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

It's Episode 260 and we've got plugins for Optimizing Your Database, Widget Placeholders, Popular Posts, Future Posts, Inline Posts and more. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 260

It's Episode 260 and we've got plugins for Optimizing Your Database, Widget Placeholders, Popular Posts, Future Posts, Inline Posts and more. 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 #260

It’s Episode 260 and we’ve got plugins for Optimizing Your Database, Widget Placeholders, Popular Posts, Future Posts, Inline Posts and more. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode #260

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got this week here is called Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions. This came about – I was working on a website that had been infected with the Pharma hack and what had occurred is they managed to infect not only posts, but they managed to affect revisions. Of course, we all know we’ve got a collection of revisions throughout our site that we just don’t give much mind to.

Manually removing them was just not an option, because there were hundreds of revisions in this site for all the numerous posts that the client had. So I wanted an easy way to do that and I knew they were out there. There’s a dozen plugins for this, so I thought I would examine a couple of them, and this one here came up real nice.

It not only allows you to go in and automatically remove all the revisions that are in there, but it also helps you clean up your database in numerous other ways in the process. Then when you’re done, you can set it so it does a continuous automatic updating and cleaning of your database, removing revisions that are older than X number of days and removing other bits and pieces in here.

All in all, this turned out to be a really fantastic little database optimizer and cleaner, removing your revisions and other things. I had to give this a 5-Dragon rating. It’s called Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions.

Marcus:           Hmm…should’ve called it Mr. Clean or something like that.

John:                Yeah, they need a WP Plugins naming service for plugins.

Marcus:           Yeah. Yeah, I think we’re available for that. All right, the first plugin I want to talk about is called Placeholder it. It’s basically a widget and widgets can be used almost anywhere these days, not just the sidebar. I mean, obviously, we’re all using page builders and those kinds of things.

So what it does is if you’re building a site and you don’t yet have all the images or you want to at least set up a resolution for a block area that you can then fill in with actual live data, this gives you the option to – in the widget it says, “Okay, what dimensions do you want to put in this block? Do you want to put text in here? Do you want to color it? What do you want to do?” It basically creates everything that you need within that block area and gives you a nice placeholder so that you can go to clients and instead of having the whole thing done, just put the placeholders in place and it shows exactly what your layout is intended to be.

It’s very handy; a very cool tool. I’ve used stuff like this in terms of just having images that go in those spots, but the ability to be able to name my own resolution for the block area was what I found this plugin to be very, very valuable. I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Okay, the next one I’ve got here is called Restrict Role Login. This is a very simple plugin; it’s fairly straightforward. What it does is you set it up to allow people to register in your website so that they can get registered and they should be able to access into say the store or something. But you know when they get logged in, you don’t want them to accidentally end up in the backend of the website – into the WordPress dashboard.

That’s what this one is designed to do is to keep them out of the WordPress dashboard area. You can determine what user levels are allowed to access by going into the settings and setting it up. It seems to work pretty good. I gave it a quick test on my dev site to see how it worked and it checked out okay. A pretty little decent restriction plugin called Restrict Role Login, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very cool! All right, the next one I have – we’ve all seen these popular post widgets out there that display different popular clips of your website. But how is that determined? It’s generally determined by core and by the actual post view count.

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           Well, I’ve got something that’s actually a little bit different. This plugin is called Google Analytics Popular Posts, and what it does is it queries Google Analytics for page view data to your site and then uses an algorithm based on the publish date, number of page views, all that kind of stuff, to determine a weighted page view score for a post.

Now, this is really cool because it’s time-sensitive, which means you can have it display the most popular posts this month, or maybe this week, or maybe for just only 2016 and ignore everything that was in 2015. It’s smart in the way that it does it. It doesn’t just do it by, you know, showing a post from 2010 that you had that had some good traction on it that keeps popping its way to the top.

So this is a really good way to do it based on actual quantitative data and it’s called Google Analytics Popular Posts. I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! That’s actually a cool idea if you want to set up to show popular posts. That’s much better than the other weighted ones. I mean, what we have on our site right now is just a random sampling. I don’t think it’s truly all that good.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                But it has something. I might have to explore using that one.

Marcus:           Yeah! It’s great.

John:                All right, the final one I’ve got here is another related post plugin. It’s called Inline Related Posts and it’s a pretty decent plugin for what it does. It does sort of thing that you’ll see on the New York Times website, all the other websites that you’re reading down through an article and then there’s a spot right in the middle of the article that pops in a related post. Well, that’s what this plugin does for you.

It goes through, it looks for your post, and then it puts in a small snippet right in the center of the article. You’ll start to see them appear on the WP Plugins A to Z site now, and I’m still working on a design for it. It does come with a basic design and a couple of small templates. I haven’t tested the templates but it is a freemium plugin. So if you want all the full features, you have to go pay for it. It’s not that much: $27 for a single site license, which I may end up getting for us just so I can get the enhancements. But the setup was really great, the choosing of how it goes together is really simple and straightforward – a great plugin.

I would’ve popped it right up to the 5, but of course being a freemium plugin, we had to knock one point down for it, so I gave it a 4-Dragon rating and it’s called Inline Related Posts.

Marcus:           Nice. All right, it sounds like we got – unintentionally, by the way – a lot of post-related plugins today and it just happened to work out that way.

John:                It worked out that way.

Marcus:           Yeah. And a lot of you may not realize that up until it’s time to actually do the show, I don’t really know what plugins John is going to introduce and he doesn’t know mine, either.

John:                We have no idea until about half an hour before the show.

Marcus:           Exactly! Okay, well here’s the final posts plugin. This one is called Future Posts with password. How many times, John, have you laid out a post or a page and you wanted to show somebody what it was, but you didn’t want to actually publish the thing?

John:                And hold off.

Marcus:           It’s kind of a pain in the butt to do that, right? Because either you’ve got to give them WordPress credentials so that they can look at it in draft or preview mode or something like that.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Well, no longer, my friend. This one, Future Posts with password actually allows you to send someone a post with a key in the URL that has a password that you set, and with one click they can go view the post.

John:                Very nice!

Marcus:           As it embeds that actual password within that URL. So if you want to send somebody a post for review before publication, now you can without ever even having given them credentials, so it works out really nice. It’s a free plugin and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That’s pretty cool. That’s a great way to be able to send something off to somebody for review before it gets published.

Marcus:           Yes, because you can still keep it private and keep it away from the rest of the eyes, yet still have somebody click one link and review it. And I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had that have no clue about WordPress, no clue about logging into the backend —

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           — this saves all that headache and hassle just by sending them one link.

John:                Cool. Okay, well I covered up in this episode the Optimize Databased After Deletion Revisions, which I gave a 5 to; the Restrict Role Login, which I gave a 4 to; and the Inline Related Posts, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Placeholder it, which I gave a 4 to; Google Analytics Popular Posts, also gets a 4; and we just discussed Future Posts with password, gave that one a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]















Transcript for Episode 258 and we've got plugins for Unique Post Stat Tracking, Handling Free WooCommerce Downloads, Newsbars, Payment Gateways and a new plugin for keeping Dashboard Notes. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 258

Transcript for Episode 258 and we've got plugins for Unique Post Stat Tracking, Handling Free WooCommerce Downloads, Newsbars, Payment Gateways and a new plugin for keeping Dashboard Notes. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for Episode #258

Transcript for Episode 258 and we’ve got plugins for  Unique Post Stat Tracking, Handling Free WooCommerce Downloads, Newsbars, Payment Gateways and a new plugin for keeping Dashboard Notes. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode #258

John:                All right, the first plugin I’ve got for you this week is called Post Views, and this is a pretty simple plugin for those of you who are statistically inclined and just addicted to knowing anything and everything that happens inside your WordPress website.

This is a plugin that you install, you turn on, and then it starts to give you crazy amounts of charts and other information about each and every post: how often a post has been looked at, who’s looking at it, their IP address, what country their coming from. It puts it into charts, graphs, and all kind of pretty stuff for those of you addicted to statistics. (Wow, that’s a mouthful.)

So anyway, it’s a great little plugin. It works well and I’ve got a couple of clients that use it because they just want to know everything that’s happening in the world of their website. It’s called Post Views and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very good! So that’s basically a unique post stats plugin, right?

John:                Unique posts. It tracks the individual post stats.

Marcus:           Excellent. It’s like the old counter days. All right, I’ve got a bunch of things there – by the way, all three of my plugins have to do with WooCommerce, so you can tell what I’ve been doing the last couple of days.

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           It’s basically been a lot of WooCommerce stuff. So this first one is called Download Now WooCommerce, and essentially what this allows you to do is to have users download products from the product page without having to go through the checkout process. You could still keep something in WooCommerce – maybe you’re going to charge for it later, maybe it’s something that you’ve already charged for and now you want to make it a free download.

Basically, you set it to be able to download for free and instead of having to go through and put everything at zero and then add to basket, checkout, and then the whole processes that has to go through it, instead when the regular price is detected at zero, the Add to Basket or Add to Cart button is then replaced with a Download Now button.

John:                That’s neat.

Marcus:           The button can be customized from the settings page. You can change the button text, whether it shows for sale items as well, and you can even customize the CSS style of the button. I thought it was a fantastic plugin and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                I can see a sweet way to use that. If you’ve got something you want to give a temporary giveaway on, mark it down, have low pricing that’s temporarily zero, download now, and then when the sale expires, it automatically goes back to being a paid-for download.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                Hey, some really great uses for that one. All right, the next plugin I’ve got here is a newsbar plugin. This one here came for a client that was looking for a way to display their latest posts in a floating newsbar. There used to be once upon a time some decent newsbar plugins in the Repository, but not so much anymore.

This is a premium plugin and it’s from CodeCanyon. It’s a pretty decent plugin that places either in the footer or the header, floating on top or the very bottom of your screen, and then it allows you to go in, choose what kind of post you’re going to pull. It has some limitations here, unfortunately, in that it will only pull the entire post and it doesn’t pull you the categories of them. But it will pull custom post types, which was kind of a nice feature. So if you’ve got a specialized custom post type in there, you can pull just that.

It’s really nice and it has a few customizations you can set up, some colors, adjustments – all of those usual things there. But the fact that you couldn’t categorize it or specialize it down, I had to place this one at a medium rating of 3 Dragons. But still, a pretty decent plugin if you’re willing to pull in all of your content. So check it out, it’s called WP jNewsbar Plugin, and it’s located at CodeCanyon, and that is an affiliate link in the show notes.

Marcus:           Okay. All right, well let’s continue on the WooCommerce train. John, I’m sure you’ve set up payment gateways in WooCommerce before, right?

John:                Oh, one or two.

Marcus:           Yeah. Well, this is a pretty unique plugin and it just came out of necessity because of different price points I wanted to switch to a different payment gateway.

John:                Oh.

Marcus:           And that was for basically the high-dollar, high-ticket stuff. I wanted to go to something that was just a little less in terms of how much they took, in terms of the vig —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           And this one actually allows you. It’s called WooCommerce Payment Gateway Per Product.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           And so what it allows me to do is select the default payment gateway on a product-by-product basis, so that I could do the higher ticket stuff maybe in Stripe rather than PayPal or anything in between. It’s a really, really nice plugin and very easy to set up. It’s just basically kind of a mapping thing in terms of each product and where it gets checked out to in terms of the payment processor. I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. That can be quite useful to save yourself some fees along the way.

Marcus:           Yes, indeed.

John:                Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here today is called WP Dashboard Notes. Now one of the problems that I face is I have a couple of websites with multiple admins that I work in. I’m an admin, I’ve got a couple of other admins in there. We use Base Camp for coordinating stuff, but sometimes you’re not always paying attention to Base Camp. You log into the website going, “I know I need to do something,” you look, go into Base Camp, and you just can’t find it.

What I was looking for is an easy way to communicate with the other admins to let me know of things I need to take care of on the website or let them know stuff. Notes came and I was like, “Well, we can put notes in there. There’s got to be a Notes plugin.” This creates sticky notes like those old, yellow sticky notes you just have tacked all to your walls, computer screen, and everything else once upon a time, even though some of us still use those.

This allows you to create sticky notes basically for your WordPress dashboard. You can colorize the notes and it gives you multiple colors. If you want your own custom colors, you can go put those into the CSS for it if you like (probably not truly necessary). But it creates really great notes that the moment you log into your WordPress website and that dashboard loads up, that note in all it’s full, yellow glory pops in your face and you go, “Oh, I’ve got something to deal with here.”

I realized that after we put that in there and I log into the site, I go, “Oh, yeah. I forgot.” This is a very sweet plugin for communicating that information and for helping you to remember what you need to do and talking to your different admins. Great plugin – I had to bring this one because it’s simplicity and actual workability, I had to give this one a top 5-Dragon rating. So check it out: WP Dashboard Notes.

Marcus:           Awesome! That’s very cool. It reminds me of somebody I know that used to do that with Windows. Do you remember the old Sticky Notes?

John:                I had those in my Windows 3.3 and Windows 6.

Marcus:           Yeah, I remember that they had just a whole screen full of notes. That was funny. All right, well finally we’re going to wrap it up with our last WooCommerce plugin and this one is called Hide Price Until Login, and I’ve pretty much given the entire description of the plugin right there with just the name.

What it does is it hides the price of all the products in your shop and product detail pages until the user is logged in. It requires someone to actually log into the system to see the price. Now, that’s not exactly membership, but kind of, right?

John:                It is kind of a membership.

Marcus:           It’s sort of that. It makes it so that you have to be in the system in order to do a transaction. That’s in itself sort of a lead generation idea or technique, which is you can put some absurd prices in there only for your members. It doesn’t show anything until they actually sign up, go through the system, get a login, and log into the site.

Now that’s really good because you can take your first-timers, walk them through the system, talk about the different price advantages, and all that kind of stuff. Also, it’s something to where you can – let’s just say you’re having a private event and you want tickets to only go to your specific people. This is a way to do it so that the public isn’t just buying things up. It actually has to be people registered into your system.

It’s flawless. This plugin is great in the way that it works and I gave it a 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. That’s an excellent plugin and can be of immense value to someone running a WooCommerce site.

Marcus:           Yeah, so for example, I’m going to use it as a lead-in so that you have to first sign up into the system before I’m even going to let you sign up for the program. That’s strictly so that I have everyone’s email address and all of their contact information and all of that so that I can market to them later.

John:                Oh, absolutely. All right, well in this episode I covered up Post Views, which a gave a 4 to; WP jNewsbar Plugin, which I gave a 3 to; and then WP Dashboard Notes, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I covered Download Now for WooCommerce, gave that one a 4 out of 5; WooCommerce Payment Gateway Per Product got a 4 out of 5; and Hide Price Until Login got a perfect 5 out of 5.


[End of Audio]








Transcript for Episode 257 and we've got plugins for managing Email Notifications, Back End FTP, a new front end page designer, recursive file name prevention and a plugin to help keep track of plugin modifications. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 257

Transcript for Episode 257 and we've got plugins for managing Email Notifications, Back End FTP, a new front end page designer, recursive file name prevention and a plugin to help keep track of plugin modifications. 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 #257

Transcript for Episode 257 and we’ve got plugins for managing Email Notifications, Back End FTP, a new front end page designer, recursive file name prevention and a plugin to help keep track of plugin modifications. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode #257

John:                All right, the first plugin I’ve got this week is called Manage Notification E-mails. This came about due to having some issues with a site I’ve been working on for a client where we put a membership system into it. The membership system has its own set of emails that get sent out when people create an account or become a member of the site.

The problem was that WordPress’s core also has default emails that it was sending out at the same time. The default emails, while they used to be rather straightforward, have become slightly confusing for people, especially the new one that it sends out asking you to reset your password the moment you create an account. People are always like, “Well, I created a password.”

Anyway, what this plugin helps you do is turn off those default emails in WordPress and you can turn off every default email that’s available in WordPress with this plugin, including the one that would have the administrator (if they tried to reset their password), they would not get a password reset email. So beware of what you can and can’t do with it. But all in all, it was a pretty sweet plugin. It was straightforward – my kind of plugin. It required no setup and just worked, so I had to give this one a 5-Dragon rating. It’s called Manage Notification E-mails.

Marcus:           Very nice, very nice. Okay, well I want to talk about something that’s been somewhat of a trend lately, and that is the designing of drag-and-drop front end page builders. There are many out there like Visual Composer, my favorite, which is Cornerstone. There have been many: Beaver Builder is another one.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           Here’s a brand new one. It’s called Elementor. It’s a drag-and-drop front end page builder. As they claim, it gives you the power to design “..stunning page designs in an intuitive and lightweight interface” – and it doesn’t. It’s clunky, it’s probably one of the worst ones I’ve seen in terms of front end page builders. It’s been getting a lot of buzz on social channels, so I just wanted to tell everybody I’ve tried it. It’s somewhat like Visual Page Composer (kind of), but not really.

I had a little problem with spacing when it came to when I did a box and I put an H3 in it, then I put some text under it, and it completely screwed up the formatting in terms of the line height and all that kind of stuff. It just wasn’t good, so I just want to put this out there as kind of a warning to people. This one is called Elementor, and I gave it a 3 out of 5.

John:                Ah, it sounds like you might have given it a little too high, but okay.

Marcus:           [Laughter]

John:                All right, well yeah. I tend to stay away from them. I’m kind of sickened with the Visual Composer, because that’s part of so many of the themes I’m already using.

Marcus:           Right, right.

John:                All right, the next plugin I’ve got here is called WP Unsafe Comment Links. Now, you may or may not be in need of this, but it can be fairly useful. If your website gets a fair number of comments or you don’t always catch your spam comments, this is a plugin that searches those comments for the links that people put in and verifies them against the Google Safe Browsing API.

If it discovers that it’s a bad link according to Google, it automatically replaces the link with some warning text that says, “This is an unsafe link.” It’s a pretty simple plugin, pretty straightforward. It’s kind of average; I don’t know how good and useful it is, but I gave it a good 3-Dragon rating. It’s called WP Unsafe Comment Links.

Marcus:           Nice. All right, the next one I’ve got is an FTP program, actually. Well, it’s not a program but a plugin and it’s called WitFTP File & Folder Manager. Here’s what it does: it’s just a backend plugin so that you don’t necessarily have to use an FTP program every time. It lets you browse folders, create, edit, copy, move, delete, search, upload, download – all that kind of stuff.

I like it because it actually let me upload a zip file and then extract it.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So I was able to actually upload a theme and plugin and unzip them just through that. Now, that really does help because in an occasion of a couple of things like on Theme Forest, updates, stuff like that, they don’t do automatic updating necessarily well. Sometimes you just have to download the thing and extract it back into your drive —

John:                Right.

Marcus:           — or into your site. This one does the job quite well, actually. Of the FTP plugins that I’ve seen and reviewed, this one is the best. It’s called WitFTP and I rated it a 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Now, one quick question here: does it require you to put your FTP credentials in to get it working?

Marcus:           No.

John:                Oh, really?

Marcus:           No, no.

John:                Okay. That can be a really nice one. And you can download the files with it?

Marcus:           Yup.

John:                Wow, that could save a lot of hassles if you’re dealing with a client that doesn’t have their FTP credentials but only has their administrative credentials.

Marcus:           Right. Now, it’s only limited to the WordPress folders. I want to say that.

John:                Well, that’s all you often need.

Marcus:           Yeah, I know. I don’t know what else you’d need it for. But I didn’t see an ability to go in and edit the HT access file or anything like that.

John:                Well, that should be in the WordPress files.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s true. But I was talking maybe in the main root.

John:                Oh, in the root – yeah, okay.

Marcus:           But it worked well.

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           It did exactly what I was looking for it to do.

John:                Very nice! That could be a definite timesaver and headache eliminator. All right, well the final plugin I’ve got here is one to help you know when you last updated a plugin. It’s called Plugin Modification Date. It’s one of my favorite type of plugins; it’s just simple, lazy, and provides you with beautiful information.

All you do is simply plug it in, turn it on, and it adds a new column in your plugins to tell you the date that plugin was last modified or updated. It seems to work very well and a nice thing I noticed is even if you’ve had plugins in there quite a while – which is in my test site where I have this where I’ve gotten numerous plugins – I could see the ones that I hadn’t updated, touched, or ones that had been there a while and hadn’t been updated.

It’s a good way to know how old or long your plugins are in there. Check it out: Plugin Modification Date, and I gave this a beautiful 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           On a roll!

John:                Hey, hey.

Marcus:           You know what? One thing I forgot to tell you about that last plugin I talked about – the FTP thing.

John:                What’s that?

Marcus:           It’s the only one I’ve ever seen that allows you to change permissions – the CH mod stuff.

John:                Oh, wow! Okay.

Marcus:           Yeah, so that’s the one thing I forgot to talk about.

John:                That’s a big one, too.

Marcus:           Okay, so I’ve got something that is actually pretty handy, too. It is called Unpredictable Image Filenames. Now, when we take photos with our iPhones, cameras, or things like that, what does it typically output? Like IMG_0001, IMG_0002 —

John:                Some random number.

Marcus:           — all the way down the line and it’s all sequential. It’s pretty easy for somebody to actually get in there and just know what the path is to one specific image and then just keep changing the number, right?

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Or downloading the rest. Well, this plugin called Unpredictable Image Filenames actually renames all of the files for your images, so it puts kind of a hash on it of like 334AB1382BAD…right down the line, and renames all of your sequential images to those kinds of hashed, new file names.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           I thought that was pretty cool because I’ve had many image sites, stock image sites, things like that – you have as well, John —

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           — that was a big problem in terms of the file names. So this one works very well right out of the gate. Very cool, very lazy plugin. I rated it a 4 out of 5: Unpredictable Image Filenames.

John:                Yeah, that’s pretty useful. Quite useful if you’re uploading a lot of stuff from your cameras.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                Okay, well that covers it up. I covered up this week Manage Notification E-mails, which I gave a 5 to; WP Unsafe Comment Links, which I gave a 3 to; and Plugin Modification Date, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Elementor, the drag-and-drop frontend page builder, I gave that one a 3 out of 5; WitFTP, 5 out of 5; and we just spoke about Unpredictable Image Filenames, gave that one a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]






Transcript of Episode 256

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 #255

Transcript for Episode 256 and we’ve got plugins for Cleaning your Media library, Limiting Login Attempts Visual Composer Realty Listings, Country Based IP Blocking and a great new way to import products into Woo Commerce from Excel.

Episode #256

John:                All right, the first plugin I’ve got this week is a premium plugin. It was sent into us by Jason Xie. It’s called VT Property Plugin and it’s available over at Code Canyon. If you hit the link in the show notes, it is an affiliate link, so please do. We can use the extra $5 if you purchase it. This is a plugin that integrates into Visual Composer, and I remember last week you were talking about Visual Composer add-ons, Marcus, and do this looks to be another one.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                And it’s probably going to be more and more of those Visual Composer add-ons, since Visual Composer is becoming so useful. But this plugin here is designed for property websites – real estate websites – be they listings for sale or rent or whatever.

But what it helps you do is create advanced property types for more precise listings. It works great for both rental and sales listings. You can use it with multiple agents, it’s got Google Maps integrations, it helps you create all the specialty items such as rooms, listings, and all the little bits and pieces. Since it integrates into Visual Composer, it helps it look good with your website.

All in all, a pretty good plugin. I gave it a brief checkout but I don’t have any real estate websites I’m working on at this current moment in time. It does check out pretty nice, so I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. So check it out: VT Property Plugin.

Marcus:           Very nice. Yeah, a lot of Visual Composer stuff coming down the pipe lately and it seems like it’s going to be one of those kind of bridges in terms of being able to design pages and components within the page, so I’m looking forward to checking that out.

John, today I want to talk about this first plugin that’s called Media Cleaner and it’s very nice. It basically takes your media library and it scans it and tries to see which items in your media library are not being used in any posts, galleries, and so on. What it does is it helps you to clean out your media library so you don’t have images in there that don’t belong in there. or maybe you have old ones or you uploaded three different ones to get the versions in there – all those things.

Now this is a freemium plugin; there is a pro version which also scans the uploads folder and not necessarily just the media library – it scans everything. It also does something in the pro version where it scans for retina images, tries to pop those down, it also looks in short codes and HTML on the side bars to see if image items are being used or not, and it scans through all pages and post types.

I would have given this a perfect 5 out of 5, but it does have that pro version, which I always take off a point, and it gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Yeah, this is the one I reviewed last week or the week before.

Marcus:           It’s the same one?

John:                Same one – gave it the same rating.

Marcus:           Oh, wow. Well, I actually used it on a site and it was a site that I did some presentations on. Then after I killed the conference, I had 600 images of speakers and slide decks and things like that, and this thing took care of it in about 10 minutes.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, that’s nice. I didn’t have that kind of opportunity to test it, but yeah, it checked out really good then. So check it out, folks. There’s two good resounding reviews for it.

All right, the next one I’ve got here is called WP Limit Login Attempts. It’s another plugin to help limit the logins and attacks on your website. While I’m not a Captcha fan – I really dislike using Captchas unless it’s 100% necessary – this plugin seems to depend on Captchas. What it does is when someone tries to login, they’ve got to enter a Captcha and once that’s entered, they get five attempts to log into the website. After five attempts, it then locks the access for 10 minutes. It’s a pretty simple way to help slow down all the attempts on your website from bots and malicious login attempts.

It does seem to have an issue with the creation of the Caption PHP file that’s working in it. From time to time, you may have to manually create that file when installing this plugin. But it does look like an okay kind of way – fast, quick, and dirty – to block unauthorized access to your website. So if you’re looking for something simple, check out WP Limit Login Attempts. It was sent into us by Arshid KV and I gave this a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hmm…nice plugin.

John:                Yeah, it’s a good, average plugin. Nothing super special about it, so —

Marcus:           Yeah. The next plugin for me is a Woocommerce product importer. It is called Woo Product Excel Importer and it does exactly that. It lets you take an Excel sheet and on the fly, you get to import it. It does data mapping so you can kind of drag and drop what fields go to where in Woocommerce. It’s submitted through AJAX, so there’s really no page reloading or anything like that after it happens.

You can import things like title, description, products category, you can include custom taxonomy for things like weight, SKU, and that kind of thing, regular price, sale price, stock, manage the stock, and the product images. All of that can be done right in Excel Import, so if you’ve done any kind of major Woocommerce project with potentially hundreds of different items, this is your way to go. You definitely want to use something like this to import it all at once and then go back in, do a little cleanup, editing, or whatever it takes. I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. This is a relatively new one, is it? It is.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                Yeah, because last time I did a Woocommerce site that I had to import a couple hundred products, I had to use a different importer, but you definitely want one of these.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                This one works; check it out, folks.

Marcus:           Yeah, this is different because the other ones that I’ve used did not have custom taxonomy, so it’s even more detailed in terms of what it can import.

John:                Very nice. Okay, the final one I’ve got for you here today is called Country IP Specific Redirections. This is a plugin that will detect what country your visitors are coming from based upon the IP address and then you can either redirect them to a specific page, block them completely, or if you’ve got the urge, send them off to Disneyland if you want.

You set this thing up and it’s pretty simple and basic. Once it’s set up, you go in and you create your list of rules. You have to choose the country and then you can block them by category, by specific posts, or by general landing on your website, and send them off to a very specific page.

Now, this does have some good uses if you’re marketing to specific countries or areas, they come from those specific countries and you can direct them to it. You could direct people from specific countries to specific language sections on your website, for instance, so it can be very useful in that way. Or if you’re getting a lot of traffic from Uzbekistan or Russia or some other strange place and you know you don’t want them, you can redirect all that traffic off to Disneyland.

So all in all, a pretty nice plugin but it does take a fair bit of work to get it all set up. I gave this a 3-Dragon rating. Check it out: Country Specific IP Redirections.

Marcus:           Ooh, we’re running out of short names for plugins, I guess.

John:                Well, you know, there are over 40,000 right now so it gets harder and harder to come up with a name.

Marcus:           Yeah. So the next plugin I’ve got here – the final one for the show – is called User Login History. This is really nice; it’s not a feature that’s native to WordPress. What it does is it looks at all of the different users that you have and provides a complete history for you. It has tracking functions for login, logout, in terms of what time they logged in or out, how long their user session duration was, what IP address was, what browser they were using, operating system, country name, country code, last seen, and all that stuff.

It’s a really nice, comprehensive way to log all of your user activity to see what kind of traction you’ve been getting in terms of your site and it works very, very well, so I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! It looks like they’ve got some additional features and one of the nice things they could add to it would be to add tracking on what they do when they’re logged in.

Marcus:           Yeah, exactly – like a full history of modifications. What was the thing they used to have that did that?

John:                There was a plugin way back and I haven’t seen it in a while. It’s something that would track the user’s login, their logout, their session duration, but also track if they turned on and off plugins or if they have new posts, or uploaded media, to find out what people are actually doing. That’s a very useful kind of thing to have if you’ve got a multi-administration website and even for yourself, because sometimes it’s hard to remember what you do to a website where you’re working for it.

Marcus:           Is it called Scribe? Was that it?

John:                That might be.

Marcus:           I don’t know. Anyway —

John:                It’s somewhere in the hundreds of plugins we’ve reviewed, which we’ll eventually get this stuff sorted.

All right, well, that’s what we’ve got. This time I covered up VT Property Plugin, which I gave a 4 to; WP Limit Login Attempts, which I gave a 3; and Country IP Specific Redirections, which I have a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I reviewed Media Cleaner (second appearance here on the show), rated that one a 4 out of 5; Woo Product Excel Importer, rated that one a 4 out of 5; and User Login History, also a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]



Transcript of Episode 255

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 #255

Transcript for Episode 255 and we’ve got plugins for cleaning your Media Library, image enhancements for Visual Composer, Stopping Bots, Custom Bulk Post Delete and a new plugin that integrates live chat with Slack.

John:                All right, well this week here I’ve got great plugins for you, the first of which is a freemium plugin. It’s called Media Cleaner and what it’s designed to do is help you clean up your media library or your uploads folder. Now as a preemptive warning, before you use this plugin, ensure that you have a complete backup of all files. What it helps you do is delete files from within your WordPress dashboard. Once you delete them, they are gone forever. It not only deletes the files, but it also deletes data in the database that’s assigned those files. You want to make sure you’ve got both a file system backup and a database before you start playing with something like this.

So, that being said, now one of the great things about it is if you’ve had a website for any amount of time under WordPress, you will build up random files in your media library. I know I’ve got a few and every once in a while I’ll need to clean it up, because I get stuff in there I upload and I never use and it just clutters things up.

This goes through and it scans and helps you find which files need to be deleted or which ones you can terminate that are not connected to a post or a page within your website. Now they also have a premium version which is only $14 and it allows you to scan and check the entire upload directory for extra files. So check it out, it’s a pretty decent plugin, it works fairly well. I give it a 4-dragon rating and it’s called Media Cleaner.

Marcus:           Well, that’s pretty important but yes, as you mentioned, I can’t stress how important it is to actually backup everything, not just for that plugin but for every plugin that you install.

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           You need to take precautions like that.

John:                Always make backups.

Marcus:           So one of the things that I’ve been actually kind of getting into lately is Visual Composer. The reason is this: Visual Composer and also something else called Cornerstone, which is kind of a hack off of Visual Composer. But Visual Composter is interesting because it allows you to use one plugin and no matter what the theme happens to be, you can really stylize it and do a lot of other cool kind of page builder type tools and not be theme-dependent.

I’ve run into some problems lately with the Divvy theme on a client’s site that they weren’t doing anything spectacular in terms of building with the Divvy theme. But because of the fact that they were building a hundred and something courses within their site in Divvy and using the Divvy builder, I can’t change the theme.

John:                Ah, yes.

Marcus:           Right? I can’t change out of the Divvy theme without screwing up hundreds of pages, so they all have to be rebuilt. What we’re going to rebuild them in is Visual Composter. The reason is by the time – I know that I can change these pages, make them look nice, and then when it comes to changing over the theme, those pages will remain intact in terms of how they look and I don’t have to redesign them a second time. Now that’s Visual Composer; that’s why I use it.

Now, I want to talk about what this plugin does. This is called Image Hover Effects and I think with Visual Composer and the 2016 theme, you can just about make every other theme you’ve ever seen with this plugin too in Image Hover Effects. It adds probably 50 different image hover effects into Visual Composer and you can animate them, do lightbox stuff, custom links, and all of that kind of thing.

This is a freemium version. There is a pro version attached to this, but in terms of animations and changing images into squares and circles and being completely responsive and all of that, this one is outstanding. So I thought this plugin is – if you use Visual Composer at all, this is something that you should install. I gave it a 4 out of 5. It would have been a perfect 5 out of 5, but again, there is a paid version and I always take one off for that.

John:                Still, very nice. It can actually help you out quite a bit, I’m sure.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                All right, the next one I’ve got and this one that is near and dear to me because I’m constantly battling it. Most everyone is, even if they don’t know it, which is bad bots hitting your WordPress website, sucking down your bandwidth, creating overloads, creating grief with you, your hosting provider – everybody. Blocking them is sometimes a pain in the neck. You’ve got to add [inaudible 16:52] access rules or block IPs, and it just goes on and on.

This is a nice, simple plugin to allow you to block bad bots, such as the Chinese Baidu bot, if you have no reason to be doing business with the Chinese, which is one of the worst bots out there. Anyway, this one here, simply set it up, plug it in, turn it on, go to the settings page, and pick the bots you’d like to pick. They give you a predetermined list of the known worst offenders and you can even add your own offenders if you make a collection of it. It’s got a custom blacklist for it. Just a few simple clicks and you’re off.

This was one of those plugins that was just so simple, great, and it actually worked, we had to make this one a Top 5-Dragon rating. Check it out, it’s called StopBadBots.

Marcus:           And one of the other bots that you need to think about too is not just search engine bots; these are manual website scraper bots —

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           — because they emulate Google and things like that. How do I know? Because I use them. I use them to scrape competitors’ sites and, you know, that’s how that works.

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           So–

John:                Yeah, it works and the idea is to block them.

Marcus:           Right, so I’m not going to reveal the tools I use, because I might want to scrape one of our listener’s sites – I don’t know.

John:                You never know. They might have something useful for us.

Marcus:           Yeah. Okay, the next plugin I want to talk about is called Drift, and this is a completely free plugin. But what it does is it allows you to do live chat on your website. That’s no big deal. We’ve heard of that before, right?

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           But this one actually integrates with Slack, so if you’re a Slack user, it’s not just integrating live chat to one person, one app, or somebody logged into a page. It actually goes into Slack and then one of your entire team members – anybody on your team – can pick up that message and just start rolling with it in terms of the chat.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So Slack obviously is desktop, it’s mobile, it’s all of that, so it just integrates really, really well with that. It also works with HubSpot, Marketo, MailChimp, Zapier, Intercom, SalesForce, Segments, and a bunch of other different services that it ties into. That’s where the paid part of it comes in too, in terms of your integration. But if you want to go straight into Slack, this is totally free – completely free – and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! You know, that can be quite useful. I’ve used Slack from time to time and it comes in handy to communicate with your customers in real-time, beautiful.

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s awesome.

John:                All right, the final one I’ve got here is called Tree Website Map. Now, I know website maps are no longer the rage they once were, you know, creating a map for your users to a visual display map. But every once in a while they’re useful, especially if you’ve got a lot of varied content. It’s good to break it out for people to find it a little easier and creating those maps can sometimes be a pain in the neck, especially if it’s being done manually.

But this is an automatic plugin that allows you to turn on the plugin, go create two types of map, either a vertical map tree or a horizontal map tree. The horizontal one actually will bring in images from your featured images if you have them set for your posts and pages. It builds a tree based upon the categories, the page hierarchies, and all sorts of different ways. It builds it fairly quickly; a fairly nice tree that you can then display on any page with a short code. So it’s a very nice website map tool. Check it out, it’s called Tree Website Map and I rated it at 4 Dragons.

Marcus:           Awesome! So another thing that I’ve been doing is kind of trimming the trees when it comes to content and deleting some old things and old post types within a client’s site. I really was kind of ticked off at how long it was taking and just the whole process, so I went out looking for a plugin – like I usually do – and I found one that actually just came out recently. It’s called WP Bulk Post Delete.

Now, it’s really not that big of a deal but, you know, we can go through and delete our posts 20 at a time or whatever our screen setting happens to be, but it’s not really intelligent. We have to keep going through these navigation points and deleting all of it ourselves. So this plugin actually does something different. It allows you to bulk delete posts according to conditions, like you can delete according to a date range – delete everything that’s older than 2014 is what I did.

You can also assign what their post status is: give me everything that’s pending and delete it. You can do categories and you can do it with custom post types as well.

John:                Oh, sweet!

Marcus:           So this really, really helps out in terms of weeding out a site, making sure that all of the brush has been cleared in terms of the old stuff and in with the new. It’s called WP Bulk Post Delete and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Yeah, it looks like it could be quite useful for cleaning up an old website that has a lot of old data.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                And we’re seeing more and more of those these days as people have been having their websites up for three, four, and five years now.

Marcus:           Yeah, and not just that. What about demo content when you install a theme?

John:                That’s always a problem too with demo content.

Marcus:           So you’d want to kill that stuff off as well, so find out what your install date was and kill posts that are a week older than that in terms of when you put it on.

John:                And the sweet thing here is after you kill the posts with this and it has left behind those images, you can go back to that first plugin I reviewed and go clean up the images now.

Marcus:           Oh, yeah – and then send them the bill!

John:                Yeah, there you go. That’s a bonus. All right, well in this week here I covered up Media Cleaner, which I gave a 4 to, StopBadBots, which a gave a 5 to, and then Tree Website Map, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Image Hover Effects (Visual Composer extension) and gave that one a 4 out of 5, Drift, a 5 out of 5, and WP Bulk Post Delete and gave that one a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]


It's episode 201 and we’ve got plugins for Woo Commerce Quick Checkout, Landing Page Generation, Event Management, Contact Form Sliders and a new way to simulate user roles. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 201

It's episode 201 and we’ve got plugins for Woo Commerce Quick Checkout, Landing Page Generation, Event Management, Contact Form Sliders and a new way to simulate user roles. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #201 here.

It’s episode 201 and we’ve got plugins for Woo Commerce Quick Checkout, Landing Page Generation, Event Management, Contact Form Sliders and a new way to simulate user roles. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode 201

John:                All right, so the first plugin I’ve got for you this week is a premium plugin.  It was submitted to us by Brian Paul, and this plugin is called Contact Form Slider.  I’m not one to always look at contact forms.  I pretty much settled on my favorite contact form plugin.  But this one kind of piqued my interest because what it does is it allows you to assign a contact form to each specific user on your site.

If you’ve got multiple users, multiple authors, and you’d like them to be able to get contact direct, instead of going through the usual rigmarole, this is a great plugin for you.  It allows you to create custom contact forms for each individual user, and then assign that contact form on a per-post basis, using shortcuts.  It works pretty sweet; it’s pretty decent for layout, easy enough to use.  All in all, a decent plugin.  I give it a 4 Dragon rating.  Check it out: Contact Form Slider.

Marcus:           So what makes it a slider?

John:               Well, it slides out from the side of the page.  It puts an icon –

Marcus:           I got it.

John:                — on the side of the page and they click on it, and out it comes.

Marcus:           A little bit of a side slide or something like that.  Interesting.  Well John, recently I’ve been involved in a project for a client that involved taking a PSD Photoshop design, basically just a graphic, and converting it over to a PSP landing page.  And boy, there were so many issues that I wish I could’ve dropped this template into WordPress and run Gravity forms through this, instead of just this PHP form going into a custom CMS and all that.

So in searching for a solution to use WordPress as my platform, I found this plugin called Grid.  Now, it’s kind of a container landing page editor, which allows you to drag and drop different boxes and containers and modules into a really nice interface to make a landing page that doesn’t necessarily conform to the theme, so it’s outside of it.  I’ve found the interface very handy, very easy to set up, and I’m still in the process of completely converting this old PSD file into the Grid format, but so far, so good.  So I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:               Very nice — it sounds like it could be very useful.  Okay, the next plugin I’ve got for you is also a premium plugin.  This one was submitted to us by Michela Chuicini.  It’s called Diva’s Cookies.  And what it’s for is if you’re a developer in the EU, then you know that you have to make your website compliant with the EU cookie law.  There’s multiple ways of going about it.

I think I covered an EU cookie plugin a long time back when the law first came into effect.  But this one here is a pretty easy one.  It gives a nice, fancy way of displaying that notice that needs to be up on the website that in the EU we use cookies, and then a link to the cookie policy that you have for your website.  And this gives you a nice way of — you can display it with fancy slide-in, slide-out, twirls, or pretty much any way you want.

All in all, a pretty decent little plugin.  It’s pretty straightforward.  You just set it up and add in your proper coding and your link to your policy, and away you go.  So check it out.  It’s called Diva’s Cookies and it’s a premium plugin and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Nice.  That is a solution.  Do you know what the laws are, you being in Canada and me being here in the US?  Do we have to comply with something like that if we’re doing transactions or business within Europe?

John:                I’m not really certain about that.  I just assumed I lived in Canada and I comply with Canadian law, you know?

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:               And that’s the way my business works.  I know that some laws cross the borders, but not all of them.  And the EU cookie law is specific to websites for businesses based in the EU —

Marcus:           Yeah?

John:                — don’t quote me on that; I’m not a lawyer.  I only play one on TV.

Marcus:           Yeah, I don’t know the specifics.  I’ve never had to implement such a plugin on any of the WordPress installations I’ve used.

Well, one thing if you do a lot of different roles on your sites, and I’m talking about user access levels — it’s really difficult to see what that specific person sees without having to log in as them and then go in and do the test.  This new plugin called Test User Role is actually kind of a user role simulator where when you log in and get that howdy screen up on the bar, you can actually click that and then decide which user role you’d like to be to experience the site.

It presents you with that complete package of what that role will see as you navigate and go around into the different aspects of the website.  Now this is great for testing out membership plugins, e-commerce plugins, seeing if someone was a previous customer, if there’s specific content that goes to them — those kinds of things.  So it’s really good in troubleshooting and auditing your site and just testing it from a user experience level.  It’s called Test User Role.  Outstanding plugin and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s very nice!  That can actually be quite useful.  I know I was working recently on a project that we had to do just such a thing — log in and log out — but that can save a ton of time.

Marcus:           I would say if you’ve got at least three different types of user roles, then something like this would really make sense, as far as your initial testing phase.

John:               This site had seven, so —

Marcus:           Right.

John:                All right, the final one I’ve got here, this is an events calendar plugin I’m in the process of prepping up the presentation for events calendars, so I started checking out some of the events calendars I’ve never looked at.  This one is a simple one; it’s called Events Manager, and while it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it’s a pretty good basic events manager plugin.

It does have a premium version, so if you buy the premium modules for it,  you can actually events, take money from them, book them through PayPal and other payment processors.  Plus they have a couple of other features for it.  But in its base form direct from the WordPress repository, it allows you to set up a nice, clean event.  It’s got a nice Google Maps integration into it.

It sets up nice and clean, it sets up its own events page.  All in all, it’s a pretty decent one; pretty straightforward.  I’m going to have to dig into it a little further to see how it works.  For some reason, my Internet was giving me grief when I was examining this and I couldn’t get to their website to check out the documentation.  But all in all, a great little plugin.  I’ll give it a middle of the road 3-Dragon rating.  Check it out — Events Manager.

Marcus:           I use the pro version of this —

John:               Oh, do you?

Marcus:           — on a client’s site.  And I’ll tell you, it’s clunky.

John:                Is it?

Marcus:           It’s clunky.  And see, I use it for actually selling tickets to the event with an add-on to it called Wootickets and Woocommerce, so you can actually buy tickets to the event.  It does work and it does do the tickets.  I’ll tell you the one kind of cool thing about the ticket add-on aspect of Events Manager is that you can check people into the event with like an iPad or something like that, by logging into the back-end admin.  And as people come in, you could just check them off on the user’s list as being checked-in —

John:               Nice!

Marcus:           — which is pretty cool.

John:                All the new data is integrated with a scanner and it’d be even easier.

Marcus:           Yeah, like a iPhone — QR code that would actually be —

John:               Yeah, a QR scanner.

Marcus:           Trigger that — hey, that’s a plugin idea for somebody out there.

All right, let’s wrap it up, John.  I’ve got one final plugin here to talk about.  And it is Woocommerce-related, actually.  One thing that I’ve found with — and in fact, it’s with the ticket process that I just spoke of.  One thing that is really irritating is that when someone is ready to buy, and especially when it comes to tickets, they select how many tickets they want, they select — let’s buy them — and then it takes them to a cart or adds them to the cart.

John:                Yeah, you’ve got to walk — walk through the process.

Marcus:           Yeah, and you’ve got to coax them to get back into the cart again and check out.  Well, this plugin is called Woocommerce Quick Buy, and it adds a quick buy button in a single cart page in Woocommerce.  So when the user clicks the button, it actually adds them to the cart and they are automatically redirected right to the cart page to check out.

John:               Nice.

Marcus:           So this is — kind of shuffles them right through the gift shop, so to speak.  And I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                That could be very useful.  I just picked up a Woocommerce site recently that has to be some cleanup done to that, so hey, I  like how that will help them out.

All right, well I covered up in this episode Contact Form Slider, which I have a 4 to, Diva’s Cookies, which I gave a 4 to, and Event Manager, which I gave a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Grid, the landing page creator in WordPress — gave that one a 4 out of 5, Test User Role, which I gave a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Woocommerce Quick Buy, which I also gave a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]





















It’s episode 200 and we’ve got plugins for Post Reading Time, Site Optimization, Adding your site to mobile home screens, deletion guard and an in-post voice recorder. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 200

It’s episode 200 and we’ve got plugins for Post Reading Time, Site Optimization, Adding your site to mobile home screens, deletion guard and an in-post voice recorder. 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 #200

It’s episode 200 and we’ve got plugins for Post Reading Time, Site Optimization, Adding your site to mobile home screens, deletion guard and an in-post voice recorder. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode #291

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got this week is called AH About Widget. This is a new plugin and it allows you to set up an about widget on your website. It’s one that I’m going to be using to replace the About widgets that are up on the WP Plugins, because what we have right now was kind of a convoluted mess. This one is much simpler and cleaner. It goes in, it uses the bio from your profile settings to display in the widget area and then it pulls in a Gravatar image – whatever Gravatar image you have tied to your email address, and then it has a nice link to your about page in the widget area.

So it’s much cleaner and simpler than any about widget I’ve ever used and it also has several prebuilt layouts that are really nice. You’ve got three or four different choices for prebuilt ones. Or, if you want to get in there and customize it, you can a little bit. Other than that, it looks like a really great plugin. It’s very simple and easy to use. Check it out – it’s called AH About Widget and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           What I noticed is that there are many different kinds of layouts to it and that it’s responsive, which is pretty cool. I think I’m going to use this one.

John:                Yeah, it’s —

Marcus:           I’m redoing my personal site.

John:                Well, I’m always trying to improve the WP Plugins site, so this is one of the pieces that I’m going to replace on there.

Marcus:           Awesome! Well, if you are a BuddyPress user, I’ve got a great plugin for you. It’s called Birthday Mail BP and what this does is it’s an automated function that your members when they sign up, they put in their date of birth and this actually expresses your birthday wishes to them on their birthday. Those are always nice to get. It’s good to see who’s actually on top of their marketing when it’s your birthday and you get some birthday wishes. It’s also a great opportunity to present a coupon or a discount or just provide some sort of a statement on how you’re there for them, even on their birthday. So it’s pretty cool – Birthday Mail BP is what it’s called, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Sweet. One of these days, I’ll get around to building a BuddyPress website and see how it all works.

Marcus:           It’s very interesting – and frustrating.

John:                I imagine. Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here for everyone is one of those sweet plugins that we just thoroughly enjoy. It’s an ultimate lazy plugin.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                It’s called WP Tasks After Install. It’s a very nice plugin. It’s an awesome plugin for when you have to set up a fresh install of WordPress. It takes care of some of the essential items, saving you a few minutes of time by doing the following: it removes the Hello World post, removes the Example page, it changes the name and slug of uncategorized default category to blog, it sets the permalink structure to post name, it removes Hello Dolly and a Kismet plugin – yay!

It disables comments and pings, it deletes the WP Config sample file, it deletes the Readme HTML file, it deletes all themes except the default one, and it deactivates the plugin itself. It is just a really sweet plugin; you install it, turn it on, activate it, it cleans up your mess, then turns itself off, and all you’ve got to do is delete it. So it’s one of those really sweet, perfect, lazy plugins and it had to get a 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Okay, I reviewed this also.

John:                Oh, did you?

Marcus:           Yeah – not on this show —

John:                Oh, okay.

Marcus:           — but on WordPress Weekly last week. This is the – how do you say it? I’d have to ask your son that speaks French. It’s the coup d’état of lazy plugins.

John:                Oh, yeah.

Marcus:           It’s the laziest of the lazy that I’ve ever seen.

John:                Oh yeah, it’s going to become a permanent fixture for all of my fresh installs.

Marcus:           Absolutely, absolutely.

John:                Because I go through and do every one of those things manually, currently.

Marcus:           Yup, and it does it quick.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           And by the way, it does it the second that you hit Activate on the plugin. You’re not going somewhere else and then saying, “Start.” No, you activate this plugin, it does its business, and then deactivates itself.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           It’s the laziest of lazy. It’s the most beautiful plugin I think I’ve ever seen.

John:                Yeah, it’s well worthy. That one will be listed up in our new WP Support Store.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s in the hall of fame, absolutely.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Okay, I have frequently kind of complained about the customizer, even to the people that have worked on the customizer itself, as to you can do all these settings and all these things, but you can’t save it. I can’t save a version of the customizer if I tweak the theme a little bit and then want to save that file and maybe export it or import it into some other site that I’m working with.

John:                Oh! Yeah, okay.

Marcus:           It doesn’t let me do that.

John:                Hmm…

Marcus:           What if I have a staging site and I’m playing around with the customizer and all I want to do is change the settings on the other site – on a different site?

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           It doesn’t do it. You have to migrate the entire site. How stupid is that? Well, this is called TM Style Switcher. What it allows you to do is to save your theme settings, your skins, and all of that, and do exactly that. You can switch between them at any moment between a saved version and something you’ve already got and activate it. Or, you can even transfer between installations by saving that file. Really nice – it works very, very well. It doesn’t pick up everything. I didn’t get it to do the fonts but it worked otherwise very, very well – and that could have just been between two themes, because it was two different theme styles.

John:                Hmm…

Marcus:           If you have brand-specific colors and things like that and you go into it where you need absolutely brand-specific things every time, this is a great way to kind of save those colors out and make sure that any subsites or subpages have this as well. Very cool – TM Style Switcher – I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! I like that idea. That’s going to be very sweet when you’re doing some testing and working in that Dev site and moving live.

Marcus:           Yes, absolutely.

John:                The final one I’ve got here today is called Stream Status for Twitch. This one here is for those of you (and of course, you’re starting to hear us mention Twitch a little more often than we probably should). But one of the things with Twitch right now is I’m helping a gamer build up his gaming website to display his videos. Since he goes on Twitch to stream live for his viewers, this is a nice way to put on his website whether or not he’s up live on Twitch.

It’s a very simple plugin. You just install it, activate it, connect it up to Twitch, go in and customize the look and feel of what it’s going to display, and it’s done! Very sweet little plugin if you’re a Twitch user or you’re doing development for someone who’s using Twitch and may want to have a nice easy way to tell their users or their fan base when they’re on and offline Twitch, install this plugin. Check it out – Stream Status for Twitch – I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Excellent, and I’ll tell you what. This is a very interesting way to bring this up. Yeah, we talk about Twitch and it’s a gaming thing where it’s kind of “Livestreamed” gaming. I like it because you can just check out other games and I don’t have waste hours and hours playing the actual game; I can just watch somebody else play. But you bring a very good point, John, that I didn’t really even think about, which is a lot of these gamers actually want websites, too.

John:                Mm-hmm.

Marcus:           And some that they control, and that seems like a very good market —

John:                Yep!

Marcus:           — in which to start pitching people about doing websites. It seems like a good, easy flip for you as far as money goes. With all the different Twitch plugins that are out there, it’s starting to turn that way. So if you’re listening to the show, that’s a great idea for you.

John:                There you go.

Marcus:           All right, last but not least, I want to talk about a WooCommerce plugin. One of the fun things about Amazon is that when you go to Amazon and you look at books, you can actually preview the table of contents and maybe the preface and a couple of other things within the book. Now you can do that with WooCommerce.

So if you’re selling an e-book or a digital product that lends themselves to previews, what this does is it gives actually an extended feature to WooCommerce that enables that document preview in your single product page view. So instead of just having a book cover, you can have the document preview, so somebody can take a look at it and get enticed with it. When you do that, I hope that that document that you’re previewing has some cliffhangers, so to speak – something that would want them to purchase that actual book. Make sure that you’re clear and concise in those previewed pages. It’s called WC Document Preview, and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                A very nice way to help promote your products and get people to buy them.

Marcus:           Yes, I’ve not seen anything like this for WooCommerce yet.

John:                Well, WooCommerce — more and more and more plugins are being developed for WooCommerce. And as a brief tip on WooCommerce, something I’ve experienced this week: if you are building a WooCommerce site, do not use Chase for your credit card processor unless you absolutely have to. The process of getting that thing installed and approved on a website is a nightmare.

Marcus:           Really?

John:                Oh, God. I’ve never had so much difficulty getting a credit card processing plugin installed and activated. Through the process of getting it approved, they are about the most challenging of all of them out there. So anyway, just as a brief tip, because I’ve been working on that for the past couple of weeks.

Marcus:           Hmm…well I see your Chase and raise you a QuickBooks.

John:                Oh, yeah. Okay. All right, I’ll give you that one. Yeah, QuickBooks is probably a little worse than Chase. [laughter]

Marcus:           Yeah, that was a one-week fun time. Yeah.

John:                Yeah. Okay, well this week here I covered up AH About Widget, which I gave a 4 to; WP Tasks After Install, which I gave a 5 to (sweet plugin); and Stream Status for Twitch, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Birthday Mail BP for BuddyPress, which gets a 4 out of 5; TM Style Switcher, also a 4 out of 5; and WC (stands for WooCommerce) Document Preview gets a 4 out of 5.

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