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

It's Episode 290 and we've got plugins for Removing Old Slugs, Removing Products, Cropping Background Images, Remote Site Search, and Custom States for Woo Commerce. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 290

It's Episode 290 and we've got plugins for Removing Old Slugs, Removing Products, Cropping Background Images, Remote Site Search, and Custom States for Woo Commerce. 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 Episode #290


It’s Episode 290 and we’ve got plugins for Removing Old Slugs, Removing Products, Cropping Background Images, Remote Site Search, and Custom States for Woo Commerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #290

John:                This week here I’ve got a great plugin for WooCommerce. It’s called Woo Add Custom States. It is a freemium plugin, so you can get the premium version which is only $5.95, or you can go with the free version from WordPress.org. Now the plugin itself comes about because of the implementation of the new shipping zones by WooCommerce and their new shipping system. With the way it was set up in their new system, not all countries use zip or postal codes and you may need to create custom states for shipping, as well as you might want to split some states or other areas in the specific shipping zones or regions.

This plugin allows you to create the separations to improve your shipping. The free version has limits on how many specific zones or regions you can create, but the premium plugin is unlimited – only $6.00, so check it out if you’re using WooCommerce and you want to have your shipping more manageable and more under control. This plugin should help you out with that. It’s called Woo Add Custom States and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           All right! Well, I also have a WooCommerce plugin to kick things off. This one is called Woo Product Remover and basically it allows you to do one very simple thing with one click, and that is to remove all WooCommerce products from your site. It cleans up the database from the products, metadata, relationships, variations, coupons – all that stuff. If you just want to blow the store up, this is your plugin. It’s Woo Product remover, and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Be careful with that. It sounds like it could be a dangerous toy.

Marcus:           It is but if you are just setting up WooCommerce, sometimes you are just —

John:                You put a bunch of sample stuff in there and you need to terminate.

Marcus:           — yeah, blow it up.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Then put some new stuff in.

John:                Absolutely. That’s a great way to clean out your sample database, instead of one-by-one.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                I’ve done that before. Next on the list here, I’ve got a plugin that came about due to a request from a client for some work. It’s called Remove Old Slugs and what had happened is he was running the WooCommerce store and as he was going along — his store is built up to such a point that products have had name changes and they’ve been moved in locations. Unbeknownst to many people, WordPress creates what’s called a “backup slug.” So if you create a title on a post, a page, or a product, or whatever, and then you go in and you change the title and the slug, well WordPress keeps the old slug in the database and it creates a forwarding link in the database for you. So if you had a post that was Post A and you changed it to Post AB, that Post A slug is still in the database.

If someone typed in “Post A,” they would be directed to the Post AB. But the problem comes along is if you have titles that were in similar names like Post A and Post AB, then you needed one to go to AC, sometimes it would redirect back to Post AB. (I know it sounded a bit confusing.) But this confusion happens in WordPress because of the old slugs, so you might be trying to go to one product and it gets redirected to a product with a similar name, instead of being directed to the correct product that it’s going to.

Now to clean this up, what is often recommended is going through your database and running a query on a database to remove the old slugs. Well, during my research about how to clean this up, I ran across this plugin here called Remove Old Slugs. It’s a very nice, easy plugin. You install it and bring it up and it brings you a list of all the old slugs in your database and you can go remove them one-by-one, nice and easily. A really great plugin to help you clean up that mess that is created by the old slugs without having to run a query against the database. It’s a really great plugin, so it can be quite useful to a lot of people out there. Give it a check-out. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating for Remove Old Slugs.

Marcus:           All right. We’re removing all kinds of stuff.

John:                I hope that made some sense to people.

Marcus:           I’m sure it does. Okay, John, for years – how many years? Two? Three?

John:                Hmm…

Marcus:           REST API – how long have we been talking about it?

John:                Oh, REST API? Two or three years I think the API has been kicking around now.

Marcus:           Okay. I’ve finally found something that we can use to start exploring what it does.

John:                Okay.

Marcus:           So this is called WP Remote Site Search and it’s a search plugin for WordPress that returns any other WordPress site’s data back to that site using the REST API. So if you activate the plugin, you add the shortcode into it – to a page, post, anything like that, whatever the specific search happens to be – that’s what the result is returned. I’m still playing around with this. For the one test that I did, it worked.

John:                Oh!

Marcus:           And so here’s what I’m getting at, people, is if you have one site and then you have another WordPress site, you can pull data from Site A into Site B using this plugin.

John:                Holy smokes!

Marcus:           We’ve not been able to do that before.

John:                No!

Marcus:           And this is the start of it, so this is the genesis, the birth I guess of REST API.

John:                How’s the search function return? Is it pretty decent search results?

Marcus:           It’s —

John:                Or is it still the same WordPress return?

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s a value – it’s whatever value you’re searching for or if it’s a lot of —

John:                What I mean is are the results really usable or are they off in like the current WordPress search results? So is it —

Marcus:           Well, it searches for something else. It’s not searching for content; it’s searching for like how many posts do I have that have this tag in them —

John:                Oh, okay.

Marcus:           — on this other site? Right? So as we start to learn these things, when do I start to incorporate like six or seven different sites to create my own sort of stats internally?

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           What’s the newest? What’s the most popular? What’s all the REST? I mean, this is what the REST API was supposed to do for us.

John:                Mm-hmm.

Marcus:           So if you want to get your feet wet, just dip your toe in a little bit with the REST API and have it talk between one site to the other without having to learn a ton of code, this is what you start with. It’s called WP Remote Site Search, and I give it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. This looks like it could definitely be a bit of a game changer.

Marcus:           Yeah, try it out.

John:                All right, I think I will. I kind of like that because I’ve got a couple of sites I would like to bring the search results into WP Plugins.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here today is called The Awesome Designer. It was sent in to us by Steve Despierres and it’s a really great plugin. It’s a third-party service. You just install the plugin, activate your account with the third-party service for The Awesome Designer. What it’s for is if you run an e-commerce website or you have a client who runs one with custom printed things, such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, books, pens, phone cases – you name it – the list is pretty endless. This allows people to upload an image, place that image, move it around, create the text, choose the font styles, all of these bits and pieces, and get themselves the perfect layout they’re looking for.

Then what it does for you is to provide you a fully print-ready (not PDF but digital version) of what you need for prints and publications. It’s a print composite image created from their web-to-print technology. It’s pretty impressive in how it works, it’s a really great plugin, it looks to be some of the things that many of you listeners out there asked us for something to help create customized things in your WooCommerce store, and this looks like a really great thing.

It is a third-party service but considering what it does, I think a third-party service is about the only way you’re going to be able to go with this unless you’re on your own dedicated server platform, because what it does is pretty intense. Anyway, check it out. It’s called The Awesome Designer and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           All right. Well, the final plugin that I’ve got is actually an official plugin that is sort of a candidate to be molded and put into core. It is called Background Image Cropper and it’s just like how we have where we can crop an image for the headers.

John:                Mm-hmm.

Marcus:           This does the exact same thing but with background images and it just helps to improve the experience. I imagine if they’re going to put this within the customizer, but they’re starting it out as a plugin first to gauge user interest and usability. So I encourage everybody to check out this plugin, download it, and if you can interact with the developers, it’s like I said: it’s an official WordPress plugin that is going to be brought into a future version of WordPress in core, but this lets you try it out first to see how you like it.

Maybe there’s some things that you can think of that might make it better and before it gets merged into WordPress core, you get to weigh your feedback, so maybe your idea can transmit to the millions of installations that are going to happen around the planet after that. So here’s your opportunity. It’s called Background Image Cropper. Like I said, you just import an image, crop it the way that you want it to be in the background, and that’s all you have to do. I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Okay, I kind of like that. I don’t do a lot of background images but it can be quite nice for getting just the right look on it.

Marcus:           Absolutely.

John:                Okay, then that covers up this week here. I covered up Woo Add Custom States, which I gave a 4 to; Remove Old Slugs, which I gave a 4 to; and then The Awesome Designer, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Woo Product Remover which I gave a 4 to, WP Remote Site Search gets a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Background Image Cropper, which gets a perfect 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 289 and we've got plugins for Word Counts, Auto Complete, SMS Notifications, PhoneGap, and Dynamic Maps. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 289

It's Episode 289 and we've got plugins for Word Counts, Auto Complete, SMS Notifications, PhoneGap, and Dynamic Maps. 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 Episode #289


It’s Episode 289 and we’ve got plugins for Word Counts, Auto Complete, SMS Notifications, PhoneGap, and Dynamic Maps. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #289

John:                This week here, what do I have for you? Well, first off, I’ve got WP Word Count Pro. This plugin was sent in to us by Brian Link. It’s a premium plugin and also has a free version. The premium plugin can be found in the link in the show notes and the free version can be found at WordPress.org. So if you want to know how much you have been writing on your website – your word count, in other words, you want to know how prolific you’ve been in producing content over the weeks, years, or months that your website has been up, well, this plugin is one that you might want to check out.

What it does is it goes in and it counts all the words for all the posts you’ve created and then produces some really interesting reports to show you on a post-by-post, page-by-page, or total count how you’ve been at creating content. Say you’ve been trying to achieve certain word counts, well, this is one way to find out if it’s happening. I did check this plugin out and I did run into some issues with it though in the MU environment. It doesn’t seem to work there. I haven’t reached out to the developer yet to see if it can be solved, but it works beautiful on a standalone install of WordPress. But it’s a really great plugin and I found it to be quite nice. It’s only $10 for a premium version, so well worth the money. Check it out: WP Word Count Pro and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Excellent. All right. I’ve got something that – John, do you recall a couple of years ago they came out with something called App Presser?

John:                App Presser – I vaguely remember that.

Marcus:           It was something that would supposedly turn WordPress into an app machine.

John:                Oh, I do remember that, yes. Yes.

Marcus:           Scott Bolinger demoed it for me at a local WordPress Orange County meetup here. That was a couple of years ago and it seems like every question I asked Scott – and bless him, he made some great code. The answer was always, “Well, if Phonegap can do it, then App Presser can do it.” So really, App Presser was just a bridge to Phonegap, and that’s what this next plugin is as well. It’s called Phonegap Connect.

Now, the nice thing about this is it’s on Github, so if you want to contribute to the code or help it along, this is a great way to do it. So what it does is it gives you a direct connection from WordPress to the Phonegap application, and Phonegap is sort of an app construction kit. You’ll be able to connect WordPress into this Phonegap and make some apps that pull data or posts from WordPress. So if you’ve ever been interested in making your own app with items in WordPress, maybe for clients or for yourself, this is a great way to do that. It literally and figuratively bridges the gap with Phonegap, and I rated this a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Yeah, I’ve yet to check into that, so sometime I may have to look into it. Okay, what I’ve got up next for you is MapifyPro. This is a plugin that was sent in to us by Josh Sears. It’s a premium plugin, $49, available on their website. They do have a limited free version that you can download from their website also.

This plugin here, what it does for you – well, if you want to jazz up your Google Maps or create your own custom image maps, this plugin helps you complete that task by allowing you to add any and all of the following to it. You can use Google Maps with custom images, the ability to add full blog posts to a map (which is great for travelers). You can add blog posts for all of the places you visit on the globe, you can share locations and social media, fully responsive maps, bulk uploading of locations, you can customize map markers for all your locations, advanced search filtering location.

This is a really great one if you have a business with multiple locations. It allows you to create custom maps for that. All in all, it’s a pretty great plugin and I’m hoping to get an interview with Josh here and who knows, maybe get them to donate a license for us to give a way. Anyway, a great plugin. Check it out: MapifyPro and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Cool! All right, well John, a couple of weeks ago I talked about an item that would connect WooCommerce to Facebook Messenger. I ordered something – I don’t even believe it was through a WordPress site – but I ordered a hat about a week or so ago. I logged in with Facebook just to create my account and all that and it gave me the option if I want to use Facebook Messenger or SMS as a conduit to keep me up to date on shipment notifications, tracking, and all that other stuff. So I wanted to see what it would do in Facebook first and it was a fantastic experience I’ll tell you, because they linked up all the tracking information, they showed a map to my house, where it was going, and all that kind of stuff.

I solved that portion of it; now I wanted to get into the SMS version and there’s 50 million SMS things out there. But there’s very few that are specific to Woo Commerce, so there’s a service called ShoutOUT SMS, and this plugin is called ShoutOUT SMS for WooCommerce. It allows you to use WooCommerce to send SMS notifications to your customers. You could auto-send them based on order status, whether it comes in from backorder, it’s ordered, it’s shipped, anything like that. You get to use customizable message text to do it. You do have to sign up for at least a lite account. It’s free at ShoutOUT and you get to start sending SMS messages based on what the order status is to your customers of your site.

I’m going to explain something to everybody. First and foremost is if you have any client that uses WooCommerce at all, if you’re not starting to talk to them about the updating of ship notifications beyond email, you’re a fool, because this is easy money for you. Show them examples of how Amazon does it and all the rest of them, and this is the way of life. This is what people are going to want from now on and if you don’t give them that stuff, email is not going to cut it anymore.

John:                Yeah.

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

John:                Very nice! Yeah, that’s for certain more and more people get more information via their SMS than they do email. I know people that never even check their emails now.

Marcus:           Right, absolutely. Especially when you can go both Facebook Messenger and SMS – give somebody the option for that – this is a perfect solution for pairing those two together.

John:                Absolutely. The last plugin I’ve got here today is called My CloudPress. It’s a site backup third-party service. This was sent in to us by Christopher Hicks and it’s a premium plugin currently in beta testing, so you can currently sign up and get it for free, give it a check out. They do have a free account that’s going to be available from the stuff on their website. What it’s for is if you’re looking for a cloud solution for backing up your WordPress website and easy restore functions, this may be a plugin for you to check out. It offers both for you, it’s very easy to use from what I can see. I didn’t hook it up and test it out because I’ve already got all my own backup solutions for everything. But while the plugin is still in development, you can get in on the ground floor and check it out.

What it does for you is when you register and go into it, it allows you to do backups and it backs things up through a slightly different method in here that I’ve seen. It backs up it looks like from your database. It backs up users, posts, comments, options. It grabs the user meta, the post meta, comment data, and other bits and pieces, and stores that stuff. So it looks like it pulls it from your database and it doesn’t look like it pulls your actual files. It probably does but because I didn’t dig that deeply into it, I’m not entirely certain of it, but it still looks like it’s a really great backup solution or a very simple, easy backup solution for getting started. And as they advance and finish their development, it may turn out to be a fantastic plugin. At any rate, check it out: My CloudPress.com, and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hmm…interesting. All right, we are all used to, as we said in our last plugin that I just reviewed, the mobile lifestyle, right? For crying out loud, I just saw an SES report, John. There’s a Samsung S8 or whatever that you can hook straight to a monitor and use it as a PC.

John:                [chuckling]

Marcus:           Your phone.

John:                Oh, man!

Marcus:           It’s got Windows on it!

John:                Your phone.

Marcus:           Yeah!

John:                Wow, we’ve got more power in our phone now than —

Marcus:           I know, it’s ridiculous. But one of the things that, love it or hate it, that we kind of use on our phone a lot is autocomplete.

John:                Oh, yeah – love and hate.

Marcus:           And we don’t have autocomplete for WordPress until this plugin, which is simply titled Autocomplete. It’s useful for autocompleting words, author stuff. But by the default, WordPress is the only word that autocompletes correctly. So you can add stuff into the autocomplete, especially branded terms or things that have to be spelled a specific way. There’s just options in there and you can add words or just keep moving along as you go. You can reset the list if you want to. It uses a text completer JQUERY script in it to get it to work, but I tried it and I love it. So check it out yourself; it’s Autocomplete, and it gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                All right. So this wraps it up. I covered up this week WP Word Count Pro, which I gave a 4 to; MapifyPro, which I gave a 4 to; and then My CloudPress, which I gave a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Phonegap, which gets a 4 out of 5, ShoutOUT SMS gets a 4 out of 5, and Autocomplete gets a 4 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 288 and we've got plugins for Video Display, Widget Display, Adding Popups, Video Display and the Rest API. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 288

It's Episode 288 and we've got plugins for Video Display, Widget Display, Adding Popups, Video Display and the Rest API. 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 Episode #288


It’s Episode 288 and we’ve got plugins for Video Display, Widget Display, Adding Popups, Video Display and the Rest API. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!ns A-Z!


Episode #288

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got this week is called Display Widgets, and this is a plugin that sooner or later, you’re going to need or want. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to have the need to either hide a widget or show a widget on specific pages or you’re going to need to hide or show a widget for signed in or logged out users, depending on your needs. There’s lots of ways to do it and there’s lots of plugins to do it, and I may have reviewed this plugin in the past. But I recently had to bring it back forward again for a project I was working on.

What this plugin does is quite simply you go in, turn it on, go to your widgets, and it adds an extra spot there where you can choose to show this plugin to every page or hide it on specific pages, or to hide or show this plugin for logged in or logged out users. It’s that simple and it works very, very well. It’s a fantastic plugin: Display Widgets, and I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice. All right, well I’ve got a really good one to start off the year with. It’s called Shrinking Video and John, I’m sure you’ve seen this. Possibly you’re maybe on a web page that has a video on the top and you start to scroll down and it moves the video over to the right side, either to the top or to the left. It kind of shrinks it so you can still see the rest of the page while you’re still watching the whole video, and that’s exactly what this plugin does. So if you’ve got a video embedded on your page and it’s somewhere towards the top, as they scroll down, that video will then shrink itself and move to the upper right or upper left corner, and then you can keep on reading while that video starts playing. So it’s a really, really nice plugin and I gave it a 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! I’ve been seeing more and more of that appear on websites recently.

Marcus:           Well, now you might see it even more now that we’ve let the cat out of the bag about this plugin.

John:                No kidding. That’s a very useful plugin. It’ll help out quite a bit.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here is Disable REST API, and this is in reference —

Marcus:           What?!

John:                Well, I know. There’s reasons for it. This is in reference to the article that I mentioned previously in the news section. What it is, the REST API, you know everyone knows about it – flying cars and everything. But some changes have been happening with it. Previously, there was a filter that prevented instant access in WordPress, and in 4.7 they removed the filter. Now, you can go in there and you can type in a simple command there and get everyone’s user list and other data, which has always been available. With the REST API, it’s even more available.

What this plugin here does is it disables the REST API for anonymous call-ins so that anonymous users can’t access that data instantly. This allows you to use it so that only logged in users or people using API calls properly allows them to access the data. It’s a very useful tool and it puts back what WordPress took out from the development of it so that anonymous can no longer access it. It’s a really great plugin; it’s very simple, it has no settings or anything. You just install it, activate it, and it’s there. So check it out; I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. It’s the Disable REST API.

Marcus:           Hmm…very interesting. I’ll have to take a look at that.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           The next plugin is a simple little add-on to the editor. It’s called Add Popup to TINY MCE, and just like it says, it’s a simple way to add a quick popup on your post, page, whatever you want to do. It basically just adds a button called Add Popup into the visual editor and then you can click on it and construct your own popup that goes into that page, and you’re done. Just one click and that’s all you need to do. It’s called Add Popup to TINY MCE and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Nice! That’s a great way to put a popup onto your site.

Marcus:           It’s one of the easiest ways that I’ve seen. There’s plugins that are abound about making popups but they don’t happen in the editor.

John:                Absolutely. Okay, the next one I’ve got here – and the final plugin I’ve got here for today — is called REST API Log. What this one is for is to allow you to get in there and see what is being hit in your REST API. What data are people trying to call up through your REST API. It’s a very simple plugin. You just install it, activate it, and it just builds up an API log, you go look at the log, and you can see what’s calling, how long it’s taking for it to be called, where it’s being called from, so you can get an idea of who, how, and why they’re hitting your REST API on your website. So it’s a very simple plugin, works very well, and produces a very nice, clean log, so I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out: REST API Log.

Marcus:           Great! Yeah, that’s very important, especially when you’re getting into the REST API anew and we’re all getting into it new, so it’s nice to see what’s happening and going on in that respect. The final plugin is called WP Add CC Email, and just like it says, it allows admins and multiple recipients of admin email, you can add a CC to that. Instead of just going to one administrator, it maybe goes to two.

Let’s just say on the WP Plugins A to Z site, if John wanted to get notifications but I also wanted to see them too, then he could just add a CC into all the admin emails that go out and it would also copy me in. It’s a really handy tool, great if you’ve got clients that want to see the notifications and maybe you do as well. As the webmaster or the administrator of the site, this is a great plugin in which to do that. It’s called WP Add CC Email, and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice – absolutely useful for everyone. Okay, this episode here I covered up Display Widgets, which I gave a 5 to; Disable REST API, which I gave a 4 to; and REST API Log, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Shrinking Video, which I gave a 5 out of 5; Add Popup to Tiny MCE gets a 4 out of 5; and WP Add CC Email, also a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 287 and we've got plugins for publishing to LinkedIn, Anti-Spam Tools, Auto Deleting Users, Image Insertion, and a new plugin to enhance your admin posts view. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 287

It's Episode 287 and we've got plugins for publishing to LinkedIn, Anti-Spam Tools, Auto Deleting Users, Image Insertion, and a new plugin to enhance your admin posts view. 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 Episode #287


It’s Episode 287 and we’ve got plugins for publishing to LinkedIn, Anti-Spam Tools, Auto Deleting Users, Image Insertion, and a new plugin to enhance your admin posts view. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #287

John:                Okay, this week here what I’ve got because at the end of the year, I thought I would wrap with three of my most used plugins. These plugins go into virtually every website I produce, almost without exception. So I thought I’d talk about them. I know I talked about them in the past, but it’s always nice to bring them back forward because they are such great plugins.

So the first one I’ve got here this week is of course Antispam Bee. This is my number one plugin to install in every website I set up for WordPress, and I install it right after I install WordPress and immediately after I remove the default installed plugins that the kismet and Hello Dolly. The reason is of course no matter how new your domain, your website, or even if you get the site hidden down a directory or two, spammers will find you, guaranteed. I still experiment from time to time just for fun to see how long it takes for spammers to show up on a new WordPress website by setting it up and seeing how fast I get spam comments. My record for it so far has been three minutes from the time I set up a WordPress website to the time a spam comment arrived.

So while this plugin over at Kismet – well, for starters, it really is free compared to a Kismet, plus you don’t have to hook it to a third-party service for it to work. Also, it takes less load to run on your website and finally, it does, in my opinion, a much better job of keeping spam out of your website than any other spam plugin I’ve ever used. Very easy, very simple to set up – just a great functioning plugin and it just always seems to work. And of course, being a top plugin of mine, it’s a 5-Dragon rated plugin. Check it out: Antispam Bee.

Marcus:           Nice! All right, my first plugin is something that I’ve been kind of waiting all year for. It’s called WP LinkedIn Auto-publish. It solves a huge problem which I’ve been looking to solve for a long time. What it does is it lets you publish posts automatically from WordPress to your personal LinkedIn profile or to a LinkedIn company page that you’re an administrator of.

Now, that company page is valuable because if you have clients and they have a presence on LinkedIn, you definitely want to take advantage of that. It’s simple, it’s lightweight, it’s free, it’s got a couple of options to choose what you want to share, and it also has an override on a post-by-post basis. You can uncheck the box and it won’t publish to LinkedIn if you have a post that you don’t want to share. A very nice plugin – love it, love the way that it works, and I rated this a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Beautiful! So it’s a LinkedIn auto-publish that actually works then, eh?

Marcus:           It does work, yes. I wish – I wish that this worked for groups —

John:                Yeah?

Marcus:           — but it doesn’t.

John:                We still don’t have one for groups then, okay.

Marcus:           No, not yet.

John:                Sooner or later, LinkedIn will open up that one way or another.

Marcus:           Mm-hm.

John:                That would be nice. Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here is of course Gravity Forms. Everyone, pretty much when you build a WordPress website, you need a form plugin of one sort or another. There are a couple of other great form plugins out there that are free. While Gravity Forms is a premium plugin, you could use Contact Form 7 or Ninja Forms. Both work okay for good, basic forms. They’re often included in prepackaged themes that you would buy, so you may look at using them from time to time. I still use them from time to time but for the most part, it’s nothing but Gravity Forms.

And why Gravity Forms? Well, it is the most extensible of all the form plugins I have used. There are dozens of add-ons for Gravity Forms. There are several from the developer, there’s lots from third-party developers, tons of extensions. I even got a link here in the show notes with the notes for this of a list of over 35 add-ons that are available for Gravity Forms.

The biggest problem I’ve ever found with Gravity Forms is getting a good layout, because it’s not always the easiest layout to get set up on your website. They have sort of made it easier in the last couple of years with CSS and such. There are more and more ways to do some customizations that I see arriving for Gravity Forms. But in the whole, it’s a great plugin. You can use it not only for forms; you can use it for customized registration forms on your website, you can use it for extensions in your WooCommerce platform, you can build multipage forms for asking lots of information, you could build forms that people can stop midway through, come back to your website, and finish doing – lots and lots of things that you can do with Gravity Forms. It is just such a great plugin.

So all in all, as you know, this one here is another one of my faves that goes into everything: a top 5-Dragon rating for Gravity Forms.

Marcus:           Yeah, Gravity Forms is fun. Rocket Genius is the company that makes it and one really good friend of mine, Jeff Matson, does all the documentation for the plugin. I’ve seen what he’s made with it – oh my gosh – it’s like my jaw hits the ground when I see some of the stuff that you can do with customization.

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           And he’s made it to where – I’ve seen some of his forms where you put in different machining product specs and then it spits out a bunch of other stuff on the other end, order options, and all of that kind of stuff, so pretty, pretty amazing plugin.

John:                Yeah, it’s pretty extensive.

Marcus:           Yeah. All right, so the next one I’ve got is called Simple Admin Columns. Now for this, I’m talking about either the post or page listings. So you click on pages, posts, or whatever, and it comes up with a big list of everything. So what this does, Simple Admin Columns, it adds custom columns to the admin screen and you can also create a column which is something I like, which is the modified date – the last time you actually modified a post.

John:                Oh, nice!

Marcus:           Not when did you publish it, but when did you modify it? You can put other stuff in there: post thumbnail columns, anything like that. A really nice plugin, really great to have on any kind of WordPress installation where you’ve got a lot of posts. It’s called Simple Admin Columns and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! I like that part about the last modified date, because that’s sometimes more important than the publish date.

Marcus:           That’s right. I haven’t seen that since the last time I installed Joomla!

John:                Yeah, no kidding.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                The last plugin I’ve got here today is one that I’ve been using for several years and it’s unfortunately getting old but it still works very well. It’s called Faster Image Insert and it goes into every WordPress website that I have to add any content to, do updates to, or changes to. What it does for you, while it is 4+ years old. It’s still great, it doesn’t seem to have any conflict or issues, and I hope somebody adopts it an updates it. If not, I may look into adopting it and updating it just to make sure it’s still compatible – stays compatible.

But what it does for you once you install it, it creates an extra meta table in your post area that it takes the media and creates a media box down below for you – one that you can upload multiple files to and then continue to do your edits to your posts while they’re uploading. And if you’re like me, especially when I’m doing the show notes for the podcast, I’ve got to upload a podcast that’s like 40, 50, 60 MB. You know, it doesn’t take long nowadays with the high speed, but we’re still talking a couple of minutes. I can upload those files, start those files uploading with all of the images, go back and finish editing everything, and by the time I’m finished editing, those files are ready for me to paste or put into the post wherever they need to be. You make all of your notations in the images or the media, whatever it is, the same as you would in the media box. You just don’t have to open up the media box and wait for it to finish loading to do your work.

You could also go back to the media library if you forgot an image and you want to put it in later. Lots of little things you can do and it just basically saves you lots of time when uploading your images to the website. It’s a really great plugin. I’ve been using it for years and it’s still working with the latest versions of WordPress on all the websites I work on, so it still seems to be quite stable. You know, you just wonder about the age of it and that’s about it. I will continue to use this as long as it works. So check it out: Faster Image Insert – another 5-Dragon rated plugin.

Marcus:           Hmm…all right, well, I’m going to close it off with something that I just want to say use with caution. If I could actually childproof a plugin, this would be the one.

John:                [laughter]

Marcus:           It’s called Auto Delete User and how it works is you can set a particular role or on a user-by-user basis. Say if I’m hiring a freelancer or say, John, I hire you to come in and take a look at my site, or something like that. What I can do is grant John access but say, “You know what? After 10 days, take John out of my system. I don’t need him to have that access after that,” and that’s exactly what this does.

John:                Huh.

Marcus:           So it will auto delete a user after a specific set amount of days. However, I will say I highly recommend that if you’re going to use this plugin, make some backups because it is a new plugin and I would hate to see it kill every user based on just improper formatting of the rules or the roles or things like that you definitely don’t want to auto delete yourself in the process.

But all in all, a really, really nice plugin. I rated it a 4 out of 5, but if you’re going to use this, make sure that you are very careful with it, test it out on a staging site that you know will work for you, and just get to know it first, right? It’s like owning a handgun; you’ve got to kind of know the rules first before you just willy-nilly just open it up and start using it. So I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. I could see lots of uses for it, but I do kind of – it’d be nice if they had another way of dealing with deletions such as by creation date or something, because sometimes you’ve got to give it administrator rights but you would have to create a specific role for those administrators so you don’t get yourself deleted in the process of having it delete. That’s one of the things but yeah, it does have some possibilities. It’d be a great plugin to use but yeah, be careful with that one – absolutely.

Marcus:           Yeah, absolutely. So that’s it for my plugins.

John:                All right, well I covered up this week: Antispam Bee, which I gave a 5 to; Gravity Forms, which I gave a 5 to; and Faster Image Insert, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about WP LinkedIn Auto Publish – gave that a 5 out of 5, Simple Admin Columns – 4 out of 5, and Auto Delete User – 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 286 and we've got plugins for Measuring CPU and Host performance, GeoIP Detection, Floating Carts and a great new plugin for Importing Facebook Events to The Events Calendar. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 286

It's Episode 286 and we've got plugins for Measuring CPU and Host performance, GeoIP Detection, Floating Carts and a great new plugin for Importing Facebook Events to The Events Calendar. 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 Episode #286


It’s Episode 286 and we’ve got plugins for Measuring CPU and Host performance, GeoIP Detection, Floating Carts and a great new plugin for Importing Facebook Events to The Events Calendar. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #286

John:                This week here my first plugin is PHP/MySQL CPU Performance Statistics. This plugin here — I had a brief job this past week to check out a client’s website as to why it was running so poorly, and I’m starting to dig more and more into doing site performance analysis on websites and find out what’s happening, whether it be their theme, their plugins, their server. Who’s the problem and how do we solve it? So I found a few plugins along the way to help you solve that problem, and that’s what this one here is for.

What it does is it tests out your PHP/MySQL configurations and it let you know how that is performing on your website. It sends internal tests, then it spits back a report to you, and then gives you a comparison report for what standards should be. It tells you if your server and MySQL is running too slow, if it’s taking too much time, if it’s having problems with the MySQL, MySQL inserts, the updates, etc.

It’s a really great diagnostic tool to find out if MySQL is running correctly and if PHP is running correctly. So check this one out. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. It’s called PHP/MySQL CPU Performance Statistics.

Marcus:           How the heck did they fit that all in one slug?

John:                How did I get it without tripping over it?

Marcus:           Hmm…even better question. That’s right. All right, this next plugin is kind of similar to what you’ve got going on there, John. It’s called Host Info, and it actually shows you real-time server and environment information. It’s pretty cool in terms of how it classifies and shows you statistics of your web server. I actually did this as a test on two different websites.

I did it on one that was on managed hosting and then I did it on a shared hosting, and I was very surprised in terms of what it showed me. But it’s not really customizable and you can’t really save it in relation to being able to look at archives or stuff like that. It’s just kind of a basic snapshot of what’s going on at the time for your host info. Kind of a handy tool but probably one that you would install then uninstall —

John:                Yeah?

Marcus:           — just right after you use it, so I gave this one a 3 out of 5.

John:                Well, still not bad.

Marcus:           No.

John:                It’s a great way to find out what’s happening.

Marcus:           Definitely.

John:                The next one I’ve got here for you is called WP Hosting Performance Check. Now this plugin here, what it does for you is when you put it in and install it, it sets up for your site and it requires an additional plugin, which I’ll be talking about next. You can track the countries your visitors are coming from. But it starts monitoring everything across your site: all of the performance that is happening, page load times, server response times, what your technology is, whether it’s PHP 5, 7, MySQL 10 or 5. It tells you all of these pieces and then it will monitor it.

If you leave it plugged in and turned on for several days, it’ll keep monitoring to give you an average over the days and it’ll tell you hour-by-hour what your peak loads are and what your low loads are, and what’s happening in those timeframes. This is a really great diagnostic tool to run over the course of 48 hours or 72 hours to get a real idea of what’s happening on your website. I found it to be very useful in that we were having a website that the client was complaining that they were seeing 404 errors and other issues while they were working on it. But when I was working on it, I couldn’t get any of these to occur. I put this in and started showing that there were peak times during the day when the server was performing very slowly or was responding slowly. They are on a shared hosting platform with one of those companies out there that overloads their servers at times and you could see where it was hitting those peak loads.

Overall, it was showing a server poor response time while the web page loading times weren’t too bad when the pages were actually loaded. Then it also showed that the technology for the server was a little bit out-of-date. So this is a really great plugin for finding that information and diagnosing what’s happening on your site. So check it out: WP Hosting Performance Check and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hmm…pretty cool.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           That’s a great way to look through them.

John:                Well, I’ve been running it on our websites just to see if my servers had been up to snuff and so far, they’ve been really great, so I’m kind of happy about that.

Marcus:           Very nice, very nice. Okay, for those of you out there that use WooCommerce, here’s a pretty cool plugin. This is a freemium plugin but there’s also a pro version. It’s called Woo Floating Cart Lite and it’s available in the Repository. What happens is when somebody adds something to your cart, it actually shows the cart in the lower right side instantly. So as they scroll through the different pages, the cart still remains visible and reminds them to check out.

Cart abandonment is one of those things that are just a slight improvement in cart abandonment. It could almost double your revenue – seriously – so this is a nice way to keep the cart in view, front and center at all times for your customer. Awesome plugin. Again, this is the lite version; there is a pro version that has more features and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! I’m going to have to take advantage of that one because I’m just finishing up a WooCommerce website.

Marcus:           Nice! Yeah, give it a shot.

John:                I like that. All right, well the final plugin I’ve got here today is called GeoIP Detection. This plugin came about because of the previous plugin I talked about, the WP Hosting Performance Check. But I also discovered the GeoIP Detection can be used in many areas, especially if you’re a developer. How it’s used in the previous plugin is that it’s used to track what countries your visitors are coming from to give you a report.

What you can also do with this plugin here is it has shortcodes that you can build into your theme development or plugin development. You can build this as a dependency to help with your geoIP tracking. Now, the plugin uses a couple of forms of the geoIP maps: it has its own built-in map that it takes from MaxMind or you can download the direct MaxMind IP map to it also to get more precise tracking with it. It’s a really great plugin. It works relatively smoothly and installed rather well. Then it’s got a lot of tips and tidbits in it on how to use it. So check it out if you’re doing development and you want to do geoIP tracking, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hmm…pretty cool! I’ll have to check that out myself. Okay, finally, a lot of people out there use the Events Manager or the Events Calendar as one of their plugins or go-to events management tools on their website. A lot of people also use Facebook for their events. Now, you can use both. With this plugin, it’s called Import Facebook Events, and it allows you to import your events from Facebook.com right into the Events Calendar and Events Manager.

So if you’re like me and you use the Events Manager as your plugin, this one is a no-brainer as an extra add-on. It just completely imports all of your Facebook events and brings them right into your WordPress site with little effort required. It is pretty great. I love the Events Calendar. I use that for most of my clients and now that this is out, it gives me even more of a reason to love the plugin. It’s called Import Facebook Events and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Wow, there seems to be a lot of plugins being built for the Events Manager and as I’m slowly switching over all the sites that use the previous calendar to this one.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                [Inaudible: 23:55]

Marcus:           I like the Events Manager because it will allow me to import from Excel.

John:                Ah!

Marcus:           So if they’re a recurring events or things like that, I can set it all up, set the description, set the buy links for the tickets and all of that, put it all into Excel, and away I go. I have one client that is in an instructional institution and they teach multiple classes every single day. It just kind of varies what city they’re in; sometimes they’re in Vegas, sometimes they’re in the Midwest, and they kind of rotate around the country. For this, it’s pretty nice because now we can have them just set up their events also in Facebook and bring it right in, so I love this plugin.

John:                Very nice. All right, well this week here I covered up PHP/MySQL CPU Performance Statistics, which I gave a 4 to; WP Hosting Performance Check, which I gave a 4 to; and GeoIP Detection, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Host Info, which gets a 3 out of 5, Woo Floating Cart Lite gets a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Import Facebook Events, which gets a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 285 and we've got plugins for Displaying Instagram Feeds, Product Review Charts, Page Builders, Email Tracking, Time Based Content, and a new way to update your WooCommerce customers in Facebook. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 285

It's Episode 285 and we've got plugins for Displaying Instagram Feeds, Product Review Charts, Page Builders, Email Tracking, Time Based Content, and a new way to update your WooCommerce customers in Facebook. 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 Episode #285


It’s Episode 285 and we’ve got plugins for Displaying Instagram Feeds, Product Review Charts, Page Builders, Email Tracking, Time Based Content, and a new way to update your WooCommerce customers in Facebook. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #285

John:                Okay, this week here I have the first plugin called InstaShow, and it’s a premium plugin. It costs about $19 and it was sent in to us by Andrew Kozinski and it’s available over at Code Canyon. There’s a link in the show notes, and yeah, it’s an affiliate link. The lowdown on the plugin: if you want to showcase your Instagram feed or showcase Instagram – any feed or any tag in Instagram, you can bring these images into your website with this plugin.

This plugin does a really clean, beautiful job of displaying those images. It allows you to lay them out in multiple ways and grids, pull the images from anywhere, set up some stylization so when people are clicking over it, it pops up, gives more information for deeper linking into your website. It has Visual Composer support, so it has an instant button if you use Visual Composer in any of your websites.

The plugin looks pretty great as an excellent way to showcase your Instagram pictures or Instagram photos from other people’s feeds. All in all, a pretty great plugin, InstaShow, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           I actually used this plugin for a client – the professional version of it – and it was really nice because what we did is we made it as part of their kind of event. It was for a conference and we made it as part of their event page is you could take a look at it. You know, it was developed to kind of be like a pseudo-mobile app, so you could click on it and see what was going on in terms of the shares of that. Now, here’s what’s really nice: you can follow specific accounts but you can also follow just a hashtag.

John:                Yeah, that’s what I was trying to say.

Marcus:           Yeah, and so it was great because the event actually put up on one of their big screens that page that had this plugin running, and so people knew to use that specific hashtag. What we did is just send an auto-refresh on Chrome and just made it load the page every minute and it self-updated itself, which was really nice.

John:                That’s a pretty cool way of displaying stuff.

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s really cool. All right, speaking of pretty cool ways to display stuff, I’ve been putting together the reincarnation of the Daily Plugins site. Something that I found that came out just recently is really nice. It’s called Product Review, and it’s a WordPress plugin that does a lot of cool things like star ratings, it does charts, it does little graphs – anything that you really want in terms of editing or reviewing anything, and this may be something we might even want to consider for the WP Plugins A-Z site.

It does pros, cons, it has a button to buy that you can put your affiliate link in, all of that stuff. The revision that I tried is on the Repository, but there’s also a paid version, which is what I’m really interested in, so this one gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. It might be something we’ll definitely look at then.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                Okay, the next one I’ve got here is another website builder plugin and it’s called King Composer, and it was sent in to us by Anthony Pham. The plugin starts at $29 for a license for it and it’s a new website builder plugin. I hadn’t seen this one before and from the small amount of testing I did using their test site, they have a great demo site where you can go test out this plugin and not have to install it on your own.

It has a few things that other composers don’t seem to have, such as pie charts, counters, the ability to add Facebook posts or a page in there very quickly and easily. It has fewer options than some of the other composers out there, such as Visual Composer. But it’s interface is very clean and very nice and it’s very intuitive in how it works. So if you’re building a smaller website or you’re going to turn it over to a client who doesn’t need a whole lot of options for it, this is a really great composer plugin that can be added to that site.

It looks like they’re encouraging developers to build themes with this composer in it, so you might start to see it appear in some custom themes as time goes along. But all in all, I found it to be a pretty easy plugin to use and pretty easy for building out pages in its composer functionality, considering in the last few months I’ve worked with like three or four different composers for different themes. This is one of the better ones I’ve found. But anyway, check it out. It’s called King Composer, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           And I tried this as well, because I’m on that same thread when somebody submits something, and here’s what I thought was pretty cool about this. Typically, when you get into page builders and you do different columns, you’re only allowed sometimes to go down to like one-fifth width of the page.

John:                Yes, mm-hmm.

Marcus:           Right?

John:                I didn’t catch that.

Marcus:           What’s interesting about King Composer is that the column widths are drag-n-drop. You know, you kind of just scale them on your own, so it doesn’t have to be that exact percentage (a half or one-third, a fourth, or whatever), so you can get down there as far as the size and get exactly what you want within all the columns. It’s really nice.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So I’m going to try this out on a staging site that I have and just try and whip up a quick site together with it and see what it can do, so I recommend it as well. I tried it out, too.

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           All right, so let’s get into the second plugin here that I’ve got of the day, and this is something that’s very intriguing and I want to give a little bit of backstory first. I am starting to get into (in terms of the research of study), chat bots, because I think that’s really kind of the thing of the future in terms of marketing is chat bot. And what is that? That’s basically just a program’s version of something that responds. Let’s just say Facebook Messenger, for example.

Here’s the plugin that works with this: it’s called Messengerbot for WooCommerce. And what does is when someone is hooked into you, maybe they want to log in via Facebook or you’ll require that at checkout or something like that. It can actually send a receipt, update with order statuses, shipping notifications, and order notes. Instead of emailing it to you, it can also send it to you via Facebook message.

John:                Oh, cool!

Marcus:           Now, that’s pretty intriguing, so out of all the chat bot stuff out there, I never really thought about integrating it straight into WordPress like this, but it seems like somebody has. It’s really neat, really intriguing the way that it works, and I think that it would really help out in terms of engagement for your product, your site, your service, or your client, and for that, I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Yeah, that’s – I hadn’t actually thought about that and you’re right. That’s probably going to be the future, considering how many people use Messenger and other chat formats now.

Marcus:           Right, and it’s not text messaging. It’s not any of those things. It goes right into where your customer is and then you can capture them that way. I wonder what can you do with Messengerbot down the road. Thirty days outside of the product purchase, can I send them something new via Facebook Messenger? Can I offer them a discount code on their next purchase via Facebook chat? Can I ask them to review the product? Those are all things that you might want to think about. So check it out; it’s called Messengerbot for WooCommerce.

John:                Very nice. Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here today is called WP Chrono, and this one here was sent in to us by – lost the contact info for WP Chrono. Okay, well at any rate, it was sent in to us and this is a plugin that lets you show the content on your website and you can show and hide content depending upon dates or date range. It’s a pretty straightforward plugin and you can build one post with multiple items that you want to show and hide.

Say you have a number of promo codes that are going to run over the next couple of weeks. Instead of having to build out multiple pages, you can build one page with this shortcode in there to determine “Show this content if the date range is such-and-such.” And then underneath that, you can build in, “Show this code if it’s this date,” “Show this code if it’s this date,” “Show this code if it’s this date,” and it’ll run them all and then at the end, you can even add a message that says, “This promo is over. We’re done.”

It allows you to build it all out and just have one page and just let it go and run. Then you can just have to update it as time goes on. All in all, it’s a pretty great way of showing and hiding content depending upon date ranges. So check it out. It’s called WP Chrono, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           That’s nice. The only thing I would caution about on that is if you’re using any kind of tracking pixels or if you’re doing advertising to that page. You will probably not be able to know what out of that Chrono feature is being displayed to your customers. You would know actually, according to the date and the time that they did the conversion, but you don’t always get that kind of data, so that’s the only thing I would use caution about when using that plugin. But if you’re not using advertising, then don’t worry about it.

All right, so finally let’s end it here on a high note. This plugin is called Email Tracker, and it’s a very easy plugin that lets you know if the emails that you’ve sent have been read or not. Have they been opened? That’s an easy WordPress plugin that just basically just tracks your email that goes out of WordPress and it gives you statistics on how many times the email has been read, the last date, the receiver, who’s looked at it, every email that’s sent by the native WP/mail function, this allows you to actually do all that. It also has a nice area which you can compose and send the email within this as well, so it’s really nice. Email Tracker is what it’s called, and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! That would be nice to be able to track some of the emails going out of the website.

Marcus:           I think all of them —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — because especially if it’s change of password and such like that, then you’d definitely want to see what’s going out.

John:                Yeah. Okay, well that covers up in this week here. I covered up InstaShow, which I gave a 4 to; King Composer, which I gave a 4 to; and WP Chrono, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Product Review, which gets a 4 out of 5, Messengerbot for WooCommerce gets a 5 out of 5, and Email Tracker gets a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 284 and we've got plugins for Dynamic Charts, Text to Speech, Table Of Contents, Responsive Tables and a new method to design custom products on the fly. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 284

It's Episode 284 and we've got plugins for Dynamic Charts, Text to Speech, Table Of Contents, Responsive Tables and a new method to design custom products on the fly. 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 Episode #284


It’s Episode 284 and we’ve got plugins for Dynamic Charts, Text to Speech, Table Of Contents, Responsive Tables and a new method to design custom products on the fly. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #284

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got here today is called HiCharts. It was sent into us by Mustapha and it’s a free plugin. What it does is it allows you to create some really great charts, all done locally on your website. It uses Java, JQuery, and other ways to create the charts. It creates multiple charts. It comes with built-in templates to allow you to create pie charts, scatter charts, bar charts, backwards, forwards, just for the bars – everything you need in it. It makes it a breeze setting up the charts on here.

They’re very pretty; they look very nice, and if you’ve got a chunk of CSV data that you want to turn into a chart, you just import that CSV data and it builds the chart out for you automatically. It’s a really great plugin. The developers have a couple of other great plugins that allow you to create more intensive charts and maps that are their premium versions. Also, we’re going to be doing an interview with these guys coming up in about a week, so stay tuned for that. But other than that, it’s a really great plugin. I found it lots of fun and very useful for creating charts and I had to give it a nice 5-Dragon rating, so check it out.

Marcus:           Cool. That’s really nice. I will check that out. The first plugin that I’ve got today is something that’s pretty interesting, actually. We all have seen some of those things that you can go design your own T-shirt or some of those other things where they just kind of have a blank T-shirt or business card maybe, and you can design your own based on some of the fonts and the clipart that they use. This allows you to do that exact thing.

You can place like a blank T-shirt down and give a couple different designs that people can chose from and then they can drag-n-drop things, they can put stuff on the back, if they wanted to design their own jersey or their own business card, or anything like that – any kind of custom personalization.

This plugin is called Product Designer and it works via shortcode anywhere in the page. You can add any kind of unlimited clipart, custom post types, anything like that, and it works very, very well, so check it out. I’ve got a link in the show notes to it and to a demo of this plugin. It’s called Product Designer and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That sounds kind of cool.

Marcus:           Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like it for WordPress.

John:                No kidding. That’s nice.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                So that works with WooCommerce. That’s a great way to sell your custom products like coffee cups, T-shirts, and other miscellaneous things.

Marcus:           Absolutely, absolutely – anything.

John:                Something I’ve been looking for for WooCommerce for quite some time.

Marcus:           Yep, anything like that. It’s pretty cool for a product designer.

John:                All right, the next plugin I have here is called Table of Contents Plus and this is a plugin that helps you build a table of contents for your site and it does this by creating a menu base of your posts and pages hierarchy. Now, this would be a great plugin if you’ve got your posts and pages categorized or your posts categorized or your categories in a hierarchy, being parent and subcategories, child categories, and everything through it. Your page is set up in a hierarchy of parent and child categories.

What it does is it takes those and then it builds an automatic menu. You can place the menu anywhere on your site using a shortcode. You place it in a post, a page, a widget, or a sidebar, and it builds it out automatically. It’s a great way if you’ve got an extensive website with lots of subcategories and other things that you need to be able to easily display for people to find their way around, this is a great plugin for you. It’s relatively easy to set up, it’s a pretty decent plugin, and I liked the functionality of it. It would also build out a great sitemap for your users, too, if you wanted to use it as a sitemap builder – a user-friendly sitemap builder, so you can stick it all on one page and have an instant sitemap. So check it out. It’s called Table of Contents Plus, and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very good. All right, the next plugin that I’ve got is called Text To Speech Widget, and it allows you to convert any text into speech in a selected language and voice. It supports 63 different voices and different languages and as the plugin implies, it converts text into speech. It’s pretty easy to install, very flexible in how you can use it, and it requires almost no configuration. So you can drag-n-drop this widget into the widget areas and it works great in terms of reading out your blog posts or anything like that.

It’s based on HTML5, so it’s not Flash-required or anything like that. It’s works right out of the box with standard WordPress and there are no limitations on this plugin. It’s a free plugin and you can convert unlimited words to speech, and I gave it a 4 out 5. And John, I’m waiting for the day where it can actually use my voice and then I’ll never have to show up to record another podcast again. I’ll just blog and record the text-to-speech output. But until that day, I’m happy to podcast.

John:                So, real briefly, I was just looking at it. So you actually have to write the text into a block and have it play it back for you?

Marcus:           Yes. Mm-hmm.

John:                Okay, so it doesn’t just automatically – what they’d have to do is copy and paste the text from your page and then hit play and play it out?

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                Ah, okay.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                It’s still kind of useful. I was thinking that if they hit play, it would start reading on your page.

Marcus:           Well, there are some options for that. You can actually do that type of thing but it requires a little bit of setup beforehand.

John:                Oh, okay. That could be quite useful, especially for those that are having troubles making out what you’ve written or don’t have time to read it and just want to hear it.

Marcus:           Yeah, and if you’re sight impaired, then you can definitely use this to hear what’s going on.

John:                Okay. All right, and the final plugin I’ve got here is called JTRT Responsive Tables. This one here is if you do use tables of data on your website and you want to have those tables responsive, you can use this plugin to build out your tables. You build them out in the backend of your site and it uses custom post types for building out the tables.

Not a bad plugin. It allows you to import data via CSV file, it’s got lots of options on how to configure your tables, and you can use it for the creation of unique product tables that will automatically adjust in size as people hit their mobile devices on it. All in all, not too bad of a plugin. Check it out: it’s called JTRT Responsive Tables and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very cool. All right, one last one here. It is a WooCommerce plugin and it’s called Featured Products First. What it allows you to do is create and flag specific products in your list that are featured products and no matter what iteration, sort setting, filter, or things like that that you list, it will always put the featured products first. It’s especially handy if you have maybe a couple of main products and then some side products, this will make sure that those main products always get filtered first to the top of the list. It’s called Featured Products First for WooCommerce and I have it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. That would be a great way to take your products that are on sale and put them at the top of the page.

Marcus:           Yeah, and not just your on-sale products. But if you have specific products that always are going to be sold, like a membership plan or something like that, let’s just say will use the Membership Coach site for example. I have annual or monthly plans, but then I also have things like e-books and little starter courses and things like that that I sell for just a little bit cheaper.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           But I don’t want people to just buy those; I want them to buy the membership. So I’ll put the membership plans as featured products and then I know that no matter what, they’ll always end up on top.

John:                Very nice. Okay, well in this episode I covered up HiCharts, which I gave a 5 to; Table of Contents Plus, which I gave a 3 to; and then the JTRT Responsive Tables, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Product Designer, which I gave a 4 out of 5; Text To Speech Widget, 4 out of 5; and Featured Products First for WooCommerce also gets a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 283 and we've got plugins for Automated Gallery Compositions, Better Search, Logo Carousels, Shortcodes Anywhere and a cool new plugin for taking notes in the edit screen. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 283

It's Episode 283 and we've got plugins for Automated Gallery Compositions, Better Search, Logo Carousels, Shortcodes Anywhere and a cool new plugin for taking notes in the edit screen. 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 Episode #283


It’s Episode 283 and we’ve got plugins for Automated Gallery Compositions, Better Search, Logo Carousels, Shortcodes Anywhere and a cool new plugin for taking notes in the edit screen. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #283

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got here today is called Shortcodes Anywhere or Everywhere. Now, I know I might have covered this in the past or Marcus has, but it’s time to bring some plugins back forth from time to time. Now, sooner or later you’ll be in the need to display a shortcode somewhere on your website aside from just in a post or a page. You might need it in a widget, in a title, in a custom area – who knows. Well, that’s what this plugin does for you. It saves you the headache and hassle of having to add functions to your functions file and once you install it and turn it on, you just determine what areas you want to be able to use short codes, turn them on, and away you go. It just allows you to add a shortcode anywhere.

Now, something I discovered by accident by playing with it today was be aware of the areas you turn on, because sometimes it’ll override stuff that’s in your theme. I had turned on the area for titles to see what it would do and it turned out it wiped out all of my images for the title of my posts, so something in my theme conflicted with it. So anyway, be aware of those kinds of issues; other than that, it’s a really great plugin. It saves you lots of time: Shortcodes Anywhere or Everywhere, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very good. Yeah, I use that all the time in a lot of different themes. The first plugin I’ve got today is called STM Gallery 0.9, which means it’s still in production. It is a pretty neat little tool, John. What it allows you to do is create original compositions based on images that are already in your media library, and it gives you the option to change the borders, the margins, the shadow of the images. You can make it kind of like a bunch of Polaroids laying down if you want to, that are all kind of hooked together.

And if you want different images rotated or anything like that, you can do that as well. You can create as many compositions as you want with all the parameters that you decide, and you just end up showing them through a shortcode. Now, that’s where this think kind of went off the tracks for me, because I want to be able to take that and use that as a featured image. However, it doesn’t let you.

John:                Oh, bummer!

Marcus:           So —

John:                I was so excited there for a second.

Marcus:           — so it nixes that part of it.

John:                Yeah?

Marcus:           I mean, it’s great for just inserting it within your posts and having a nice little gallery, but maybe I want to have a featured image of it. It just didn’t do it, so I rated it a 3 out of 5.

John:                All righty. Well, that’s okay. I was getting excited there a minute until you said that.

Marcus:           I know. Me, too. Me, too.

John:                Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here is called Better Internal Link Search. Now, as I mentioned, it’s good to bring plugins back from our distant past and this is a plugin that I reviewed quite some time ago, back in Episode 121 of April, 2013, and I was wondering how it was doing. I may bring some more plugins back from the distant past to see how they’re doing and how they’ve fared, because lots of plugins have survived; others have disappeared entirely.

This one here though, it looks like they have kept it up to date. The functionality is still great. What it does for you once it’s installed and activated, it does a faster job of allowing you to insert links to your content within your site. With just a few keystrokes, it’s much faster than a default one. This is when you’re in your post and you click the Add a Link button and you’re going to go type up some information. But it also allows you to go search for content outside your site: areas like Wikipedia, GitHub, iTunes, Spotify, Codex, and probably a couple others. It allows you to bring those links in very quickly and easily.

It’s pretty well performing, a decent plugin still. Back then, I gave it a 4 and I’m still going to give it a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out: Better Internal Link Search.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s definitely something that WordPress needs more of.

John:                Mm-hmm.

Marcus:           All right, the next one is something that all of us as designers or developers or things like that that have our own personal site (or even customer sites that you work on) sometimes use this. It’s called a logo carousel, and this plugin is called Unlimited Logo Carousel, and that is basically kind of a conveyor belt that shows different logos of your clients or the projects that you worked on, sponsors, affiliates, partners – anything like that.

This plugin is totally 100% responsive, which means all your logos show up across all devices perfectly. After clicking each logo, the user is directed to a manufacturer’s page or whatever page that you want to highlight the project. It lets you configure the colors, the speed, the amount of items to show, all kinds of other features, and I really liked this plugin a lot. It’s called Unlimited Logo Carousel, and it gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Does it only display them in a row or will it stack them?

Marcus:           It stacks, too.

John:                Oh, sweet.

Marcus:           So you get to determine how you want them and how many across and all that.

John:                Sweet, this might actually solve a problem I’m having.

Marcus:           Hm.

John:                Excellent. I’m going to have to play with it then and see. I appreciate that. I always love it when you bring something to the table that helps me solve a problem I’ve been fighting with.

Marcus:           Ah, it’s my job.

John:                Okay, the final plugin I’ve got is called Hide the Dragons. Now, how could I not bring a plugin that had ‘dragons’ in its title? Initially, I thought it was going to be one of those joke plugins because the description is like, “Turn it on, that’s all you do, and it hides all the dragons.” They don’t describe anything about what the plugin does. I thought it was going to be one of those plugins I’ve been caught out before and I thought it was really cool and it turned out to be an April Fool’s joke.

Now, I know it’s not April Fool’s but hey. Anyway, what this plugin does is I took a look at the code to see what it did and I also installed it on my test site. What they mean by dragons is it allows you to instantly clean up an admin area to prevent – say you build a site and your users or your people you turn it over to, you don’t want them to access things such as the editor, the dashboard nags, the plugin info links. It removes the tools menu and more.

What it does is it goes through and removes all the most irritating areas or confusing areas to the website that an average user or a beginner at WordPress really doesn’t want to mess with. Now, I did find a conflicted with plugins when I was testing it and when I tried to check out how it got rid of all of the widgets on the dashboard for the admin area, it turned out that I white-screened when I did that. So it does have a couple of issues with it, but looking through the code, it looks like it cleans up a lot of stuff in the WordPress dashboard area. But it does it with one smooth click and you have no controls over what it turns on and off.

It looks like it could be a cool plugin if it was expanded out with some options to turn things on and off and play with it. Other than that, it could be interesting, so at this moment in time, we give Hide the Dragons a paltry 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hmm…it’s kind of like childproofing your dashboard, yeah.

John:                That’s pretty much it – childproofing your house there.

Marcus:           All right, I’ve got one that’s actually pretty cool. It is called Take Note, and with this WordPress plugin, it does one simple, lazy type of thing and it just shows right under your normal content post editor, it actually shows an area where you can just take notes. The visitors never see the notes, they never go live, there’s no way to make the notes live. It’s simply just another text area that you can use to keep notes on your posts.

John:                Oh, sweet.

Marcus:           And I rated it a 5 out of 5.

John:                Nice – so with it, is there a way to read the notes in bulk, or do you have to go back to each individual one?

Marcus:           No, it’s just a scratch pad for each post.

John:                Just a scratch pad? Oh, okay. Yeah, it could be very useful in many different ways if you want to keep a note or an idea, like, “Oh, I need this email address. I need to do this.” You can read your notes and go back and say, “Hey, did I do that?”

Marcus:           Right.

John:                Excellent.

Marcus:           Exactly! Okay.

John:                All right, well in this episode, I covered up Shortcodes Anywhere or Everywhere, and I gave it a 4; I covered Better Internal Link Search, which I gave a 4; and then Hide the Dragons, which I gave a 3.

Marcus:           And I covered STM Gallery 0.9, which I gave a 3; Unlimited Logo Carousel, which gets a 4 out of 5; and Take Note, which gets a 5 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 282 and we've got plugins for Login Timeout, Post Tables, Taking Donations, Coupon URLs and a new plugin for building and ordering a pizza with WooCommerce. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 282

It's Episode 282 and we've got plugins for Login Timeout, Post Tables, Taking Donations, Coupon URLs and a new plugin for building and ordering a pizza with 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 Episode #282


It’s Episode 282 and we’ve got plugins for Login Timeout, Post Tables, Taking Donations, Coupon URLs and a new plugin for building and ordering a pizza with WooCommerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z


Episode #282

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got this week here is WP Login Timeout Settings. What this plugin came about, I was in need of adding an automatic logout system on an intranet I’ve been working on so that when someone gets on the website and they might login from their computer or maybe they login from a hotel computer or something.

It happens way too many times people walk away from the computer and they leave themselves logged in and they just forget. That can be a very dangerous thing, so what we needed was some way to ensure that if someone left themselves logged in, it automatically logged them out of the website. While WordPress has this in place, it usually takes a week or two for that login to expire. We needed it to happen within minutes of lack of activity on the website. So this one here I checked out first to see what it would do. While this plugin helps you set it up, it allows you to override the default auto logout time of the WordPress site. You can set a timeout for the remember me function, you can also set a shorter logout for the different roles you have.

It had a couple of limitations that just didn’t quite work with what I was doing, but it will work in some aspects for what you might need. You can set it up to have a redirect to a special logout page after the auto logout. All in all, not a bad plugin. It worked fairly well. I did however, because it just didn’t provide all the functionality that I thought it should have had, I gave it a 3-Dragon rating. Check it out: WP Login Timeout Settings.

Marcus:           All right. Well, the first one that I’ve got today is something that’s pretty cool. It’s called Custom Donations, and it allows you to accept a user-entered custom donation amount through PayPal, and this could even include a set-your-own recurring donation as well.

This plugin was actually created in response to PayPal changing some of the functionality of their donate buttons, and that just happened in October. It allows users access to features which PayPal made a lot harder to customize and access, so this one will handle it all right within WordPress. Check it out. It’s called Custom Donations, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Sweet! That’ll be quite nice for those using custom donation buttons.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm. Yes.

John:                Okay, the next one I’ve got here is another auto-logout plugin. It’s called Idle User Logout and this plugin here turned out to be a bit better for handling logouts. What it does is it looks for inactivity on the webpage. Someone logs in, the mouse doesn’t move, the keyboard doesn’t click, and it looks for that activity on the page. After a set number of minutes that you decide and set, it auto logs them out.

Now, one of the great features here is you can have it pop up a reminder window, although there’s a limitation in this window, which I’ve contacted the developer and I’m working with him to do some customizations for it so there’s a pop-up window that people can click on to continue or ignore.

All in all, it was much more functional for setting up in this particular instance where we needed it so if someone walked away, after five minutes of inactivity, it automatically logged them out. That was one of the big things that we wanted to look for was that it noticed the activity. Other than that, it was a really great plugin and currently I’m giving it a rating of 4 Dragons, but after the added functionality I’m talking to the developer for, it may pop it up to a 5. But hey, check it out: Idle User Logouts.

Marcus:           Very cool. The next one I’ve got is a WooCommerce plugin. This one is titled URL Coupons for WooCommerce, and it does just that. So once you create a coupon or a promo code within WooCommerce, this actually gives you a unique store link for each coupon on your website. Let’s just say I had WPAZ for the coupon. I could say Membershipcoach.com/WPAZ would take you not only to the product that you need to go to, but it will automatically apply that WPAZ promo code.

John:                Oh, sweet!

Marcus:           So you can hide the coupon fields within the URL as well and it also applies the link to graphics or anything else like that that you can add with just one click in your newsletters, emails, whatever you happen to do. All you have to do is click that link and it goes to the site, adds the product, and applies the coupon. Really handy, very easy to use, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that’s a great plugin, especially when you’re using your email marketing or other promo pieces.

Marcus:           Right!

John:                People — save them a click; you help encourage them to buy.

Marcus:           Yeah, whatever you can do to make it faster and easier, and dealing with promo codes sometimes is a real pain because they deal with mobile use and sometime it capitalizes the first letter in the coupon.

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           Sometimes it’s all caps or case-sensitive, and this just alleviates all that stuff, so you know which product it is and which coupon you get, so check it out.

John:                Excellent. Okay, the final one I’ve got here today is called Post Table Pro. This is a premium plugin; it was sent into us by Katie from Barn2.co.uk, and I interviewed her last week, so go back into the website and check out Interview 8. It was a really great interview and at that time, I hadn’t checked out the plugin yet, but I’ve since had a chance to check out this plugin.

It’s a really great plugin and what it does for you is it allows you to put a table via shortcode into your website that will create a table based upon your posts, your custom post types, pages, and then it lists all those tables up. It puts an image, the title, the excerpt or content of the post, and then other information in there. Then you can sort that information by clicking at the top of the table, so you can sort it alphabetically by the tables or the title name or it’s also got a built-in search function that searches within that particular table for the information you’re looking for.

One of the things that I’m experimenting with right now and I’m finding it to not work too badly at all is we have a lot of podcasts – about 281 out there already – this will make 282, and that’s a lot of plugins that we’ve reviewed. We’re trying to find a way for people to look back in the shows to find the plugins. This is not doing too bad of a job of finding those plugins when you search for a plugin by name or type. The problem I ran into with it right now is it didn’t work so well in the MU environment. I managed to test it on my own website where the show is also duplicated at and it works very nicely. But as far as the MU environment goes, I’m going to have to talk to the developers and see if it’s the problem with the way I have the MU environment or if there’s a conflict in the plugin – most likely me and all the plugins I’m running on our website right now.

But other than that, this is a really great plugin. The functionality is great and it’s very speedy. They’ve also got a couple of other specialized plugins that create a table for WooCommerce, so you’ll want to go back and listen to the interview where we talk about those other plugins they have or just go check out this plugin and check out their other stuff. A great plugin – I gave it a 4-Dragon rating, and it’s called Post Table Pro.

Marcus:           Excellent. Well John, you know, back in the 80s when I had my very first computer, I was one of the very few people that actually got a printer when they first came out.

John:                Wow, you were rich!

Marcus:           Oh, right. And the nice thing about it is I was able to make a deal with the local pizza shop so that I could print out their menus and then we would just photocopy those and we did a nice exchange, so I would have pizza as I was growing up each week.

John:                Hey, that’s a bonus.

Marcus:           I got a free pizza. Well, you may get your chance to do the same thing with WordPress, everyone. This plugin is called PizzaTime, and if you’re interested in making websites for a pizza establishment, this is a pretty great plugin to do it. What it is is a virtual pizza builder for WooCommerce, so it has full WooCommerce integration, it has 25 premade pizza ingredients, you can add your own custom ingredients, you can modify the left and right sides of the pizza differently for different toppings. You can have regular portions, lite portions, extra portions, and there’s full photos and descriptions of the ingredients. You can also do a maximum ingredient limit on the pizza and the pizza image will adjust accordingly —

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           — as you put new stuff on there. It’s totally responsive and completely translation-ready as well. This is a very fun plugin, very cool. I wish I owned a pizza shop now. I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Sweet! That’s pretty cool that it actually does that kind of like ordering from Dominos, where it decorates your pizza as you go.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                Hey, gotta love that, man. People love the interactivity.

Marcus:           Yeah, and it means that they don’t screw the pizza up, either.

John:                Yeah, absolutely. All right, well in this episode I covered up WP Login Timeout Settings, which I gave a 3 to; Idle User Logout, which I gave a 4 to; and then Post Table Pro, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I reviewed Custom Donations, which gets a 4 out of 5, URL Coupons gets a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about PizzaTime, which gets a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 281 and we've got plugins for Navigation menu Role Control, Donald Trump Quotes, User Roles, Featured Image Size Notification and a new protocol tool that connects WordPress to the Internet of Things. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 281

It's Episode 281 and we've got plugins for Navigation menu Role Control, Donald Trump Quotes, User Roles, Featured Image Size Notification and a new protocol tool that connects WordPress to the Internet of Things. 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 Episode #281


It’s Episode 281 and we’ve got plugins for Navigation menu Role Control, Donald Trump Quotes, User Roles, Featured Image Size Notification and a new protocol tool that connects WordPress to the Internet of Things. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #281

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got here this week is called Nav Menu Roles. Now what this one’s for is when you’ve got your nav menus, there’s oftentimes where you need to limit access to different items in the nav menu and there’s multiple ways to go about this. You can write code, you can have shorts, you can do all kinds of things, but I wanted a simple method. I got tired of all the headaches involved with it, so I thought well maybe somebody has created a plugin by now that makes that job easy. And sure enough, as they say, “There’s an app for that,” well there’s a plugin for that.

This one here is very simple to set up. You set it up, activate it, and then you get to go into your menus and you choose the menu items, hit the drop-down, and then you can choose to show or hide that menu item, depending upon their role, whether they be administrator, a member, a user, subscriber – whatever – choose their roles. You can hide menu items quick and easy and it works beautiful. This is one of those quick, simple, easy, lazy plugins that we just thoroughly enjoy, so I had to give this one a top 5-Dragon rating. Check it out: Nav Menu Roles.

Marcus:           All right, very nice. Okay, first one I’ve got here is called Show Featured Image Size in Admin TopBar. Come on, guys. Condense these names. This is way too [inaudible]. This is a really simple plugin. What it does is it displays the image size, the resolution, of whatever the featured image is on the admin bar up at the top. It’s really handy because then you don’t have to look up the default size of each featured image or anything like that every time you post. So it will change according to what post you’re looking at and show you what the resolution of that featured image is.

Now, it’s handy because sometimes it gets cut off or it’s skewed or sometimes there’s text that you might lay out that just ends up getting chopped in different sizes. This is a handy reference to let you know what you’re looking at when you’re developing a size to kind of get that featured image size exactly the same dimensions that you need it to be in order to work well. So I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Excellent. Okay, the next one I’ve got here for you today is called DCG Display Plugin Data from WordPress.org. Now, this is a very nice plugin and this is one that I’ve been looking for for quite some time. We’ve had other options to be able to pull the plugin data from the WordPress Repository. You know, all of the information about star rating, the location, the URL for it, the author, and all those bits of information. That’s always been problematic, because I’ve had to use multiple shortcodes to pull it together. Well, no longer.

This plugin here uses one shortcode and you can put pieces into the shortcode to show more or less information. But if you use the default shortcode, it shows the short snippet of that plugin information from WordPress.org. You can use it in multiple areas and how I’m using it mainly for us, I’ll start to use it with our show notes, so all the free plugins will always show the latest information, instead of the short bits of information we’ve been showing for a very long time.

But the main reason I wanted this is in the store of the WordPress A to Z website is I wanted to be able to have an area where the plugins that we find fantastic, we can easily share with people, and they can go over to our store, locate them, and then download them at a later time. They’re going to be sorted by types and other things as it goes along, and this plugin just made that job so easy to do to be able to display that information. It’s one of those beautiful, lazy plugins that actually works the way it’s supposed to, and of course, this one gets another 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           All right, this next plugin is called WP-MQTT. Now what it does is it connects WordPress to the Internet of Things.

John:                Oh, wow.

Marcus:           Yes, this plugin will automatically send MQTT protocol messages when something happens on your website. MQTT is a machine-to-machine Internet of Things connectivity protocol. You know, I know that the Internet of Things is supposed to be so that your washer and dryer can talk to each other and – I don’t know, tell you when the clothes are done and your fridge is supposed to tell you when you’re out of milk and eggs and all that kind of stuff. I’m not quite sure what this could be used for, but I like the idea.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           I like the idea of maybe when I go to a certain page, the lights come on, or when a sale happens. Maybe I’ve got something that —

John:                Have a bell go off while you’re watching your favorite movie.

Marcus:           Yeah, or maybe it ices down a cold beer for me when I get a big sale.

John:                Hey, there you go.

Marcus:           Who knows? Who knows. You guys tell me what you would use something like this for and I’ll definitely take that suggestion in consideration. In the meantime, I gave this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Sounds like it could be interesting to use and of course, the first thing that popped into my mind was a way to expand that giant botnet that attacked a few weeks ago.

Marcus:           Oh, great! [Laughter]

John:                Sorry, Internet of Things, man: wonderful and scary at the same time.

Marcus:           Yeah. You know, I don’t know. I don’t have anything – I don’t believe I have anything else that’s connected to the internet. I know my washing machine or my fridge is not. But who knows?

John:                I have my phone, my computers, and my TV and my DVD player.

Marcus:           Now, here’s another thing: I wonder if it goes the other way, which is the other things can connect to your WordPress site.

John:                That’s the whole problem.

Marcus:           And give you a nice dashboard.

John:                And that’s what is eventually occurring.

Marcus:           Yeah, so maybe I can use it to monitor all the cool things that are going on in my house?

John:                Monitor it or you’re at the airport and you go, “God, did I turn that light off?”

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                Quick log onto my website and look at the signals. There you go.

Marcus:           Interesting. So that might be something for developers that you might want to consider. So if you’re into the Internet of Things, which I’m not connected to the Internet of Things, then give this plugin a try.

John:                There you go. All right, the next one I’ve got here is called User Role Widget Areas. This is kind of a unique one that I’ve had different ways of doing this in the past to be able to have widgets that would display and hide, depending on the role of the user logged into the website. I’d forgotten which ones I had used and I couldn’t find them, so I just decided to do a search and see what’s new out there.

I discovered this one here and this one is kind of different in how they go about the process of putting your widgets into and setting them for user roles. It creates separate widget areas for separate user roles, and you dump your user roles into those widget areas and then you take the other widget that is for that specific user role and then you add that to your sidebar. So it’s kind of a two-step level here; while it seems complex, it’s rather easy to work with and it works rather well to be able to create multiple levels of users for different widgets to have the different widgets show up.

You might need widgets that would show up a login/logout bar. I’ve been working quite a bit lately on an intranet website and I needed to be able to show a logout box for people when they were logged into the intranet. But I needed that box to be completely disappeared if they access the website through the IP addresses that were free to get into the intranet, because otherwise, it asked them to log in when they didn’t need to. So this is one of the ways that I came about doing this to be able to hide that box. It worked quite wonderfully well.

So it’s a really great plugin, very simple to use, and just does exactly what it’s supposed to do, so of course we put this one right at the top as a 5-Dragon rating: User Role Widget Areas.

Marcus:           Hmm…got a lot of 5-star plugins there.

John:                This was a rockin’ day for me, man. I had a full house today.

Marcus:           Wow! Well, I’m going to leave you with something that maybe only Americans can appreciate, but I’m sure that everybody around the world is fascinated by this. We all love Hello Dolly, Matt Mullenweg’s famous plugin.

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           This one is Hello Trumpy!

John:                [Chuckling] All righty.

Marcus:           So what this does is it features quotes from now elected 45th President-elect of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           So whether in a good way or in a bad way, this actually gives some of Donald Trump’s most famous quotes right there in your admin bar. It’s just like Hello Dolly, except it’s Donald Trump. I thought it was pretty funny.

John:                It is funny. It is quite funny.

Marcus:           Regardless, and I will warn you, it’s probably not safe for kids, because Donald Trump does say some things that are —

John:                Yeah…yeah. His quotes are not always safe for kids.

Marcus:           [Laughter] Exactly.

John:                I’ve avoided bringing out the most famous one, just to keep our podcast clean.

Marcus:           Exactly. So if you want to have a little fun, whether you like Trump, whether you don’t like Trump, this is Hello Trumpy, and it gets a 4 out of 5 rating.

John:                There you go, check it out. All right, well that covers up our plugins for this show. I covered up Nav Menu Role, which I gave a 5 to; DCG Display Plugin Data from WordPress.org, which I gave a 5 to; and then User Role Widget Areas, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Show Featured Image Size, which gets a 4, WP-MQTT gets a 4 – that’s the Internet of Things plugin, and Hello Trumpy gets a 4 out of 5, and Donald would call me a loser for giving him 4, but that’s okay.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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