WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #326 here.
It’s Episode 326 and we’ve got plugins for System and Server Monitoring, User Emulation, Dating Sites, Abandoned Cart Chatbots and CF7-Zapier Integration. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 326 and we’ve got plugins for System and Server Monitoring, User Emulation, Dating Sites, Abandoned Cart Chatbots, and CF7 to Zapier Integration. It’s all coming up next on WordPress Plugins A to Z.
WordPress, it’s the most popular content management and website solution on the internet. And with over 60,000 plugins to choose from, how do you separate the junk from the gems? Join John Overall and Marcus Couch for this weekly unrehearsed conversation about the latest and greatest in WordPress plugins. This is WordPress Plugins A to Z.
John: Well, good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you happen to be hiding out there on the globe today. Coming to you direct from the Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, I’m John Overall.
[Rotary telephone ringing]
Marcus: And from the land where telephones don’t ring like that, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And that’s what happens sometimes – live! – live and ready to rock ‘n roll. All right, well right off the top here, let’s go ahead with – you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you’ve got a couple of minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and the iTunes Store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the show there. Go check out our training videos, screencasts, and watch us live on YouTube every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. PST (Pacific Standard Time). And of course, you can always follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
Marcus: That’s right! And listen – hey, John, you and I know that this is actually a record month for us on the podcasts, so we’d like to thank everybody that’s out there. We are getting tremendous downloads for the show for the month and it’s obviously going to continue. So for all of you new people that have subscribed, we hope you enjoy the show and hope that you’ll review us on iTunes. We’d greatly appreciate that.
John: Oh, absolutely. And of course, you can subscribe to our newsletter also where you can get more news, information, and tidbits.
John: And of course, right off the top here, let’s get started diving into this with all that said. We’re going to dive right into our showing the plugins, and off we go.
[Plugins lead-in music]
All right, first up I have a couple of plugins and it was requested from our listener out there who sent it in, Kent Smith. He was looking for a status plugin that would show a status page similar to the page that is created by WooCommerce. And if you’ve never looked at the status page that WooCommerce has when you’re checking out, you should check it out. It gives some really good information about your site, the server, memory usage, etc., etc. And so I did some digging to see if I could find something that might suit what he was looking for. He said he’d found some but not exactly, so I hope these aren’t the same plugins, Kent. But if they are, well, sorry about that.
So the first one I’ve got here is called Server Status and it’s a pretty simple plugin and it’s the first of the couple that I found. It creates a simple page of stats about your plugin. It puts all the information into the dashboard of your site and it goes through and it tells you memory usage, system health, server status, server monitor. It’s got a lot of the good, basic stuff: tell you the PHP you’re running and the WordPress version you’re using. Not as much information as I had hoped, but all in all, still a pretty good plugin to give you some quick, rough, and ready stats right there on your dashboard in a block on your dashboard. Have a look at it; it’s a pretty decent plugin. I give it a 3-Dragon rating and it’s called Server Status.
Marcus: Very nice. All right, the first one out for me is called Fast User Switching. It is by a company called TikWeb and they’re out of Denmark. And what this allows you to do – I’ve reviewed similar plugins to this in the past. This is pretty good though as far as what it does. It allows administrators to impersonate any user on the site. So you can choose to impersonate a particular user just by clicking ‘impersonate’ in the user list and it actually logs in as that user, and then you can check out the site based on what that particular person or role has.
It’s really, really convenient for testing different users. Now, I am using this actually for a brand new membership site that I’m putting together for a client and this really, really foot the bill for me, so I love it. It’s called Fast User Switching – really easy way to see what different rights and permissions within the user base for your site, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Hm…that’s a very nice plugin. It would definitely help you when you’re dealing with membership sites to make sure that it works correctly for your various member levels, so you just create yourself a sample user at those membership levels and make sure it’s doing all right.
John: Save you tons of time and effort and headaches. All right.
Marcus: That’s what we’re all about.
John: Absolutely, and that’s what we’re – our job here is to help save you time and money. And with that being said, this show is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses. And first off, sponsored by JohnOverall.com, WordPress and Web Services. Is it time to update your website, moving your website to a new host, or simply sorting out some of your long-neglected plugins? I can help you with all that and more at JohnOverall.com Web Services can help you sort your WordPress problems from finding that perfect plugin to helping you move to a new hosting provider or even providing quality WordPress hosting.
With 20 years’ experience online and over eight years dedicated strictly to WordPress, JohnOverall.com provides all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress development, repairs, and even emergency WordPress support. Visit my website at JohnOverall.com, call me (818) 850-7729, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus: And if you’re listening to this show, you obviously have a passion for WordPress. Why not write about something unique within WordPress? I’m now the WordPress Editor for Smashing Magazine, which is one of the biggest web design resources online, and I’m looking for folks to write great articles about WordPress. This helps to get a lot of exposure to yourself and your work and I’d like you to go to marcuscouch.com/smashing. There’s a video there that talks about the entire process and you fill out a quick form and it lets me know a little bit more about you, what you’d like to write about, and it’ll get the ball rolling. So very easy to do: marcuscouch.com/smashing. And also, you get paid!
John: [chuckling] That’s the best part about it is earn some money while writing some articles, you know? You’re writing that information anyway, putting it on your website, etc. Hey, share it and earn some money.
Marcus: Yes – and have some fun as your article actually gets translated into other languages, too.
John: Oh, there you go. There’s a good bonus for you.
John: All right, next up in our plugin lineup here, I’ve got the second of the system status plugins. Now, this one here is a whole lot better. It’s called Simple System Status and this plugin gives you a more complete picture of your site. It gets you almost everything that is produced in the WooCommerce status page. There’s a couple of things that I think are WooCommerce-specific that are not in this, but it tells you what the WordPress version is, your memory limits, what the usage is, time zones, permalink settings, and more.
It tells you all the theme information that’s in the site, it tells you a list of all the plugins. It includes the list of whatever plugins are in the MU folder (or the must use folder). It tells you which plugins are active, which ones are inactive, it gives you the complete server info, the PHP info, the version, post limits, memory limits. It checks your Fsock, PERL, and SOAP to see if they’re working. It tells you what kind of session info you have going. It even gives you a unique link to create an external page to look at if you need to submit this information to someone else.
All in all, this is a pretty good plugin. I don’t think it’s quite perfect but it’s pretty damn close and it does give quite a bit of information for those that need some quick information like they’re taking over a site or they need to find out what the site setup is. This gives you a really good, robust look at it. So go check it out. It’s called Simple System Status and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating, so check it out.
Marcus: Awesome! Very cool.
John: Yeah, this one’s actually quite nice. I was kind of impressed with it. It’s not the nice, clean, pretty interface that you get in WooCommerce; it’s all text, so you’ve gotta —
John: — kind of read it. But it’s still got all that information there.
Marcus: Nice. All right, let’s talk about a new plugin that I love. It’s called Recover Abandoned Cart for WooCommerce and it’s by an outfit called Chatx.ai, and they’re from Bucharest, Romania. Now, here’s what’s cool about this plugin: it takes both of my favorite things and puts them together, which is WooCommerce and chatbots. I’m big into chatbots. I’ve said that on the show many different times. Here’s how this works.
It helps to recover abandoned carts on your WooCommerce store and Facebook Messenger chatbots to do so. So first and foremost, you have to setup an account at chatx.ai – no big deal, easy to do – you’re done in just a minute. Then you begin to track your store’s abandoned carts and the related Facebook users, so this kind of does it – a double-tap in terms of who’s on your site, all that. How do you get them to actually like your page or get their Facebook information? That’s up to you on how you actually – you can have them log in with Facebook or something like that within your site.
Here’s how it works: once you get all that hooked up, after let’s say X amount of hours from the time that they go to your site and put something in a cart and abandon it, that X amount is determined by you. Your customer actually receives a message from your store’s Facebook page, (which also this requires a Facebook page) and it reminds them of the different products that they left in the cart. The chatbot then tries to convince them to finish the order and you have a lot of different options that you can do that with by giving them maybe a discount coupon for 5% or 10% off or something like that. Scarcity – you can say, “Look, we’ve only got two left. If you want it, it’s ready for you.” This takes the best of both worlds for me: WooCommerce and chatbots. I’m actively right now using this on one of my e-commerce sites and I’ve seen it work. It’s actually – I’ve seen four different times where it’s gone out and messaged somebody about the cart being empty and two out of those four actually went and made a purchase, so that’s a 50% conversion of an abandoned cart. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but really, that’s two sales I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise and this thing has already paid for itself. So, really nice plugin. It is called Recover Abandoned Cart for WooCommerce and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That’s an excellent plugin to have and an excellent way to increase the sales on your site.
John: Actually, things like that have probably caught me once or twice, too. I start to do something, get sidetracked, I abandon, close my windows, and it’s like, “Oh, what was I doing?” and it’s gone.
John: I get a reminder: “Hey, oh yeah, I did want that!”
John: I go back and finish it. So, yes.
Marcus: There are plugins that actually do it with email, too.
Marcus: And that’s something that you need to incorporate. Any little automated last-second/last chance/whatever second chance, whatever you want to call it that you can take another crack at your customer to actually close that cart is best, so check it out.
John: Absolutely. All right, well, with that, we like to let everyone know we love listener feedback and audio clips. You can leave listener feedback on our site via our contact page, the SpeakPipe down in the lower right-hand corner, anything along that line there, and we do respond to it as best we can. And if you give us the right information, we’ll put it right here in the show, share it with everyone – all the other listeners out there.
So, that being said, this is where we like to acknowledge the people who help support the show. This show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, we ask that you please give some value back. And in that vein, we’d like to acknowledge all those who have supported the show in the past week. All donations above $50 are read out and their notes are published here with links back to wherever they want. For those who come in below $50, they’ll remain anonymous and we thank you very much.
This week’s donors, we have $50 from Jezweb Pty. Ltd. and his note is:
“This donation is on behalf of Kracka Surfcraft, http://www.krackasurfcraft.com.au/ which Jezweb recently rebuilt because the cms it was trapped in was nowhere near the flexibility of wordpress.”
So thank you very much, Jez. We really appreciate your support of the show and a big thank you out there to our donors who came in under $50 and those who have set up weekly subscriptions. All of those small subscriptions are really starting to help the show out.
Marcus: That’s a really nice website that he put together there.
John: Oh, yeah! It’s really quite sweet. It looks like a fun time surfing, so I like to showcase some of this stuff, too. That’s the other bit. If you’re looking on the live YouTube stream or following the YouTube streams later on, you can see some of this stuff that we’re talking about.
Marcus: Mm-hm. That’s very nice!
John: And there are some great ways you can support the show. We ask that you drop on over to wppluginsatoz.com, where you can go to our Donate page and leave some donations for us and many other ways you can support the show on the Donate page. If you don’t have money to support, we’re always looking for help in many different areas.
Marcus: That’s right. And, you know, John and I have extended this sponsorship or whatever you want to call it – donations – up until the month of December. So we’re at record downloads; that’s one goal that we wanted to accomplish in terms of this year and the second one is actually getting it so that the show is self-sustainable. We’re not quite there yet —
Marcus: — we do need and rely on your absolute support to keep this show going, so please help us out. Also remember, you can go to Patreon, patreon.com/wppluginsatoz, and that link is also in the show notes.
John: All right, and now we’re onto our final set of plugins here for today. Now, the first one I’ve got here, it’s Rencontre. It’s a dating site plugin and when you’re looking for plugins, you never know exactly what you’re gonna find, and it seems there’s something for everyone. And because there are not enough dating sites on the internet yet, well, you might want to add your own to the crazy with this plugin here.
It’s a pretty decent plugin for the most part, being free and also having a premium version. The free version will allow you to set up a free membership dating site. It’s got pretty much everything you need in there; you just can’t charge for everything with the free version of the plugin and there’s a whole lot of additional features they’ve got tied to the premium version of it that I was checking out. All in all, it could be a fun plugin if you’re looking to try and enter the dating site field, which is a pretty busy field. But it might be overcrowded or you never know. You might pick up some niche market in there and go after a niche market of dating. Who knows? At any rate, all in all, not a bad plugin and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating and it’s called Rencontre – Dating Site.
Marcus: Nice. All right, a couple more of my favorite things here bundled together in this plugin. This one is called CF7 to Zapier, and if you have heard of Zapier and you think, “Oh, it’s Zay-pi-er,” wrong! It’s pronounced Zap-i-er because the owner, Wade himself, told me, “Zapier makes you happier.”
Marcus: That’s how it works, right? So what Zapier is is it’s middleware. It’s an awesome thing that you can go from one thing to another thing, and here’s how it works. So this one is Contact Form 7 to Zapier. It is by Vizir Software studio in São Paulo, Brazil and, you know, it’s great. You can take Contact Form 7 (which is an awesome plugin used by over a million WordPress websites to utilize their forms and things) and then Zapier to connect all the different kinds of apps and things. So you can join up Contact Form 7 and Zapier and here’s what you can do with it.
Let’s just say, John, I have a Contact Form 7 form on my website and I want to go to Salesforce or I want to go to Infusionsoft, or maybe I want to put a Google spreadsheet together that harnesses all of the different results, or maybe I want it to do something else based on the results that it gets in Contact Form 7. This is the plugin to do it. So if you’ve ever wanted to do any sort of automation or anything like that based on the results that a form puts together on your site, this is it. I encourage you to check out Zapier.com – Z-A-P-I-E-R – and see exactly the different things that you can do with it. I know that there are several hundred different iterations of things that you can hook Contact Form 7 into. It’s called CF-7 to Zapier and I rated this a 4 out of 5.
John: Perfect! Well, thank you very much. And something I’d like to say real quickly as I just looked over and noticed that we have some people watching live. Thanks Larry, thanks, Shawn. I see you’ve made some notes there in the chat and thank you very much for showing up and listening to the show.
Marcus: Yes! Thank you.
John: It’s all been great. All right, well, that’s about it. Closing out this episode here, I covered up Server Status, which I gave a 3 to; Simple System Status, which I gave a 4 to; and Rencontre, the dating site plugin, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Fast User Switching, which actually gets a 4 out of 5; Recover Abandoned Carts for WooCommerce gets a 5 out of 5; and CF7 to Zapier gets a 4 out of 5.
John: And of course, closing out this episode, I would like to make some mentions. Be sure to check out our YouTube screencast that goes up later. There is an add-on part that I’ve started adding on at the end of that screencast that gives me a first impression of one of the plugins Marcus covered in the show, kind of having fun with it. You might find it so-so, but that’s all right. It’s not part of the main show anymore.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: And a note to developers out there, if you’d like to support this show and you would like to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest to submit that license key for us and we will create a contest and add a note around it and promote you plugin.
John: And for those of you that are watching us on YouTube, don’t forget to check out the training videos. They’ve been kind of lax the last couple of weeks as life has been a little bit hectic and getting back to them this week. And also that’s pretty much it. News and information, other related stuff, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter at wppluginsatoz.com and get all of the information and tidbits.
Marcus: All right.
John: And that’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.
Reminders for the show [female speaker]:
All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and while you’re there, subscribe to the Thursday newsletter for more useful information directly to your email inbox. Wppluginsatoz.com is a show that offers honest and unbiased reviews of plugins by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and choose one of the weekly donation levels or make one that fits your budget. Help us make the show better for you by subscribing and reviewing to the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store. You can also watch the show live on YouTube, check out the screencasts and training videos, and remember to subscribe to us on YouTube, or follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
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