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

It's Episode 324 and we've got plugins for User Spam Removal, Products Coming Soon, Layered Popups, Weather Alerts,White Labeling and new upgrades to the Media Player. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 324 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 324 and we've got plugins for User Spam Removal, Products Coming Soon, Layered Popups, Weather Alerts,White Labeling and new upgrades to the Media Player. 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 #324 here.


It’s Episode 324 and we’ve got plugins for User Spam Removal, Products Coming Soon, Layered Popups, Weather Alerts,White Labeling and new upgrades to the Media Player. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #324

Marcus:           It’s Episode 324 and we’ve got plugins for User Spam Removal, Products Coming Soon, Layered Pop-ups, Weather Alerts, White Labeling, and new upgrades to the Media Player. It’s all coming up next on WordPress Plugins A to Z.

[Intro]

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. Finding some Zen at the Brewery Overlook in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I’m John Overall.

Marcus:           And from Laguna Beach, California where our mute buttons stick, I’m Marcus Couch.

John:                And of course we have the usual great show for you here today, and right off the top here, let’s talk about you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com and we’d greatly appreciate your time going over to Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or the iTunes Store, subscribing to us there and leaving us reviews. They really help us out.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                — especially the subscriptions. And you can also check out our training videos, screencasts, and watch us live on YouTube every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Marcus:           That’s right! Got a lot going on and it’s great to be able to reach out and hit another platform like YouTube and we’ve slowly but surely been getting a little bit of traction on YouTube.

John:                Yeah, and it’s slowly coming together for us. Well, with all of that, we’re going to dive right into the first of our plugins and we have the usual allotment of six great plugins for you, so off we go!

[Plugins lead-in music]

All right, first up I have a plugin here today that will help you clean up spam registrations on your membership or your e-commerce store. And if you’ve been running a membership site for any length of time or an e-commerce store for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about with spam registrations. Every once in a while, those registrations just seem to go nutso. It seems the bots take over no matter what you do, Captchas, whatever – they still seem to get through. In particular, this came about due to a client of mine. He’d sort of ignored the site for a while and we were cleaning it up to do some work with it and found it had over 24,000 members in there. It’s like almost every one of them, virtually all of them, were spam. Multiple letters, yadda, yadda, yadda. So cleaning them up looked like a daunting task going through the database or removing them or going through manually and removing them.

Well, I found this plugin here called User Spam Remover and what it does for you, you install it in there and it’ll remove all the spam registrations or all old accounts, period. You can either set it up to tell it how old to keep an account. Say you want to keep accounts that are 10 days or newer (or even less), older, whatever you want to do. It will automatically go through and remove those over the period of 24 hours in blocks or you can manually sit there and click a button for a few minutes and it drops them out at the rate of 1,000 per click. So in very short order you can clean up a site like this one. It took me about 10-20 minutes to clean it up, it’s database cleaned and cleared of all of the spam comments. It’s simple enough, very great plugin, works fantastically, saves hours and tons of headaches. Check it out: User Spam Registration and I gave this one a 5-Dragon rating.

[Dragon roar]

Marcus:           Okay, so we’re going to go to a new one here. I use this layered pop-up plugin all the time and now there is an upgrade to it. Somebody forked it and actually made it even cooler. Instead of having a different kind of taxonomy as far as a pop-up goes, this one’s called Page Layered Popup. And so what it does is it actually allows you to take a regular page and make that the pop-up and it also does something which is it allows you to take that page and make it a splash screen which goes on your site. On the YouTube video here, John’s showing the description and things from the author which isn’t very good.

John:                No, it’s not.

Marcus:           You would actually have to know what this does to try it out, which is what I did, and it works pretty well, quite frankly. So this is one of these that’s kind of the hidden gem; you have to look sort of beneath the surface to see what it is that it does. It’s called Page Layered Popup and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very cool. That sounds like a pretty nice plugin. But yeah, their description on the site there is kind of lacking.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                But that happens sometimes. That’s all right. Well, that being said, I want to let you folks know that this show is sponsored by either the following people and/or businesses. This week here, it’s JohnOverall.com, WordPress and web services providing for all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress setup and development. Or if you’re having troubles with your WordPress website, if you’ve been hacked, having issues, plugin issues, theme issues, general development questions, then contact me.

And with 20 years of experience online, eight of those dealing specifically with WordPress exclusively, I can get you back on your way, saving you time, money, headaches, all those things. You can visit me at my website, JohnOverall.com, or call me at (818) 580-7729 or send an email to john@wppro.ca.

Marcus:           And if you, like many of the other people out there that are crazy-influenced and love WordPress to death, this might be a good time for you to start writing about WordPress. And if you’d like to write for one of the biggest online web publications there is, it’s Smashing Magazine. If you could just go to marcuscouch.com/smashing, I’ve got a video there that tells you all about the process, how to get started, and how to make some extra money.

John, you’ve been actually helping me review some of those, and that’s something that I’ll be calling for maybe later on is some actual people to help with the reviews so far. But, you know, you’ve seen some of the articles.

John:                Oh —

Marcus:           Pretty good, huh?

John:                The ones I’ve read so far, they’ve been fantastic.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                And some of them were some really – it’s really in-depth stuff that really will help you with your web development. Even like the most recent one I got from you, it’s like that one there is some things I didn’t even know could be done.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                So it’s amazing kind of articles and writers that are coming across here, so check it out.

Marcus:           Yep! Yeah, so if you’d like to be part of that, go to marcuscouch.com/smashing.

John:                Absolutely. And look on the bright side, you get paid for it, too!

Marcus:           That’s true.

John:                That’s the best part.

Marcus:           Mm-hm.

John:                Okay, well – and that’s pretty much there, so I think it’s time to dive right into our next plugin. The one I’ve got up next is called White Label CMS and when you’re turning over a website you’ve developed for a client and you’re turning it over to your client, there’s many times when you turn it over to them that you want to simplify that dashboard up. Make it so that they have very little that they’ve got to deal with or look at. There’s things that sometimes your users or your clients don’t need to see or check out.

And in this particular case here, what you’ll want to do is you install the White Label CMS and it allows you to go in there and customize areas of the dashboard that simplify it, remove all the extraneous stuff like the WordPress News and other things that they won’t be interested in or don’t reflect on what they’re doing with their website. You can go in there and customize up the header area of the dashboard. You can customize and add some branding into it, so you can brand it up. Customize and brand up the login screen if they have a membership or an e-commerce store. So a lot of little things you can do with it and it’s a pretty decent plugin, it works pretty smoothly. Check it out; it’s called White Label CMS and I gave this one a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Hmm…cool! Now John, you guys on this show – all the listeners, that is, have heard me talk about the media library for some time and all the missing functionalities and some of the ways that it could be improved. But one of the things I’ve really never thought about is the actual media player that plays things out of the media library. There’s a new plugin called WP Media Player Addons, and this is an add-on plugin that changes the existing media player. So the default media player, not really that responsive in themes, it looks kind of plain, hasn’t really been updated for about 10 years.

This one actually works a lot better, so it’s a fully responsive media player that works with any theme, you get to style both the video and the audio players, you get to add loop buttons, you get to add your own album art, tracks, titles, artist name, album name – all that stuff is added to the player. You’ve actually got a shuffle button and a repeat button, and you’ve always got some fallback album art that you can place on there as well. It’s got a number of different skins that you can use and it’s really cool. I like this. I’m going to be trying this out on my personal site just for some of the older media files that I’ve got in there and make it maybe a little more homey. I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar]

John:                Cool. It’s always nice to have an additional media player, something different than the default norm.

Marcus:           Yeah, isn’t it? This is something we’ve been kind of overlooking the media player forever. It’s not something I really think about that much.

John:                No, I hadn’t thought about it much and the fact that with our site we use the Blubrry PowerPress, which has its own built-in media player.

Marcus:           Mm-hm.

John:                So I hadn’t given it much thought and how other people are doing things. I like this.

Marcus:           Yeah!

John:                And I will be digging into that one deeper, because I’ve got a client that’s getting ready to drop the occasional audio file in – not a full-on podcast, so this might be a way to deal with that.

Marcus:           Yeah, I hope so!

John:                Excellent. All right, well we’d like to let everyone know that this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. And in that vein, we would like to acknowledge that those who have supported the show in the past week, all donations $50 and up are read out and their notes are published here in the show notes. For all those who come in below $50, you remain anonymous and we thank you very much.

And this week here, we would like to just pass a big thank you to all our donors who came in under $50 and to those of you who have set up weekly subscriptions, those small subscriptions really do help the show out. They may not seem like much but, you know, $2.50 here, $3.50 there – hey, it all adds up. It helps support the show by helping us pay for things such as bandwidth, transcripts, and the time it takes to produce the show and to do the website and the marketing that is starting to go on with the show.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                So please, ways you can support the show, head on over to wppluginsatoz.com/donate where there’s multiple subscription levels you can sign up for. Or if you can’t afford anything, hey, there’s even ways listed there where you can support the show by helping us with things on the website, such as editing show notes or tweaking design ideas, or just all kinds of the little things that go into managing and maintaining something like this. So please, head over and help the show at wppluginsatoz.com/donate.

Marcus:           Yes, we do appreciate you heading to that link and John, I think that brings us to our final group of plugins.

John:                That it does! And finally today here, I had started off with another plugin that I’d found that was brand new. But unfortunately that plugin did not work at all and it was a hurricane watch plugin that was just released. But I tried it on two different websites and different themes and for some reason it wasn’t working, so I threw it out. But in that vein there, I also tripped across another one called National Weather Service Alerts. And of course in the last couple of weeks with all the news of hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes and everything, hey, a National Weather Service alert might be just what you need on your website.

So this is a nice plugin. You set it up, you’ve got to go in and do a little bit of work once you install it. You’ve got to go activate the tables (they don’t activate automatically for it). You have to go in and create your shortcodes to display on the website and it will display any active National Weather Service alerts, and this is across the United States. It doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else, so it’s for all you Americans down there. This is a great way to monitor any local weather reports you have on your sites. A really nice plugin; check it out: National Weather Service Alerts and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice! Always handy to have something like that on board. All right, for my final plugin, this is a WooCommerce plugin and it is called Products Coming Soon. And believe it or not, this is one of these glaring oversights in WooCommerce that there is really no native way to show upcoming items as a preview, or possibly a preorder, so this plugin does just that.

If you have a new design concept, new product that’s coming – anything like that – this allows you to add it, take preorders, and actually not run the order until the item arrives and ships out. But it still allows you to start gathering those preorders for things that don’t necessarily exist within your products catalogue yet. It’s called WooCommerce Products Coming Soon and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                An excellent thing to have if you run an e-commerce store and you’re adding products regularly or you’re bringing out new products.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                All right, well closing out this episode, the plugins I covered are User Spam Remover, which I gave a 5 to; White Label CMS, which I gave a 4 to; and then the National Weather Service Alerts, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Page Layered Popups, which gets a 4 out of 5; WP Media Player Addons gets a 5 out of 5; and WooCommerce Products Coming Soon gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                All right, and last bits of promotions here: be sure to check out your YouTube screencast that goes up later in the day. It’s in addition to the live version which gets placed automatically and in that there, I am going to be starting to add on an additional layer to that that comes after, which shows me showcasing one of the plugins Marcus mentioned in the show today. So make sure you check that out.

And a note to developers out there who would like to support the show, if you want to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to our contest page and enter all the information there and we will create a contest to give away your premium license showcasing your product and enhancing the community. And also, don’t forget to go check us out on YouTube where we have training videos, screencasts, and more stuff is gaining traction there, so you can go check us out on YouTube. Links are all in the show notes for that. And for all WordPress news, information, other related stuff, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get all of that. All of that information is now going into the newsletter instead of here in the show.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                And that’s all we’ve got for you now.

Marcus:           All right, John, how can they contact us?

John:                They can reach me at JohnOverall.com or you can send an email direct to john@wppro.ca.

Marcus:           And you can find me at my website, marcuscouch.com, on Twitter at @marcuscouch. Remember to go to marcuscouch.com/smashing if you want to get involved in Smashing Magazine. And hey, remember to follow this show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.

John:                And that’s all we got for you now. Take care. Bye-bye.

[Outro]

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.

[Child giggling]

 

[End of Audio]

It's Episode 323 and we've got plugins for Facebook Reviews, Speed Monitoring, New Posts via Messenger, Nearby Locations, Media File Types and Latest Posts. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 323 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 323 and we've got plugins for Facebook Reviews, Speed Monitoring, New Posts via Messenger, Nearby Locations, Media File Types and Latest Posts. 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 #323 here.


It’s Episode 323 and we’ve got plugins for Facebook Reviews, Speed Monitoring, New Posts via Messenger, Nearby Locations, Media File Types and Latest Posts. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #323

Marcus:           It’s Episode 323 and we’ve got plugins for Facebook Reviews, Speed Monitoring, New Posts Via Messenger, Nearby Locations, Media File Types, and Latest Posts. It’s all coming up next on WordPress Plugins A to Z.

[Intro]

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 Pits of Hell, I’m John Overall.

Marcus:           [laugh] And celebrating Labor Day here in the United States – last three-day weekend of the summer – I’m Marcus Couch.

John:                Yeah, it only feels like the Pits of Hell. I’ve been dealing with spammers and hackers on all my servers for the past two days. Not done yet – after the podcast and only because we’ve scheduled it to run live have I taken a break to do that. So, doing this just for all of you, our wonderful listeners out there.

Marcus:           And it just goes to show that everybody’s vulnerable – everybody.

John:                Everybody is and it happens once in a while. So anyway, let’s get onto it. All the show notes all can be found at wppluginsatoz.com. If you’ve got a few minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time. Over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, the iTunes store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the podcast. Also, you can check out the screencast videos and more on YouTube and follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                All right.

Marcus:           Got it all there for you.

John:                And don’t forget, please subscribe to our newsletter, because there is more information about that near the end of the show. And right off the bat, lets dive right into the meat and potatoes of this palindrome edition of WP Plugins A to Z.

Marcus:           All right.

John:                Off we go!

[Plugins lead-in music cue]

John:                Okay, I have – well, we have our usual allotment of six great plugins today and first up I have a plugin which I found while doing some research for a client, and it’s called Latest Posts. I know it’s another latest post plugin. I was looking for something that’s done better than most of your standard widgets for showing your latest posts, show the standard column with the image to the left. I wanted something we didn’t have to customize up; just simple, easy drop-in that would give us the large image at the top, snip it underneath it, and several smaller ones on the side. You know, really simple and straightforward.

Anyway, this plugin fits the bill but you do have to jump up to the pro version of it. The free version is pretty decent. It gives you a good layout, looks good and nice, but the pro version is what you need to get the customized formats in it and they have several formats that go with it. It’s only $19, worth the extra cash, and it does a great job of displaying your posts in the widget areas that you put it. So go check it out, Latest Posts, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice! And I’m going to actually see your Latest Posts plugin and raise you a Messenger!

John:                [chuckling]

Marcus:           Because my plugin is called News Booster for Messenger, and what it is it’s a subscription plugin that somebody can subscribe to your latest posts via Facebook Messenger. So your readers actually subscribe not via email, not via anything, except Facebook. That allows you to reach obviously that massive audience within Facebook Messenger and we all know this: when you get a Facebook message, you read it. You open it.

John:                You do.

Marcus:           Messenger receives an 85% open rate, so it allows you to reach an audience that you never really could before in a way that you never really could before, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice!

Marcus:           News Booster for Messenger.

John:                Check it out. Yeah, it’s one that I might have to check out with the improvements I’m doing to my other site.

Marcus:           Absolutely.

John:                All right, well just a little talk about myself here today. If you’ve got troubles with your WordPress website, been hacked, cracked, well, I am actually quite good at it. [chuckling] I repaired six websites in the last 12 hours. At any rate, I’ve got 20 years’ experience online, eight of those dealing with WordPress exclusively. If you’ve found you have troubles, I can help save you time, money, get you back up and online, but very little effort (well, sometimes). Well, I don’t know. Anyway, go visit my website, JohnOverall.com or give me a call (818) 850-7729 or email me at john@wppro.ca. I might be just a little punch drunk here.

Marcus:           Ah, all right. Well hey, anybody listening to the show has a complete passion for WordPress and if you’d like to write about something unique for WordPress, you get exposure to Smashing Magazine, which is one of the largest web design entities on the internet. Just do the following: go to marcuscouch.com/smashing and you’ll get to the form and a video that tells you all about the process. You get to see my smiling face tell you all the details – marcuscouch.com/smashing.

John:                And it’s a really great deal, folks.

Marcus:           Yeah, you actually get paid and get some nice reviews out of it, too.

John:                That’s one good part, too. But earning a little money for writing? Hey, that’s a great thing to do. All right, next up in our plugins here I have one that I discovered while just randomly looking around to see what was available out there, and it’s called Nearby Locations. What it’s for is it’s another Google Map plugin, but this one’s a little different. Once you set your location in there, what it does is it’ll create a map and then showcase other things that you choose to showcase, such as shopping, retail, conveniences, bars – all the nearby stuff to your location on the map.

So this could be a nice little enhancement to your website for whatever business you might have. If you’ve got a hotel or something, you might showcase all the restaurants that are nearby. Or you’ve got other businesses, this is a great little way to showcase it. It’s pretty simple to use, pretty straightforward. Just enter your Google Maps API key, choose your location, and then go choose the categories you want to display. So a really great, simple plugin, it tests out okay. Give it a try. It’s called Nearby Locations and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           That’s very nice. Yeah, that is handy for any location-based business.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           All right, the next one is something that’s pretty close to my heart dealing with the media library. This one is a very restrictive type of plugin that allows you to enable and disable different things. It’s called WP Media File Type Manager and what it does is it allows you to enable or disable specific file types for security reasons. So if you only want .png and .jpg and just strictly images and maybe no other kind of file, no Word file, no Excel file, no PDFs – none of those things – you can actually set what is allowed and what is disallowed within the media library.

This is great to work with clients so they don’t upload, you know, stupid things, .eps files, all that kind of stuff, and keeps it so that your media library is completely clean. So it’s called WP Media File Type Manager and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very cool! I like that. Another way to lock down your website and keep out the crap.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                Okay, well we’d like to let you guys know that this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some 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 notes are published here with links back to wherever they want them. And for those that come below $50, they will remain anonymous and we thank you very much.

So this week here we have $50 from Jezweb Pty Ltd. and his note is:

“Hi John and Marcus. This week’s donation is on behalf of The Mark Hotel, https://www.themarkhotel.com.au/ which created some interesting challenge because there was very little text information available for the design and we are expecting most users to be on mobile. Jezweb shot and produced the video on the bottom of the homepage which is something we are gradually getting more interest from clients to have done. One plugin I tried today that I haven’t used before was https://wordpress.org/plugins/attachment-pages-redirect/ Attachment Pages Redirect. So that we could disable the attachment pages for a client. However, on seeing how simple the code is for the functions file we are going to just include that in the future rather than relying on the plugin.”

Yeah, sometimes it’s not a bad thing if it’s a simple function. You just drop it in. Anyway,

“Thanks for your efforts on the show. The new format feels snappier and progresses well from each section.”

Thanks a lot, Jez.

Marcus:           Very nice, and yes, anytime that you can fork a common plugin into a regular recurring function, it’s always great. I like plugins though just because it allows me to disable them —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — with just a click, rather than having to deal with code, which might be in a couple of different places, so that’s cool. Also, hey, remember that there are other ways that you can contribute to the show beyond, you know, just donating that $50. It’s at wppluginsatoz.com/donate and everything that you can do helps to support this show and you can also contribute a monthly donation via Patreon and there’s a lot of different benefits that John has created – some tutorials, things like that – that you get in exchange for that regular donation. So help us out if you can. As John said, it is – [Marcus lost connection]

John:                After we lost Marcus for a little bit there, we got it cleaned up. He was discussing how you can go support the show. You can drop in at wppluginsatoz.com/donate and help us there or through Patreon. So that takes us into our next plugin we’ve got. The next one I’ve got here for you is called Site Speed Monitor and it is a way to monitor your website to see what kind of speed you’re getting out of it.

It’s a simple site speed monitor that connects up to the webpagetest.org API and one of the things it does for you is you can run tests manually or you can set it up to automatically run tests. It remembers from the first test you’ve run on your site, so you can get a first view, what the repeated views are, and so you can see how you’re improving over time or if you’re losing speed, so you can start to track down any issues with it. It’s a pretty simple plugin but it works really nice and it’s a simple way with inside your WordPress website to check out your speed. So go check it out, Site Speed Monitor, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Great. All right, the final plugin that I’ve got today is called OT Facebook Reviews and a lot of people that have Facebook business pages are going to find this of use. What it allows you to do – I’ve reviewed different plugins like this before where it either takes your Google review, your Yelp! Review, whatever, and inserts it within your site. This does the exact same thing for people that leave Facebook reviews for your business, which is becoming more and more prominent. So if you receive any testimonials on your Facebook page, it allows you to embed them right into your WordPress site. It is called OT Facebook Reviews and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That one’s kind of cool. That’s another one for me to keep in the back of my head as I’m doing some redesign work, because I’ve got a couple of business clients that get Facebook reviews on their Facebook page. This’d be a nice way to pull it over.

Marcus:           Absolutely! And this gives you an indication as to where my brain always is within Facebook and all these other external services. It’s cool to have them, never use them as a replacement for your WordPress site, and go from Facebook to your site, not the other way around.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           Right? Make your site the focal point of all of those things and that way if someday Facebook goes down (which is only in my dreams, really) —

John:                [chuckling]

Marcus:           — but if they happen to have something that goes wrong or awry or whatever it happens to be, change their code, you can just snip that plugin right out of there instead of having to rely on Facebook themselves.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           So that’s the way to do it. Keep the content on your own site.

John:                There you go. Okay, well closing out this episode here, the plugins I covered on this one were Latest Posts, which I gave a 4 to; Nearby Locations, which I gave a 4 to; and Site Speed Monitor, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about News Booster for Messenger, which gets a 4 out of 5; WP Media File Type Manager gets a 4 out of 5; and we just talked about OT Facebook Reviews, which gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                A nice roundup of plugins. We had a nice, good, even 4s across the board today.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, a little bit of promotions and information. Be sure to check out the YouTube screencast that gets uploaded later in the day. It might not happen today because I’ve got a lot on my plate with cleaning up websites, but definitely starting in the next episode you will be able to watch an add-on part that will have me doing first impressions of one of Marcus’ plugins. We tried that last episode; it didn’t work so good. So now I’m just going to add it in to the end of the show that goes up on YouTube, so it won’t even be in the regular show.

And also, a notice to developers out there, you want to support the show? If you would like to offer up premium licenses for giveaways, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/contest. Fill out the form, submit your license, fill out all of the information we’ve asked for there, and we will build a contest for you to help promote your plugin and share it with all our listeners out there.

Marcus:           Great.

John:                And don’t forget, we also have training videos up on YouTube and go check out our YouTube channel. Link is in the top of the webpage and more training videos are coming up this week. And the final bit here, where we used to have WordPress News and other information, that segment is going to be dropped out and to get that, it’ll still be included in our newsletter, so make sure you go subscribe to our newsletter to get additional tips, information, and news from us on a weekly basis.

Marcus:           That’s right. And remember, you can – let’s go through some reminders here. You can support the show at wppluginsatoz.com/donate, go to wppluginsatoz.com for all your show notes and subscribe to the show on Stitcher Radio, Google Play, the iTunes store – all that – and make sure that you are following the videos that we’re putting out and that is on YouTube. And remember, you can follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.

John:                Absolutely. And how can they contact us, Marcus?

Marcus:           Well, you can – this is a weird reversal. [laughing]

John:                I know. That’s just the way it flowed today. That happens. Sometimes you get things backwards.

Marcus:           All right, well you can find me at my website, marcuscouch.com, on Twitter at @marcuscouch, and remember that opportunity I gave you before, marcuscouch.com/smashing.

John:                All right, and you can reach me on my website at JohnOverall.com or for emergency support, go to wppro.ca/emergency or email me at john@wppro.ca.

Marcus:           And that’s it! Take care.

John:                That’s all we got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.

 [Outro]

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.

[Child giggling]

[End of Audio]

It's Episode 270 and we've got plugins for Bulk Subpages, Categories for WooCommerce, Post Templates, Infusionsoft Forms, Page Duplicates and more... It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 270 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 270 and we've got plugins for Bulk Subpages, Categories for WooCommerce, Post Templates, Infusionsoft Forms, Page Duplicates and more... It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.

WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #270 here.


It’s Episode 270 and we’ve got plugins for Bulk Subpages, Categories for WooCommerce, Post Templates, Infusionsoft Forms, Page Duplicates and more… It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #270

John:                All right, well the first plugin I’ve got here this week comes about because I had to do some research for a client and update a client’s website with a sidebar widget that would allow the categories in his WooCommerce store to be accordionized or collapsed. We had lots and lots of categories and we needed a cleaner looking widget display of it, so I went looking for some.

The first one I came up with here came from YITH WooCommerce Category Accordion, and YITH produces quite a few WooCommerce plugins and most of their plugins are freemium and you have to buy for the quality to get into their premium plugins. This one here, I was hoping it would be a little different than most of them. A lot of times, their plugins are pretty crippled with the free version and this one turned out to be not that much different. I wanted something that would be able to list the categories, alphabetize them, allow me to adjust which ones appeared first – that sort of thing.

This plugin didn’t do that with the free version. The premium promised to do that and if it came to blows, I probably would have purchased it. But instead of that, I thought I would do a little more research. Other than that, this plugin here is one of those ones that not often I do this, but I had to give this plugin a 2-Dragon rating; the YITH WooCommerce Category Accordion.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s a recent low for us. We haven’t really had anything that low but that’s one of the things, you know? You want to get reviews. Sometimes, we’ve just got to let you know that sometimes things don’t work and you know not to waste your time on them.

John:                Yeah, it saves you wasting your time. I already wasted 20 minutes on it.

Marcus:           There you go. All right, the first plugin for me today is called Easy Bulk Subpage Creator and that lets you create multiple subpages in a bulk or kind of batch manner, saving a lot of time.

So it gives you a startup screen in which you can add as many subpages to any parent as you want. You just create a list and drop them in there and tell it what parent page you want that to go do. If you’re doing initial site setup, this thing can save you tons and tons of time. It’s called the Easy Bulk Subpage Creator and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that could be very handy when you’re building out your website and you need to make those subpages.

Marcus:           Yeah, unless you want to do them one by one.

John:                Oh, I’ve done that. Okay, the second one here is again related to the first. It’s WooCommerce Collapsing Categories and it’s to allow me to create a widget for my client that would allow him to have an accordion of all his categories in his WooCommerce store. This one here is a free plugin; they didn’t seem to have a premium version but the free version seemed to be more than adequate to the task I wanted to do.

It allows you to create the accordion view of your categories, adjusts which ones appeared where, exclude categories as needed. You could even do custom CSS styling right there in the plugin settings. The only problem I really had with this plugin was that it hadn’t been updated in quite a long time, but for some reason the day I was working on it, all of a sudden it had what I thought was an update. It turned out to be all they did was update the file that said it worked with the latest version of WordPress, which gave it the indication that it had been updated but the code doesn’t appear to have changed any.

But other than that, a really great plugin. It’s called WooCommerce Collapsing Categories and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           All right. Yeah, a lot of cool WooCommerce stuff and as I’m getting more and more involved in WooCommerce because of the Membership Coach site, I’m finding some pretty cool plugins. So one plugin I wanted to talk about now is called Templatify, and what it does is it gives you the ability to select custom templates for each post type – even custom post types, just like what you have for Pages right now out of the box for WordPress.

So once you activate Templatify, it gives you the select template box that typically appears only in Pages in every post edit screen, filled with all your different page templates. That’s really, really nice to have, especially since you can – what I used it for was some sessions for a conference, so not only did I have a custom post type and a custom template for the sessions, but also for the speakers. Each one of those had a different template. It worked really, really well and I give this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! Yes, that would be an excellent way to customize and template up your post types.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm, it is.

John:                Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here today is one of our favorites: those easy, lazy plugins that just provide a feature that makes your life a whole lot easier. It’s called Duplicate Page. This is a plugin that I’ve been meaning to install for quite some time and just give it a test out so I could review.

But one of the biggest things that happens is when you’re working on a website on a regular basis, you often have posts or pages that use the same content over and over and over and over again. So it’s the same sort of thing with the WP Plugins site; every time I put up a new show notes, there are certain pieces in there that are exactly the same each time I create the show notes. And so in the past, I would go to the latest version, copy and paste it into the new one I was creating, then make my changes.

Well, this plugin eliminates all that. You install it, you activate it, you go to your post lists, and now you have a new menu item under your post that says, “Duplicate This.” Click that button and it duplicates that post for you and it duplicates it all the way down to the tags that you have inserted in the page, so everything is there. You just open up the draft version (because it sets it as a draft) and start making the essential changes you need to change for the post, and you’re off, saving you a fair chunk of time.

So of course any of those good, lazy plugins, what do we do with them? We crank them right up to the top and give them a 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Yeah! Getting all kinds of dragons today.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Finally, anybody that uses Infusionsoft knows exactly what I’m talking about when I say the forms are ugly and difficult to deal with. This new plugin is called Form Lift and it takes Infusionsoft to a whole new level.

What it does is it overhauls the way that the forms are displayed to be stylized exactly like your theme, so all you have to do is copy the unstylized HTML code of the form in Infusionsoft and paste it into this form editor and it styles it exactly the way that you want it to, and doesn’t go with that ugly little embed that you have to use every time for forms. So anybody that uses Infusionsoft, this is definitely one that you want to check out. I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. And of course, I don’t use Infusionsoft, but if you do, you definitely want to check this plugin out.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                Okay, well that covers up this week. I myself covered up YITH Commerce Category Accordion, which I gave a 2 to; the WooCommerce Collapsing Categories, which I gave a 4 to; and the Duplicate Page, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Easy Bulk Subpage – gave that one a 4 out of 5; Templatify – gave that one a perfect 5 out of 5; and we just discussed Form Lift, which I gave a 4 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

It's Episode 322 and we've got plugins for Advanced Search Forms, WordPress Security, Social Hashtag Display, Clickbank and Script Placement. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 322 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 322 and we've got plugins for Advanced Search Forms, WordPress Security, Social Hashtag Display, Clickbank and Script Placement. 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 #322 here.


It’s Episode 322 and we’ve got plugins for Social Sharing, Top 10 Posts and a Thumbs Up/Down button. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #322

Marcus:           It’s Episode 322 and we’ve got plugins for advanced search forms, WordPress security, social hashtag display, click bank, and script placement. It’s all coming up next on WordPress Plugins A to Z.

[Intro]

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:                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 British Columbia Victoria, I am John Overall.

Marcus:           And from the beachside barrio in Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.

John:                And we are here after the wonderful eclipse and of course, let’s get started right off the top. Don’t forget, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com and make sure you drop in and subscribe to the show and review us over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and the iTunes store.

Marcus:           That’s right, and also remember, you can follow us on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.

John:                And also check us out live with our screencast, training videos, and you can subscribe to us on YouTube. So we’re going to get right into everything as our new format is displayed and today we have our usual allotment of six great plugins. The one ding that says we’re off into the meat and potatoes for the whole show.

[Plugins lead-in music]

And starting us off today, I have in the meat the following plugin I discovered from GoDaddy. This one here I came across while I was looking for other plugins and at the back of my mind for a while, I’ve been wanting to do something. The plugin is called the GoDaddy Reseller Store. I’ve been a GoDaddy reseller for many years now and I have a few clients there, but I’ve always sort of avoided it because of the way their store works and manipulates, and it’s just a bit of a pain. I could never fully integrate it into my WordPress website.

But discovering this plugin that it looks like GoDaddy released about six or eight months ago, it doesn’t have a whole lot of users yet. It’s still sitting around only 600 installs, but I imagine that’ll start increasing soon. But what it does for you is if you’re a GoDaddy reseller, it integrates into your WordPress website, bringing in all of the products you sell in your GoDaddy reseller store, setting them up, configuring them, tweaking it so it looks like your website, so it’s well integrated into your website. So the benefits of this plugin here is you can use the advantage of WordPress to have the extra content you want to drag people in when they get to your website. They don’t have to bounce off your website to go buy the products until they’ve entered them in the cart and they go to purchase, and then it bounces them into the GoDaddy area.

But all in all, a pretty great plugin, one I’m going to be spending some time with over the next several months integrating it into my website I think as I pull in this stuff for my reseller program. But anyway, check it out: the GoDaddy Reseller Store plugin, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Beautiful. Yes, I also am a GoDaddy reseller, so that’s actually something that I’m going to check out, because I actually need to put some things like that on my personal site. All right, well John, I wanted to lead off with sort of a consolidation plugin. I love these kinds of plugins that actually replace three or four different plugins that I was using all at the same time on my site. In this instance, I’m using it for adding tracking scripts for inserting things like Google Tag Manager or Facebook conversion pixels, Instagram has another one, so does Snapchat – all the rest of them as far as integrating to track conversions.

Well, this plugin actually lets you put a space in for all of those different tag variants and it has custom places to put all your different tracking links, scripts, and CSS. The nice thing is it categorizes all of them so that you have a very easy way in which to find them. So just for ease of use alone and the fact that now I can get rid of two different plugins that I regularly use on my sites and use this one plugin instead, I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar]

John:                Yeah, that’s such a cool plugin and it looks to be very useful to combine up a lot of miscellaneous bits and pieces on your site.

Marcus:           Yeah, a lot of people forget about Google Tag Manager, which is actually a very important one to use on your site, and this enables you to do it. So check it out.

John:                All right!

Marcus:           Easy Tags.

John:                There you go! There’s the starting off of it and we’re going to jump into here – I don’t even know what it’s called, but that’s okay. If you’re having troubles with your WordPress website and you have development questions, well you can contact me, John Overall. And with 20 years’ experience online, eight of those years dealing specifically with WordPress, I can get you on your way, saving you time and money. Visit me and my website, JohnOverall.com. Call me, (818) 850-7729 or send an email to john@wppro.ca.

Marcus:           And for promotions this week, I want to talk about Smashing Magazine. If you are interested in writing about WordPress for Smashing Magazine, the largest online web publication on the internet, just go to marcuscouch.com/smashing, watch the video, fill out the form, and I’ll get back to you with all of the different rules, regulations, and how to get started. It’s not only a great way to get promotion about yourself in terms of WordPress and what you do in WordPress in the community, but you do get paid for it as well. So check it out: marcuscouch.com/smashing.

John:                Nice. And Smashing Magazine is doing quite well, I see, with the things you’re bringing forward in it.

Marcus:           Yeah, we’ve got a lot of different authors. I’ve probably recruited at least 30 or 40 different authors, hoping to get that up to about 60, and then we can get some regular content flowing. And hopefully, I’d like to get an article out every single day. That would be great and I could compete with things like WPTavern, Tork, and Post Status, and some of the other ones, s —

John:                Very cool.

Marcus:           — hopefully that’ll happen soon.

John:                So a question for you – you picked up – oh man, my brain is just skipping right off. Did you go to the podcast down there in L.A.?

Marcus:           I – well, yes and no. Yes, I picked up Dave Jackson from the airport and brought him to the event, and that’s as far as I got. [chuckling]

John:                So you didn’t check out the event then, eh?

Marcus:           No, no. I had to work, unfortunately.

John:                Ah, okay.

Marcus:           But I did see Dave Jackson, which was great.

John:                Yeah, yeah. I saw his email out today when he summarized the event, so it looked like it was quite the thing to go to.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, well let’s move on here to our next plugin we’ve got – next set of plugins we’ve got for you. The next one I’ve got up here for you is a Clickbank Storefront for WordPress Plugin. I don’t know if you’ve ever used Clickbank. I’ve off and on used it over the years here and there. Every once in a while, I get these crazy urges to dive into affiliate marketing, and Clickbank is one of the most lucrative affiliate marketing programs out there. I’ve made – mm, not lots of money, but I’ve made bits and pieces of money from them.

But one of the things I’ve always noticed about Clickbank is it’s always a pain in the neck to promote their stuff. You have to copy, paste, bring it in, tweak it – everything else. And what’s been created here is the My CB Genie and it harnesses the power of WooCommerce and WordPress together to go out there, access the Clickbank catalogue, and via different categories or if you’re inclined, you can import the entire Clickbank catalogue to your website. It brings in all of the descriptions, all of the product images, tags in your own affiliate link code that are placed into the WooCommerce program.

It allows you to go in there and then tweak all of the descriptions to fit things that you would like to do with it. One of the nice things it does also is it’s got Cron Jobs built into it that allows it to go back and check the Clickbank catalogue from time to time to ensure that the products are still valid. And if it finds invalid products, it automatically removes them from your store for you, so you don’t have to keep track of what’s being dropped and added to the Clickbank catalogue. It seems like a pretty powerful plugin; one that I just sort of touched over briefly when I looked it up. But it’s one that I may explore when I have some free time to see if I can bring back some of that Clickbank stuff that I had once upon a time.

But if you are an affiliate marketer and looking at Clickbank, this is a plugin you might want to check out and see if it will function for you to enhance your affiliate marketing. Check it out: the ClickBank Storefront WordPress Plugin and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice! All right, the next one I’ve got is called – it’s a new security plugin – it’s actually called WP Security Coat and it’s a plugin for preventing your WordPress website from being hacked. It comes with a lot of different features for securing core functionality, preventing PHP and MySQL vulnerabilities, and also secure server stuff.

It does stuff like disallow the indexing of server files, it blocks all the fake bots, it blocks HTTP post methods from outdated versions, it can hide the WordPress version, XML RPC stuff is disabled, it disables login error messages as well, which actually that’s what hackers kind of use to keep hacking away at your password. It does a lot of REST API stuff, it stops suspicious query strings and foreign characters from preventing SQL injection hacks, and it seems like a really nice plugin. It’s not one of these that has a pro version or anything; it’s brand new. They just want you to try it out, give them feedback, and perhaps even contribute to the plugin. So I like it a lot – it’s called WP Security Coat and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that’s a very nice looking plugin. So yeah, I would definitely give that one a checkout and I’ll give it a try on websites that I’m doing security updates on or security lockdowns on.

Marcus:           Yeah, and I didn’t notice any speed loss either, and that’s one of the big ones out there because thinks like WordFence sometimes do eat up a little bit of your system load resources —

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           — and this one didn’t seem to have any effect on it.

John:                Hmm…very nice. All right, there’s a security plugin so give it a checkout. Something to save you time and headaches.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                All right, well we’ve got some listener feedback this week from several different areas. But first off, we have a SpeakPipe and remember folks, if you want to appear here, leave us a question/comment, we like SpeakPipes. They’re very wonderful. You can go to our website, the bottom right corner, click the button for SpeakPipe, and record it either on your computer, your phone, your iPad – wherever you’ve got a microphone already ready to go – especially your phone. Really easy there.

So anyway, first off this week we got a comment from Frank Banker and it’s a question about a plugin, but we’ll let Frank it away. Off we go…

Hi, John. I am looking for a plugin to organize my blog posts. When someone goes to my blog page, I’d love to see perhaps a picture and a small blurb of every blog post, you know, based on these. Really enjoy the show. Thanks.

All right, well thanks a lot, Frank. And to answer that question, well, there’s hundreds of ways you can do it with plugins. There’s plugins that are pure widgets, there’s plugins that have shortcodes built into it. I picked one out and I’ve got it here for you. It’s called Recent Post Widget Extended and it’s one that will sort of help you with that. But mostly what I’d recommend is getting a theme that allows you to customize the blog post page, the archive pages, in a much simpler way. That’s mostly how I go about doing that these days. I don’t know – how about you, Marcus?

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s it. And, you know, depending on what theme you use, that’s basically a shortcode and then you can customize within the shortcode if something is going to have a post excerpt, the size of the thumbnail, and those kinds of things. So you can use a plugin or find a theme that actually does that natively, so you’ve got a lot of different options there.

John:                Lots of options. So thanks a lot for listening to the show, Frank, and we look forward to more comments.

Marcus:           Absolutely.

John:                All right, and we do have some comments from YouTube on the training videos that have been going up, and these are the most recent ones. These are a couple of comments on the Easy Appointments WordPress Plugin training video that I put up a few weeks ago. The first one comes from PhDNaturalMe and it was quite simple: “This has been so helpful. Thanks.”

Marcus:           Great!

John:                The second one comes from Simeone España and it said, “Great video, very helpful. Thank you.” So hey —

Marcus:           Cool!

John:                More and more people use the YouTube stuff. Please leave us comments there, ask questions. I’ve had a few people ask me questions there and I do my best to answer them. And so hey, start being interactive there if you’re getting into the YouTube videos.

Marcus:           Very nice.

John:                Okay, and we did have a contact letter today from Stephen. The letter is pretty long but I’m just going to hit a couple of key points of the letter. And one of the key things there first of course is: “Hi there, I love your podcast.” He’s from New Zealand. Currently, he’s traveling across the Continental Divide Trail and he downloaded all of our shows so he could play them out over a speaker to keep the bears away. Love him! I love that little bit there that we’re helping keep the bears away from him while he travels a 3,000-mile trail.

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                And anyway, he had a question about his website and about a specific type of plugin on his website. He’s looking for a costing estimator and this is something that was a bit beyond me with what you were asking here, but I will do a little research on it, Stephen, and see what I can come up with. Maybe you might have an idea, Marcus, if you do. But we will see what we can do.

Marcus:           Yeah, he wrote us a long letter and he likes to listen to the show while he’s walking like 25 miles a day, which is insane. But thank you very much for that.

John:                Yeah, and for all you listeners out there, the letter will be in the show notes, so if you want to take a look at it and help give us any ideas, we’d greatly appreciate that, too.

Marcus:           Absolutely. And that brings us up to our donations segment and this show is a value-for-value model, meaning that if you get any value out of the show, we ask that you give some value back. And in that, we would like to acknowledge all of those who’ve supported the show in the past week. All donations over $50 are read out on the show and their notes are published in the show notes. And for all those who came in below $50, they remain anonymous and we thank them very much.

This week’s donor is $50 from our regular, Jezweb Pty. Ltd., and Jeremy says, “Hi, John and Marcus. A collection of plugin reviews that you’d recommend as alternatives to the ones that WooCommerce sells could be handy for future episodes, particularly if they are good free alternatives that you like to use. Jezweb has used a number of the YITH plugins in recent years and they generally seemed to be quite well built, reliable, and supported and the subscription is not too steep. We recently completed newcastlestrippers.com.au, which helps people with topless waiters and entertainment for hen parties and buck parties,” I can only imagine, “and it’s a delicate balance to make a site like this safe for work and still fit with expectations and decently classy.”

Wow, John, on the video there…

John:                I just had to bring it up.

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s actually a really good site.

John:                It’s a really nice-looking site. It’s really quite safe for work but promotes what they have and what they allow in Australia.

Marcus:           Yes, and that’s pretty cool. I do not have much experience with the YITH plugins, Jeremy. I’m strictly a WooCommerce guy, just because I like the support and the fact that it’s, you know, kind of a native force within automatic since they’ve been acquired. So yeah, the price tag is a little steep on the WooCommerce stuff, but I have never had a problem with them.

John:                You know, I’ve used the YITH ones a few times and I rather liked them. I’ve also used free ones here and there with success on some, not success on others, and I’ve also pulled ones from Code Canyon. But we’ll see what we can do to pull in some as we run across them.

Marcus:           Absolutely.

John:                So thanks a lot, Jeremy – greatly appreciate it.

Marcus:           Yes.

John:                And of course a big thank you to those who came in under $50 and to those who have set up weekly subscriptions. The weekly subscriptions are really helpful and you can support the show by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate where you can create a weekly subscription for as little as $2.50 a week. Hey, come on, support us for that. A little weekly subscription showing what you think of this show. And if more, there’s more options there and more options are coming for creating show subscriptions or for donating to the show.

Marcus:           Yep, absolutely and we do appreciate that. And with that, we will round out the plugins, John.

John:                Absolutely. All right, the final one I’ve got here today is a freemium/premium plugin — it’s a little of both. It was sent into us by Andrew Mark and it’s called Advanced Search Form Builder. This plugin here is a really nice advanced search for your WordPress website. It’s very fast, it’s very easy. What it does is it allows you to create a customized form that you can use to target specific search areas of your website.

One of the best examples they give in here is say you’ve got a real estate website and you want to build one of those customized forms for people to look for price range, rooms, bathrooms, etc., etc., etc. You can build it with this form plugin and then insert it via shortcode onto your post or page. Now, I experimented with it by just searching out the whole website. It is a very quick searching plugin and provides some nice stuff. The build is a little bit on the complicated side, I’ve found. Also, the free version only allows you to build one form; you’ve got to go up to their premium version to do that.

Now, a couple of problems I found with it, as soon as they notify you that, they give you a link where it says “upgrade,” but unfortunately, the upgrade link goes nowhere. So I actually had to do a little searching to find the link to Code Canyon where you can buy the plugin itself because they didn’t have that crystal clear. The original plugin you can get from WordPress.org but their upgrade, they don’t have a clear path to their upgrade for some strange reason.

At any rate, it’s a really great plugin. It will enhance your search functionality of your website and it’s one I’m going to experiment with for the WP Plugins A to Z show, because we really need a better search function there and I want to see what it can and can’t do for us. At any rate, check it out. It’s called Advanced Search Form Builder and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Great! All right, to wrap up the plugins for this episode, I want to talk about Social Mentions. This is a new plugin that’s out there that what it does is you put in particular hashtags and it will search Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Flickr – all that – every 30 minutes using WP Cron. It comes with sort of predefined CSS classes for the output lists but you can style it yourself if you want to to match your theme and it’s pretty easy to set up. So it has a number of different API keys and things that you set up with each one of the services and then you can either have one particular page or just use a shortcode with Social Mentions and then the hashtag of whatever you want to use.

It will display the latest and greatest of all of the different images and things with that hashtag, so it’s pretty cool. A nice thing to set up; it gives people – I’d love to use this kind of in a sidebar. I think this would actually be kind of neat in a sidebar to show current new content and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that’s kind of cool. Yeah, you could use it to pull in current content and display it.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm, yep. Twitter stuff, Instagram, all that. That’s probably the big two that I would use.

John:                Also a great way to pull in whatever is happening for you on social media if you’ve got your own hashtag.

Marcus:           That’s correct.

John:                Which a lot of people do.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                Okay, well that’s a great one. All right, well we’ve got here a little bit of news to round out the show and we’re going to try a brief experiment to see if it works. I had a couple of news articles but I forgot to put them all in here. But we do have one news article which I think is semi-important to know a little bit about. It seems the core team at WordPress is exploring forcing upgrades for WordPress 3.7 to 3.8, and this is going to be an interesting experiment, I think.

They’re also considering forcing upgrades to 4.1 and this is one that’s kind of problematic to me in that one, it would be a good thing to force upgrades out there to clean up the mess of websites. But there are websites out there where they’re on a lower version of WordPress for compatibility issues or something else, but the sites are monitored by Webchecks, who have a reason for having a lower version, and this sort of thing could break their website so they need to make sure that there are no forced upgrades allowed in their code. But I don’t know, what do you think about this kind of thing – automatically doing that? Forcing the upgrades upon people whether they want them or not?

Marcus:           I think that they should shut down all the website of anything that’s not at least a year current and just say, “Hey, you need to upgrade this,” you know? Just put it on.

John:                It seems a little [inaudible] to me.

Marcus:           You’re gonna get hacked otherwise. I mean, that’s just —

John:                Maybe, but maybe not. It depends on what you’ve done to the site on your own, you know?

Marcus:           That’s true.

John:                Maybe you have a reason for it. That’s why it just seems a little Orwellian to me. I mean, I can see the benefits, but I also see the Orwellian issues with it when they start forcing things down your throat, even on new stuff that you don’t want, because this —

Marcus:           True!

John:                — one thing can lead to the other, unfortunately. So at any rate, make your own judgements. Hey, if you’ve got any feedback on that one, please give it to the Tavern. That’s where this article is from and let us know what you think. We’re always interested in that sort of thing, too.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                All right, so we’re gonna try a brief experiment here and this is something we sort of mentioned last show in that in closing out the show, we’re going to try an experiment here to install a brief impression of one of the plugins that Marcus has grabbed. I’m going to try and install and take a look at it. It’s the Easy Tags plugin.

Now, I’ve already set up some of the stuff, so it’s relatively straightforward to go to it and we’ll pop in here and bring that one back up – there we go. So we’re going to try and install it. Now, one of the things that I’m discovering here – oops – is I don’t know if you’re starting to see some of the issues when you’re looking for a new plugin in the background of WordPress, but I’m running into it more and more if you just put the title in, you can’t find the plugin sometimes in that great big list of the specific plugin you’re looking for. This is happening more and more and what I’m finding I have to do is actually add in the entire username of who created the plugin.

Marcus:           It’s reverting back to the way it used to be, where search was useless.

John:                Yeah, it’s reverting back to where the search was useless. I’ve had to go in there, like we went searching for Easy Tags there and it didn’t even show. We had to actually add the author’s name into it to get it up to show. All right, so nice and simple, straightforward. Let’s load it up, install it…activate it…and see what we get. Where does it take us? Where did it go? That’s always my big question: where did it go? Yeah, this is my sandbox where I have dozens of plugins but not all of them are turned on.

Okay, where did that plugin put its menu? Oh, Easy Tags. There it is. So using Easy Tags, straightforward. Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Photo Scripts – so all you have to do is go grab your tags and dump them in and you’re ready to go.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                That’s sweet. Nice and easy, straightforward. Yeah, I like it. I concur with your rating. Great plugin.

Marcus:           Great.

John:                It looks like it could save some time and combine some of the things. I like the header CSS, because that’s quite useful versus the customizer CSS.

Marcus:           That’s nice.

John:                Sometimes you want something up in the head and you don’t want it in the customizer. All right, well there you go. There’s our little experiment. We’re gonna try that and see if we can refine that over time and add some more value to the show for everyone and let you judge for yourself. Give us feedback; we’d greatly appreciate it.

Marcus:           Yep.

John:                All right, so closing out this episode we’ve got plugins I covered: the GoDaddy Reseller Store plugin, which I gave a 4 to; the Clickbank Storefront plugin, which I gave a 4 to; and the Advanced Search Form Builder, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Easy Tags, which gets a 5 out of 5; WP Security Coat, which gets a 4 out of 5; and Social Mentions, which gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                All right, and just some promotions out there to let everyone know, if you are in Canada looking for a trip, checkout the WordCamp Toronto, which is happening September 30 to October 1. There’s a link in the show notes to the website and it looks to be quite a nice WordCamp and it’s located in the center of the universe (or as Torontarians see it, anyway). But seriously, it looks to be a good time. Toronto is a nice city to visit. It’s one of the nicer cities in Canada – one of the bigger cities, anyway, and lots to do there aside from the WordCamp event. So if I had the money or I had the time, I would actually drop over there because it’s only one quick plane ride away.

Marcus:           Hmm…great!

John:                So check that out and also don’t forget to go check out our training videos which we have up on YouTube and links in the show notes to go to them. I’m going to have to create a short link to that one. I haven’t got to that one yet. And one little last bit of feedback from Jeremy about our new format, and Jeremy sent this out via Twitter which I did respond to but I did want to say thanks again and he had to say, “The new format seems fine. Keeps the pace up by chopping up the promos and the separate chunks throughout the podcast. Good choice for adjustment.” Thanks a lot, Jeremy. Appreciate it.

Okay, and that gives us up the usual reminders.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                Don’t forget, remember to support the show by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and all the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and please stop in to the iTunes store, Stitcher Radio, Google Play – subscribe to the show there and please review us. It would be greatly appreciated. And also stop in at YouTube and watch our live screencast or come watch us live on YouTube every Monday at 10:00 a.m. when we’re doing the show and also check out our training videos we have there on YouTube. More and more are coming. There’s more coming this week.

Marcus:           All right. And contact info, John?

John:                They can reach me on my website at JohnOverall.com or send an email direct to john@wppro.ca.

Marcus:           And you can find me at my website, marcuscouch.com, on Twitter at @marcuscouch. Remember, if you’re interested in that Smashing Magazine thing, it’s marcuscouch.com/smashing, and remember to follow this show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.

John:               That’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care. Bye-bye.

[Outro]

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.

[Child giggling]

 

[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!

Transcript of Episode 321 WP Plugins A to Z

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 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 #321 here.


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!


Episode #321

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.

[Intro]

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.

Marcus:           Nice!

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.

[Dragon roar]

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:           Yeah!

John:                [chuckle]

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 john@wppro.ca.

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.

Marcus:           Great!

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.

Marcus:           Great!

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.

[Dragon roar]

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.

Marcus:           Absolutely.

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.

[Dragon roar]

John:                That’s cool! Now I know how they do that. [chuckles]

Marcus:           Google!

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 —

Marcus:           Yeah.

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.

Marcus:           Yeah.

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.

Marcus:           Wrong!

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…”

John:                Oops…

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.

Marcus:           Hmmm….

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.

Marcus:           Nah.

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.

Marcus:           No.

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 john@wppro.ca.

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.

[Outro]

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.

[Child giggling]

[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!

Transcript of Episode 320 WP Plugins A to Z

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!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 #320 here.


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!


Episode #320

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.

Marcus:           Yes!

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 —

John:                Nice.

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 —

Marcus:           Yes.

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 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!

Transcript of Episode 319 WP Plugins A to 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!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 #319 here.


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!


Episode #319

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.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           I have been podcasting since the tail end of 2004 – that makes it almost 13 years.

John:                Yep.

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.

John:                Absolutely.

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.

John:                Yeah.

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!”

Marcus:           Right.

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.

Marcus:           Yep.

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.

John:                Yeah?

Marcus:           And for some reason, I ranked pretty high on that term for that book.

John:                Hmm…

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.

John:                [chuckling]

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.

John:                [chuckling]

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 —

Marcus:           Yeah.

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…”

Marcus:           Right!

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.

Marcus:           Hmm…

John:                I found a plugin that was conflicting, so —

Marcus:           What was that?

John:                Um…

Marcus:           What plugin?

John:                [chuckling] It was conflicting with the theme we’re using.

Marcus:           Ah.

John:                So it’s the plugin that uses the – it’s the dashboard from WPMU —

Marcus:           Oh!

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.

Marcus:           Right.

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]

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!

Transcript of Episode 318 WP Plugins A to Z

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!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 #318 here.


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!


Episode #318

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.”

John:                Nice.

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.

John:                Absolutely.

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.

Marcus:           Oh!

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.

John:                Nice!

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 317 and we've got plugins for Caldera Forms, Post Carousel & Slider, Facebook Messenger, Before and After Images, Robot Fireworks and your listener feedback. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 317 WP Plugins A to Z

It's Episode 317 and we've got plugins for Caldera Forms, Post Carousel & Slider, Facebook Messenger, Before and After Images, Robot Fireworks and your listener feedback. 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 #317 here.


It’s Episode 317 and we’ve got plugins for Caldera Forms, Post Carousel & Slider, Facebook Messenger, Before and After Images, Robot Fireworks and your listener feedback. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #317

John:                This week here my first plugin is one that was sent in to us. It’s called Post Carousel & Slider and it was sent in to us by Aeonian. At any rate, it’s another post slider plugin but it does seem to be a bit easier to use than some I have used to create post sliders in the past. One of the great things I found about this is it has support for custom post types, which is really important when you’re creating a post slider. You can also include or exclude categories. You can also show posts only of a certain tag, so if you have posts that are tagged with the word ‘plugin’ you can show only the posts with ‘plugin’, which would be a nightmare on our site.

But you can also show posts based on a keyword search. It has a component in it where you can put a specific keyword and it will only show posts that are related to that keyword into the area. You can determine how many posts appear per page, you can choose a layout from full width to grid style to single image with very nice choices on it. Then you insert it in your site via shortcode or if you’re into embedding it into your template, it’s got the PHP code that you can embed into your template. So all in all, a pretty decent post carousel and slider plugin. Check it out: Post Carousel & Slider and I gave it 4 Dragons.

Marcus:           Very nice! Very nice. Okay, so I’m going to try a couple of things here. Maybe we can see my screen. Do you see my screen, John?

John:                I do see your screen.

Marcus:           Awesome, okay. So I’m going to screen share just kind of the old way.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           The first plugin that I want to talk about today (if I can pull my notes up over here) is Caldera Forms. Okay, so we’ve talked about this plugin before and it’s really – you know, I’ve done a lot of form work before and if you can see my screen – I don’t know if you can, but this is something that’s kind of unlike – it’s more of a drag-n-drop form builder. What’s different about it is first, that you can put side-by-side fields together.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           Right? And here’s the cool thing, John, is if you could see this.

John:                I can see it.

Marcus:           I can actually shrink down and move different things around, so I can put a different item in here. I can do all kinds of extra stuff when it comes to putting a form together.

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           I can change the width, I can do all kinds of stuff, move things around, all that stuff. So this is more intuitive than any kind of form builder that I’ve ever really seen and it does a lot of the conditional formatting stuff that you see on Gravity Forms, that you see on all kinds of other stuff, and it’s free out of the gates. So there’s nothing wrong with trying different things but Caldera is one of the most amazing form applications. I believe we talked about it on the show previously —

John:                We have.

Marcus:           — but this is the first kind of hands-on, moving it around, doing different side-by-side fields, and things like that that I’ve experienced with it, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very cool. Now, one of the nice things about that folks, if you want to see what he was demonstrating and showing, go look at the live replay of our live site today, because it won’t be in the regular screencast of iCapture.

Marcus:           Right. Right – and by the way, so John and I are using Google Hangouts for this. But we have other things and tools that we’re working on. It’s just today I’ve had so many connection issues and driver issues and all kinds of stuff. So within – geez, a couple weeks – John and I are gonna really have this humming.

John:                We will. All right, next one up I’ve got here is just a simple one. It comes from the last page of the recommended plugins in WordPress when I was just bored and went on to see what they recommend. Well, the first few pages are the usual stuff and I was kind of like, I wonder how they figure out how to recommend a plugin. So at any rate, I skipped all the way to the last page to see what was there or if there was anything interesting.

This one here is in honor of WP Plugins show approaching Episode 320 and it’s called Rocket Fireworks. And now that we have more stuff to celebrate, I thought it’d be kind of a cool thing to put up, especially when I unveiled the new WordPress Plugins A to Z site that I’m working on since I’ve had to do some work there. This plugin here is quite simple. You just plug it in, turn it on, and anytime someone loads a page, it launches half a dozen fireworks onto the screen and they burst in different spots. Six seconds later, they’re gone, they can read what they’re doing, and be on their way. So it is kind of a cool simple plugin. It doesn’t add much but it adds some entertainment or some celebration to your site if you need some of that for whatever you’re going to do. At any rate, check it out: Rocket Fireworks and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Okay, now let me ask you a little something about this.

John:                Mm-hmm?

Marcus:           Because now, you know, this is just like these a-ha moments that I’m sure people that listen get all the time when we talk about different plugins. So how is this triggered? Is it just on a specific page load and all of a sudden boom?

John:                It loads on every page. It has no settings; you turn it on, it’s active, you turn it off, it’s inactive.

Marcus:           Oh, that’s too bad

John:                It can get irritating that way, I imagine. But it might be cool for a short day or two after I launch the new site and then I’ll turn it off.

Marcus:           I am looking at that as sort of a gamification type of a thing that could be done if somebody completes a quiz or completes a course.

John:                Oh, I’m sure you could set it up. I’m sure with the right coding you could set it up to be tagged to a trigger of some sort.

Marcus:           Yeah. See, this is one of those instances where we know about a plugin, we know that it’s great, and we know that there are other uses for it, so sometimes we fork it off —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — into our own plugins, and I think this is one I’m gonna chalk up to future development and future changing around.

John:                Yeah, well I’ve got a few out there that are in development right now. They’re taking a little longer than I thought and I can’t wait until we actually get them done.

Marcus:           Yeah. Okay, so the next thing that we’re gonna talk about and John actually has a plugin for this as well is Facebook Live Chat, okay? So it’s pretty simple. The one that I’m talking about is called Zotabox, and this is a third-party service and it’s a freemium plugin. So what happens is you just set up basically what you want, tagged text, image button icon, all of that. It’s on a third party that you set all these things up but it integrates beautifully once you have it turned on.

What happens is you customize completely the message and there’s a little tab that ends up at the bottom of the page. In this instance, you kind of see it – those of you watching on video – down here in the corner. When you click on it, it just pops up the thing and you get to type in your message and it’s all done. I really liked the way that this was configured in the way that you get all these little extras that go along with this. It has display rules as well as far as who to show it to, the minimum screen size that you want to show this to. So maybe you only want to show it to desktop people and not show it to mobile, you know? Maybe it’s something different that you want for that instance. You can select to show it on only specific pages and by that, you can actually limit it to URLs.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So it’s only on specific URLs or it’s not on specific URLs. It’s got a lot of filtering options as well, so I really liked this one. It worked very, very well for my wife’s website that’s launching for her new business and so a lot is out there in terms of Facebook Chat, but this is definitely one of my favorites just because of the customization level. I was able to actually match these site colors and these style sheets specifically and it worked really, really well for me. So, you know, there’s a lot of these things out there as I said, but this one’s probably one of the best. I can’t wait to hear what John’s plugin is. But because this is a freemium plugin, I took one off, so I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very cool. It could be a very useful item.

Marcus:           Definitely.

John:                Next up I have a plugin called WP Live Messenger and I was just sort of digging through the WordPress Repository to see what I could find, something new and different, and then I realized the live messengers from your WordPress websites are becoming more and more popular. Let’s see what we’ve got and this one here is the first one that popped into my view and it’s a pretty decent one.

It’s straightforward and easy to use and all you have to do with it is install it, activate it, and then put the URL to your Facebook page in there. Then it creates an icon up in the top right which is adjustable in the settings. When people click that icon it opens up a window that they can instantly start a messenger chat service with you to your Facebook page. It also list up a few other items from your Facebook page, so it’s a good way to sort of get people involved into your Facebook page. It is something I’m going to experiment with once the new WP Plugins website goes live again and we’ll put this in there and see how well it works out. But all in all at the moment, it’s looking like it’s going to be a good 4-Dragon rated plugin. Check it out: WP Live Messenger.

Marcus:           Very nice, very nice. Okay, so we’re going to wrap this up with a final one. I have talked in the past about before and after image plugins, and this is a perfect example for those of you following along on the video. So my wife’s business is she does something called microblading, which is kind of a temporary tattoo of women’s eyebrows and this is the application for it. So what you do is you set two images up and it has a little slider that goes before and after. Those of you that can see this, you can see that I’m kind of sliding back and forth on this woman’s face and you can see her thin old ‘before’ eyebrows and then when you slide over, it’s the actual ‘after’ shot where they’re actually finished with the job and you can see how thick and full the eyebrows look. Now, this is huge and anybody that has any sort of cosmetic type of business or anything like this, and this is really something that will arm you with a lot of firepower when you can reach a client and say, “Hey look, I can do really, really cool things like this.” And so it’s shortcode driven, which allows you to actually set multiple of them up. So those of you that can see it on the video, I’ve got six or eight different ones all in a row on one different page and this is very, very powerful in terms of what you can see. You know, this before and after is probably one of the most valuable pages that I’ve got on the entire site and it really, really helps out. You can really see the difference. I’ve tried it out also on mobile and mobile works beautifully.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So you can actually use your finger to pull the bar back and forth and see the before and after stuff, so it is really, really a great plugin. It’s called Twenty20 Image Before-After and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That’s a pretty cool plugin. That’ll be very useful for those that have images that show before and after people. Great for even yard cleanups, people who do renovations —

Marcus:           Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s right!

John:                Anything where you start with something that looks ‘before’ and then you have the same shot angle of what it looks like after.

Marcus:           Mm-hmm.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Landscaping, carpet cleaning businesses, roofers —

John:                There you go! The list just keeps going, so —

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, well this week here I covered up the following plugins: the Post & Carousel Slider, which I gave a 4 to; the Rocket Fireworks, which I gave a 3 to; and the WP Live Messenger, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Caldera Forms which gets a 5 out of 5, Zodabox a Facebook Messenger gets a 4 out of 5, and Twenty20 Image Before-After gets a 5 out of 5.

[End of Audio]

It's Episode 316 and we've got plugins for Customer Reviews, Cron Management, Weather, Editing the TinyMCE Editor, Push Notifications and a new Chatbot exclusively for WooCommerce. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of WordPress Plugins A-Z #316 Weather, Editing the TinyMCE Editor

It's Episode 316 and we've got plugins for Customer Reviews, Cron Management, Weather, Editing the TinyMCE Editor, Push Notifications and a new Chatbot exclusively for WooCommerce. 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 #316 here.


It’s Episode 316 and we’ve got plugins for Customer Reviews, Cron Management, Weather, Editing the TinyMCE Editor, Push Notifications and a new Chatbot exclusively for WooCommerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #316

John:                All right, first off this week I have a plugin that was sent in to us by Jakub Mikita and it’s the Advanced Cron Manager Debug & Control. Now, this now a freemium plugin. This plugin was originally reviewed by Marcus back in Episode 161. There’s a link in the show notes if you want to go back and see that. It was brought to our attention by the developer recently and he wanted to see if we would re-review it, you know, take a look at it since he released Version 2 of it and released a premium version of it. So I did take a look at it and what it is, it’s a cron job manager plugin and it’s always had the ability to create and edit cron jobs and to manually fire cron jobs.

Now, one of the things he’s added to it in his premium stuff here is he’s added it to allow you to get in there and look at reports of things that are occurring, find out what is happening, how long a cron job execution time is happening, it’s catching errors in the cron job – these are in the pro version – is giving you performance stats. And if you’ve ever had troubles on your WordPress website with load issues and if you’ve been on poor performing servers, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But a lot of times those load issues are caused by cron jobs and this allows you to get in there and debug and find out some of the problems that are occurring, so it’s a really great tool.

I didn’t fully implement the pro version yet because I’m going to play with it as soon as I get the new WP Plugins site built to see what’s happening with our cron jobs there. But at any rate, it’s looking a lot better than it was. Marcus gave it a 3 way back when and currently, I’m going to give it a 4 with all of the improvements in it, so go check it out: the Advanced Cron Manager Debug & Control.

Marcus:           Cron job management plugins are more important than ever and even in that timeframe of three years ago when I first reviewed that, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because now you’re getting a lot of like managed WordPress hosting companies and things like that coming down the pipe.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           And they don’t allow you to have a C-panel where you can manage your cron jobs, so it’s more important than ever to get a handle on that stuff.

John:                Yeah, you can’t create the actual real cron jobs, can you?

Marcus:           No, nope. All right, so the first plugin I’ve got today is called 5 Star Google Reviews. This is a very intriguing kind of a plugin. So it’s really lightweight and it displays a review form on your website. Now if the user leaves a five-star review, they then get forwarded to your Google Business page, your Facebook page, or your Yelp page where they can continue to leave that review.

If a review is four stars or less, it actually says, “Hey, sorry we couldn’t hit it out of the park for you. What can we do better to help you?” And this is a perfect way to get feedback from your customers without getting complains that go straight to your Google Business page, Yelp page, Facebook, or something like that, so it’s kind of a cool screen, I guess, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that’s kind of cool. That can be useful – help you avoid some of the grief with down the review areas.

Marcus:           Yeah, so it’s just kind of a shield, so it will forward the person appropriately to leave those reviews on those external services or give them an opportunity to express their displeasure.

John:                All right, well next up here I have another plugin. It’s called OneSingle Sender. It’s a third-party service; currently, it’s free. It was sent in to us by Marc Bou Sleiman and what it is is it’s one of those notification plugins sending the site notifications out. Currently I can’t remember the one we’re using at the moment.

Marcus:           It’s a push notification.

John:                Push notifications – that’s what I’m looking for. Thank you.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                Push notifications – and it allows you to send the notifications from the back end of your WordPress website, not having to go to the dashboard of the third-party service to create the push notification. This works through an API. You go in, you set it up, get your API key, and then you can one-click away and send those push notifications while you’re within the backend of your WordPress dashboard.

What I kind of like to see with something like this is that they integrate it into a post or something so you can create the push notification right in the posts. That would be kind of a cool thing to have. Other than that, it seems to be a good average plugin. It’s about the same as every other push notification system I’ve tried, so give it a good checkout. It’s called OneSignal Sender and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           All right. Well, the next one I’ve got is an editor for editing the editor. It’s called Managed Tiny MCE Editor and it allows you to add buttons to the WordPress default Tiny MCE Editor and using this plugin, you can add buttons like cut, copy, paste, source code, font family selector, font size selector, style selector, the background color (that’s one I’ve always wanted).

John:                [laughter]

Marcus:           MC the documents, superscripts, subscript, all of the rest of them, and I think it gives you a few customized options too. So if you’re looking to spruce up that Tiny MCE Editor, maybe take some things away, put some things back in there, I know probably the strike-through is not a very used feature in the Tiny MCE, nor is a couple of other things. So if you want to tweak that around, put your own stuff in there – maybe there’s some shortcodes or plugins or things like that that you want to add to your editor and you can’t do it presently, this plugin will let you do it. It’s called Manage Tiny MCE Editor and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice! About the best thing I’m always wanting to put back in my Tiny MCE Editor is the anchor tag.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s true.

John:                Creating the anchor tags – I use those a lot and it’s so irritating when they yanked it out of the core of MCE Editor.

Marcus:           Yep, now you need HTML.

John:                Yep. All right, next up I have here – I have another plugin sent in to us. This was sent in to us by Alexa D. It’s called the Weather Atlas Widget and it’s a simple plugin for adding weather from virtually everywhere on the globe. Every city I looked for, even a few really sort of obscure cities here in Canada, they had listed in there, so I thought that was pretty cool. It was pretty efficient. It allows you to go in and create a widget.

You can change the background colors, modify it up a bit to match into your theming system – whatever your WordPress website is. It allows you to also use shortcodes, so you can display multiple cities on a page or a post in different blocks and that’s kind of nice, or you can have multiple blocks stacked on each other, put them into different formats.

It turned out to be a really great weather plugin and it gave accurate weather data for even the city I live here in Victoria, which was kind of cool. I compared it to a couple of the other weather places I use and the weather data was right on point. So having something that good and something really nice, the graphics are really in a modernized flat graphic so they fit into the current developing themes of today. So check it out, it’s called Weather Atlas Widget and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Awesome. Well, John, you know that I’ve been into this kind of chatbot kick lately, of learning about chatbots and things like that.

John:                Right.

Marcus:           And now I’ve actually found one specifically designed for WooCommerce. It’s called WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot, and it is a WooCommerce Chatbot. And what it is, it’s a standalone plugin, not much configuration or bot training required. It’s totally plug-n-play, does not require any kind of third-party service integration, like Facebook, Octane, or any of those other chatbot servers. Basically, it takes the metadata from your products and it helps shoppers find products they’re looking for easily and can help increase sales.

So it’s the first of its kind, WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot, and it helps to obviously increase sales. What it does is it actually has a little floater down at the right bottom corner of the website and it offers users the chance to help find the right product through like kind of a live assistant type of a thing. It’s really cool and worth checking out, but make sure you test it first before you just install it and go, “Hey, well how come my robot’s not selling things?”

John:                [chuckling]

Marcus:           You know, look at your metadata, look at how it actually navigates and negotiates some of the text and data, and I think you’ll have yourself a winner here. So it’s called WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot and I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s kind of cool. Yeah, especially if you get lots and lots of products in your store and this could direct people directly where they need to go.

Marcus:           That’s right. Shoot them the link.

John:                All right, well and I covered up in this episode the Advance Cron Manager Debug & Control tool, which I gave a 4 to; the OneSignal Sender, which I gave a 3 to; and then the Weather Atlas Widget, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And fours across the board for me: 5 Star Google Reviews gets a 4, Mange Tiny MCE Editor gets a 4, and WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot gets a 4 out of 5.

 

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