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

It's Episode 303 and we've got plugins for Admin Menu Items, WordPress File Downloads, Shortcodes within Excerpts, Two Factor Authentication and an easy way to edit WooCommerce Templates. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 303 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 303 and we've got plugins for Admin Menu Items, WordPress File Downloads, Shortcodes within Excerpts, Two Factor Authentication and an easy way to edit WooCommerce Templates. 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 #303 here.


It’s Episode 303 and we’ve got plugins for Admin Menu Items, WordPress File Downloads, Shortcodes within Excerpts, Two Factor Authentication and an easy way to edit WooCommerce Templates. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #303

John:                All right, the first plugin I have this week is one that I came across due to a client asking me for some help and support with it. It’s called WP File Download. It’s done by a company called Joomunited, and I think they kind of specialize in Joomla! plugins, but it looks like they’ve expanded into WordPress plugins. This one here is a pretty nice file download management plugin. One of the big features that I was called in to help with was integrating it with Google Drive.

The nice thing about this plugin and how it works with Google Drive – and it is a premium plugin to let you know at $29 to $59 – the integration of Google Drive, once you get that hooked up, set up, the integration through your Google app platform and everything. Then what you can do is through the backend of WordPress, you can create directories and upload files that are then automatically synched to your Google Drive and you can go both ways. Once you have it fully working and functioning, you can add files at your Google Drive level and they get automatically synched to your website.

Marcus:           Hmm.

John:                How this one client was using it is they needed to get contracts and other bits and information to specific clients and keep them in separate folders and only allow the clients into those folders with specialized pages. They used G-Drive to do that, because it was easier from their computers to just drop them in Google Drive and have them sync to the website for the clients, instead of having to share out the link for G-Drive all the time.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                So it works fairly smooth once you get it worked and set up. It does take some work and effort to set it up and I found it to be a pretty decent plugin all in all. Anyway, check it out. It’s called WP File Download from Joomunited.com, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Beautiful! That’s a great plugin. That’s really nice. What kind of drawbacks did you find to give that a 4 instead of a 5?

John:                The hassle in setting it up.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s it?

John:                That’s it.

Marcus:           Okay.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           All right, well, I’ve got something that I typically probably wouldn’t highlight as a featured plugin, except I know this audience and I know that you are plugin-crazy if you’re listening to this show. You love plugins just as much as John and I do. So this plugin is called Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation. John, how many times have you installed a plugin and then went, “All right, where is it?”

John:                [Laughter]

Marcus:           You’ve got to go do a hunt, right?

John:                Probably about 80-90% of the time.

Marcus:           [Chuckling] Well, when you do this, instead of having to hunt around the admin sidebar trying to find new menu items where your plugin is, this plugin actually shows and highlights the different menu items on activation, so you never have to search around again. It’s got just kind of a highlight exactly where and point it to where this goes. So if one, two, three, four menu items are added, it actually shows you what menu items get added the second that you activate the plugin.

John:                Sweet!

Marcus:           No more hunting around, no more trying to find out where the settings are – if there even are any – and this one will show you exactly what’s up right when you install the plugin. It’s pretty cool; I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, that will come in real handy because almost every plugin I add it’s like, “Where in the menu?” If they’re ones I’m familiar with, I know where to look but —

Marcus:           Yeah. Yeah, it’s tough sometimes. And sometimes they just hide it in settings or tools or sometimes they’ll create their own menus.

John:                Oh, that’s true.

Marcus:           I’m preaching to the choir here on this one.

John:                Absolutely.

Marcus:           You know, this is a great plugin.

John:                Okay, the next one I’ve got up here is for two-factor authentication. I’m in the process right now of researching two-factor authentication plugins to find one for a client so that we can set up two-factor authentication, and we’re looking for easy ways to do it. At the moment, not really finding a lot of easy ways but I’m finding some pretty decent plugins along the way. The first one I’ve got here is RapID Secure Login, and this one here is relatively new and they’re touting it as a replacement for Clef, since Clef is being disabled come June of 2017. If you use Clef, you’re going to have to replace it.

This one here looks like it might be a halfway decent replacement for Clef. It works in a similar manner to Clef in that after you get it installed on your site and downloaded, you have to download an app to your phone and then you need to create a RapID account. But the process looks to be pretty painless; I haven’t done it yet but there’s currently a couple of issues around it. If you lose or change phones, then you have to go through a process to get it disabled and set up again. Their pricing – they don’t have any pricing on their website beyond the initial free license they’re giving out, but they say, you know, send them an email for that and they do offer a premium version of the plugin.

So anyway, it looks to be pretty decent, so check it out: RapID Secure Login for two-factor authentication and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Good! That’s good. Yeah, I’m gonna miss Clef. That was my Siskel & Ebert moment when I got my own quote from my review of Clef on the actual artwork in the Repository.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           …now it’s gone.

John:                Yeah, it looks like they’re merging with another company.

Marcus:           Yeah, I know. It stinks. You know how that goes: it’ll never be the same.

John:                No.

Marcus:           Never. All right, the next plugin is something that I actually needed and used for my new homepage, and this is called Edit WooCommerce Templates. I am using a theme and a child theme that is not out of the box WooCommerce compatible, so I needed to create a few tweaks to do some WooCommerce templates, and I didn’t feel like doing any PHP or any of the other stuff that goes along with that. I wanted a nice, easy way to create my own template files and have them come up relatively simply.

I’ve only got a couple of different products that I’m putting onto the page, so I just wanted to make it short and sweet, and this plugin called Edit WooCommerce Templates allowed me to do that. So I could take a stock WooCommerce template and change it around, reset it, do all that I needed to to get the proper, you know, values and things like that within the page, and it was really, really easy.

This template is something that I highly recommend if you need to just quickly add something into your theme that will allow you to do WooCommerce a little simpler. It allows you to do editing, saving, resetting, and finding different WooCommerce templates that you can modify and add to your theme. I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very sweet. I always like it when you can edit those WooCommerce templates in an easier manner than what’s normally required.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, well, the final one I’ve got here today is called Two Factor Authentication. (I know, not very unique.) But what they’ve done here, this one is created by the guys at UpDraft and it’s a pretty decent two-factor authentication. It’s one that I’m gonna dig in much deeper to because it offers more than just using a device, like your phone or a tablet, for doing your authentication.

You can use email, TOTP protocols, HOTP protocols, it also sets up three emergency one-time use passwords that you can write down and hang onto in case you use a device or something and you need to get in there and deactivate a device. It also will integrate into the add-ons that are available for Google Chrome, such as Authenticator, SAS Pass, and G-auth authenticator, which are available for Chrome. So you can use a browser to create the one-time use codes for it, instead of having to use your phone or some other device.

So it has a lot more options to it than the previous one I looked at, and this one I’ll be digging into deeper. And, of course, coming up in shows, I’ll have even more of these plugins along the way. So anyway, check out Two Factor Authentication from UpDraft. It looks to be a pretty decent plugin and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Good deal! I like that. All right, John, I’m going to close it out here with a lazy plugin. As I was working on my own homepage, I tried to take advantage of this other plugin I like called Shortcodes Anywhere – or Everywhere – I forget which one it is. The problem was it was not actually giving me shortcodes everywhere because my excerpts did not allow me to use the shortcode.

Why would you want to do that? Maybe I want to insert something every time in the excerpts that is a revolving advertisement or maybe a link or something like that to click on. And those excerpts, by the way, are part of a podcast feed —

John:                Mm-hmm.

Marcus:           — or things like that.

John:                Absolutely.

Marcus:           So I found this plugin; it’s called Add Shortcodes to Widgets and Excerpts, and it does exactly what it says. It allows you to add a shortcode to any widget area, any excerpt. Super-easy, super-lazy, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Sweet. You’ve just got to like those simple plugins that just work and do what you need to do without having to do any other tweaks to it.

Marcus:           Yep, and I didn’t even find it – it created its own menu, so —

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           [Chuckling] No menu required! One function.

John:                All right, well I covered up in this episode the WP File Download, which I gave a 4 to; RapID Secure Login, which I gave a 4 to; and then Two Factor Authentication, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation gets a 4 out of 5, Edit WooCommerce Templates another 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Add Shortcodes to Widgets and Excerpts. That gets a perfect 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

 

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It's Episode 302 and we've got plugins for Google Calendar, Site Attack Blocking, Checking your Posts with Copyscape, WooCommerce Images and a plugin to list your stock portfolio. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 302 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 302 and we've got plugins for Google Calendar, Site Attack Blocking, Checking your Posts with Copyscape, WooCommerce Images and a plugin to list your stock portfolio. 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 #302 here.


It’s Episode 302 and we’ve got plugins for Google Calendar, Site Attack Blocking, Checking your Posts with Copyscape, WooCommerce Images and a plugin to list your stock portfolio. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #302

John:                Okay, the first plugin I’ve got this week here is called repubHub Headlines Widget. This was sent in to us by Dan Sauerhaft and I’ll be interviewing him later today (hopefully, if my recording equipment starts working). It’s at repubHub.com and the plugin is available in the Repository and it’s a pretty easy plugin for adding trending news and/or new articles from your specific sources to your website via a sidebar widget.

It adjusts the settings to allow you to drill down the specific categories and regions, limit number of articles to appear. It’s a pretty excellent way to add additional content to your site. Now, the content comes through repubHub’s system but they have a lot of news sources where they bring in content. A lot of it’s really great and useful, so if you want to check this out if you’re looking to add additional news, top stories, other bits and pieces to your website from a third-party source, it seems to be a pretty decent plugin, and we’ll know more about it after I interview Dan. So check it out: repubHub Headlines Widget and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Outstanding! Well, one of the things that I’ve done lately is installed a Google Calendar list for someone that has regular events. They wanted a way to not have to do it in an events calendar pro plugin or things like that. They just wanted their office staff to be able to add things to a Google Calendar and then list them on the site. So I found a plugin for them called Google Calendar List View, and what it does is it lets you put a shortcode down and you can display the list view of a public Google Calendar. But it worked great; the functionality itself worked perfect the very first time that I tried the shortcode. But it does seem to be unformatted out of the box, so you will have to make some CSS modifications to get it to work perfectly formatted within your site. But I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. It’d be nice to have your Google Calendar display in a decent way.

Marcus:           Yeah, so it’s a really easy way for keeping a client out of the WordPress installation, adding their own events – anybody can use a Google Calendar and this one incorporates and merges that into your content perfectly.

John:                Excellent. The next plugin I’ve got here is called WP Block and this plugin here is a security plugin. What it does is it helps you prevent some of the most common attacks simply by keeping your plugins, themes, core, and WordPress updated. But it also goes in and disables access to admin for everyone except admins and editors, disables the use of WP Scan, which is a tool that’s used by, you know, the hackers – mostly script kitties, and that’s a lot of the common attacks that happen to WordPress websites.

It helps block hackers from scanning your website for admin users, vulnerable threats, vulnerable plugins, and exposed files, and it’s supposed to help reduce the load on your server. It prevents access to sensitive files and a bit more. All you’ve got to do is install it, activate it, a couple of minor adjustments, and you’re good to go. So anyway, a pretty decent plugin – a nice, little security plugin to help tighten up your website a little bit with a minimal amount of effort. Check it out – it’s called WP Block and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           All right. The next plugin I have is for WooCommerce and it’s called WooCommerce Image Annotator. This is really neat, John. If you want to add more value to the products on your WordPress sites, get a little bit of extra pop when it comes to those images, this is the plugin for you. What it does is it allows you to actually open up one of your product images, annotate it (which means put notes on it). You know, you could put instructions: “Here’s number one, here’s number two, here’s number three…” all within the same image.

Or if you want to talk about sizes, colors, or anything like that, you can actually annotate, which means you don’t have to pull it into Photoshop and then type your notes and all that. You just actually type what it is that you want right in WordPress, then you can save it, display it, go back and edit it if you want to later, so it’s not a permanent thing, and it does not overwrite the original image.

John:                Huh!

Marcus:           That’s very, very cool —

John:                That is very cool.

Marcus:           — so I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5!

John:                Nice. Gotta like that. You can go through and add some really nice features to your images. I like how they show it in here in that you have your model showcasing the pieces and then you highlight those little pieces on the model.

Marcus:           That’s right. So yeah, it could be – let’s just say you’re doing variable sizing, right?

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           So if you have a shirt and you’re measuring the collar, you know, that’s number one. The sleeve, that’s number two and the width of the shirt – shoulders or whatever – so you could put those to different things down there and then they would know exactly what it is that they’re ordering.

John:                Very nice! Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here today is called Stock Market News. Now, the developers of this actually by Stockdio actually create three different plugins. This is one that I’ve tested so far. I’ll probably test the other ones. But what this one does here, it is a little bit challenging to get set up. You have to go create an account on their site, then you have to get an API key and then get it set up, and then you have to choose the very specific stock exchanges and stock symbols and tickers.

But what it does once you get it working is it starts to display news, information, and there are other ones that will start to display stock reports – ticker reports – for you to let you know how the stocks are doing. Other than that, it’s a really great plugin. It allows you to monitor the market indices, currencies, commodities, are supported, even bringing in news and information about what’s happening in the world of stocks and investments. So all in all, not a bad plugin but due to the amount of effort it requires to get it set up, I had to set this one at a 3-Dragon rating. Check it out: Stock Market News.

Marcus:           Yeah, I’ve recently become an investor in stocks and I’ll tell you what: I’m looking at stocks almost as much as I’m looking at plugins lately.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           I mean, it’s addicting. I just can —

John:                [Laughter]

Marcus:           — watch it all the time. It’s pretty cool.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           All right, so the next one is used actually to – this one really comes in handy if you’re doing guest posts or stuff like that. It’s called Postscape, and if you’re familiar with Copyscape, Copyscape is a website that checks all the other content on the web to make sure that the thing that you are using is original, and that’s very, very important to make sure that you have original and not duplicate content on your site.

So what this does is it just adds a button to the WordPress editor and it allows you to do a quick scan of Copyscape with the content that you’ve actually got within the editor and give you a percentage of originality.

John:                Hmm.

Marcus:           So this is really good for people that submit guest posts. I have a client that runs an association and often the members actually contribute blog posts and quite often. I mean, one of the rules that we have is it has to be 100% original, and something like this really helps because it can weed that out, whether they’re just submitting some press release that they’ve already done or an article that they did about a year ago on their own blog that never went anywhere. This is the way to check that. It’s called Postscape and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice – very important to make sure your content is as original as it can possibly be. Getting harder and harder these days though.

Marcus:           Yeah, absolutely.

John:                So much information and content out there in the world, you know, nothing’s new under the sun, so you’ve just got to figure out a new way to present it.

Marcus:           Except for this podcast.

John:                Oh, true. True – this podcast is pretty unique in what it is.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                All right, well that wraps it up. I covered up in this episode repubHub Headlines Widget, which I gave a 4 to; WP Block, which I gave a 4 to; and Stock Market News, which I gave a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I covered Google Calendar List View, which got a 4 out of 5, WooCommerce Image Annotator gets a 5 out of 5, and we just talked about Postscape, which gets a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 300 and we've got plugins for Synchronizing Posts Between Installs, User Chat, Exporting Comments, Dynamic Content, and WordPress powered by IBM's Watson. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 300

It's Episode 300 and we've got plugins for Synchronizing Posts Between Installs, User Chat, Exporting Comments, Dynamic Content, and WordPress powered by IBM's Watson. 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 #300 here.


It’s Episode 300 and we’ve got plugins for Synchronizing Posts Between Installs, User Chat, Exporting Comments, Dynamic Content, and WordPress powered by IBM’s Watson. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #300

John:                All right, the first plugin I’ve got this week here is called Watson Finds, and this one was sent in to us by one of our listeners out there, a developer named Alfredo Gutierrez – hopefully, I got it right.

Marcus:           Or at least that’s the alias that Watson picked when —

John:                That’s it. It might be.

Marcus:           — added its own plugin into the matrix.

John:                Who knows? Anyway, the lowdown on this plugin is I hadn’t had a chance to firstly test it, but I did do the review on it and read it all over. What they’ve got in this plugin is it goes through and looks at the content that you’ve put into a post and then you hit a button, and then it uses Watson to analyze your plugin for emotional feeling. It decides whether the content you’ve written is going to present joy, sadness, anger, disgust, fear – any of the emotions to bring the intensity score of the emotion up; what kind of emotion you’re trying to get across in your content.

Using this, you can help tailor your content in such a way to get more of an impact with your users. It looks to be a pretty interesting way to help guide your content of your site and guide the emotions of what the people are reading the content to, try and get them to respond. There’s certain kind of emotions you trigger in someone when they’re reading something to get them to do something else, either on your site, donations, or whatever. I mean, after all, the media and advertising industry has been using this technique for years. But using the artificial A.I. of Watson, this might actually help get you bumped up in there.

At any rate, it looked to be quite an interesting plugin. Check it out. I know I’m going to get it installed and start checking it out and seeing what kind of emotions we’re projecting off of the WP Plugins A to Z site. But at the moment I give this a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out: Watson Finds.

Marcus:           Yes, I’m very, very interested to put this thing through its paces.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           That seems this is coming and it’s better to kind of look and embrace and see what this is doing to our sites. I’m sure it’s only a matter of years where we can just ask Watson to write a blog post for us.

John:                Oh, Watson’s already writing them out there. It’s quite funny.

Marcus:           Yeah. So today I’m going to talk about some of the actually most requested plugin types that I get offline, okay? So this is like Twitter direct messages or Facebook chats or something like that, so here’s some plugins that foot the bill. The first one answers the question of “How do I sync from one WordPress install to the other automatically?” so that I don’t have to just export out of the tools section in the admin and have to do import/export, get some weird, whacky plugin to do RSS-based importing, where you never get things right, none of the fields match up, or you know, any of that stuff. So we’re going to talk about WordSync, and WordSync allows you to synchronize posts, pages, users, taxonomies, attachments, and settings between two WordPress installs. I’m not talking about multisite, either. This is two individual WordPress installations.

So here’s how it works. After you set up the link between two sites, you get a secret key that you share between the two and you perform a sync on the target site, which will show all the changes that you need and bring all of it over. You can sync all kinds of things — I mean attachments, all that stuff. Interestingly, I want to try it with multisite and I actually want to do it to where I’m taking from the WP A to Z site, John, and bringing it to my own site.

John:                Cool!

Marcus:           I wonder if that would work.

John:                Oh, probably.

Marcus:           Cross-pollinate —

John:                Yeah, we’ve got it —

Marcus:           — blog posts, you know?

John:                We’ve got a syncing plugin already installed on WP Plugins A to Z —

Marcus:           Okay.

John:                — because I already use it to sync between two sites.

Marcus:           Cool. But anyway, this handles all of it: updating the slug, all of that, the attachments, users, posts —

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           — all of that from one site to the other automatically, without any conflicts, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Very nice, yeah. Syncing is a very useful tool. Yeah, well we have a synching plugin; it’s not this one, but I can’t remember which one we’re using, but I do use it between WP Plugins and another site when I’m needing to put some similar data on both sites.

Marcus:           Mm-hm. And this is especially good if you work with different data feeds —

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           — and I’m starting to get into dynamic kind of product population based on Amazon and affiliate sources and things. Synching is a huge deal, especially when you want to sync prices and all of that kind of stuff. The biggest problem that you run into by the way with synching is if what if you delete it off of one site? Does it delete it off the other site?

John:                Well, I would hope not. But —

Marcus:           Yeah. Well, maybe you want it to?

John:                Well, that could be —

Marcus:           Maybe you want to update it?

John:                That could be useful. Or you could – I know the one I use is that if you do update a post on one site, you can just hit a button and it will go sync the other site for you —

Marcus:           Right.

John:                — on the same post that was already done.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                So next up, I have a plugin called Magic Conversation for Gravity Forms. It’s a freemium plugin and it’s priced from free to $39, depending on what you need and want. It’s a pretty interesting plugin, another one I haven’t had the time these last weeks or so to do any real testing of plugins. But it looked good, so I thought I would check it out and check out their demos of it.

What it does for you is it creates a simple chat bot sort of on your site using Gravity Forms. So those little chat plugins you see on many sites where you click the bottom right corner and they say, “Chat to me now,” well, that’s what this plugin creates for you, but it does it using a Gravity Form. It converts a Gravity Form into a conversation form, so you can go back and forth with the user off of one Gravity Form and it keeps a trail of it all in the Gravity Form for you. You can also set the form up to have a questionnaire that they need to fill out before they could start talking to you. You can ask their name, email, other bits and pieces, have they done A, B, and C before trying to contact you for whatever problem they’re having – many things like that.

You can control the styles, adjust it, and all in all, it looks to be a pretty decent plugin if you’re looking for a very simple chat solution on your website, instead of using a fancy full-on, full-blown chat plugin or chat service. So anyway, check it out. It’s called Magic Conversation for Gravity Forms and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. Plus, I need to mention it was sent in to us by Russ Mate, so thanks a lot, Russ.

Marcus:           Thank you, Russ! I’m going to check that out myself. Obviously, I’m interested in seeing how Watson and Skynet and all the rest of it is going to fit into our WordPress installations. Pretty cool.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Okay, John. Celebrating Episode 300 again here, one of the other questions I get all the time is, “How do I geo-modify my targets or my target content based on where somebody is from?” Okay, how – not just language but maybe offers or “How do I redirect them,” anything like that, right?

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           So I found a plugin called IfSo Dynamic Content and it provides the ability to show the visitors of your site the content that fits them most, based on a set of rules that you put together. So it has a full visual editor so you can see all the content based on what it happens to be. Maybe you want to give a different video to somebody coming in from one country or the other.

Here’s what it allows you to do. You set conditions; there’s no coding involved in this. You just set conditions in which you’d like to do this. This is kind of like Outlook rules or Gmail rules. You set what customized content you want and then the rules are like geo location —

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           — so you can get down to countries, cities, areas. You can also make a rule based on referral source. So if they came from Yahoo or Facebook from Germany, send them this, right? It also does insight remarketing, so you can also serve up ads based on the country they’re from and things. It generates special links so that they get personalized content as well so that you can also, you know, send ads and things. It also is date and time dependent too, so you can actually just create campaigns and only do it during specific times. That way, you can differentiate.

So it’s pretty cool. It’s called IfSo Dynamic Content and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That’s a very nice plugin and this one’s completely free it looks like.

Marcus:           It is.

John:                That’s sweet! That’s a pretty powerful plugin for being as free as it is. All right, finally I have here today a plugin which again was sent in to us by Mithu A. Quayium and it’s called Shortcode Maker. This is another plugin for creating a shortcode on your website. Now, the thing I found amusing when I was going through and checking this plugin out – and this ties back into our first plugin with Watson – is that the YouTube video was made with an artificial bot. Absolutely, when you listen to the voice in it, you’re going, “Oh, that’s absolutely an artificial bot voicing it for it entirely.”

Marcus:           Hmm…

John:                It’s really kind of interesting. So at any rate, it’s an interesting plugin. They do the shortcode creation a little differently than other shortcode makers that I’ve seen in that what they use is a standard custom post type with the addition of attributes. It looks to be pretty good and useful if you’ve got some basic content that goes into most pages of your website and it has to be changed occasionally site-wide, so you can just go change it in this one place. You can create pretty much any type of shortcode you want by just creating a title, it creates a shortcode, you use the post area to put your content in there, whether it’s going to be text or whether it’s going to be something else. You can also create shortcodes within shortcodes with it.

So all in all, it looks like it could be a fairly useful plugin for a lot of basic shortcode making, but none of the fancier shortcodes like what we’re using on the WP Plugins A to Z site. So anyway, check it out. It’s called Shortcode Maker and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Cool. All right, so I’m going to end it on Episode 300 here with another thing that I get asked a lot, and this is a pretty lazy plugin.

John:                Sweet, we love lazy plugins.

Marcus:           Yeah. So this is called Export Comment Emails and the question I always get is, “How can I export the emails of the people that commented so that they could be added to my newsletter?” A very good question. So what this does is when a site visitor leaves a comment on your WordPress site, you want to export them to not just an Excel sheet (which you can do, by the way) or a CSV, you want to be able to maybe do specific date ranges, like “Give me the people that are in the last week so that I can add them.” Maybe this is for clients, too – people that do reviews of products or, you know, you want them to have a different element of customer service if somebody leaves negative feedback.

But you also want it to interact with things like MailChimp and ConvertKit and all of that, and this allows you to do that. So this is fully automated, it’s really cool. It takes all the post comments that you have, adds them right into your subscription funnel for all kinds of different email installations, but also allows you to export them into Excel or CSV, which then you can import those email addresses into a custom audience and do Facebook advertising with them as well, which is key.

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           It is key. So it is perfect, it is a lazy plugin, and I rated it a 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Coming in with a full house today. Nice work.

Marcus:           Yeah, yeah.

John:                All right, well I covered up on this episode here, I covered up Watson Finds with a 4, a Magic Conversation for Gravity Forms with a 4, and then Shortcode Maker, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about WordSync, which allows you to go from one installation to another – gave a 5 out of 5, IfSo Dynamic Content, it’s kind of a rule-based content server and it’s also a 5 out of 5, and we just talked about Export Comment Emails, which gets 5 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

 

 

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It's Episode 297 and we've got plugins for Interactive Flip Books, Tax Reports, Help Desk within WordPress Admin, Demo Site Creation, and the highest regarded plugin I've ever used. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 297

It's Episode 297 and we've got plugins for Interactive Flip Books, Tax Reports, Help Desk within WordPress Admin, Demo Site Creation, and the highest regarded plugin I've ever used. 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 #297 here.


It’s Episode 297 and we’ve got plugins for Interactive Flip Books, Tax Reports, Help Desk within WordPress Admin, Demo Site Creation, and the highest regarded plugin I’ve ever used. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #297

John:                All right, this week here the first plugin I’ve got for everyone is called Tax Report for WooCommerce. This is a pretty nice plugin. Now again, tax time in at least North America – I don’t know about the rest of the world and their tax reporting, but it happens in March/April – but we do, so you start thinking about your taxes. And of course, if you run an online shopping store, you’re going to have to charge and collect taxes, depending on where you’re located. Here in Canada, we have to collect GST, HST, and MPST. Depending on the product and everything else, it varies which one you’re collecting. So you have to collect all that information, report those taxes, and eventually you’ve got to pay them out. Yes, the government always wants their share of the pie.

What this plugin does is it makes that job of reporting a whole lot easier for you. It goes in there and it brings up the reports on the taxes you’ve collected, where they’ve been collected on, and it tells you how much you have owing to the government. It’s a very simple plugin; it looks like it does a great job and I had to give it a 4-Dragon rating. So check it out: Tax Report for WooCommerce.

Marcus:           Very nice. Okay, I want to talk about a plugin that is on the Repository but it’s also a premium plugin. I’ve reviewed the premium version. It is called Interactive 3D Flipbook and it is very impressive. It allows you to import images, PDFs, or even HTML files as a flipping book. It can be used for demonstrations of magazines, books, cars, brochures, booklets – any of that kind of stuff. It’s better than I’ve seen on any other magazine site, any media site – anything. This is the coolest 3D flipbook I think I’ve ever seen. And not only does it have that straight overhead view, but it also has the flipbook as if it’s laid out on a table in front of you.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           And you can flip through it like that. Really great plugin. It’s priced at $24. I do have a link in the show notes and it’s pretty amazing. There’s a great demo on their website and on CodeCanyon as well, and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! That can be quite cool, especially if you do a website that has digital editions of their product.

Marcus:           Not just that, but you could also do brochure templates, right? Everybody looks at those brochure templates sometimes on CodeCanyon and all the rest of it and Graphic River, you know, where you just get those Photoshop templates of maybe proposals —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — or those kinds of things. You can maybe put a generic flyer, brochure, whatever you want to do – a catalogue even if you’re an e-commerce company, and put it together in a flipbook. It looks really cool.

John:                Cool. Okay, the next one I’ve got up here is called WP Demo Buddy. This is a plugin that allows you to create demos and a demo section on your site for any of your own plugins, themes, or other miscellaneous things. I haven’t had a chance to give this a full test yet, but it’s something that may be coming to the WP Plugins A to Z site as a way for us to demonstrate some of the better plugins we get or the premium plugins we get, so that people can check them out and see if it’s for them.

It uses shortcodes to enter, it creates a secondary section, and it’s auto-cleaning. In other words, after if you set an expiry timer on the demo after someone has messed it up completely, it automatically wipes it out and resets it back to zero so that it’s nice and fresh on a regular basis for people to go in and mess with it. It allows you a way to get in there and set up promotions in the demo so that people can go in there and buy it once they decided they want it, link off, and go buy it from wherever it needs to be bought from.

All in all, it looks like it’s going to be quite the cool plugin to be using and checking out for setting up demos of plugins and themes to sell them. So anyway, this is one of the big things that I’ve always kind of complained about with premium plugins is that sometimes they have no demo for me to actually test – and I’m talking the demo to get into the backend to test, not what the customer sees, so I end up buying them to find out, oh God, I just wasted my money. So anyway, check this out: WP Demo Buddy and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Interesting. Yeah, I’ve reviewed that on a different show and I love it. By the way, John, breaking news – breaking!

John:                What’s that?

Marcus:           We’ve never had this on this show – breaking news.

John:                Breaking news, all right. Ding, ding, ding, ding!

Marcus:           WordPress 4.7.3 has just been pushed. It is a security release for all previous versions. They strongly encourage you to update and it patches six immediate security issues, cross-site scripting, and a bunch of other stuff. So update.

John:                Update now! All right, I can see all of that coming this afternoon as I open my email back up and all of a sudden I’ve got dozens of emails of all the sites that auto-updated.

Marcus:           That’s right. Okay, so I was approached on Facebook by Marette Aminov [sp?] and he told me about his plugin called Catchers Helpdesk and Ticket System Plugin For Support. This is basically a helpdesk ticket thing that runs right within the WordPress administrative area. Each help request sent to support email becomes a helpdesk ticket – now, that’s key – each email that’s sent to your support team becomes a helpdesk ticket in the WordPress backend.

John:                That’s nice.

Marcus:           You can categorize, prioritize tickets, and assign them to different people in your team, either manually or automatically, and there is no conflict between two people trying to answer the same ticket because you already know if one person on the team has already taken that ticket. This is the best internal WordPress support ticket system that I’ve ever seen. It rivals things like Zendesk in terms of what it can do. It’s $49, it’s on sale at CodeCanyon. This is an outstanding plugin and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, that would be very nice. Every other helpdesk I’ve ever tried has been mediocre at best.

Marcus:           Yeah, this one’s really good. They did their work on this one.

John:                All right, the final one I’ve got here today is Amount Left for Free Shipping for WooCommerce. What this one’s for is if you’re running a WooCommerce store and you have shipping and you offer up free shipping after they spend so much money, this is a nice little simple plugin that then drops the amount they’ve got to go before they get free shipping into their shopping cart, the little mini cart if you’ve got one on there, and on the checkout page.

It’s one of those plugins to help encourage people to spend more money on your website by moving up to that level to the free shipping, because people for some reason think free shipping is free and it’s a really great idea. So anyway, a great little plugin. Check it out, it looks like it’s going to do great for those running a WooCommerce store and offering up free shipping, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating: Amount Left for Free Shipping for WooCommerce.

Marcus:           All right, okay. I teased it in the show – in the opening – the highest regarded plugin I’ve ever used, and this is it. It’s called WP All Import. You might’ve heard of it. It’s been out a couple of years. What it allows you to do is to take any kind of XML or CSV file and imports that information into WordPress – into page titles, descriptions, custom fields, anything like that.

Let me tell you how I used this, okay? I have infinite tools that allow me to scrape, right? You know, you better be careful if you’ve got a website that I’m interested in, because I’m going to scrape every link you’ve got, I’m going to scrape every product you’ve got – all that. This then allows me to take all that data or even affiliate data fees that have like 10,000 products in them, image links, and all of that stuff, and create posts. And not just posts; if I have a product data feed from affiliates that has a product ID, description, category, and all the rest of it, I can have it import straight from an FTP of an affiliate FTP (like Commission Junction or one of those that updated every single day) and it will create WooCommerce products out of every single one of them. It can even have the option to cloak the link so that somebody isn’t getting your affiliate data or your affiliate code.

Here’s the beautiful thing about it is that tomorrow you can set the template to look at the exact same feed and update the information that was already there, and it does it autonomously, which means you don’t have to touch it. And here’s another thing: say if a product is in the feed for today and tomorrow but on Friday it ends up not being in the feed anymore, it recognizes that and takes the product out of WooCommerce for you.

Another great thing is it allows you to adjust the pricing. So if I wanted to pull in a bunch of data and say, give me a 20% markup on everything in WooCommerce and add that to the price, it’ll do that.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           It’s an amazing piece of software. I bought the entire elite bundle that has WP All Import and All Export. I’ve just barely scratched the surface of what this thing can do. I have so many websites, so many directories, so many things that I want to do, and this is an amazing piece of software that I was happy to chuck down $250 for. It’s probably the most I’ve ever paid for one single suite of plugins and I rated this a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Nice. That has lots and lots of opportunities for use, especially importing data.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm. It’s great.

John:                Very nice! All right, well I covered up in this episode here Tax Report for WooCommerce, which I gave a 4 to; WP Demo Buddy, which I gave a 4 to; and Amount Left for Free Shipping for WooCommerce, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And running the tables with all the premium plugins, I’ve got 3D Flipbook, 5 out of 5; Catchers Helpdesk and Ticket System gets 5 out of 5; and WP All Import would get a 6 out of 5, but I only have five, so I can give it a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 296 and we've got plugins for Editing Posts with One Key, Heartbeat Control, Migrating bbPress in Multisite, Tool Tips, and a wild new plugin that lets you stage WooCommerce products in a virtual room. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 296

It's Episode 296 and we've got plugins for Editing Posts with One Key, Heartbeat Control, Migrating bbPress in Multisite, Tool Tips, and a wild new plugin that lets you stage WooCommerce products in a virtual room. 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 #296 here.


It’s Episode 296 and we’ve got plugins for Editing Posts with One Key, Heartbeat Control, Migrating bbPress in Multisite, Tool Tips, and a wild new plugin that lets you stage WooCommerce products in a virtual room. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode # 296

John:                This week here, what have I got for you? Well, I’ve got a few plugins that I’ve ended up using this past week. The first one is called Compact Archives and if you’re looking for a way to display your archives – now, we know the normal way you take the widget for the archives and you list it up and you either get to list them all up and it makes a really ugly list or it compacts it down as a drop-down menu – not a lot to it. This is what this plugin handles for you is it helps you list up archives, especially if you’ve got a website like I was working on here that goes back for eight years and it’s got a lot of archives. When you get to the archive page, you can list it by month and year and you scroll down and see your articles. But how do you get to the other ones in an easy fashion?

This plugin here has a widget that when you drop it in the sidebar, it creates a listing by year and then next to the year, it puts months – either you can have it a digit (1-12) or you could have it January through a three-letter month, or you can have it just by letters. With a little bit of CSS, you can customize it up to fit beautifully into whatever theme you’ve been working on and developing. It makes it really nice that once they get into this archive and are hunting for something, it allows them to jump through all the months of the past years quickly and easily and efficiently. So all in all, it turned out to be a really great plugin and enhanced the look and feel of this site quite nicely. Because it was so simple and effective to use, I had to give this one a top 5-Dragon rating. So check it out: Compact Archives.

Marcus:           Awesome. That’s cool. Speaking of cool, I’ve got a really neat plugin for you to check out, John. It’s called My WooCommerce Product Virtual Showroom and what it allows you to do is take the images of your WooCommerce products or actually you can upload some of these things as well. What it does is it creates a virtual showroom for your customers to test a product. So let’s just say, John, that you and I owned a furniture store. We’d have a sofa and a table and a lamp, perhaps a rug or something like that. We can actually superimpose this in a virtual room and then see how it all looks together.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           And it’s a really cool graphic enhancement for WooCommerce. All of the product images are resizable, movable – all that – around the user’s background photo that they upload, or you can just use stock ones. So it’s really, really cool, a really neat way to kind of drive conversions and sales, and it’s all shortcode-based. It’s really cool, check it out. You’re going to have to see it and once you go into the Repository link, you’ll see an actual YouTube video for it as well to demonstrate how it works. It’s called My WooCommerce Product Virtual Showroom, and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, they’ve got some really nice stuff there. And don’t forget folks, there’s always the Screencast you can come look at and I try to show some of this stuff during the show. Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here is called Heartbeat Control. Now, most people know about the heartbeat of WordPress. It’s that continuous signal that sends back to your browser on a regular basis, usually default every 15 seconds. Well, sometimes that creates issues, especially when you’re on shared hosting providers. What you need to do is control that heartbeat because one of the biggest things that occurs – you’ve probably encountered it. I encounter it from time to time. It’s the issue when you’re creating a post and suddenly you get a popup that says, “You’ve been disconnected. We’ve backed this up in your browser until the reconnection happens.”

Marcus:           Right.

John:                Sometimes, that’s actually caused by the heartbeat going too often and creating issues, especially if you’re a developer and you do like I do sometimes – you’re working on a website and you’ll have three or four tabs open for the same website so you can do multiple things in it. That heartbeat is running on every one of those tabs, so it can create all kinds of problems along the way. So what this plugin does for you is it allows you to go in and control the heartbeat and turn it off for everywhere else on the website that it’s not needed and have it only effective for a post or a page that you’re editing and you can change the timeframe from 15 seconds, all the way up to every 60 seconds. And in reality, you probably only need it every 16 seconds to make that auto-backup of your post while you’re working on it.

So this is a really good plugin. It works very, very well. It actually worked to solve this problem I was working on for a client’s website where we were having this particular issue of the timeouts and the logouts. As soon as I set this all up, it all went away, so it did actually fix the problem because of that. It’s very simple to set up, very easy, and of course because of that, another plugin hit the top 5-Dragon rating. Check it out: Heartbeat Control.

Marcus:           Okay, so I’ve got a disclosure about this plugin.

John:                Hm…what’s that?

Marcus:           This is done by Jeff Matson.

John:                Okay.

Marcus:           He’s a friend of mine. I actually tried to get him to rename this plugin “Pacemaker.”

John:                [Laughter] Pacemaker would be more fun for it.

Marcus:           Right. So it’s very interesting and he’s done pretty well with this plugin. And yeah, I’m talking like a couple of years ago when he first brought it to light. I suggested that name for him but he didn’t go with it.

John:                Well, they should listen to us for names.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                We come up with much cooler names for these plugins.

Marcus:           We’re going to do our own naming service.

John:                Yeah, there you go.

Marcus:           Okay, so the next plugin that I have, it’s really simple – really kind of a lazy plugin. There are a lot of instances where I don’t like using a top bar for editing my site, you know, the admin bar that comes up when I’m looking at the front end. It makes it a little tougher when it comes to editing specific posts and pages, and so I’ve recently tried this plugin. It’s called Escape to edit and it’s really simple when you’re in the front end and you’re logged in as the administrator. All you have to do is hit the escape key and it’ll take you right to the edit page.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           That’s it! That’s all it does: Escape to edit. I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very cool! That could save some time while you’re working on things.

Marcus:           Yeah, sometimes I don’t like using the admin bar because especially if I have something that’s top-heavy, maybe a slider up at the top or a different type of navigation, the admin bar takes up space out there and it kind of aligns it weird, so this is a good alternative to that.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           Escape to edit.

John:                The final plugin I’ve got here today is called Magic Tool Tips for Gravity Forms, and this is a premium plugin. It was submitted to us by Russ Mate. The plugin is $19.95, so not a bad price for a premium plugin. And if you use Gravity Forms – much like I do and promote Gravity Forms because in my opinion, it’s the best of them, even though it does have its issues. This plugin here adds a functionality that is very much needed in Gravity Forms. It adds a tool tip for you so you can give additional instructions for what someone needs to do when they’re entering information on your form, without having to add an entire line underneath, thereby damaging or adding way too much stuff for them to read in a form. They just mouse over the tool tip, get the pop-up saying, “Hey, don’t forget you’ve got to add this,” or “We only accept these files,” or whatever the tool tip is going to be. A very simple plugin, it works very, very well. I found it to be quite efficient to set up and work. The only problem – well, it’s not even a problem – the only thing I would suggest to the developers and I’ll send that when I let them know that we reviewed it, is that they move the menu for this item into the Gravity Forms menus so that you can find the settings menu for this plugin. It was easy to set up, easy to use, it doesn’t function without a license (as I realized after I had set it up and started working with it), so you do have to actually have a license to run this plugin. All in all, a great plugin. It worked well and I had to give it a top 5-Dragon rating. Check it out: Magic Tool Tips for Gravity Forms.

Marcus:           Man, you’re bringing out the hits today.

John:                Man, I got a full house today.

Marcus:           All right, final plugin for me: it’s called Moved bbPress Multisite and what it allows you to do is take the install from one website of a WordPress network (as far as bbPress) and move it to another website in the same multisite network. So you can select which parts of your bbPress install to copy and you can also select what parts to delete from the original website. So if you have a forum that you’d like to move from one site to another within your multisite network, this allows you to do it. The reason I’m featuring it obviously is because I had a need for it and I had to do it. I was just searching on how to migrate bbPress on multisite and this plugin popped up on my radar.

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           A pretty good plugin. I will say it is a little laborious. It didn’t do things as quickly as one click; there’s a lot of setup in between and I did notice that it was kind of a pain to delete specific parts from the website, like they claim. But it does work and it absolutely works and I rated it a 3 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, that could definitely become a timesaver for folks.

Marcus:           Yes, and I’m sure by the way with a little bit more time, I would’ve given it a higher rating. It’s just that I was in one of those emergency hurries and believe me, it saved a lot more time rather than having to migrate the code and the database myself.

John:                Very nice.

Marcus:           So I’m appreciative of that.

John:                All right, well I covered up in this episode here Compact Archives, which I gave a 5 to; Heartbeat Control, which I gave a 5 to; and then Magic Tool Tips for Gravity Forms, which I gave a 5 to. Not often – go ahead.

Marcus:           I talked about My WooCommerce Product Virtual Showroom, which I gave a 4 out of 5; Escape to edit gets a 4 out of 5; and Move bbPress Multisite gets a 3 out of 5.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 295 and we've got plugins for Mobile Click to Call, Scrolling Widgets, Manual Payments for WooCommerce, Sticky Audio Players, and Featured Content. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 295

It's Episode 295 and we've got plugins for Mobile Click to Call, Scrolling Widgets, Manual Payments for WooCommerce, Sticky Audio Players, and Featured Content. 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 #295 here.


It’s Episode 295 and we’ve got plugins for Mobile Click to Call, Scrolling Widgets, Manual Payments for WooCommerce, Sticky Audio Players, and Featured Content. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode # 295

John:                This week here I’ve got pretty nice plugins out. One of them comes to me because of a connection I had. It’s called Toolset Types. Now, I think I might have reviewed it a couple or three years back when I actually used it once upon a time, but I’d long since forgotten about it because I started doing things other ways. But during a recent project I was working on, I came across an issue setting up a very specific display in a theme for the archives. It was driving me mental and I found a solution to it, but it wasn’t the solution I wanted.

While I was working through it, one of our listeners out there, David – you know who you are. If you want me to announce it all out David, I’ll give the whole world credit to you. But David is one of our listeners. He’s volunteering some time for the WP Plugins A to Z site to help us develop our theme because the theme I used on our site is what I used in my client’s site and he happens to specialize with that theme, which was a really great thing. After talking to him about some things for the WP Plugins site, I mentioned my project and he had a solution for me that involved using the Toolset Types.

So what happened was after I talked to him, I realized it’s easier just to hire him, so I hired him to do the job for me on this project. A couple of hours later, he solved it for me. All we have to do is some fine-tuned tweaking and it’s great. But when I went and looked at Toolset Types, it’s a great plugin. You can create all kinds of custom post types, fields for many different uses such as custom searches, you can customize WooCommerce websites, custom templates, post types, and more.

It’s a really great plugin. It is a premium plugin that starts at $69, so you’ve got to spend some money but well worth it. The time it saved on this project here and how it’s impressing and helping my client is well worth it and well worth paying David the time necessary to do the job and help out my clients, so this plugin hit a 5-Dragon rating. Check it out: Toolset Types.

Marcus:           There you go. That’s nice! I like it how things work out like that and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes on the site, too.

John:                Yeah, well they’ll be coming over time. But David can’t spend any money with us, but he’s volunteering time which is just as good.

Marcus:           That’s value, absolutely. That’s awesome, thank you.  All right, so the first plugin that I’ve got today is a mobile-based plugin. A lot of us are kind of realizing that mobile first is the way to go when it comes to design because so much traffic is now migrating over to mobile.

John:                Absolutely.

Marcus:           In some instances, it’s dominating, you know. The desktop seems to be dying as far as surfing the internet goes. So this is called Really Simple Click To Call Bar, so what it does is it’s a plugin that leaves kind of a sticky bar on the bottom of any of your responsive sites and it only displays in a mobile device. What it does is it adds a customizable click to call bar at the bottom for all your mobile users that just have to click it one time and it calls your business. It’s great for small businesses, restaurants, retail stores, or any kind of lead generation that relies strictly on phone calls, or at least dependent on some phone calls. It’s called Really Simple Click To Call Bar, great plugin, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yeah, I had something similar to that for quite a while on another plugin years ago.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                But yeah, that’s definitely nice. Oftentimes, I’ll look up a website and I’m looking specifically for their phone number and if it has that button, it’s like sweet. I just hit the button and call them.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                All right, next up I have here is a plugin called WP Featured Content and Slider. It has both a free and a pro version. I ended up testing the pro version which starts at $9, but the free version, all it is is a slightly lesser bits of the pro. Anyway, while working on another project during last week, I had been running into another issue displaying featured content just the way I wanted to in a slider I’ve been trying to work with, Revolution Slider, to get this display. But the display wasn’t quite what the client wanted or what I was after.

While doing some research for something else, I tripped across this plugin here, and this plugin allows you to pull that content for your featured content for your news and other bits and pieces that you’re going to display, and create some really nice carousel sliders for that information. It allowed me to create the display just the way my client wanted.

Now, the free version didn’t have everything but the paid version definitely had what I was after. It offered the ability to create this great layout, content from your posts or custom post types, place it where you want it with a shortcode or with a widget. All in all, a really great plugin. It’s from wponlinesupport.com and I had to give this one a 5-Dragon rating. It’s WP Featured Content and Slider.

Marcus:           Wow! That’s two five-in-a-rows there for you – five stars – I love that.

John:                They don’t happen very often with me. But once in a while, they just manage to knock it out.

Marcus:           Yeah, and I’ve been very discerning about my ratings lately, so why not now? The next one I want to talk about is something that happens quite a bit, actually. Sometimes, it’s necessary for you to have to manually get involved with the credit card process and this plugin is called WooCommerce Manual Payment. What it does is it adds a payment form to the WooCommerce edit order page. There’s no real need to leave the backend at all for this; you just fill in the credit card information manually and then click ‘process payment’ and that’s it. It’s completely secure, the credit card information never hits your server, it goes right to your payment processor, and it allows you also with the pro version of this plugin to do manual refunds, which is also something that’s somewhat difficult sometimes when dealing with WooCommerce. So if you’re hands-on and maybe you’re even wanting to just keep a credit card on file and ding that card every month for services to a business or a person that you do work for, this is a great way to do that as well. It’s called WooCommerce Manual Payment and I reviewed the free version of it. (There is a pro version.) I rated this a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. That could definitely save some people some time.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                The final plugin I’ve got this week is another plugin from WP Online Support and it’s a pro version that I tested, but they do have a free version. They have free versions of all of their plugins available at the WordPress Repository. But their pro version is very nice, their prices are very affordable. This one here started at $16 for the plugin. The plugin, being from the same developer – but it also solved another issue that I was having on another project. (Yeah, my last week was pretty busy, which explains everything.)

I was trying to create a good, clean news ticker for the website and it kept coming up with, you know, ones that weren’t fitting the bill quite right. This one here offered up several different layouts, it pulls from its own custom post type for news, which is not exactly what we were looking for, but it was close and better than what we were being presented with. All in all, it turned out to be a pretty decent plugin. I really wanted to rate it at a 5 but it just didn’t have all the functionality I was chasing, but gave it a 4-Dragon rating. A pretty great plugin: WP News and Scrolling Widgets.

And as a side note about these two plugins I recommended from the same developer, if you find that any of their plugins are worthwhile, they also offer themes and they have a theme and plugin package that starts at $69, which is what I ended up purchasing. I could see myself using a couple of their other plugins down the road or even one of their themes. Anyway, check it out and no, there’s no affiliate or kickback on this one; this is just I found a really good service worthwhile, so I thought I would just let everyone know.

Marcus:           Great! All right, the last one that I’ve got is something that I’ve been just kind of thinking about, mulling over, how I could actually add audio tracks that could be switchable throughout my site, and I came up with this cool plugin. It is called Themify Audio Dock and what it does is it allows you to play music, podcasts, spoken word – anything you want – any kind of mp3 file on any WordPress site, using the audio dock. So you could put an unlimited number of tracks, put your own custom titles in, choose any kind of color that you want for the bar and the text of the track.

This is a great plugin for bands, artists, or any kind of user that wants to set the right mood with music in their browser. It’s really nice, because you can actually kind of skip through the different tracks and it doesn’t matter if you navigate to another page; this sticky bar with the tracks on it stays intact.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           And it’s really nice. It’s not necessarily a podcast catcher, because it doesn’t work on any feeds or anything and you do have to manually add in all of the tracks. But I thought it was a really great plugin. It’s one of the best that I’ve seen in terms of audio and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Perfect – very nice. Well, at least we wrapped it up with a 5.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                And I also wanted to make a quick mention, because I was just taking a look at the audio dock there. I’m noticing more and more plugins when they display content, they’re starting to make mention that they’re fully responsive across all mobile devices.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                And that was one thing that I forgot to mention about the previous two plugins I had done was that they are mobile-responsive, too, which really saves you a lot of grief down the road, especially nowadays that everything needs to be mobile-responsive.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                Okay, well that pretty much wraps it up. I covered up in this episode here the Toolset Types, which I gave a 5 to. I covered up the Featured Content and Slider, which I gave a 5 to and the WP News and Scrolling Widgets, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Really Simple Click To Call Bar for your mobile sites and I rated that a 4 out of 5, WooCommerce Manual Payment gets a 4 out of 5, and Themify Audio Dock a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

 

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It's Episode 294 and we've got plugins for Sales Countdown Woocommerce, Sending Bad Bots to the corner, Techxplorer's Plugin Listicle sounds like something from Epic Spell Wars. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 294

It's Episode 294 and we've got plugins for Sales Countdown Woocommerce, Sending Bad Bots to the corner, Techxplorer's Plugin Listicle sounds like something from Epic Spell Wars. 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 #294 here.


It’s Episode 294 and we’ve got plugins for Sales Countdown Woocommerce, Sending Bad Bots to the corner, Techxplorer’s Plugin Listicle sounds like something from Epic Spell Wars. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #294

[John only this week]

Okay, this week here I have the first plugin. It is called Sales Countdown WooCommerce Addon. Now this one here can be a real enhancement to those of you who have a WooCommerce website and you offer sales for your products from time to time. One of the things that helps enhance when you have a sale is getting people to buy it is to put a time limit on it as a way to make it more important so that they feel the sense of urgency necessary to purchase it. So what this plugin does for you is it creates a timer which shows up underneath your product. It shows how many days left until the sale is over.

With that kind of thing happening, it helps put a sense of urgency to people to buy. It’s been found that this does help. While it does help minimally, hey, every additional sale because of it is more money into your pocket. So anyway, it’s a really great plugin. It allows you to enter information when you’re putting your products in and then you can display the stuff via a shortcode on your website and different places. So anyway, check it out: Sales Countdown WooCommerce Addon, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Next up here, we have a way for you to banish bad bots into the dark black hole of Never-never Land. Now, if you’ve been running your website long enough, sooner or later you’re going to run into a bot that ignores the rules of your robot text file. This is kind of important because when a bot goes bad, it will run through your website and it will suck down your bandwidth and use up your resources and create all kinds of headache and grief. It would be nice to have a way to just – when that happens, just banish them so that they can’t even bother your website again.

So what this plugin does for you is it is a little bit of work to set up, so it’s not the easiest thing for the most part, because you’ve got to go in there and set up your robot’s text file, go in there, and you set a honeypot link into the robot’s text file. Now, all good bots (the ones that obey the rules that you set forth in your robot’s text file) will see that they’re not supposed to index this file here and they won’t index it. But bad bots will index that file and as soon as they index that file, they are automatically blocked from the rest of your website and don’t bother it at all. They’re all automatically just banished and out of the way so that they can’t impact you at all.

It’s a really great plugin. It does seem to work quite well. It does have some issues if you use caching plugins with your website, so you have to beware of that. They have some instructions to work around that. And if it wasn’t for this little bit of extra work and the caching plugin issue, this would be rated a 5. But at the moment, I’m going to give it a 4-Dragon rating. So check it out: Blackhole for Bad Bots.

And finally, what I have for you here today is Techxplorer’s Plugin Listicle – it just sounds like a spell from Epic Spell Wars. If you’re a game player, it’s a card game and it’s actually a lot of fun. But as soon as I saw it, that’s why it made me giggle when I saw it and I thought ah, I’ve gotta check this one out, just because of the title. Anyway, what this plugin here is – well, sharing is what WordPress is all about, right? Well, for many anyways – at least for us. Well, one of the things is that a lot of people use a lot of different plugins and there’s a lot of people that are always asking us, “What plugin do you use? Which ones on your website?”

Well, what this plugin does for you is it creates a list of all the plugins that are running on your website and you can create a page using a shortcode and show them out. The default CSS for it is pretty nice. It’s not perfect but, you know, a little bit of work and you can change the CSS layout to more match your website, but the default is all right. It’s really great because what you can do is you can give credit where credit is due for all the plugin developers out there that have helped you build your website. (And yes, they helped you build your website by providing those plugins free, premium, or whatever.) Because of their hard work, you got to save hours and tons of time.

So this is a great way to give back to them at least in a tiny way by providing them links that link back to their product and showcase what you have on your website. You can check it out on our site here. I’ve got it listed up on the WP Plugins A-Z website where it shows what plugins that we are currently using on our website here. One of the nice features I’ve found about this, like I’ve tried plugins like this in the past to be able to showcase all of the plugins that were being used. But the biggest problem I ran into is it tried to list up even the plugins that weren’t active on the site, which is a bit of a pain because sometimes I’ll be storing numerous inactive plugins in anticipation of using them elsewhere or something else, and I didn’t want to showcase what I wasn’t using.

So this showcases just your live, active plugins, which is also very nice in an MU environment which is what WPAZ is at and because the other websites use multiple other plugins. So it’s a really great plugin. It’s a great way of sharing everything and because it’s just really kind of cool (the title is awesome), I had to give this one a 5-Dragon rating.

So there you have it. That’s the plugins this week. I covered up Sales Countdown WooCommerce Addon, which I gave a 4 to; Blackhole for Bad Bots, which I gave a 4 to; and then Techxplorer’s Plugin Listicle, which I gave a 5 to.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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