of your data. What I found initially was I had to do a little bit of tweaking with it, but was trying to do something outside the norm. So what I had to do was enter a product, create all the fields I needed, and this one here also offers up the ability to create custom fields for all the additional data you might need. It’s very simple to do; it creates a catalogue and it creates separate catalogues. You can create multiple catalogues and then insert those catalogues in different places on your site via a shortcode.

Now, once you’ve created your initial product, you then export out that CSV file and then you have all the headers you need for adjusting your CSV file that you currently have. Once you do that, then you reimport that CSV file and all your data is there in one smooth motion. A very great plugin; it was very responsive, it worked well, the smoothness of it was great, the fact that visually it’s initially okay, but you can go in and manually adjust all the visuals that you need. They’ve got a drag-and-drop Wiziwig editor that you can customize the placement of all the components. They put a lot into this plugin.

When you go to the premium version, you’ll need that for the custom fields and a couple other items with it. But most of what you want with it is there in the free version. The premium version is only $30 for a single site license. Anyway, a great plugin: the Ultimate Product Catalogue. These guys here managed to just knock it right out of the park, so I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Awesome. All right, well let me follow it up with another great one. This plugin is called Google Customer Reviews for WooCommerce, and what it does is it enables you to integrate to Google’s merchant center. They have this thing called Google Customer Reviews in there and it allows you to actually use that within your WooCommerce store. It also allows the survey opt-in code into your thank you page and the option to have a pop-up come up to where they can actually leave a review and it ends up right in the Google merchant center for your site.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           And I want to say something about this…this is kind of a hack right now – I wouldn’t say hack, but it’s a strategic advantage for you to start having your customers fill out these Google customer reviews within the merchant center, because that’s generally what pops up in the shopping area when you do a search within Google for specific products or things. I will say the adoption level of it so far by some of the bigger merchants out there is very light. So you can give yourself a strategic advantage by installing this, trying it out to see if it’s something that works for you if you have products that you commonly compete with Amazon and the rest of them. This is something that can give you that advantage with people that use Google.

The one thing is you do need to have and paste in your Google Merchant ID into the plugin settings, but otherwise this thing works very, very well. Very easily customizable and the benefits are enormous. I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, that can give you a big advantage getting that information from people, because you know, they leave your site and they don’t always want to go back to your Google page to leave a review.

Marcus:           Right, and that sort of ties them to you as well —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — because their Google persona is now connected to your store.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           So who knows what that could lead to in the future in terms of sales or new products that Google may put out, and I don’t even know the algorithm may also has their searching for products list yours first because they’ve already shopped there.

John:                Yeah, it could be. All right, well the final plugin I’ve got here today is just a simple one. This one here is called YouTube Subtitle Grabber. Now, it’s a very simple plugin in that one of the great things it does for you is you just set it up and it’ll go in with a code and grab the subtitle content from a YouTube video and place it on your website as content.

When I was thinking about it and looking at it, I wasn’t sure of what it could be used for, but one of the projects I’ve got coming up here in the future is building out a YouTube video website for a game player who puts in really good notes, and this will help grab that information, pull it into his website, and display it on his website. You could do this with any videos that you have or if you curate videos of others, it allows you to grab some of that content from their video and display it on your website.

All in all, I’m not sure of what benefits or anything it’s going to bring, but it did seem like a good way to add a little more information to any YouTube videos you’re going to be placing on your website than just the standard title of the video and any snippet you might put in there. This might grab some information that the creator of the video has added to it. So anyway, check it out: YouTube Subtitle Grabber, and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           All right, here’s my question: is it shortcode-based?

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           Okay. So it grabs the stuff on the fly?

John:                You enter the post title and video ID and then it generates the information and places it on your site.

Marcus:           Okay.

John:                So it grabs it directly from YouTube by post title and video ID.

Marcus:           Oh, so actually it would be self-updating —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — if someone went in and edited those show notes, so to speak?

John:                I don’t know if it’s self-updating or not. It might make it permanent and then add more. I don’t know that. I don’t have an answer for that because I haven’t tried it to that extent.

Marcus:           Hmm…interesting. I’ll have to check that out myself and try that.

Okay, this is a very interesting plugin that I kind of just found on the Repository and I installed it on a staging site and just tried it with a few test sites and it looked pretty good. It’s called WP Profile Builder and with this plugin, you actually can create user profile templates, altering how the typical user page gets displayed. So this is more kind of for an admin thing, but it has some end user components into it as well.

You can get a user list page, you can real-time search users and view user profiles and such. But it does is it gives you the ability to create kind of custom [inaudible: 25:27] that appear during registration as well, and you can search queries of users, rather than just seeing the entire users list by access or by geographic region, by any of those things that you set up ahead of time, and this does that. So if you’ve got a lot of users and I manage one site in particular that’s got about 50,000 users with a bunch of different membership levels on them. I really want to incorporate something like this to make the weeding of the users a little bit easier. You can do it by last login or things like that. You can set it up with any kind of field value you want. It’s called WP Profile Builder, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That sounds like a very useful website if you’ve got a lot of profiles on your site.

Marcus:           Yeah. It can get crazy after – you know, most people only have a few users on their site and if not just a couple hundred, maybe from the comments that got left. But when you get into the thousands, it becomes unmanageable.

John:                Absolutely. Okay, well I covered up in this week’s episode the Huge IP Product Catalogue, which I gave a 3 to; the Ultimate Product Catalogue, which I gave a 5 to; and then the YouTube Subtitle Grabber, which I gave a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Live Group Chat, which gets a 4 out of 5, Google Customer Reviews for WooCommerce gets a 5 out of 5, and WP Profile Builder gets a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 305 and we've got plugins for Faster Image Insert , File Monitoring and Dashboard Notes. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 305 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 305 and we've got plugins for Faster Image Insert , File Monitoring  and Dashboard Notes. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #305 here.


It’s Episode 305 and we’ve got plugins for Faster Image Insert , File Monitoring and Dashboard Notes. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #305

John:                Okay, first off this week here, this a week for me that I’ve been planning to bring back some plugins – some old favorites – that I use regularly on my website. It’s nice to bring them all forward from time to time so that they’re refreshed and everyone remembers what they are if they haven’t used them in a while or they’re looking for something similar.

So the first one I have here is called Faster Image Insert, and this plugin here, while quite old in itself, is still a very good plugin. It’s very usable, it works very well. What it does is once you put it in, turn it on, and activate it, it creates a new window block in your post editor for you that allows you to upload all of your media: images, PDFs, audio files, videos if you upload videos to your site. All of those things you can just dump them all in, let them upload, and continue editing your WordPress website.

For me, this saves me a chunk of time because I don’t have to go through the add media button, upload all my stuff, wait for it to upload, and then go add. I can start all this dumping, especially when doing the podcasts, because you know the show is sometimes as much as 50-60 MB in size. It takes two or three minutes even with high-speed internet. If it’s a bad day, it can take four or five minutes, so that’s time that I can still be doing organization and the editing of the site and it’s all there. Then you can go through, get all your information, update the file, set the image as featured image – all the little tidbits you can do with it. It makes life a whole lot easier. So anyway, this is a really great plugin. It’s called Faster Image Insert and I still give it a 5-Dragon rating.

The next one I’ve got here is one that is no longer available in the WordPress Repository. It’s called WordPress File Monitor Plus and this is a security plugin that I use for monitoring website file changes. Now, there is one in the Repository called WordPress File Monitor and that one is sort of kept up to date and I haven’t checked to see if this one – when I looked at it, the images looked the same, so it’s probably similar. It might even be based upon this one or this one might have been based upon that one – hard to say. I don’t know which way it would go. But at any rate, this is the one I use. It’s available from the WP Plugins A to Z, WPSupport.ca store, so you can get it from our site. It’s downloadable there and it’s great.

What it does for you is once you set it up, activate it, enter your email, set any exclusion files you need, it’ll check your site once a day, twice a day, or every hour, depending on how often you need to be checking your site for file changes. When it notices a file change anywhere in your root directory, it’ll notify you and let you know what files changed. Now, this has been a lifesaver for me many times because hackers will initially sometimes get in, just upload a file (because they’re using robots to get that dealt with and then they call home as soon as they’ve found a hacked site). If you get notification before the hackers actually access the files they’ve uploaded, you can clean out their mess before they do any damage at all to your site, and that’s some of the things I’ve seen with this. It allowed me to stop a hack in progress or stop a hack before it became a mess, you know. So anyway, something to check out: WordPress File Monitor Plus, available at the WP Plugins A to Z store and I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.

Now, the final plugin I’ve got here today is called WP Dashboard Notes. Now this one here puts basically a little yellow sticky note in your dashboard of your website. You can create several different notes if you want and it works with all administrators on the site. So if you’ve got multiple users – how I use it with sites that I have a client I need to communicate with or we’re both talking about things within the site and they can leave me notes here. Also, I use it to leave notes to myself on things that I need to accomplish on this particular website, such as I need to tweak this plugin, replace this, update this, change that – you know, miscellaneous stuff along the way. That’s what this one is really great for.

It’s great for a communication tool when you’re dealing with administrators. It really does come in handy during some developmental phases of the website so that you can keep track of things that you only want to be reminded of when you log in to this website, and you’ll see it every time you log in, because it’s big, bold, right in your face every time the dashboard loads at its root. So anyway, this is a great one. Check it out. It’s called WP Dashboard Notes and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.

Woohoo! It’s a full house. All right, so usually we’ve got stuff from Marcus to discuss but not today unfortunately. I covered up in this episode Faster Image Insert, which I gave a 5 to; WordPress File Monitor Plus, which I gave a 5 to; and then WP Dashboard Notes, which I gave a 5 to.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 304 and we've got plugins for Displaying Work Teams, Folder Management, Page Redirects, Blogs as Tiimelines and a cool plugin to show recent purchases in your WooCommerce Store. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 304 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 304 and we've got plugins for Displaying Work Teams, Folder Management, Page Redirects, Blogs as Tiimelines and a cool plugin to show recent purchases in your WooCommerce Store. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #304 here.


It’s Episode 304 and we’ve got plugins for Displaying Work Teams, Folder Management, Page Redirects, Blogs as Tiimelines and a cool plugin to show recent purchases in your WooCommerce Store. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #304

John:                All right, this week here, the first plugin I’ve got is a bit of a continuation from the last show where I was checking out two-factor authentication plugins. I think I have found a winner and it’s called miniOrange 2 Factor Authentication. This one here is the best of all of the two-factor authentication plugins I was testing out and it’s the best to me due to the ease of the setup, the ability for it to have multiple ways of obtaining the code you need. That can be done through your smartphone, through scanning a code, through email – just multiple ways.

Also, the biggest thing I was looking for was one that would remember the device that you are logging in from, so that you wouldn’t have to keep requesting a code every time you’re logging in from a trusted device. You know, if you use the same computer from home all the time and you keep it relatively safe and secure, you should not have to reenter that code over and over again every time you login to the site (except for every once in a while when your cookies randomly get deleted from your browser.)

So anyway, all in all, this one here I found was really good. It also offers up as the free version, you’re only good for one user. If you need more than one user to be authenticated with the two-factor authentication, their licensing is also quite affordable. It starts at $15 a month for five users and $30 for ten, and so on and so forth, so it makes it quite affordable.

With their licensing, they have two tiers of licensing but the pricing is the same for either tier. One tier, you can go through and set it up all yourself if you know what you’re doing. The other tier is they’ll help you set it up and get it all organized for you – and you pay the exact same for the license, which I found a little odd but what the heck, you know? If you don’t want to set it up and you want them, you know, save yourself some time. At any rate, a really great plugin: miniOrange 2 Factor Authentication and this one here hit the top 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           That’s cool. So it has the scan. Does it do anything like text your phone with a code or anything like that?

John:                Yep, it’ll text your phone for the code. It’ll scan, it’ll send you an email. I didn’t test any of the other ones. There was a couple of other ways it could be done.

Marcus:           Hmm…interesting. So I’m putting together something that’s one of my new companies and I needed somewhere to display teams, and this is always a common thing for people that do corporate websites out there. But this is one of the most I’d say lazy – I guess you could say lazy – and easy to use ways to display your staff or your teams or people that are involved.

It’s based on the latest CSS animation stuff and it does support all major browsers, so you don’t have those difficulties. It’s really easy to upload team member profile images, get all of their social stats, the places where they can be connected (you know, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), describing their position, the description, and all the rest of it. It’s just really easy to set up, has different shortcodes that you can even replace the author box with what you use in this, and that’s really handy.

It does unlimited color schemes, it works by using a custom post format, it’s got four social profile links integrated that you can use automatically, a really nice drag-n-drop interface to it, and it just all in all is a really, really nice, nice plugin. I’m going to use this one over and over and I’m thinking about using this as sort of a pseudo kind of directory thing too, but that’s yet to be seen.

John:                Cool.

Marcus:           So in the meantime, I found this to be one of the most perfect team or staff displaying plugins out there and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. It looks like a pretty decent plugin.

Marcus:           It is.

John:                Next up, I have one that’s called Wicked Folders. Now, when I first saw it I thought, “Hey, this one could be quite useful,” and then I got let down a little bit as I started playing with it, because the free version – it’s a freemium plugin. Now, the free version does something nice for you in that it creates folders for you in your pages to allow you – if you’ve got lots and lots of pages, the free version is going to do you quite nicely and you can organize the pages into different folders to make looking for them quite easy.

One of the things that I saw was, you know, when you’re reading through the material, it talks about you can do this with the media library, and that’s where I got excited. “Ooh, I can organize my media library,” and it turns out that’s the premium version — $49 but I didn’t get a chance to test it, but that’s the one thing that could be very useful, especially for a couple of my websites which have lots and lots of images that I would love to organize in the folders to be able to organize them. In fact, this should probably be part of the core of WordPress Media Library.

At any rate, it looks like a pretty decent plugin. It might help you out in organizing your website up a little bit and it’s called Wicked Folders – the free version – and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hmm…well, there’s still hope for the media library someday.

John:                Yeah, well, you know – we’re all really hoping.

Marcus:           Hm…

John:                We’ve been hoping for years.

Marcus:           Yeah. Okay, so I have just redesigned my own personal website at marcuscouch.com, and I’m looking for a way to kind of give a timeline in terms of like where I’ve come from and the things that I’ve done. It goes all the way back to age 11. It was kind of the first time I actually started doing reviews and, you know, we’re talking early ‘80s. I used to be a member of the Fox Valley Commodore 64 Users Group, and I used to write for the newsletter and do all kinds of stuff, and even demo software to live college auditoriums in front of like 300 people. And I wasn’t scared about it, either. That’s what’s weird. Nowadays, I get in a room with 40 people and I’m like “Uhh…”

John:                Ah, you know, those joys of youth.

Marcus:           Yeah. So I wanted to put a timeline together that I could start talking about when my different milestones within technology had come about, and there is a ton of them from different school things that I did to outside of that, to working in printing and working in media, then how that transferred into website stuff and all that. So I found this really nice plugin called My Timeline Blog, and what it does is it creates a responsive timeline blog page. You create sort of this vertical timeline that you can go to either specific years, with these little tabs at the top that talk about, you know, “1978…1991…,” you know, all of that. You click on those and it takes you to that specific timeline of things that happened.

Now, you could also use this just for your regular blog. It does all kinds of cool stuff and it’s really responsive, it’s free, there’s no limitation on how many you can do. You can add the dates obviously and the year tab is always the thing that stays at the top. So it’s very interesting, it’s something that I’m going to be using on my own personal site, and I rated this a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, it’s kind of cool looking. I saw that one, too. I was thinking of examining it but a good thing you did.

Marcus:           Mm-hm.

John:                It saves me having to. All right, the final one I’ve got here today is kind of a simple plugin — t’s just a basic plugin. If you’ve recently done a permalink structure change on your site or have moved your site to a new domain, or moved your site from one directory to another, we all know the pain of the broken 404 links that come along with those sorts of things that happen.

This is a simple plugin that has no configurations whatsoever; you just install it, turn it on, and activate it. Then what it does it does a search for links that are 404 broken and if it finds them, it automatically redirects them to what it thinks is the correct page. It probably does a good job maybe 8 out of 10 times and occasionally it’s going to redirect to someplace it shouldn’t.

But this is just a simple way if you’re in a hurry, you don’t want to go through things, don’t want to deal with anything right now, just turn this one on and go, forget it, and see what happens. All in all, it’s a good, basic plugin and it could save you some time or some headaches down the road. Check it out – it’s called Redirect Old Links and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Good. All right, let’s end it off here with some WooCommerce stuff. I try and bring some WooCommerce in at least every show or every other show, and this one is really nice. It reminds me of when I go to book a hotel. Sometimes when you go to like Travelocity or Hotels.com or Orbitz or any of those, it tells you like, “Okay, 20 people are looking at this thing right now,” or, “Ten people have booked this today,” right?

So this is a similar thing; this is called Recently Bought This for WooCommerce. What it does is it displays real-time orders on your storefront, so it gives a little snippet of each item description and the picture of the product that they bought. And so, John, if I happen to go to a site and you happen to go there and by the WordPress Rocks T-shirt in yellow, it’ll tell me, “Hey, John just bought this.” Now, it doesn’t tell me who John is, but it just says, “John.”

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           “John just bought this T-shirt. Click here to check it out,” and that’s a really great way to kind of boost sales, get that demand going for different items and different products within your site. They can also see that people have actually paid money and bought things from you, and that’s risk reversal.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           That’s one of the core components of e-commerce.

John:                Yeah, social appreciation, too – or what’s the word I’m looking for?

Marcus:           Yeah. Proof.

John:                Social proof, there you go. Social proof: somebody else has already bought it, so hey, I can buy it, too.

Marcus:           That’s correct. So it’s a very nice plugin. You can check it out yourself. It’s called Recently Bought This for WooCommerce and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that could be quite useful if you’ve got an e-commerce store.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                All right, well this week here I talked about miniOrange 2 Factor Authentication, which I gave a 5 to; Wicked Folders, which I gave a 3 to; and then Redirect Old Links, which I gave a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Teams, which I gave a 5 to; My Timeline Blog gets a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Recently Bought for WooCommerce and that gets a 4 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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