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

It's Episode 265 and we've got plugins for Security Audit Logs, Registered Users, Disabling Auto Complete, Staff Directories, Yoast to WordPress API Callouts, and a great new plug that pulls any image on any website into your media library.. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 265

It's Episode 265 and we've got plugins for Security Audit Logs, Registered Users, Disabling Auto Complete, Staff Directories, Yoast to WordPress API Callouts, and a great new plug that pulls any image on any website into your media library.. 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 #265


It’s Episode 265 and we’ve got plugins for Security Audit Logs, Registered Users, Disabling Auto Complete, Staff Directories, Yoast to WordPress API Callouts, and a great new plug that pulls any image on any website into your media library.. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #265

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got here today is called Registered Users Only, and this is a plugin that allows you to lock down your website real quick and easy. It’s a plugin I’m starting to use more and more when I’m doing development versus using a landing page or the in development pages plugins that were used. This one locks it down to specifically prevent anyone from getting into the site unless they are logged in or through IP addresses if you do a little customization in the code.

It’s a plugin I inherited through a client and it can also help you build an intranet, and this is more information on what’s going to be developing from this plugin further down the line. But other than that, if you use this plugin with Gravity Forms, you can also force people to only register for your website, and with some more tweaks, you can limit it even further.

But as it stands right now as Registered Users Only, it’s a great plugin and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Outstanding! Well, what I’m going to talk about next is called Advanced Image Grabber, and this is a really cool plugin. What it does is you can point it to an external webpage URL somewhere and it will take all of the images that’s on that page and allow you to select them and import them. So it will just download them straight from that website and import them right into the media library. What do you think of that, John?

John:                That’s very nice. It also sounds very dangerous.

Marcus:           It does. It sounds like somebody could pirate you with just one click.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           But this is pretty cool in terms of if you’ve got, you know, an old client site and you need to pull a bunch of images over, stuff like that.

John:                Yeah, I can see the benefits for it.

Marcus:           Yeah, yeah – so I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, very nice. Yeah, it’s got some great benefits but the use and copyright violations is just astounding for that one, too.

Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here

. This is one of the first in many plugins coming for WP Plugins A to Z. This is going to be one of our first plugins created. It’s called Staff Directory WPAZ. If you want to get a copy of it, you’ll have to go to the Contact page and send me an email. But I’ll tell you a little bit about this plugin. This is a fork of another plugin called Staff Directory. There’s a link in the show notes to the original.

What we’ve done with this plugin is it came to me through a client of mine who had a staff directory and they were using this plugin but it wasn’t adequate to the needs and there was nothing else out there. So we decided to take this plugin which had the good basics and start forking it out.

What it allows you to do is create a staff list which you can edit in the backend and display in the frontend via a short code. This is for if you’re running an intranet and you wanted to display your staff list. We added functionality to it such as Ajax Sorting for the frontend, as well as in the backend, the ability to export the CSV file, the ability to reimport the CSV file, and double-check to make sure if the entries were there, and not over-write them. It also did some cleanup of the interface.

We’ve added a whole bunch of new features to it and there’s more coming. This is a plugin that will continue to be developed over time and it’s going to be our first plugin that gets announced out to the world soon – and may even submit it to the WordPress Repository eventually, so check it out. Of course, since it’s a WordPress Plugin from A to Z, it’s going to get a 5, right?

Marcus:           [Laughter]

John:                No, just kidding. At the moment, it’s still rated at a 4, but it’s not a perfect plugin yet, but it’s getting close. So check it out; it’s called Staff Directory WPAZ.

Marcus:           Excellent. I look forward to that and many more.

John:                Yeah, well there’s another one in the pipeline right now, too.

Marcus:           Yeah, maybe we can fork off all the 3’s and 4’s that we found and make them 5’s.

John:                Well, what’s happening is when I run into a plugin that’s needed, I’m starting to fork it off since I’ve manage to find myself a really good quality developer locally who does work for me.

Marcus:           Yeah, I do the same with my outsource team. I have them fork plugins that I like that gets me about 70% of the way that I need to get —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — and then have them do the rest as far as the last 30.

John:                Time to bring them back here and we can offer them as an exclusive to our subscribers on the website.

Marcus:           Hmm, that’s a great idea. Well, the next one I’d like to talk about is called Disable Autocomplete, and John, with so many autocomplete scripts out there and I’m talking about stuff within Chrome, Firefox – you know, those password savers.

John:                Autocomplete forms.

Marcus:           Last Pass is another good one. There are a lot of different ways that sensitive data could get saved within your browser, and sometimes you just don’t want that. To do your users a favor, you can use this plugin to disable autocomplete and it prevents items from being saved in your passwords or Last Pass, which can be pretty valuable if you’ve got stuff that’s relatively sensitive that you do not want somebody to just save the password, and I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Very nice. That could come in real handy.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                Okay, and the final one I’ve got here is called WP Security Audit Log. This is a great plugin that helps you track everything on your website from user sign-ins to whatever changes they’ve made, including your own changes, whatever plugins you install, activate, deactivate, remove. It tracks failed logins and more.

It’s a great tool for helping you know what’s going on and if something goes wrong on your site. It’s got a log here you can go and check it out and see what happened just before it went wrong. It tracks pretty much everything. You can also expand its abilities by adding some pro add-ons such as email notifications, you have user monitor, and even more to it.

All in all, a pretty great plugin. Again, another one that I picked up from a client and check it out: WP Security Audit Log; I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           And that’s pretty valuable stuff.

John:                It’s very —

Marcus:           You want to see what’s going on.

John:                — especially if you’ve got a site with multiple users.

Marcus:           Yeah, absolutely. All right, I’m going to wrap it up with something that’s a little off the beaten path. It’s called WP API Yoast SEO and what this does is it returns Yoast post or page metadata in a normal post or page request and it stores the metadata in a field of returned data. Yay. Okay, so what?

But I want to bring this plugin to light not because I think a ton of people will be using it, but I want to talk about this to illustrate and highlight a point that these kinds of plugin interactions via API are coming a lot faster than you might think. So what this does is it actually takes metadata from within Yoast and you can manipulate it and do different things with — actually, even incorporate it within your post itself, so that’s pretty powerful. I only bring this up because Yoast is something that almost all of us use —

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           — in some respect. And this plugin is fun to just get a sense of what kind of interactions you can do with the API, and that’s why I wanted to talk about it. It’s called WP API Yoast SEO, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Yes, we’ve got lots and lots of changes coming down the pipe for WordPress over the next year or two.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                Okay, well that covers up. In this show, I covered up the Registered Users Only, which I gave a 4 to; the Staff Directory WPAZ, which I gave a 4 to; and the WP Security Audit Log, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Advanced Image Graver, 4 out of 5; Disable Autocomplete got a perfect 5 out of 5; and WP API Yoast SEO gets a 4 out of five.

John:                Very nice.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 264 and we've got plugins for Inline Quizzes, Page Builders, Setting Appointments, Renaming Users, Facebook Messenger Integration, and Image Hover Effects.. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 264

It's Episode 264 and we've got plugins for Inline Quizzes, Page Builders, Setting Appointments, Renaming Users, Facebook Messenger Integration, and Image Hover Effects.. 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 #264


It’s Episode 264 and we’ve got plugins for Inline Quizzes, Page Builders, Setting Appointments, Renaming Users, Facebook Messenger Integration, and Image Hover Effects.. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #264

John:                All right, this week here the first plugin I have was sent in by Andrew Dobson at – oh, it’s a tough name. I had it up earlier. Anyway, you have to check out his name. It’s sakyantchiangmai.com. It is a website that helps you get some really interesting tattoos over in Thailand. At any rate, he sent in this plugin but it’s not one of his; it’s one that he found and thought we would find useful.

It’s called Easy Appointments and it’s a plugin that is a great in. It was sent in – he discovered it and he thought he would share it with others. It’s an appointment plugin that allows you to set up for multiple locations, multiple services, multiple workers, multiple connections. It looks to be a pretty great plugin.

I gave it just the initial run-through to see how it worked and how it’s set up. It allows to you to customize to be personalized for your business by setting custom messages, adding additional custom fields to the forms, so when someone creates an appointment, you can collect all the information that you need for that type of an appointment. It also allows you to set redirects so you can redirect them to another page or another piece of information after they complete the appointment, so there’s lots of great uses.

The biggest drawback I found is that it only works on your website. It doesn’t connect with any other calendars out there, so you can’t integrate it into Google Calendar, nor is there a way to collect funds. Say you want somebody to book an appointment and prepay some money, it doesn’t have that. But according to the developer, those items are under development and they will come eventually. All in all, it looks to be a pretty decent plugin and checks out really nice. I rate it at 4 Dragons. Check it out: it’s Easy Appointments.

Marcus:           Yeah, I actually checked that one out, too. That’s really nice actually for booking things and you can actually attach a price tag to it as well.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           The example that I saw on their website had a car detailing demo and not only did you get to pick the services that you want as far as your appointment, but you got to pick the detailer, the actual person. I could see this working very well for like a beauty salon or hairstyling studio or something like that.

John:                Oh, yeah. Excellent for places like that.

Marcus:           Yeah, yeah. Really good. All right, the first one I’ve got for your today is called Image Hover Effects Pack, and a couple of weeks back, I did an image hover plugin. But this one is way better. This one has over 150 animated hover effects that are totally CSS3-based. It actually is all CSS, unlike the other one. This allows you to add also animated captions and text on top of your images and has a ton of customization options as well. And the thing that I liked about this that the other plugin did not do, this one is 100% responsive and also has some pretty cool snap to grid options as well.

I would’ve given this one a perfect 5 out of 5, but there is also a pro version of this and you know my rule, John. I take one point off for that.

John:                Absolutely.

Marcus:           So this one gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. It still sounds like a fairly useful plugin.

Marcus:           It is.

John:                Okay, the second one I’ve got in here for you today, it was another one sent in by one of our great listeners out there. It was sent in by Andrew Worsfold at gettailor.com and this is one of their plugins. It’s called Tailor Page Builder and this is a page builder plugin to allow you to customize any page. The claim is that it will work with any theme out there, so I thought I would put it to the test and use it with a theme that I have from CodeCanyon to have its own built-in page builder to see what kind of mess it would make.

And it turns out it conflicts very nicely in that way. It can’t be any theme, but any theme that doesn’t already have a page builder built into it, it worked well. I did give it a fair chance and loaded up with a couple of other themes and seeing how it works. It allows you to build your customized pages using an interface similar to the WordPress Customizer. Drag-and-drop your elements over and set them up.

The one thing I did find is only will customize pages; it won’t customize individual posts. So that was kind of a bit of a drawback for me, because there’s oftentimes where you’ll want to customize a post. One of the websites I use with a theme is sometimes the page builder allows me to customize posts along with pages. Other than that, the interface is pretty nice, clean, simple. It works very well; it’s a great plugin. Check it out. It’s called Tailor Page Builder and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Beautiful — nice. I’m always into page builders.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           I like Cornerstone; it’s the best one so far. But I’m going to check out Tailor as well.

John:                That’s my major one because it comes with all the themes I’ve purchased from CodeCanyon.

Marcus:           Right. Okay, so the next one I have on deck here is called User Rename by Azed, and that’s kind of a weird name. It should have just been User Rename. But this plugin lets you easily and completely rename a user account, and that’s the login, the nickname, and the display name. Lately, I’ve had many different instances where I’ve had to actually change a username and this one is going to be my go-to plugin for that.

Of the things that I’ve got to change, it’s a little unusual, but I’m going to bring it to light. With all the membership sites I run and, you know, the millions of members throughout all of them in terms of all the users, I’ve run into a couple of instances where I had to change an existing user’s name because they were transgender, right? They got a gender reassignment as it were and so now you have to change not only their profile picture, but also their name.

So this one worked for me on one particular instance that I had three people that I needed to change. One actually was just married and the other one had the other things that I was talking about, and this one worked very, very well, so I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Yeah, I have another change username plugin that I’ve been using for a couple of years now. But any plugin that makes the job of username changing easy is one you want to keep in your portfolio of plugins, because you’re sooner or later going to have to change a username.

Marcus:           Yeah, and it’s difficult to cancel an account and then have them sign up again, especially if they’re in a process that they’re already subscribed into —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — when it can just be small, little change like this.

John:                Small, little change instead of digging through the database. Pop this plugin in, quickly change it, and you’re done.

Marcus:           Mm-hm.

John:                Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here today is another one sent in by our listeners. It was sent in by David Hehenberger at fatcatapps.com and it’s called Quiz Cat – WordPress Quiz Builder. Now everyone out there, if you have a Facebook account, you’ve seen those quizzes. Sooner or later, one pops up in your feed. Pretty much everyone has a Facebook account, so you know what those quizzes are, right Marcus?

Marcus:           Yeah, like “What Frog Are You?”

John:                Yeah, well that’s what this plugin does. It helps you build those quizzes in your WordPress website. It allows you to create the title, add images, create the answers, put images with every answer, go down and determine the total of correct answers and wrong answers, and then spit out a message with a great picture at the end saying, “Hey! Yeah, you know everything about frogs.”

So this is a great plugin. It works very well; it’s smooth. The one side-note I have to it is that this plugin collects your user information when you install it and activate it. You don’t have to opt into it. The opt-in says it won’t give all of the functionality; I don’t know. I didn’t test that. But if you do opt-in, it grants permissions for your profile, your site overview, URL, WordPress version, PHP info, plugin and themes you are currently using, it also gets the info when you activate, deactivate, and uninstall plugins.

So basically, they collect everything with your WordPress website and run it through a data collection service. There seems to be a data collection service for doing this on WordPress websites and it’s something all you developers might want to look into. It might be a great way to find out how your plugins are being used.

At any rate, great plugin. It worked very well; I set it up very fast, it was easy to create a quiz. You insert it on a page or a post via short codes and then with a little luck you create the right kind of quiz. Maybe it’ll go viral for you and you just get tons of traffic. Who knows? Anyway, check it out: Quiz Cat – WordPress Quiz Builder, and I rated it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Nice. I happened to look at this one myself and I thought it was really cool. I liked the fact that it’s not like your traditional quiz where you just go through all the answers and then it gives you a score at the beginning. This one actually, if you guessed the wrong answer, it would kind of flip over in a little card style and be either red or green —

John:                Yup.

Marcus:           — in the instance you were either correct or incorrect with your answer, and I thought that was really neat.

John:                Yeah, it’s more fun to know if you got it right or wrong in a quick instant.

Marcus:           Right. Okay, the final plugin I’ve got today is called Cf7 Messenger, and of course, Cf7 stands for Contact Form 7. Now, I thought this one was really unique. I tried this out myself early this morning and it worked very, very well. What it allows you to do is integrate your Contact Form 7 with Facebook Messenger so that if someone leaves you a message within the Contact Form 7, it integrates with this plugin and sends you a direct message with Facebook Messenger. I thought that was pretty neat.

The problem for me is I had to install Facebook Messenger on my phone because I didn’t have it. It does work also on the PC version obviously if you’re logged into Facebook. But you’ve got to be careful with this one because it’s pretty wide open and you have to have some safeguards in place to prevent spambots like Captcha or something like that. Otherwise, your whole Facebook messenger is going to get blown up with spam.

John:                That’s [inaudible – 20:02].

Marcus:           Overall, great concept. I loved the way that it accepts real-time Facebook feedback in terms of that integration from your users. A really great plugin; I rated it a 5 out of 5.

John:                Okay, yeah. It’s a great plugin. I like that idea. Yeah, I definitely want to have something to prevent spambots, because as soon as they discover something like that, they would just destroy you.

Marcus:           Yeah, yeah. That’s it.

John:                Okay, well that covers up this week. I covered up Easy Appointments, which I gave a 4 to; Tailor Page Builder, which I gave a 4 to, and Quiz Cat – WordPress Quiz Builder, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Image Hover Effects – gave that one a 4 out of 5; User Rename by Azed, 4 out of 5; and Cf7 Messenger, 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 262 and we've got plugins for WordPress Notifications, Image Zooming, GZip Minification, RestAPI User Interface, and two new plugins for dealing with Stage Sites.. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 262

It's Episode 262 and we've got plugins for WordPress Notifications, Image Zooming, GZip Minification, RestAPI User Interface, and two new plugins for dealing with Stage Sites.. 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 #262


It’s Episode 262 and we’ve got plugins for WordPress Notifications, Image Zooming, GZip Minification, RestAPI User Interface, and two new plugins for dealing with Stage Sites.. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #262

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got here is called Better Notifications for WordPress. This plugin here is one to help you get a grip on the notifications that are sent out for your site comments. One of the biggest problems I seem to face is that they never seem to arrive in my email box. I don’t know what happens to them. And when they do arrive, I often forget which site they come from because they come with that simple, bland header.

This plugin allows you to get in there and customize the forms that are being sent out, as well as who they go to. You can have them sent to specific email addresses for specific purposes. It does seem to work pretty well; I’ve tested it out and it’s been nice with the sites that I’ve needed to get the notifications for comments on sent to me. It works pretty well and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating, so check it out: Better Notifications for WordPress.

Marcus:           Wow, very cool. I definitely need something like that. So the first one I’ve got today, John, is called the WP REST API Controller. It is by Yikes Inc. and my buddy Evan Herman. I’ve talked to Evan a couple of times and he’s a great coder. I even interviewed him on the industry night show that I used to do over at WP Tavern as well.

This is a great plugin to help you connect the dots in terms of the REST API, and that’s something that I jokingly refer to as “flying cars” a lot. It’s something that we’ve all heard about for a couple of years now, but we just don’t exactly know how it works. Well, what this allows you to do is toggle the visibility and customization of all the endpoints that come off of the API for post types and all of that kind of stuff.

It lets you tweak the visibility, customize the names of the metadata – all of that stuff. It’s very confusing, I know. But if you install the WP REST API Version 2 or later, you can piggyback this extension onto the back end. It allows you to do a lot more in a visual sense with the REST API than you may typically get just with the plugin. It’s important to look at all of these kinds of extensions to the REST API and eventually two or three extensions will give you sort of a mind map as to how the REST API works and then you can move forward from there.

So I recommend this for anybody who’s interested in using or learning the REST API and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. REST API is loads of fun, I understand. I haven’t been through it yet.

Marcus:           It is, actually. I’ve done a couple of integrations with third-party stuff that seemed a little too easy, so it does do a good job. It just is so confusing when you first start out to try and understand what it was. It’s like custom post types, right? You didn’t really understand what they did and when you figured it out, you’re like, “Oh my God!”

John:                Pretty much, yeah.

Marcus:           This is everything, yeah. So WP REST API Controller – rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Okay, well the second plugin I’ve got here today is a premium plugin and it’s called Hummingbird. It comes from WPMU Dev and of course since I have a membership there, I get all their wonderful plugins for testing. It’s kind of a newer one and what it’s to help you do is to speed up your site. We know that fast loading sites are very important and there’s lots of things you can do, and this plugin actually works well with Comic Cache, which is what I’ve been using on websites.

What it does for you is it makes it easy for you to add the code to your HT access file to allow for the implementation of gzip and minification without having to figure out where the HT access file is, FTP it down, add the code, FTP it up, and all of that jazz. You just go through, load the plugin up, go choose the things you want for it, make the settings, and it’s done that quickly.

You can actually increase your site load anywhere from one to four seconds, depending on what it was doing before. It works very well. I’ve used it across a couple of different hosting providers so far. Check it out – it’s a good plugin called Hummingbird from WPMU Dev and I gave it a rating of 4 Dragons.

Marcus:           Beautiful! I love the stuff they’re putting together over there.

John:                They’re doing a great job. This is a new one from them from over the last couple of months, because I just noticed it the other day when I was in there.

Marcus:           Yeah. Well, I am going to talk about a pretty cool plugin that I’ve found. It’s called WP Image Zoomify and it is by Sultan Nasir Uddin. It is a very easy kind of a gallery-style lightbox plugin that pops an image into that lightbox and then you have the ability to zoom in and out of any image on the site.

Now here’s how you use it. It’s not with a short code or anything like that. You’re just adding a Rel attribute, so you’re going to put REL = Zoomify and then it makes any picture that you do in that lightbox situation zoomable. You can put big, huge images in there and then have actually somebody zoom into real size. It’s a really cool plugin; I like it a lot. It’s called WP Image Zoomify and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                I’ll have to check that out. That’s nice with your images. You can use it in multiple ways, I’m sure.

Marcus:           Yeah, definitely.

John:                Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here for you today was sent in to us by Mark Benzakein and it’s called WPSiteSync. Now, this is a pretty useful plugin. A lot of people do work on their Dev site and then will want to export it off their live site.

What this one does for you is it allows you to export posts or pages at this moment in time. It’s just come out of beta and they just released it, so they’re still developing it and they’re going to be adding additional features to it. But at the moment I tested out the post and page export function between two sites. You have to remember when you set the plugin up, you set it up on both your sites, and then the site you’re going to do the work on, then export to the new site, you connect it to the new site, go make your post changes, your update, and then you click a button that says, “Export to your live site,” and it exports it out.

Even if you go in there and make another change to the stuff on the Dev site, you can then re-export it and it will re-update it on the live site for you. It’s a really nice way to do stuff on your Dev site and send it to your live site. So far, it’s looking pretty good. I’m looking forward to when they’ve got custom post types and other things that you can export out of it, so I’ll be watching this one for a while because I’ve got a couple of clients that do work on their Dev site and we need to export to the live site. So check it out – I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. It’s called WPSiteSync.

Marcus:           Interesting, because the next plugin I have is actually something you might be able to use for that. It’s often difficult that I can tell you this just by working on the Membership Coach site lately. There were a lot of different instances where I had live sites and production sites or stage sites. It was often difficult to tell which one I was looking at, especially just between versions and things.

So I found this new plugin very cool. It’s by a guy named Joseph Fusco and it is called WP Breathe. What it does is every time you’ve got a stage site, you can enact WP Breathe and it changes the colors of the site you’re looking at just subtly, so it looks like the site is breathing. It goes from like a gray to a light white color, just kind of in a repetitive pattern as you would be breathing, lungs, or any of those things.

That’s really nice because it lets you know with just a one-second glance what you’re looking at, whether it be production or an actual live site. It’s cool; it’s called WP Breathe – one of those real simple, subtle little things that helps you out, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, I actually saw that one and I just didn’t check it out.

Marcus:           I saved you the trouble.

John:                It looks kind of interesting so yeah, that can be very useful to make sure you’re working on the right site.

Marcus:           Yeah, plus it’s fun to look at. You know, it’s one of those nice little ideas that somebody has come up with in terms of visually being able to see it without being too obtrusive. It’s a really cool plugin and really well thought out.

John:                Okay, well that covers up our plugins for this week. I myself covered up Better Notifications for WordPress, which a gave a 4 to; Hummingbird, which I gave a 4 to; and WPSiteSync, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about the WP REST API Controller and I gave that a 4 out of 5; WP Image Zoomify, 4 out of 5; and WP Breathe is a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 261 and we've got plugins for Live search, Cookie Law Compliance, Content Expiration & Redirect, Database Resets and Exit Popups It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 261

It's Episode 261 and we've got plugins for Live search, Cookie Law Compliance, Content Expiration & Redirect, Database Resets and Exit Popups 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 #261


It’s Episode 261 and we’ve got plugins for Live search, Cookie Law Compliance, Content Expiration & Redirect, Database Resets and Exit Popups It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!!


Episode #261

John:                All right, the first plugin I’ve got this week was one that was sent into us by Lord Pappi, and he sent us in one called Ajax Live Search. I have actually installed the free version, which is what they sent out to us to test out and it’s available at the WordPress Repository. I’ve installed it up on the WP Plugins A to Z site to check it out because I’ve been trying to find a good search. This one here is looking to be pretty nice in how it works.

The initial load of it is a little slow when you first plug it in and you hit the first page as indexes your site, it slows down. You would want to load it up at your own site first and get the index started. After that, it seems to be fairly quick and decently accurate in sorting through and finding out what you’re looking for based on keywords. It also allows you to add plus and minus, quotes, plus and minus words – basically a similar algorithm to what Google offers you for searching.

As time goes on and I get more and more testing on this, I will know more. But so far, so good. If you jump into the premium version of it, you get improved AI for it and improved relevance algorithm, and also the ability to set sponsored results on your search page. It might be worthwhile at that point there, so I’m going to be checking and looking into that further. But at the moment I had to give this a 4-Dragon rating mainly because we’re talking about a freemium version here. So check it out: Ajax Live Search.

Marcus:           I like that sponsored search part. Yeah, it’s huge.

John:                Yeah, it’s probably something I’m going to get just to help benefit the WP Plugins A to Z site.

Marcus:           Right, right. Awesome. Okay, well the first one that I’ve got out of the gate here today is for Woocommerce. It is called Woo File Dropzone and here’s what happens. It allows you to have the customer send you files directly when they purchase specific items or services or whatever during the product checkout process – or you can put it in the cart, you can put it in the product detail page – anything you want.

It’s a great tool for instances where somebody is going to upload maybe a business card design or printing job or maybe something to print on clothing. Who knows what it is; maybe it’s an Excel sheet you have them send that you want to work on or anything like that. Maybe even emailing services – emails your list or stuff like that. This is really what that’s meant for and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. That can be quite useful for folks.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                Okay, the next one I’ve got here is one that I keep popping into and this is mostly relevant to those of you who do business in the EU. The EU has their wonderful cookie law which says that if you run a website that is hosted in the EU or targeted towards EU customers, you must have a pop-up or a notification or something to tell people that you’re using cookies on your website. And of course if you’re using WordPress, you are using cookies, because they are pretty much required for WordPress to work.

What this plugin does – it’s EU Cookie Law Compliance – and it allows you to very quickly and easily comply with the EU cookie law by setting up a plugin that makes a pop-up and you will see it pop-up on the WordPress WP Plugins A to Z site because of course we have people in the EU. It’s a notification that says they either accept cookies or they don’t accept cookies. If they click to not accept cookies, they are transferred off your website and it doesn’t work because cookies are needed. If they accept them, they continue on their merry way. But it is just a notification to let people know.

It’s a really great plugin. Very simple, straightforward, works well, and I had to give this one a top 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           I wonder if that’s going to be around much longer – just like the EU.

John:                Since the first step of the EU breakup has occurred, who knows?

Marcus:           Who knows, but know we see exactly what they’re talking about when they say “bureaucratic laws,” that’s one of them. John, I’m going to reveal a plugin that I use frequently. This is a new kind of plugin that works actually better than the old one I had. It’s called Reset Database and it puts something in the settings page in the dashboard tools.

It basically allows you to reset the entire WordPress database to restore it to default and it also removes all the media files.

John:                Oh, sweet!

Marcus:           So if you’ve got a stage site or anything like that that you play around with frequently and you want to reset it, this is a great plugin to do that. It’s called Reset Database and it gets a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! That’s nice to have. It can be very dangerous in the wrong hands…

Marcus:           Okay, well let me say this in terms of wrong hands. It’s not like you’re depositing the nuclear codes just to anybody who’s got backend access.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           It actually requires the admin password in order to reset the database.

John:                Oh, okay. There’s a little bit of vetted [inaudible 13:44]

Marcus:           Turn two keys at the same time.

John:                — turn two keys to keep from launching the nuclear detonation, yes.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here today is called Content Expiration & Redirect. This one here looked to be a fairly useful plugin in dealing with your content that expires on your website. We all have it – we created a page or a post for a specific purpose and then we forget it exists. One day we’re going through, cleaning up the website, and we go, “Oh, we’ve got that,” and you notice that the page still gets traffic but yet the content is no longer relevant.

This is a perfect plugin to deal with that issue. Once you install it and activate it, you then go back to the post and you set the expiry date of the post and set the expiry date for the day you’re cleaning up your mess, then set a new link to redirect that post, too. You don’t lose any traffic that may be wandering in through that link by having it dead off to a 404 Error. You can send it to something that might be more relevant or newer content or some content that’s related to it.

A very great little plugin – it works very well. Check it out: Content Expiration & Redirect. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Let me tell you what I use this plugin for.

John:                Oh, you actually use it. Cool!

Marcus:           Oh, yeah. Okay, so I have a site that this guy does something where he gives out free classes and it’s an in-person thing. He does a tour and he goes around to different cities around the country. So in this instance, I got sick of going back every Monday and cleaning up what he had just done over the weekend in terms of the old locations and all of that stuff and removing it so that it doesn’t say, “Hey, the next event is this.”

So what I did was I used this and expired it a day after the event so that the next one would fall right into place.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So that’s what I used this one for and it works great for me.

John:                Sweet.

Marcus:           Really great. All right, I am going to talk about something that I use quite frequently. It’s called Exit Popup and I use things like Opt-in Monster and sometimes Lead Pages — those kinds of things. This one is free and what it does is it enables you to display a J-query modal window, which is just a pop-up, I guess you could just say. You can have it include text, videos, forms, maps – whatever you want. It basically just uses the exact post editor within WordPress and then pops that up.

So what happens is somebody is trying to hit the back button and they quickly move their mouse up to that end and it comes up with this pop-up. Maybe it’s an offer that you want to present, a promo code to purchase, or anything like that. You can expect if you use something like this maybe a 10-12% conversion rate increase. And if you rely on conversion rates, you need something like this on your site. If they’re going to leave and never come back, at least you’ve got one more chance to market to them.

I really, really like this plugin. It’s got a lot of different options to it that not a lot of other ones have, just solely based on the fact that you can create anything you want and it’s not restricted at all in terms of the content. It’s up there with all the paid plugins in terms of quality, so I gave this one a 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Very useful. I’m not certain where to use that yet, but I know I’ve got some ideas for it.

Marcus:           Well, I can give you suggestions. Are you sure you want to leave WP Plugins A to Z? Maybe you might want to leave a SpeakPipe or —

John:                Oh, I know. That’s what I’m looking at. That’s what I’m looking that. We’re going to have some of these features start to appear on the website as I finish cleaning up the new design.

Marcus:           Yeah, and because of the fact that you can use the regular post editor in terms of that, then you can short code it – do whatever you need to. It works great.

John:                All right. Well, this week I covered up the Ajax Live Search, which I gave a 4 to; the EU Cookie Law Compliance, which I gave a 5 to; and the Content Expiration & Redirect, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Woo File Dropzone, gave that one a 4 out of 5; Reset Database, 5 out of 5; and Exit Popup, 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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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]

 

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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]

 

 

 

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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]

 

 

 

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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.

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