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Transcript of Episode 337 WP Plugins A to Z Forced Plugin Updates, WooCommerce Phone Verification, Shortcode Finder, Gravatar Cache, Scheduled Posts and Adding Authors without Adding Users

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 #337 here.


It’s Episode 337 and we’ve got plugins for Forced Plugin Updates, WooCommerce Phone Verification, Shortcode Finder, Gravatar Cache, Scheduled Posts and Adding Authors without Adding Users. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #337

Marcus:           It’s Episode 337 and we’ve got plugins for Forced Plugin Updates, WooCommerce Phone Verification, Shortcode Finders, Gravatar Cache, Scheduled Posts, and Adding Authors Without Adding Users. It’s all coming up next on WordPress —

[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 Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I’m John Overall.

Marcus:           And with a lot to say and getting cut off by the mix —

John:                Oh, I blew my wad.

Marcus:           [laughing] From Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.

John:                Yeah, one of those things. My finger was hovering over the button and it just barely grazed it and fired it.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s all right.

John:                That’s all right, that’s all right.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                It makes for an entertaining intro to the show as we start the day off here. All right, well as usual, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com and if you’ve got a couple of minutes, stop in to the Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or the iTunes Store, leave us a review, and subscribe to the show there. And stop in to our iTube – our YouTube channel – where you can check out the show and also some training videos.

Marcus:           That’s right. We’ve got a lot going on. Remember, you can follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and also subscribe to our newsletter where you can get a lot of the different WordPress news that we don’t talk about on the show. It might not be plugin-related, but WordPress-related in general. That’s where you’re gonna find it by doing to wppluginsatoz.com and subscribing to our newsletter.

John:                Absolutely. And we do have the usual great allotment of six plugins for you here today, so we will start right off into those right off the bat, so off we go.

[Plugins lead-in music]

All right, first up today I have the following plugin. It’s called Forced Plugin Updates. Now, there’s gonna be the occasional time where you’re gonna want an easy way to re-update a plugin that was already recently updated. Now, the most common way to do that is you have to go download the plugin from the Repository or wherever you got it and FTP it back up to overwrite the files.

This plugin makes that job a whole lot easier for you. It goes in there and it sets it up so that you can go in and click a simple button on the thing and it adds a function for you that will force that plugin’s update. Now, why would you want to do this? Maybe you’ve just cleaned up a website that was hacked when the plugins were updated and you want to ensure that those plugins have cleaned files. This saves you that headache.

You just go in and install this plugin, go check off all the boxes and list of plugins, go select under the bulk to update, and it will force the update of the plugins again, even though they were up to date. A very nice plugin, very easy to use, pretty straightforward. God check it out. It’s called Forced Plugin Updates and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice.  Very nice. Well, I want to give a plugin here to people that typically schedule their posts. This is a handy little lazy plugin. What it does – it’s called Hide Publish Button Until Schedule, and what it does is this. It lets you pick the date that you’d like to schedule the post. Great, we’ve all been able to do that all along. The one thing that it does do that the regular function does not do is it won’t let you accidently hit that publish button until that scheduled date has arrived. Now this is great if you’d like to get a scheduled post that you start and you want to make sure that clients or other people don’t hit publish by mistake, this is that nice little safeguard.

It’s a little niche-y. You’ve gotta have a specific reason for wanting to use it. I happen to have a need for it on a site that has multiple user involvement and I didn’t want these things getting out to the public before I was ready, so I installed this. It is called Hide Publish Button Until Scheduled and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                Yeah, that’s kind of cool, actually. I like the way that helps you save some headaches. I could actually use it just for myself because there’s been times where I’ve been working on a post and scheduled it, but then I accidently hit publish.

Marcus:           Yeah, and then because of the fact it hits things like RPC, Ping-O-Matic and all those other ones…

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           Got it pinging actual locations at the backend, then you’re in trouble, and that means it reads through your RSS feed, and that means anything that goes through – SS aggregator, like podcasts and all that. Sees it, publishes it, and then delete it or whatever you want to do…

John:                Publish it.

Marcus:           Yeah, that makes you get a 404 error on your website.

John:                Yeah, or it could be worse. You could have some automatic be pushed out to Facebook and other places and then it gets pushed out there. It’s like you draw it back but it’s already out there and now people are banging your 404 error.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                Very nice tool.

Marcus:           This meets all that.

John:                Very, very nice tool. All right, well this show here is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses. Currently sponsored by JohnOverall.com. Finding quality WordPress hosting and support can be a challenge. Well, you can drop all that stress by contacting JohnOverall.com Web Services. I can help you eliminate your WordPress stress, solving your WordPress emergency issues, or doing the more day-to-day items such as finding that perfect plugin, helping you move to a new hosting provider, or even providing quality WordPress hosting with JohnOverall.com.

Twenty years’ experience online, over eight years dedicated to WordPress, JohnOverall.com provides all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress development, repairs, emergency malware removal support, and, well, WordPress hosting. Visit my website at JohnOverall.com or call me at (818) 850-7729 or send an email to john@wppro.ca.

Marcus:           And as we round out the year, I want to say one last time I am the WordPress editor for Smashing Magazine at smashingmagazine.com. It’s one of the biggest web design resources online and I’m looking for folks to write great articles about WordPress. I was very impressed this year, John. I was able to get almost 35 posts from different authors out the door in 2017 and —

John:                That was only half a year, wasn’t it?

Marcus:           — a lot more next year. What’s that?

John:                That was only for half the year, too. Wasn’t it?

Marcus:           Yeah, mm-hm. Yeah, that was six months’ worth, so really, really looking forward to it. I’ve put up a page, marcuscouch.com/smashing, and there’s a nice video there that walks you through the entire process and tells you exactly what it is that’s expected of you. If you want to get exposure, contribute to the WordPress community, and get a couple hundred bucks in your pocket for the effort, check it out for yourself: marcuscouch.com/smashing.

John:                Absolutely, and the articles there are great and you will probably see mine in the new year. I’ve almost got mine rounded out to be ready submit to you.

Marcus:           Great!

John:                All right, well, that brings us up to our next set of plugins and what I’ve got here for you today is I’ve got one called Shortcode Locator. Now, this one here is kind of an important one too if you’ve been doing some redevelopment on a site, you’re changing up a site, you’re removing plugins that might have used shortcodes in the website and replaced them with something better (which is going to happen to you more and more as older plugins aren’t being updated and you have to replace them with something new).

Well, this helps you hunt down those shortcodes in your website and get them eliminated so that when people hit pages, they don’t suddenly see a blank shortcode or a shortcode that just shows there where the information should be showing, making your website look kind of ugly on pages that you might’ve forgotten you created or can’t find. At any rate, it’s a really simple plugin. You plug it in, activate it, and then it goes and creates a list for you on all the posts and pages that you created shortcodes on.

Also, you can have it check into custom post types too to make the job of hunting them down a whole lot easier. Then when you find them, you can go remove them nice, clean, and easy. It does take a little time to work with but a great plugin all round. Give it a checkout. It’s called Forced Plugin Updates and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Very nice, very nice. John, what’s the biggest pain in the butt when it comes to having a guest person post?

John:                Ah…good question.

Marcus:           Well, the answer usually is all the backend stuff they have to do. You have to make them a user, you have to give them a password, you have to do all that stuff. This is a cool new plugin. It’s called Add Authors Not Users, and it does exactly that.

John:                Oh!

Marcus:           You can add a guest author name to posts and pages without the need to add them as a registered user. So what it does is you add the guest author as a – well, you have to add the guest author as a user first, which includes adding their email, making sure they have the right permissions, etc., and then you actually just associate the person to that guest status and it actually adds an author box and all the rest of it to a post where you say that they are the author.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So, what does that do – okay, so what’s the difference? Yay, you’re adding a user anyway, right? Big deal, BS. You’re full of it, Marcus, right?

John:                [Chuckling]

Marcus:           What this does is it doesn’t add them to things like a site login. It doesn’t give them any sort of privileges. It doesn’t let them author new posts or any of that stuff. It really restricts what they can do as a guest author. So if you use guest posts or guest authors, this is probably the way that you want to go with it. It’s called Add Authors Not Users and I rated it a 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar…abbreviated, then a full one]

John:                Oop…problems with the buttons today.

Marcus:           There you go.

John:                All right, hey, that’s actually quite nice. I like that idea and as I’ve been considering taking some of the people who’ve offered to be guest authors, this would be a great way to keep them under control.

Marcus:           Mm-hm, exactly. Yeah.

John:                All right. Well, that brings us up here. This show here is a value-for-value model show and in that vein here, we’d like to recognize the donors this week. This week we have from Jezweb Pty. Ltd. — $50 – and this donation from them and the note that he provided: “This donation is on behalf of Newcastle Footwear at newcastlefootwear.com.au, a new WordPress website built by Jezweb in Australia.” And of course we’ve got a slow connection to Australia right now, but that’s all right.

Marcus:           Hm. Well, I want to thank Jeremy and Jezweb for everything that they’ve done throughout the year.

John:                Oh, yeah!

Marcus:           And interestingly enough, all of you developers out there maybe pad in an extra $50 to donate to your favorite show, your favorite WordPress plugin show, and this is the only one, so…[chuckling] that’s gotta be us. And that’s a good practice to get into in the new year, so we hope to get some donations from people in the future. I want to thank Jeremy for all of his support throughout this year.

Just real quickly – I don’t want to dwell on it – but what did we do with the money throughout the year, John? Well, for the most part, let’s see…. I took like $50 of that money and got a Chrome extension that helped promote on Facebook, which it barely works right now. It’s just so outdated and Facebook changes their stuff. The other thing is some of the bandwidth and the hosting that John does.

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           And the third thing is all the transcripts.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           — and that’s probably – I’d say at least 50% of our expenses is those transcripts.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           So that’s it! John and I did not go on a European vacation.

John:                [Chuckling] Yeah…no.

Marcus:           We did not buy brand new machines. We are not [laughing] living the life of luxury, so that’s where the money went and hopefully you can support the show and understand that those things have to get paid for either way.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           So wppluginsatoz.com/donate.

John:                Yep, please do. Support the show there. As a side note, dealing with Patreon, I know there’s only like three or four Patreon donors over there. I’m probably going to be pulling down the Patreon account in the new year, especially with the way Patreon keeps flipping and flopping and dealing with their —

Marcus:           Right.

John:                — processing system. It hasn’t been beneficial and plus it hasn’t been used to the maximum way it could be used. So in the new year, I’m probably going to pull that down and any supporters there, if you want to pull your donation, that’s fine. Otherwise, I will end up cancelling it when I close the account.

Marcus:           Okay.

John:                So, it just hasn’t been worth the headache involved. And on another note, the Christmas holidays are upon us, both Christmas and New Year’s this year fall on show days, so we will not be doing the shows on those days – no live shows, no pre-recorded shows. You never know, I might put out a little note here and there just to let everyone – wish everyone Happy Holidays during that time period. But we will not be putting out actual shows during the Christmas holidays, so this is our last show until the new year.

Marcus:           That’s right.

John:                So Merry Christmas to everyone and a Happy New Year.

Marcus:           Absolutely.

John:                All right, this brings us up to our final set of plugins for today, and this one here came about because I follow several Facebook groups, and one of the groups I was in, somebody asked about caching Gravatar images. They had enough comments and other things using Gravatar images. It was giving their site a bit of a slowdown. And then it was asked back and forth, “Well, can’t you just cache them?” and nobody really had an answer. So a quick check from me and sure enough, I figure there has to be a Gravatar cache plugin, and sure enough, there is a Gravatar cache plugin. A really great plugin, really simple to use.

It goes in and if you use Gravatar images on your site, be it in your comment section or even other places where your Gravatar might be appearing – even your author bios and such – this plugin can help save you that .5 of a second speed or load – any of those things there to help your site run faster. Well, that’s always good for your SEO and customer experience. A great plugin; you just go in, install it, activate it. There’s only a couple of small settings to be made in it and then you just have it run the initial cron to cache the plugin and you can tell it how often to run the cron to re-cache the images.

It does seem to help on one site for one of my clients I’ve been working on her Gravatar was used all over it, and it gave me, you know, maybe a quarter of a second of improvement. But hey, it’s still an improvement, and one less call-out to an external resource for that stuff when it’s loading the pages. So give it a check-out. It’s called FV Gravatar Cache and I gave this one a 5-Dragon rating.

[Dragon roar]

Marcus:           Awesome. You know, John, I saw something funny on the screen there.

John:                What’s that?

Marcus:           As you were doing that…I didn’t notice it. This is a new thing, but on the Repository screen that you’re on, it says, “This plugin is not translated into Canadian English yet.”

John:                [Chuckling] That’s new. I haven’t seen that. [laughing]

Marcus:           Canadian English. Why don’t you translate it and just like everything that’s about is aboot

John:                Aboot, eh? [chuckling]

Marcus:           And a sentence with eh?

John:                [Chuckling] That’s actually quite comical.

Marcus:           That – here we go…There’s one problem with Gravatars, eh? [Laughing]

John:                [Laughing] That’ll be we’ve gotta put all the extra Us, too, for all of the things that have an o after them, you know. You know, flavour or – you’ve gotta get the right cheque in there – C-H-E-Q-U-E, you know. All of those sorts of things. [chuckling]

Marcus:           Right. Congratulations to all you Canadians out there for finally getting your own language in the Repository. Good job.

John:                Yeah, that’s comical.

Marcus:           [Laughing] Okay, so the final plugin for me and for the year is called WooCommerce Phone Verification on Checkout, and it is put out by RingCaptcha, and RingCaptcha is a pretty popular phone verification service that’s out there for websites. This does almost the exact same thing. So WooCommerce has no kind of phone verification at all. People can just put in random phone numbers and the business owner can never verify if it’s an actual legitimate order/phone number or not, so this is good for business owners doing a lot of different cash transactions, a lot of deliveries, and those kinds of things. A verified phone number is always tied to each order, so this plugin always helps reduce fraudulent and fake orders since a user and a customer must verify a phone number before they can actually proceed in checkout.

It also has the ability to send SMS notifications whenever somebody places an order. It’s useful for shipping or if you just want to give a thank-you message to somebody; this is a great plugin to do it. It also requires the usage of RingCaptcha, which is a paid service. So I took one point off for that. Otherwise, this plugin, WooCommerce Phone Verification On Checkout, gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                Very nice. Anything to help lower the amount of possible fraud on your site is important.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                Especially nowadays.

Marcus:           Yeah. You know, on enough porches even, so you can even get it to the sense where you verify the customer but then they get the package and somebody rips it off. We’ve gotta do something about that.

John:                Oh, absolutely. More packages with exploding dog shit. [slight chuckle] Okay, well that closes out this episode and the plugins I covered here was Force Plugin Updates, which I gave a 4 to; the Shortcode Locator, which I gave a 4 to; and the FV Gravatar Cache, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I’ve talked about Hide Publish Buttons Until Scheduled gets a 4 out of 5, Add Authors Not Users gets a 5 out of 5, and WooCommerce Phone Verification gets a 4 out of 5.

John:                All right! And was there something about Green Screen you wanted to throw in here?

Marcus:           Nope…nope, that’s private talk.

John:                All right. Well – and just a last reminder, be sure to go check out the YouTube screencast that goes up later. There may or may not be additional stuff with it today; it depends on how much time I’ve got. And also to developers out there, if you would like to support the show, you can offer up a premium license that we can create a contest giveaway around. Go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and that’s pretty much everything we’ve got for you. I’d just like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a Merry Christmas, since we’re probably not going to talk to you over the next couple of weeks, and enjoy your holidays. That’s all we’ve got now. Take care, bye-bye.

Reminders for the show [female speaker]:

All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and while you’re there, subscribe to the Thursday newsletter for more useful information directly to your email inbox. Wppluginsatoz.com is a show that offers honest and unbiased reviews of plugins by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and choose one of the weekly donation levels or make one that fits your budget. Help us make the show better for you by subscribing and reviewing to the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store. You can also watch the show live on YouTube, check out the screencasts and training videos, and remember to subscribe to us on YouTube, or follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.

John can be reached through his website at www.JohnOverall.com, or send him an email to john@wppro.ca. Marcus can also be reached through his website at marcuscouch.com or Twitter at @marcuscouch. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

[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]

John:                All right, well thank you for listening to the show. This is the last official WP Plugins A to Z podcast for 2017. Although there might be a couple little brief blurbs that’ll come up in the next couple of weeks, just to keep everyone informed of things I’m doing and what’s up, I wanted to take a couple of minutes here just to showcase the relaunch of JohnOverall.com with a new look and a new feel and a new focus going into the new year.

JohnOverall.com, which is of course my business, and it’s focusing on quality WordPress hosting, emergency WordPress support, and WordPress website maintenance, meaning if you’re tired of the same old hosting providers that provides you with limited resources, limited bandwidth, limited etc. and you’re tired of slow loading times or time to first bite being slow, well, talk to me.

I offer limited hosting to everyone – and limited, I mean I limit the number of people I take into my hosting environment. You can contact me to be hosted with JohnOverall.com and if you are in need of emergency WordPress support…maybe you white-screened, you don’t know what’s happening, maybe you have your own VPS and something’s gone wrong and you can’t quite figure out what happened – anything along that line there, I can help sort that problem out for you, get it fixed, get you back up and running in as short a time as possible.

And finally, WordPress website maintenance. WordPress website maintenance that takes the headache away from you of ensuring that your website is kept up to date and current, that it’s kept secure, and that it’s monitored for any unusual changes in that website, plus including offsite backups that are always somewhere else besides the server itself and numerous of those backups so that if something happens to your site, it’s easy to get it back to where it belongs, limiting the amount of data loss, sometimes in many cases, I don’t even lose data when I restore a website that’s hacked.

So anyway, go check out JohnOverall.com for all of those things there and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’s and enjoy your holidays. Thank you very much for listening to wppluginsatoz.com and thank you for your support of this show and your support of me and Marcus throughout the entire year. It has been much appreciated. That’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.

 

[End of Audio]