All the show notes can be found at: WPPluginsAtoZ.com
Make sure you subscribe and review the show at:
All the show notes can be found at: WPPluginsAtoZ.com
Make sure you subscribe and review the show at:
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #321 here.
Marcus: It’s Episode 321 and we’ve got plugins for classified ads, purchase orders, MailChimp integration, wholesale pricing, PDF documents, and auto address suggestions. 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 30,000 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 at Eclipse 2017 Headquarters in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And coming to you from Laguna Beach, California, where I only get to see a third of the eclipse, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: Oh, a beautiful one here. It’ll be a 92% for us.
John: At any rate, right off the top, you can get the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com and we’d appreciate you subscribing and reviewing us at Stitcher Radio or the iTunes store and you can follow us on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz and you can watch us live on our Screencast training videos and subscribe to us at YouTube. All the links are in the show notes.
Marcus: Awesome! Well, we promised a little format change last week and we’re going to dive right into it.
John: That we are! And today, we are reviewing our usual allotment of six great plugins. Stay tuned to hear them as there is no longer a fast-forward option and we’re going to jump right into one with the meat and potatoes.
[Plugins music intro]
All right, and first up the plugin I’ve got today comes from my own research at it is going to be helping you solve the following issues and it will be one that will be a training video. It is AWPCP – Classifieds Plugin. Now, not every site out there needs a classified section, but since I am heading into a new project that will require one, I am back at a plugin I’ve been using off and on for the past four years. This is a freemium plugin, one of the early plugins to adopt the model of freemium because they’ve been around for about five or six years and they’ve been doing quite well with it.
The plugin itself, it can be set up completely free service or you can have short-term free ads in it. You can add in paid ads sections or just run it as paid ads. It comes with a built-in PayPal integration and a couple of its mods allow for additional payment systems. You can add in additional fields, locations, you can lock this down to regions. There is a lot that this classified ad plugin does for you and it’s one of the better ones that I’ve used. (In fact, it’s probably the best of the ones that I use since I keep going back to it whenever I have to do a classifieds section.)
All in all, this is a pretty damn good classified ads plugin and all you’ve got to do to make it look pretty is get in there for the CSS at the end. The total value of it, I give this one a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: It must be really nice then! Wow, 5 out of 5. I’m stunned.
John: Yeah – knock it out of the park right off the top – what the hell.
Marcus: All right, okay. So anybody that does any business that is a B2B, which is a business-to-business transaction, I’m sure that it’s come about where they’ve had a company that said, “Can I give you a P.O. for this?” A P.O. stands for purchase order. Now, what happens is if I’m a business and John’s a business, and say I’m going to order $4,000 worth of XYZ – whatever it happens to be from John – I’ll tell John, “Hey, here’s a P.O. for that.” You use P.O.#18655. It could be my employee number, my company, it could be a set purchase order number that requisitions a specific amount on the P.O. that gets paid and it’s an easier way for accountants to kind of keep track of things.
Well, WooCommerce doesn’t have this built-in inherently. You actually have to use this add-on to do it. So this is called Purchase Order WooCommerce Add-on. It allows you to take and accept P.O.s it has a really nice interface in which you can take care of all that, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! That’s actually quite useful for those that require to take purchase orders, especially if you’re selling items that can be bought with purchase orders.
Marcus: Yeah, if it’s business-to-business, any sort of B2B operation, you’re going to want to use this because this question will come up and it’s almost like – it’s not really a credit situation. It’s not like a credit card or anything like that. You’re just kind of running a tab for the business, so to speak, and it allows them to easily do transactions with you that otherwise you wouldn’t have that capability. So it’s really great for you to use with clients or anything else – anybody that uses purchase orders, this will handle it.
John: Which is most businesses when I had my own retail businesses, purchase orders were a regular occurrence for me, especially with my bigger clients, because they’d buy on purchase order and I’d invoice them once a month, so hey —
Marcus: Right, right. And so if you don’t have purchase order capability for yourself or for your client (whichever the case may be), then you’re cutting yourself out of probably a lot of business.
John: Absolutely. All right, well that wraps that one up. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about are you having troubles with your WordPress website or do you have development questions you need answered? Then contact me, John Overall, and with my 20 years’ experience online and eight of those years dealing strictly with WordPress exclusively, I can help solve your problems, saving you time and money. You can contact me by visiting my website at JohnOverall.com. You can call (818) 850-7729 and get direct to me or send me an email direct to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus: Yeah, and I’ve got something to talk about too, which is Smashing Magazine. Boy, I’ve gotten so many cool submissions by different people. I mean, just stuff in WordPress that I had no idea about, and I’ve got about 20 in the queue right now, which seems like a lot of articles but actually I’ll be done with that in about two weeks. So it’s time if you want to step up to the plate, if you want to contribute, if you want to submit yourself to Smashing Magazine as an author, it’s one of the largest web design resources out there.
A lot of changes coming to it, including building up the WordPress section, which I’m heading up. So if you’re looking for an outlet to talk about WordPress, write about WordPress, this is it. If you want to just go to marcuscouch.com/smashing, I have an author form there, a video there – everything you need to know to get started and how the process works. So check it out if you want to write for Smashing Magazine, marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: And don’t forget, you can earn some money by doing that, folks.
Marcus: That’s right! You get paid.
John: That’s the best part. All right, now before we head on to our next plugin because today is the Eclipse of 2017, I wanted to give an eclipse update. We’ve started the show a little early today but right now, it is just starting into the eclipse here in Victoria, British Columbia. So the edge of the moon is heading over the sun and it’s going to last for the next two hours here.
John: So, looking forward to jumping out there after the show is over to get a good look. By then it’ll be about a quarter covered, so looking forward to that.
John: All right, next up, the plugin I’ve got here for you today is another one that I’ve used a lot in the past and I recently have to do a little work on a site to bring it forward. This one here is a pretty common one used by a lot of folks. It’s MailChimp for WordPress. This one you’ll see also as a training video coming down the pipe in the next week or two. This plugin here is one that helps you capture your emails on your website and integrate them into your MailChimp list.
It also offers up several paid add-ons. They do have a couple of free add-ons to go with it and the free version of it makes it pretty easy for you to set up some forms. You just go in, you create your form, and then you either insert it into your site with a shortcode or stick it into a sidebar with a widget. It also has seamless integration with comments section of your site, as well as WooCommerce, MemberPress, Events Manager, and more. They’ve got a lot of seamless integration into these so that someone signing up in your WooCommerce store, they’ve got a checkbox that automatically will add them to your email list. Same with when they leave a comment on your website, so you can collect more of those emails and get them directly put into your MailChimp list.
Now, the nice thing about it is the add-ons on this, one of the add-ons I always end up getting with it is the one that allows you to go in and do a lot of customizations to the form. This add-on is almost a must; it’s not very expensive, somewhere around $25-30, I believe (I can’t recall exactly at the moment), but well worth the money to make creating that stupendous form for your website.
So anyway, this is a great plugin. I thoroughly enjoy it and I use it every time I throw together a site, so go check it out: MailChimp for WordPress and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Awesome. One of the other common components that you may run into in dealing with B2B – and you can sense a recurring theme here that I had some B2B work this last week – is wholesale pricing. A lot of people have asked for stuff like that so that you can implement kind of a “buy more, pay less” strategy or even the other way around if you want to create kind of a supply/demand scarcity model, or something like that. Well, this allows you to integrate wholesale pricing into WooCommerce.
You can set product pricing rules; which product depends on how many quantity is in the cart. You can use a total cart quantity or product quantity of each individual product and you can set the wholesale discount to apply only if other coupon codes or promo codes and discounts are not in the cart. Those are just options, by the way. You can set a discount as a blanket percentage off of the original price, affix discount, or set a different price directly on a per-product basis, based on quantity, and that’s pretty cool.
You could also set different pricing options based on user roles as well, so if you have clients or customers that have a specific user role like VIP customer – anything like that – maybe their discount is a little bit better. It’s called Wholesale Pricing WooCommerce (instead of the other way around), and I rated this a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. That’s always nice to offer up your clients some wholesale pricing, so —
Marcus: Yes, definitely. For you designers out there, these two plugins that I talked about, you add those into any B2B business site and half your troubles are already solved.
John: Mm-hmm, absolutely. All right, moving on here, we want to let everyone know this show is a value-for-value model show. Meaning if you get any value out of it, please give value back. And in that vein, we would like to acknowledge those that have supported the show in the past week. All donations $50 and over are read out and their note is published here. For those who come below $50, they will remain anonymous and we thank you very much.
This week we would like to give a big thank you to all our donors who came in under $50 and to those of you who set up weekly subscriptions, all those small subscriptions really help the show out. Here are the ways you can go out to help support the show: You can support us with something like say a $2.50 weekly subscription by going to Wppluginsatoz.com/donate, and we have several options there. But hey, $2.50 a week, man, show us what the show is worth to you.
This show is listener-supported and we use that money to help the show grow by doing lots of different things for the show, including things such as transcripts, bandwidth, hosting – all of those things there. That’s where the money goes right now; it’s definitely not going into our pockets.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: So feel free, drop over to wppluginsatoz.com/donate to learn how you can support the show, since we can use you in other ways. If you can’t afford money, hey, we have numerous ways in which you can support the show by helping us with the website, helping us with editing – numerous things there all listed up on the Donate page of how you could help us.
And also, if you can, if you want, you can use Patreon. Just go on over to our Patreon link in the show notes and create a monthly subscription there. Over the next month or so, Patreon is going to be revised as to some rewards for our listeners as we add in more stuff to the show. So stop in there and we thank you very much for your support.
John: All right, next up we have my final plugin for today. This one here is one for those of you that have to put PDF documents into your site. Sometimes that makes them kind of boring, especially if you’ve got a fancied-up site and you’d like your PDF documents to showcase a bit about what it does. This week here, what I’ve got is called Flowpaper. This is a plugin to make displaying your PDF documents as a flipbook and it’s very nice and easy to use.
You install it, activate it, and then you upload your PDF document, grab the URL for it, and then with a shortcode and a link button that they have in the editor, you click it and insert the link right into your post, wherever you want it to be. Then the PDF document is displayed as a flipbook. It’s very cool; you can do some minor customizations to it. You can change the default theme layout and you can also make it easier to read throughout the thing. At any rate, that’s all we’ve got for you on that one and I give it a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out: Flowpaper.
Marcus: Great! All right, I’m going to round it up here with another WooCommerce plugin. This is called Checkout Address Suggestions for WooCommerce, and I’m sure, John, you, like all the listeners out there have experienced this where they put in an address and it says, “Okay, how about this format instead?” just to make sure that it all works. Well, this plugin provides those suggestions. So what it does is you enter in an address – you know, street, state, zip, city – all that stuff.
How it works is it works with the Google Map jQuery API keys, which you’ll have to sign up for to use this, which is free, and it works on both billing and shipping suggestions. It checks out the address, it automatically fills in all the required fields when they do it, and it also works around the world, so it’s not just based in the US or Canada or anything like that. It actually has different shipping addresses according to their country. A great plugin; I used it, it was nearly seamless for me to integrate, and I give one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That’s cool! Now I know how they do that. [chuckles]
John: Well, I’ve seen it a lot. I said that would be a nice thing to add in and I just never bothered to investigate it further, so now you’ve just saved me the time and the hassle of investigating it any further. I appreciate that very much, especially since I’m in the middle of a WooCommerce project for another client right now.
Marcus: There you go.
John: All right, now we do have a little bit of WordPress news for you this week and in the world of WordPress here. Well, this one here is more along the lines of dealing with the security of your websites. Google started out this last week sending out emails to everybody warning them that if you are not using HTTPS, your users are going to start getting “Warning: Insecure” on any page that collects any text field, that be email, lists – it doesn’t really matter – anything – even if it’s just a blank text field for a form. If it’s not on a secure page, it’s going to get this big old warning —
John: — and people are going to panic, so this has already started. After that came out, I had a big rush of people during the beginning of the year when Google made its first announcements on this. I’m getting another big rush of people like, “Oh my God, we’re not SSL yet. What are we gonna do?” I said, “Don’t panic. We’ll get it sorted for you.” So anyway, it’s something you’ll want to take care of on your website if you haven’t already done it. And if you have problems doing that, feel free to get a hold of me. I’m pretty good at that now.
Marcus: Yeah, time to invest in somebody who provides SSL certificates, by the way, for all you investors out there.
John: Yes, absolutely. Plus, get a web hosting provider that provides the free SSL certs if you’ve got a good basic website. All right, next piece of news we’ve got here for you and this one here was an article that came across for me, mainly because I use Pretty Link and I need to use it a little bit more effectively than I do. This is an article from Pretty Link website and their blog on how to use Pretty Link to set up expiration in a link so that you can create a link and the link will expire if you’re going to create temporary links. So this one is kind of interesting and one of the things I’m planning to do is spend a little bit more time using Pretty Link as I’ve been paying for it for so long and I only use it to like a tenth of its potential, so something you will want to check out.
And the final piece of news we’ve got here is from Digital Journal, and this is something I sort of saw, although it’s not someone I would support, but a company called Plugin Forge is setting up another one of those “Let’s buy all the WooCommerce plugins and give them away for free” sites. So again, you’re going to see things like this happening after WooCommerce went and changed their pricing policy recently for renewals.
John: An interesting article though and something you’ll want to be aware of, especially when you go out, they’re buying plugins, they’re getting them. You don’t want to be buying them from a company that says, “Oh, we’ll just get them from WooCommerce and then we’ll pass them along to you.” Well, they won’t be supporting them properly, I’m sure and you could find yourself with troubles down the road. Not that it’s illegal for them to do it; it’s just morally ambiguous.
John: That’s it: morally wrong. Ambiguous.
Marcus: And, you know, especially if it’s WooCommerce plugins, who knows if they’re doing a – using like a sniffer program or something like that and actually —
John: Well, they could be adding code in there that turns your site into a spam machine, too.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s true.
John: There’s been a lot of that in the past when you get somebody else’s plugin from an unofficial site.
Marcus: Yeah, don’t be stupid. Don’t be downloading stuff from torrent sites or stuff like that. Just get it the right way. Believe me, you’re much better off paying for the license or getting your client to pay for the license. And by the way, that’s another thing, too. Here’s a lesson learned: always, always, always make your client pay for the plugins.
John: Oh, absolutely.
Marcus: Make them sign up for their own account to get it, do all that. They can share access with you. But I’ve run into a client that I haven’t done business with it two years and they’re like, “Hey, we need support on this theme that you got from ThemeForest…”
Marcus: It’s like, “Well, sorry, but you didn’t keep it up as far as your license and I’m not transferring to you. So if you need it, go buy it again.”
John: Go buy it again. That can happen. All right, well closing out today, one of the things we’d like to do, and this is going to be coming up in a future episode for the show. What that’s going to be is Marcus and I are going to be grabbing one of the plugins that the other of us have reviewed in the show. Then we’re going to do a quick, two-minute first impression of the plugin since we haven’t looked at the plugin and we’re going to try and load it up in a demo site and just quickly go through what this plugin says to me when I look at it in the first couple of minutes, whether or not it’s really viable or what I think about it, how easy it is to set up, how complicated – all that little bits and pieces. So it’ll be a little teaser as to what the plugin can do for you and we’ll display it live here on the YouTube video stream and also capture it for the further stream that gets put up later. So this’ll be an interesting addition to the show, so look forward to it when it comes.
Marcus: Yeah. In fact, that’s something that we’re going to be incorporating a lot more of is video, both in YouTube and probably on Facebook. You never know, the better off we do in donations, the more that this kind of stuff that we can do. But that also means that John and I can actually do some live Q&As with people that are looking for specific plugins and maybe we can find them live and go through them together.
John: Absolutely. All right, well closing out this episode here, I covered up the AWPCP Classifieds plugin, which I gave a 5 to; MailChimp for WordPress, which I gave a 5 to; and Flowpaper, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about great B2B Add-ons today: Purchase Order WooCommerce Add-on gets a 4 out of 5, Wholesale Pricing for WooCommerce gets a 4 out of 5, and Checkout Address Suggestions gets a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Excellent. And just a last little bit of promotions, don’t forget, we now have training videos up and online at WP Plugin Network. You can find them at the website; the links are in the show notes. Also, I’ve got one website I found kind of interesting during this last trip through everything. It’s a WordPress wiki. It’s called WordPresswiki.org. I’m not sure how new – well, maybe they’re gone.
John: Well, they were busy. They were there. Maybe they’ve exceeded their bandwidth? I don’t know.
Marcus: No, no, no, no, no. You can’t use “WordPress” in your domain.
John: Oh!!! Yes. Maybe they’ll come back with WPwiki?
Marcus: Yeah, good luck getting that now.
John: Yeah, no kidding. Anyway, it was kind of cool. When I was looking at the site the other day when I grabbed this link, it was like a collection of WordPress news from all over the place, and it was really kind of interesting. I was starting to dig into it but hopefully it comes back, because it didn’t look like a bad thing. It was nicely done, it had some advertising. But other than that, it seemed all right.
John: It didn’t seem like it was illegitimate in any way and it didn’t dawn on me. I keep forgetting you can’t use “WordPress” in the domain.
John: So they would’ve killed them real quick. [chuckle]
Marcus: Great idea, bad execution.
John: Bad execution: wrong domain. Choose again. All right, well that wraps us up. The usual reminders: don’t forget, you can go to the show and support the show by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate. All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and make sure you subscribe to us and review the show over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store. You can follow us on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz and please stop in at our YouTube channel. Watch us live every Monday morning, our screencasts that go up, training videos, and subscribe to us on our YouTube channel. We’d greatly appreciate it.
Marcus: And that’s how to watch us. Now how do they contact us, John?
John: And they can contact me on my website at JohnOverall.com, go to my website, the emergency WordPress supports, wppro.ca/emergency, or send an email direct to email@example.com.
Marcus: You can find me at my website, Marcuscouch.com, and it’s marcuscouch.com/smashing if you’re interested in Smashing Magazine. Find me on Twitter at @marcuscouch and remember, as John said, follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
John: And that’s all we’ve got for you now. Thanks for listening to the show. Take care now, bye-bye.
Thanks for listening to the show. This show is copyright by JohnOverall.com. So until next time, have yourselves a good morning, good afternoon, or a good evening, wherever you happen to be out there on the globe today.
[End of Audio]
It’s Episode 321 and we’ve got plugins for Classified Ads, Purchase Orders, Mailchimp Integration, Wholesale Pricing, PDF Documents and Auto Address Suggestions. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
All the show notes can be found at: WPPluginsAtoZ.com
Make sure you subscribe and review the show at:
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #320 here.
John: All right, first up this week here I have a plugin that was sent in to us by Natalie Anderson, and this plugin is called Post Title Formatter. It was sent in to us to – well, as from the WP Plugins A to Z website where you can go if you’re a developer, you can submit your plugins for review and get them in here sooner than we might find them on our own. Anyway, first off this is a simple plugin; no configurations required for it that I can find.
Once it installs, it does a couple of simple things for you. It capitalizes the first word in your post title, as well as ensures that you have spaces after any commas, it removes any full stops at the end. It’s a pretty basic plugin. You just turn it on, activate it. The one thing I found with it if you do make these mistakes while you’re creating your post title, it doesn’t correct them in the backend; it only corrects them in the frontend for you, so you’ll always see those mistakes in the backend but it corrects them in the frontend. All in all, an okay little plugin. It can help you out with your post creation. I give it a 3-Dragon rating. Go check it out.
Marcus: Nice. All right, well a lot of us use Contact Form 7 because it’s free and Gravity Forms and those kinds of things are not free. One of the things that I like to buy Gravity Forms is that it could redirect to a different page once they are done submitting their form. And now I found this plugin called CF7 Redirect which does the exact same thing. It adds the option to redirect to any page you choose after the successful mail has been sent.
What it does is it does it without AJAX and any of those events. You just simply go to your forms settings within Contact Form 7, you choose the redirect tab, and you just set the page where you want to redirect it to. This plugin does require Version 4.2 or later of Contact Form 7, so if you haven’t updated in a while, this is a good reason to go and update. I gave this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! That’s a nice add-on for Contact Form 7. I see there’s more and more of those add-ons out there, so I think Contact Form 7 will pick up eventually.
John: I just don’t think it’s interfaced for creating forms.
Marcus: Yeah, I’m starting to fall – I’m starting to get a big crush on Caldera Forms lately. But Contact Form 7 is also something that I use.
John: Okay, next up I have another plugin. It’s called MM Dashboard Customizer. It was sent in to us by Maroon Melham and this is a plugin that will help you do some basic customizations to your dashboard. It is a pretty decent plugin. It helps you make some changes to your dashboard, such as you can customize the login page with your own colors and logo and background.
You can remove a couple of the annoying widgets in the dashboard itself. You can customize the page background for the login, change text colors, go in and adjust and change some widgets in there, you can tweak the header bar just a little bit in it, and you can also tweak the photo bar with your own customized message in there. One other thing it does for you: if you are in need to reset all of your plugins in there back to their default settings when they were first installed, there’s a one-step button to do that. But beware, once you do it, it’s unchangeable, so it’s a way to start over again if you need to.
All in all, a pretty great little plugin and from my little tweaks, it’s a nice way to do some quick customizations to the dashboard to kind of customize it up for yourself and for your clients – get rid of some of the stuff you know they won’t want to see, especially in that dashboard login area where you have all the added widgets that they will never use. So anyway, check it out. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. It’s the MM Dashboard Customizer.
Marcus: Very nice! All right, this is a fun little plugin. It’s called 3D Effect Text and it’s a really simple plugin that just uses CSS to transform text, your title, your heading – anything like that. It just stands between two different shortcodes and it creates kind of a centered, raised lettering effect in 3D with some cool shadows and stuff.
It’d be great to use this on any kind of page that’s maybe a sale page or something that you just want to get that cool kind of over-the-top, not just bold but really fancy text, or showing it here on the screen for our video version of the show. But you can check it out for yourself on the WordPress Repository with the link in our show notes. It’s called 3D Effect Text and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s kind of cool looking. I like that way that does that and it would be quite handy. It gives you – well, yeah. Adjust the colors and tweak it out the way you want it. Nice!
Marcus: Absolutely – everything, yeah.
John: All right, the final one I’ve got up here today is called Sur.ly. It was again sent in to us by Mike Champs and this is a third-party service that connects your website to monitor all the outbound links off of your website. Currently, this service is free. You never know how long that’s going to happen with a service though, because free means they’ve got to be getting something for it somewhere. There’s no such thing as “free.” But what it does for you is it monitors the outbound links of your website and when people click on the outbound link and follow it, it creates a toolbar up at the top that they then follow.
It checks where the link is going to see if it’s leading to spam or adult content or some other place you really don’t want your visitors to wander off to. But it helps keep them within your domain, thereby raising the length of time on your domain for SEO results and other such things. All in all, I’m not really sure how I feel about this plugin but it does seem to have some great uses. You might want to go check it out and, as I said, currently it’s a free service, so check it out. At current, I give it a 4-Dragon rating. It’s called Sur.ly.
Marcus: Hmm, that’s something that that Pretty Link plugin does as well. It’s that same kind of thing. Interesting. Okay, well I’ve saved the best for last here, John. I’m always one to bitch and complain about the Media Library and I’ve found a really cool companion plugin to this called Restrict Media Library Access. When you enable this, what it does is it restricts access for authors and contributors, not admins and editors – but authors and contributors so that they can only see their own Media Library uploads when they go to the Media Library, which is nice because it —
Marcus: — helps to prevent them from seeing system images and stuff that you use to actually create the website and stuff that other people have actually uploaded, so that’s really a cool thing. It does that by actually kind of tagging them as the individual person or the owner, actually, of the content. So it prevents them from seeing anybody else’s media, anything like that that belongs to other authors. So as a reminder, admins, editors and all that, you’ll still be able to see everybody’s uploads within the site. It doesn’t really work for you, but if you want to separate it out between your contributors and your authors, this is a great way to do it. It’s called Restrict Media Library Access and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Very cool! I like that idea to restrict it to only the stuff they upload and you’re right, it does help clean up their library for them —
John: — versus the mess that’s usually left behind after you build a website. There’s always a lot of images in there.
Marcus: Yeah. If you had a sight where you had maybe 50 authors, it could get really confusing really fast and this is a great way to split that up.
John: All right, well that wraps it up. This week here I covered the Post Title Formatter, which I gave a 3 to; the MM Dashboard Customizer, which I gave a 4 to; and the Sur.ly, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about CF7 Redirect, which gets a 4 out of 5; 3D Effect Text, which gets a 4 out of 5; and Restrict Media Library, which gets a perfect 5 out of 5.
[End of Audio]
It’s Episode 320 and we’ve got plugins for Contact Form 7 Redirects, Dashboard Customizers, Post Title Formatter, 3D Text Effects, Link Monitoring and a new way to lock down and declutter the media library. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
It’s Episode 319 and we’ve got plugins for Database Backups, MultiSite Themes, Podcasting, Amazon Affiliates, Gamification and a great new native countdown timer. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #319 here.
John: First up this week here, the plugin that I just briefly touched on that was all about the latest training video, it’s a plugin that I covered way, way, way back in 2011. It’s the PowerPress Podcasting Plugin by Blubrry and it is the plugin we use on our website for managing the podcast. I covered it back in Episode 53 in December 2011 and originally I gave the plugin a rating of 4 Dragons. Well, over the years this plugin has changed a lot in the past six years since the first time I showcased it. Now, a lot of times I thought to come back and re-review it and I tried to deal with their updates. A lot of times I just would touch on them and I wouldn’t fully implement them on our site because I always had something else on my plate to do it.
Well, while I was doing the training video, I updated it for our site and tweaked the settings in it. The plugin has made a lot of advances in its settings. It’s improved to allow settings now to your podcast that will allow you to set up individual images per podcast episode. It will allow you to create new titles over the base titles that are in the post itself. It allows you to now submit to Google Play for showcasing along with an easy way to get it submitted to the iTunes Store. It also has SEO settings in it now to help improve the SEO settings. It even will insert C-data information in there to your podcast. There’s a lot that this plugin does now and it’s very thorough, very stable. It comes with some really great built-in players, so you don’t have to hunt down players.
And if you’re one that opts to use Blubrry services to host your podcast episodes, you can use their player and they have a really fantastic player which unfortunately I can’t use because I don’t use them for hosting my podcast. But their service is relatively affordable for those that want to use it. It’s like $15 a month. Anyway, a great plugin, it really had some great improvements over the years. Go check out the training video. I walk through how to set this plugin up, how to configure it, and tweak it all. So anyway, check out PowerPress Podcasting Plugin by Blubrry and it has been raised to a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Yeah, this one definitely gets a 5 from me as well.
Marcus: I have been podcasting since the tail end of 2004 – that makes it almost 13 years.
Marcus: And when I started, you actually had to hand in code your RSS and XML feeds.
John: I just missed that window.
Marcus: And then somebody – a pretty prominent person – told me, “Hey, there’s this thing called WordPress that can do all the RSS feeds for you automatically, and that’s what brought me to WordPress, absolutely. Hands-down, I was coding my site in something called Net Objects Fusion at the time, which still has some advantages over WordPress but definitely not enough for me to stick with it. So I am a huge believer in Blubrry and Todd Cochrane, who’s the CEO over there. They’re great – I don’t subscribe to the service myself, but in terms of this particular plugin, it’s the only one I would ever use or recommend for podcasts.
Marcus: All right, so let’s go to my first plugin of the day. It’s called GamiPress. It’s one of the easiest ways to use gamification on your WordPress website in just a few minutes. It allows you to award your users with digital rewards for interacting on your site, easily define the achievements, organizational requirements, and choose from a range of options to determine whether each task or requirement has been successfully activated. So that would be things like reading a particular article would give you X amount of points. Filling out a contact form would get you a certain amount of points. Leaving a comment gets you a certain amount of points.
And with all of those, then you actually unlock something or it could be just something as simple as a participation badge to actually real prize or things like that or reviewing products – any of those particular things. It’s a really great system, it has a lot of cool plugins and add-ons that go along with it that interact with things like Contact Form 7, GravityForms, Ninja Forms, and the like. A really cool plugin, nice base, something for you to check out. It’s called GamiPress and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That looks like a very nice plugin for implementation to us, maybe encourage people to do some stuff on our website.
Marcus: Yes, absolutely. I am privy to the internal website of one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United States just because of the work that I do with them. They have this exact same thing within their internal sort of intranet site and it actually monitors all of the training videos that you watch. It monitors all of the different tasks that you do and gets you kind of a running score and it resets every month, which is pretty wild too, because then you’ve got to go back into it again. So gamification is a great way to encourage a lot of participation on your website and I recommend you check it out.
John: Nice. I will definitely be looking at that later this week when I’m working on our stuff. All right, next up here I have a plugin that came out of necessity and this last week I had the necessity to retrieve a website from a host of ill repute for a client. It seemed their hosting provider would not give them C-panel access, which was generally making their life difficult for the things they needed to accomplish on their growing website. The one fortunate thing that we had was we had FTP access to their site. And with the FTP access and the fact that I have a script that allows me to upload via FTP and then to insert an administrative contact into any WordPress website if I’ve got FTP access, this allowed us to gain access to the website.
It allowed us to gain access into it to go in there and start pulling down all of their files, getting a hold of their files. Our big problem was getting the database. They had a fairly extensive database and in particular, a database with lots and lots of tables in it. This presents a problem especially on this particular hosting provider they were on where they had a server that had limited resources. So trying to grab their entire database at one time with a database backup plugin, it kept choking on it.
What I needed to do was find a database backup plugin that allowed me to pull out table by table or groups of tables at a time so I could limit the amount of resources on the server. Well, this plugin here is called WP Database Backup fit that bill perfectly for me in that it allows you to go in there and limit which data tables you’re going to yank in your backup. This allowed me to go through in the tables that have way too many records to exclude those and allow me to pull out the tables in chunks, and then pull out one table that had too many records all by itself.
This allowed me to pull the database out in pieces and then to piece it back together, add a quality host (JohnOverall.com hosting, by the way), and get it up and running again. It was a lot of work but well worth the effort and this plugin performed beautifully for doing that job. Now, the plugin offers more than that. It allows you to upload the backups to multiple destinations, you can put it to Amazon S3, Dropbox, email, FTP. If you’re going to use it as a backup system, it allows you to schedule the backups to do the backups on it. It does a system check to tell you how good the systems on it is and a bit more. All in all, a fantastic plugin. It performed perfectly, did what I needed, and will do more in the future for me. So go check it out: WP Database Backup Plugin. I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s very important. Very important.
John: Your hosting provider, one of the most important choices you’ll make with your website.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah. Okay, I am a big fan of countdown timers. They prompt a specific call to action and a deadline and create kind of a sense of urgency. One of the problems though is that countdown timers are often third-party things and you don’t necessarily get the advantage of using your own site when doing these things and you’re running external scripts and all of that. This is different. It’s called WP Deadlines and it displays a customizable countdown timer to your WooCommerce page and site as well. It has a site-wide FlyOut banner, countdown timers, and all of that for email, so you can actually use this in your email as well with a kind of embed code.
You don’t have to use any extra plugins for countdown timers or SAS services or anything like that. Everything is combined in this and it’s totally free and open source. So what this does is it allows you to run this countdown timer natively within your own site and save everybody the hassle of throwing it into spam and all the rest of all that stuff. A very good plugin – I’m just testing it out now on an actual live site that’s really, really working out well for me. I’ve just started using it actually last night and thought I would throw it in here for reviews. It’s called WP Deadlines, a great countdown timer, and I rated it actually a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! I like those. I have often been pulled into things when they throw a countdown timer at me if I’m hemming and hawing about whether I should get something.
Marcus: Right, and that could include things like special discounts, okay?
John: Well —
Marcus: If you want to do it for one day, then you have a special discount that has a countdown timer.
Marcus: A lot of different things.
John: Yeah, because usually a product or a plugin or a service or something, I look at it and go, “I can use it but hey, it’s discounted and they’re gonna kill it. Will they actually?” So make sure you use it legitimately, folks. If you’re going to offer a discount, make sure you kill that discount when you say you’re going to, instead of I see companies that say, “Discounts…limited!”
John: And then two weeks later, the same discount, same limited timeframe. It’s like, “Okay, guys.”
Marcus: Yeah, exactly.
John: So really, I can just buy it anytime at the discount. No, make it legit. But yeah, I have been pulled in because of those, so they actually help encourage you to do that, so check ‘em out.
John: All right, final one I’ve got here today is called Amazon Auto Links and this one here, it seems I am going to be making another foray down the world of the affiliate links again for a client who wants to set up some Amazon linking systems in there. This is a plugin I started checking out to look at to make the setting up of the Amazon links on your website an automatic process versus having to manually do it. This look like a plugin that’s going to fit the bill quite nicely. I’m just now digging down into it to see what it does.
But one of the nice things it does, it’s pretty straightforward. It sets up its connection using the Amazon product API key. You can choose from 12 server locations from across the globe depending on where you’re at, including Canada, France, and the UK (which is really nice for my client who is Canadian). You can go in and whitelist products and blacklist items. It also has a product cache so that it’ll cache the stuff on your website up to you determine the number of days it keeps the cache live, so it helps improve the speed and performance of your site, instead of always having to wait for Amazon to load.
It uses your affiliate linking information for Amazon, so it automatically puts your affiliate link into all of the ads it produces for your site and it can be inserted into the site using shortcodes or widgets into your site, so it’s relatively straightforward. More and more will come out of it as I start to use it but at the moment, it’s looking like it’s going to be a good 4-Dragon rating plugin, so check it out: Amazon Auto Links.
Marcus: Yes. Amazon is actually very important within your site. I actually wrote a blog post on my site and I referenced a book like a year ago.
Marcus: And for some reason, I ranked pretty high on that term for that book.
Marcus: And I made already I think this year, just based on one little blog post, about $150 in commissions on that, and just kind of did it secondhand. I really didn’t intend on making any money with it but I thought, “You know what? I better put an Amazon link into it since I’m referencing it anyway,” and I was surprised.
Marcus: So give that plugin a shot and, you know, it’ll help you with Amazon links as well.
All right, let’s wrap it up here, John. I’ve got a lazy plugin.
John: Oh, sweet! We haven’t had one of those in a long time.
Marcus: Yep, and it’s actually a lazy plugin that has to do with WP Multisite, or WPMU, whichever one you want to call it. One of the things that I hate the most as a super-admin with this thing is it still locks me out of editing and administering different sites as I’m navigating through the different networks. I wanted to just use a theme and use the theme on four or five different sites so that I could kind of build them sequentially, and every time you do it, you’ve got to go back into the other site and you’ve got to network admin navigate it, and you’ve got to do all this other stuff.
So this is called WPMU Allow All Themes and you activate this plugin and it eliminates the need completely for any network activate when it comes to themes. It’s a real good timesaver. To me, this should be a toggle in Multisite, but it’s not. I don’t know why.
Marcus: So check it out for yourself. If you use Multisite, it’s few and far between these days of people that are actually using Multisite, but that’s okay. I do – I love it and this is a great, lazy plugin, rated a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Yes, that is a nice plugin. I will have to add that to my Multisite that I still currently run —
John: — because I do have that problem. It’s like I load a theme and I’m like, “Oh, crap. I’ve got to go load here, change, activate this…”
John: Yeah – Multisite is a great tool and it’s also a challenging tool at the same time. It does have its issues but I think I’ve solved the issues that were plaguing our site, so —
Marcus: Oh, really?
John: — our site might stay Multisite after all.
John: I found a plugin that was conflicting, so —
Marcus: What was that?
Marcus: What plugin?
John: [chuckling] It was conflicting with the theme we’re using.
John: So it’s the plugin that uses the – it’s the dashboard from WPMU —
John: — their dashboard plugin was conflicting with the theme, so I turned it off and all the problems went away. I was like, okay. So contact them, eventually they’ll update their plugin, because they can be a little slow at updating the plugin when it’s a not a priority problem.
John: But they usually do get around to it. So anyway, a great plugin, yeah. I like that idea.
All right, that wraps us up for this week. I covered up PowerPress Podcasting Plugin, which I gave a 5 to; the WP Database Backup, which I gave a 5 to; can the Amazon Auto Links, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I reviewed GamiPress, which gets a 5 out of 5; WP Deadlines, the countdown timer, gets a 4 out of 5; and we just talked about WPMU Allow All Themes, which gets a perfect 5 out of 5.
[End of Audio]
This plugin was first reviewed in Episode 53 on Dec 15, 2011 here http://wppluginsatoz.com/wordpress-plugins-from-a-to-z-episode-53-podcasting-plugins-and-more/ so its time to re-review it and create a training video about it which can be found here.
This plugin has changed allot over the past 6 years and it time to showcase some of the improvements they have made as well as how to get it fully set up or in my case make use of the updates that have been ignored.
Especially with the advance of now having Google play as a place to showcase your podcast. If you are a podcaster and looking to switch they even have a migration tool available. If your new to podcasting use this plugin as it provides everything you need. If you like me have been using this awhile and simply been doing the updates over time. Then you need to review all the settings on it.
All in all this plugin provides a great experience for both you and your listeners when visiting your website. Plus they make it easy to showcase your podcast inn Google Play and iTunes.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #318 here.
John: Right, first up this week the plugin I’ve got here, this one is called Subscribe to Comments Reloaded. This is the one I did a training video on, so you can go check out the training video on it. This is a plugin that I have been using for a long time now. I went back and realized it was reviewed back in Episode 68 of the show back in 2012 and I’ve been using it ever since. So I decided to update the review on it while I was doing the training video on how to properly use this plugin because it’s improved since its 2012 debut and they keep it up to date. The last update was a couple of months ago.
Anyway, this is a great plugin that will help encourage your site visitors to subscribe to the comments on a post. It helps keep them coming back to your site and getting engaged in the discussion that is taking place on your web page. Now also if they don’t want to leave a comment, they can subscribe to the comments without leaving a comment, so they can just follow the discussion instead of having to become active in it. This is also a useful way to keep them coming back to your site.
Now, it collects the email addresses and with the right additions, you can actually get those email addresses fed into MailChimp or other areas. All in all, this plugin has come a long way back when I first reviewed it. I gave it a 3, but it’s improved. It is now at a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out: Subscribe to Comments Reloaded.
Marcus: Let’s unmute myself and then we can continue.
John: There we go.
Marcus: This plugin came just in the nick of time. It’s called WooCommerce Product Shortcodes. You can do, if you just wanted to do a random dump of one particular product and have it spit out just stock information based on WooCommerce and a buy button and all that, that’s right out of the box for WooCommerce. But if you want to do something a little bit different, if you want to refer to a specific product, refer to a specific product’s price, or anything like that within a blog post or something like that, this does it.
So let me explain a little bit how it works. With this plugin, you basically can replace static text. So if I’m talking about Widget X that I’m selling at my store and add a blog post that says why you should go buy Widget X, I can say something like, “This Widget X is priced as low as X.”
Marcus: And use the short code and as I update the price in my WooCommerce store, this text also updates itself. So if I want to put a little special piece of text in there, anything like that, say I’ve got something like Revolution Slider or Layer Slider or something like that and I want to reference the picture of the particular product, then use this shortcode as part of HTML to display the price of that product. I can do that without having to then go back and edit all my slides and all my other things. This is if I change it in the product setup in WooCommerce, then it changes everywhere else on the site when I use this plugin. It’s called WooCommerce Product Shortcodes and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! That’ll actually help out quite a bit. I like the idea of being able to have it in a slider and have the prices update automatically there, so —
Marcus: A slide or a blog post – anything you want. It actually changes based upon that shortcode and what product ID that you actually enter it in as.
John: Nice. All right, well next up here what I have, this is the plugin requested that we find by Craig. The plugin is called Email to Download. Now, what this plugin does for you is it captures emails and then allows a download like Craig was asking for and it’s just the ticket you want. In its base form what this plugin does is you set it up and then you have to put a little bit of code into your WP Config file to make it work a little bit better. You go in and you create a product or a file that you want to give away.
It’s designed to give away any types of files, be they pictures, PDFs – anything. Then it allows you whenever you’re creating a post or a page, it has a shortcode button creator that you can create a shortcode button to place on any page or post based on any of the products that you have created in the database for it. Insert it in there, it shows up on the page as this really nice, pretty form where it asks them to fill in their email address, and then they get emailed the link to download the PDF file, which is about as instantaneous as you’re going to get to prevent people from putting in false email addresses to attract your products, so you want real email addresses.
Afterwards, in its base form, you would have to manually take the emails collected and insert them into MailChimp. But if you go for their add-on which is $19, you can have it automatically insert the emails into your MailChimp or into Mail Poet. That is the only two add-ons they have at the moment. Maybe if you talk to the author and you need another one, maybe you can get them to develop another add-on for you. At any rate, a really great plugin, very useful and it looks like it’s going to solve your problem, Craig. Thanks a lot for suggesting it to us. I greatly appreciate it. So check it out: Email to Download and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice. All right, one of the most confusing aspects I think of WordPress sometimes is post types. Generally, post types, we’re referring to something like pages, posts, you know, those two different types of things. Sometimes we get into custom posts. Well, once you do it, it’s kind of a set-it-and-forget-it, right? I mean, it’s only really one thing. Sometimes you want to change those over though. Maybe I want to change a page to a post or a post to a page, or something like that.
Marcus: A post to a custom post type or vice-versa. This plugin does it all. It’s called Post Type Manager and it adds a post type dropdown now to the post editor section of WordPress where you could change that post type to any new post type. So you can change page to post, post to page, post to a custom type, or a custom type to a different custom type, which is pretty cool. It often happens when you switch themes sometimes if you have old themes that actually made something into a variable kind of custom post type that is no longer being used and you want to change it into something else. So this is an absolute conversion that does one to the other with absolutely no headaches in between, a great plugin, and rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Wrong button, that’s all right. That happens. Perfect! That’s an excellent one. I haven’t needed one of those in a while, but it’s always nice to know that someone is keeping one of those plugins developed to allow you to change post types, because it does happen especially on an older website where things were created as a page when they should have been posts or vice-versa.
Marcus: Right, exactly.
John: So very useful to be able to make that quick, easy change. All right, finally I’ve got two quick ones here. One is a quick plugin that it’s more of a warning than anything else on the plugin, then we’re going to go into a real plugin. The first one here, I saw something that looked kind of cool today; it was on the new releases. It’s called Stock Photos and it’s one that goes into a stock photo website, the Creative Commons, and helps you get those to your theme and to use them in your posts and pages.
The problem with this plugin (and I will keep an eye on it and let the developer know), I couldn’t get the thing to work at all. It was just a complete dead end. It’s a brand new plugin but hey, that’s what sometimes can happen and I just wanted to let everyone know because I had already started to dig into it. And hey, at this moment here, it’s not worth installing the plugin called Stock Photos, but I will keep an eye on it because it’s a very useful plugin for many people I know that are always looking for the free stock photos that come from Creative Commons versus paying for the higher quality stuff.
All right, and my final plugin today is called WooCommerce ‘Email Money Transfer’ Payment Gateway. Now, this one here I got because I thought – you know, I keep seeing the recommended pages of plugins in your backend of WordPress. I thought well, let’s jump in there. I never go look at those and see what’s there. It’s got 99 pages, over 2,100 plugins there, and I skipped around and I landed on p. 77 and found this plugin here for Canadians mostly. This mostly for Canadians and Canadian clients. If you have Canadian clients or they do business in Canada, one of the ways we make payments in Canada is using Interac e-Transfer – a very popular way of sending money here. They send it direct to their bank, it requires you to create a passphrase and a passcode for it.
Now if you run a website – and I’ve run a couple of them where we’ve accepted email money transfers. The biggest way you have to do it is you have to have a generic question and a generic answer – always the same question, always the same answer. That poses a bit of a risk if hackers or third-party interpreters or something intercepts. It can happen; it has happened to people. If they intercept it, they already know your question and the passcode.
Well, what this plugin does is it goes into WooCommerce and it is an option for payment for people. When they click on it, it then tells them what the question is going to be and then it generates a random password for them to use. The random password is then saved in your database and you get an email about the rest of it, so then all you have to do is log into your WordPress website. So the hackers would need two pieces to be able to get in there. They need to get to your emails and then they’d also have to hack into your WordPress website to get the information, making this a little bit more secure of a way to get e-transfers in there.
A really great, useful tool for Canadian listeners and Canadian shoppers, but that’s the way it works here. Anyway, it’s a great plugin. I really liked the way it worked and the way it’s set up. It’s called WooCommerce ‘Email Money Transfer’ Payment Gateway. Check it out. I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! We don’t have anything like that in the States.
John: No, it’s real popular here. As I send money back and forth to people and how I pay employees and other things is a transfer.
John: It’s really sweet.
Marcus: Well, speaking of employees, I hire a lot of freelancers from other places. Every now and again for whatever reason, you might need to restrict the access of an individual user or somebody who’s actually finished with the site. Maybe you might want to keep their account on hand just in case but maybe restrict what they can do. So this plugin is called Block User Accounts and it’s about the easiest that I’ve seen in order to actually restrict management for somebody.
Normally, John, I’m sure you can concur with this that if you want to actually restrict the access of one particular user, you’ve got to go in, you’ve got to find them, you’ve got to get into the user settings, you’ve got to change it down to like subscribe or something like that, and then after that, what you’ve got to do is change it back or whatever.
Well, this plugin actually does a lot more than that. So what you can actually do is block an individual user from having backend access with just one click.
Marcus: So you just block that particular user and then when it’s time to actually unblock them again, you just go back to the users list, you can see who’s blocked, and with one click you can unblock them again. I think it’s great for actually dealing with individuals who are freelancers or workers on the particular site that maybe somewhere down the road you might have to have them do a fix or something else that’s associated with it. You don’t necessarily want to delete them but you want to sort of remove them from that backend access. Maybe your clients haven’t paid either and you want to block them, too. Who knows?
John: It’s possible.
Marcus: So this is called Block User Accounts and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 rating.
John: That’s a very useful plugin. That’s a nice way to not have to delete the account and then possibly have to recreate it in a couple of weeks.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: All right, well that’s it. I covered up this week the Subscribe to Comments Reloaded, which I gave a 4 to; the Email to Download, which I gave a 4 to; and the WooCommerce Email Money Transfer Payment Gateway, which I gave a 5 to.
Marcus: And I talked about WooCommerce Product Shortcodes, which gets a 4 out of 5, Post Type Manager, which gets a 5 out of 5, and Block Users, which also gets a 5 out of 5.
[End of Audio]
It’s Episode 318 and we’ve got plugins for Email Downloads, Subscribe to Comments, Post Type Convertors, Stock Photos, Shortcodes for WooCommerce Fields and Blocking User Accounts. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!