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Transcript of Episode 358 WP Plugins A to 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 #358 here.



It’s Episode 358 and we’ve got plugins for Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds, Checkout Countdown, Gift Vouchers, Plugin Detective and Multi-Image Importing. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #358

Marcus:           It’s Episode 358 and we’ve got plugins for Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds, Checkout Countdown, Gift Vouchers, Plugin Detective, and Multi-Image Importing. 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 Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I’m John Overall.

Marcus:           And from the sunny shores of the Beachside Bunker in Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.

John:                And we have the usual great show for you today, and of course right off the top, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you’ve got a few minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time on Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the show.

Marcus:           [static audio reception] Absolutely. Those reviews do help us out and we’d love to see more —

John:                Ooh! We’re gonna have to back up. All of a sudden we’ve gotten a really crappy thing from Skype.

Marcus:           Hm.

John:                It’s so bad that you’re scratchy and hardly understandable.

Marcus:           More than normal, huh?

John:                More than normal. We’re gonna have to – maybe we might want to try a reconnect on this.

[Skype logoff tone]

[Skype dialing tone]

Marcus:           Yes?

John:                Yeah, that’s much better. Okay. Well, we’ll just start it over again.

Marcus:           Damn, it was such a perfect intro.

John:                I know. I know, but it’s all [inaudible – 2:08] when we came back and it was soooo horribly scratchy.

Marcus:           Yeah, okay. No problem. I got it.

John:                All right, you ready? And 5…4…3…

Marcus:           It’s Episode 358 and we’ve got plugins for Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds, Checkout Countdown, Gift Vouchers, Plugin Detective, and Multi-Image Importing. 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 Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I’m John Overall.

Marcus:           And from the Beachside Bunker in Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.

John:                And we have the usual great show for you today, but of course right off the top, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you have a few minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the show.

Marcus:           Yeah, we need some more reviews worldwide. Let us know how you feel on iTunes, Google Play, any of the other ones. We do read those reviews and we will put them in the show notes, so if you’ve got a link to yourself, your website, whatever it happens to be, also put that in the review. We’ll put it in the show notes; that means a nice little bit of link love from your two buddies here on the WordPress Plugins A to Z.

Also remember, while you’re stumbling between cat videos and everything else, why don’t you check us out on YouTube every Monday morning – that’s the first Monday morning of every month at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Also check out our training videos, screencasts, etc. If you’re looking to say hello to us on Twitter, you can find us @wppluginsatoz and subscribe to our newsletter. That’s where we keep all of the stuff that has nothing to do with plugins but maybe WordPress core related, theme related, drama, news – whatever happens to be going on in the WordPress ecosphere. Subscribe to our newsletter from wppluginsatoz.com and you’ll find that stuff, because we love to keep this show all about the plugins.

John:                Absolutely. And with that being said, it’s time to dive right into the meat and potatoes.

[Plugins lead-in music]

And we have the usual allotment of six great plugins, and first up I have another plugin that was sent in to us by Mike Highton Ridley and it’s called NiftyGridZPro. This is a plugin here that allows you to build up NiftyGridZ for your website if you’re using your WooCommerce store. You can build up grids of all of your products in the WooCommerce store, similar to – and the products are built based upon the Zazzle. If you use Zazzle, you can bring them into your website for Zazzle and set it up in the grid format to make it very easy for you to collect your commissions off of Zazzle. It has a 45-day cookie that helps you to collect those profits correctly and NiftyGridZ is a pretty nice little plugin for doing all of that. You’ll want to go check it out, NiftyGridZPro, and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Yeah, you know, there are funny things about stuff like that, because you’d probably think, “When am I going to do an affiliate for Zazzle? What kind of money is in that?”

John:                Money to be made.

Marcus:           Quite a bit if you know how to niche the stuff out.

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           Right? So if you’re into all handmade stuff that’s made out of wood, right? Get, you know, creativecarvings.com, make a WordPress site, and just put some of this stuff on it. It self-updates with plugins like this.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           It’s not like you’ve got a lot of work.

John:                Nope.

Marcus:           So you figure it’s gonna be, you know, $10 for the domain, it’s gonna be, you know, another $20 a year for hosting or whatever it is — $30. You’ve got to break $30 in commission.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           You could do that. Come on, get a Twitter handle, blast out some different products that you find every day, and you’ll make some money. And so what if you spend $30 and you make $130? You still made $100.

John:                It’s a hundred bucks more than you had before.

Marcus:           Do 20 of those! You’d be pretty surprised as to how that little bit can add up.

John:                There’s lots of people that do that. They build nothing but niche websites like that —

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                — and make a whole lot of little bits of money and it adds up to a lot of big money, so something you might want to check out.

Marcus:           Yeah. Yep. Okay, so the first plugin I’ve got here for you today is called Customized Facebook Feeds, and it’s totally – what it does is it’s a customizable kind of responsive solution to help you display a Facebook feed on your website. It has a lot of different features and I’ll go over those in a minute.

But what you can do is add as many feeds as you want from Facebook and display the contents of your Facebook page or your Facebook group on your WordPress’s site.

John:                Hm.

Marcus:           You can actually take every post and make it a – you know, every Facebook – I don’t know, are they posts? I guess they are.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Of a group and get a copy of it and put it on your WordPress site. It allows you to display Facebook posts, photos, events, all of that. You can customize the Facebook feed to do kind of lightbox features, to display popup windows, to do CSS effects, animation, load effects. It doesn’t really require a lot as far as design and technical knowledge. You can set it up in just a couple of minutes.

So I checked it out; it is responsive and it does a lot with your Facebook feed. I didn’t even know a lot of this stuff was being utilized by Facebook. I mean, even like tags and stuff you can take out of this thing. So it does all of these things, it’s got hover effects, different page layout things, and there is a pro version that lets you do even more stuff. So in the pro version, I thought it was especially unique was that you can have albums of pictures that are kind of like portfolios, how we show them in WordPress. You can do videos and all of that.

Why would we want to do this? One of the reasons is because maybe you’re doing something with somebody that – let’s say I’m doing this website for a band that has their Facebook fans in a group or a page that I can do events for and do videos from on the road, and it updates the website automatically. It’s not two different things that have to be done; it integrates the two. I’m always hesitant to bring in Facebook into a WordPress property but this is pretty cool that you actually get to import it over and there are some SEO benefits to this too, because after a couple of days of use, I did notice that these pages climbed up in Google rankings for the terms that were what the video title was and things, so I know that it scanned that stuff in terms of Google.

John:                Nice!

Marcus:           So it’s pretty cool. To me, it’s kind of a perfect feed plugin but I can’t give it a perfect rating because of the pro version, so I gave it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s very nice. I’ve actually had somebody recently ask me for something similar to this to bring in their Facebook stuff to a website, and this works well. I’m checking out the pro version and you bring in the photos and it sets up galleries that, you know, pop up and you can scroll through them and yeah, perfect for bands and even showcasing pretty much anything you want to showcase, so hey.

Marcus:           And this another one of those things that we talked about last time where you can get an a-la carte thing if you’re a designer or developer. Hey, you want to bring in Facebook to automatically import all of your pictures so nobody in your office has to mess with it?

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Uh, yeah. Okay.

John:                Absolutely.

Marcus:           There you go.

John:                There’s lots of people that use Facebook for collecting all of their photos and then they want to bring them to their website, so this is a great way to do it, considering how hard it is to get the photos off Facebook in the other way.

Marcus:           Yeah, absolutely.

John:                All right, well —

Marcus:           Check it out.

John:                Check it out, folks. This is a nice one. All right, well this show here currently brought to you by…

Take the work and worry out of maintaining and caring for your WordPress website. JohnOverall.com has 20+ years’ experience and offers hosting, maintenance programs, emergency support, and more to keep your site up-to-date and running smoothly. We offer free estimates and only bill you for the time used, not by the block. While you’re caring for your business, let JohnOverall.com care for your website. Think of us when you think of WordPress. Visit JohnOverall.com.

That’s it. Give me a call, folks. I can help you out with all your WordPress needs.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                And also —

Marcus:           And one thing I want to mention – I’m not gonna announce it yet, but next week – June – you know, the first show in June, I’m going to —

John:                June 4th.

Marcus:           — be announcing a new podcast.

John:                June 4th is actually our first show in June.

Marcus:           Okay, well then that’ll be the day.

John:                That’ll be the day.

Marcus:           I’m gonna have a new show that’s gonna be coming out called The Thousand Days and it’s gonna be kind of a personal thing. But I hope everybody checks it out. I’ll have more info on next week’s show all about it, how you can download it, where the website’s gonna be, and all that stuff, so look forward to that.

John:                Absolutely. Something kind of cool. All right, and we do currently have a contest running. We are giving away a premium license from bracketspace.com. We’re giving away a bundle pack of extensions for the Notifications plugin. There’s a link in the show notes for the free version of the plugin that you can check out, and the Notifications plugin, you can go check out the contest at wppluginsatoz.com/contest. This is the last week to enter the show. The winner will be announced on our first show in June 4th and just go enter the contest. All you do is enter your name and email address and that’s all we need from you.

And also, if you’re in a hurry to get the plugin, you want to check out the plugin, there’s a 25% off coupon code for the plugin running through till the end of May. Just use the code ILOVEWPAZ and get 25% off all of their extensions for the Notifications plugin. And currently, the contest is being powered by the Simple Giveaways plugin.

All right, and that brings us up to our second set of plugins here. This one here, I’ve got one that I’ve tripped across. It’s kind of new in the WordPress Repository and it’s called Plugin Detective. Now, if you’ve done any troubleshooting on WordPress or you’ve hit the White Screen of Death, you know how much trouble and pain in the neck it can be to go, “Okay, it’s a plugin. What do I do? Go turn off all my plugins and then turn them back on one at a time, figuring out which one broke it.” That’s a bit of a pain in the neck.

This plugin here allows you to go in and check it out if you’ve got conflicts and you can still get into the admin area, you can go in and tell it what page to check out, and it will go in and examine the plugins that are active and give you the suspects as to what it is. If you are in a White Screen of Death, it has a specialized page you can then log into and then it’ll put you in kind of a safe mode and allow you to run the same kind of tests.

This plugin has a lot going on for it that may shorten the time for all you developers out there or all you people out there that fix broken WordPress websites, and allow you to shorten the time down to figuring out what’s going on with the plugin. All in all, it looks to be a pretty nice plugin and I think it’s one that’s going to become a staple in my area because I spend a lot of time fixing broken WordPress websites. So go check it out: Plugin Detective, and I give it a perfect 5-Dragon rating.

[Dragon roar]

Marcus:           This plugin is actually an entry in my local WordCamp contest called Plugin Palooza, and boy, this one’s a favorite going in. It looks pretty good.

John:                Yeah, I’m certain within a week I will have used it a couple of times, because it’s not – I get a regular amount of people calling me up, “Oh my God, I’ve got a white screen. What’s going on with my website?” I don’t know.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                “I don’t know. Let me get in there and find out.” But usually, I have to go in and manually turn off the plugins that I suspect the most, and oftentimes I’ll do that and I still don’t have it and I have to turn them all off and then go through and reactivate every plugin one at a time. And of course, that causes breakage problems if people are visiting the website, if it’s a busy website. It just creates all kinds of grief, so this could —

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                — save a lot of time and headache.

Marcus:           Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so the next plugin that I’ve got for us is called WP Gift Voucher, and this is more kind of a gift card type of a thing that you can do. It allows your users to buy and send gift cards via email to your WooCommerce store, so it’s kind of an easy and direct way to encourage new sales. So when, you know, you may be able to do this as far as another giveaway as another product within it. I don’t know how that would be handled, but this is a great way to do it.

It allows you to basically buy a gift card, charge it up, and then email it to a recipient with a gift message or anything like that. You on the backend get to templatize it, you can choose different card designs, whatever you want, and once they purchase it, it is then tracked via a store administrator function and keeps track of this kind of hashed individual gift card code that they use. Pretty cool way to kind of increase sales; maybe you want to encourage different people to do this. Maybe it’s charity driven or what have you. Check it out, it’s called WP Gift Voucher and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s nice. Now, I know that’s one I would use in this website I’m currently developing, because I know my client would love to be able to give gift cards for their stuff.

Marcus:           Oh, yeah? Cool.

John:                Well, it’s a gift shop that’s basically – they have a brick and mortar store and we’re adding the WooCommerce store to their system, so they do a lot of gift card sales, especially around the holidays.

Marcus:           Hm. This is digital.

John:                Digital is the age. It still encourages people to buy their stuff, man.

Marcus:           Yeah, see digital is even better because let’s just say, you know, I know that so-and-so goes to that store, that brick and mortar store, but hey, I live in California. I can’t go there and get them a gift card for that.

John:                That’s right.

Marcus:           So – but I can go online and do it.

John:                That’s right. So yeah, there’s another great use for it. So lots of – look at all the great ideas you get for us, folks, for using the plugins.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, well this show here, we love listener feedback. If you’d like to leave some feedback for us, you can go to our contact page, hit us up on SpeakPipe, down at the lower right-hand corner of the website, or email us directly. All feedback is shown on the webs- — on the show. We list it in the show and if you give us a SpeakPipe, we’ll play it out. We love questions, comments, just tell us how great we are, ask us a question and you can get some free research for us – from us – anything along that line. So hey, send us some feedback. We really enjoy it.

Also, this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. And to do that, you can go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate, choose any of the donate options there, leave us some money. You can go join Patreon through there. Any donations that come in above $50 will be read out in the show and if you leave us links, we’ll leave those links in the show. You’ll get some more link love for us. Anything along that line, so please support the show.

The money doesn’t go into our pocket that’s donated. It goes to support things such as transcripts, server support, bandwidth, etc.

Marcus:           Yeah, so it’s really – it’s really a labor of love that John and I do for you every week and we make sure that every single week we’ve got a show for you, no matter how life gets in the way.

John:                Or how computers fail, like I had a week ago.

Marcus:           Computers fail, yeah. All kinds of stuff has happened. We always, always find a way to make sure that we can record this show, because I know that some people depend on it in terms of getting the latest plugins that are out there. We know the core of our audience are developers, designers, and people that run businesses in which they are in charge of WordPress as owners or as entrepreneurs, or just as managers that are in charge of it. They want to know what’s going on with the inside of WordPress plugins. We are the longest running solely-focused WordPress show that there is.

John:                Yep.

Marcus:           And all we ask back is if you get some value out of what it is that we do, give value back to us in the form of a monetary contribution, and we appreciate everybody who does that. So if you can help us out, we do greatly appreciate it. If you want some of the extras that come along with, donate over $50 and we’ll make sure we take care of you that way. But anything that you can give is greatly appreciated.

John:                Absolutely. Yeah, it’s coming up on seven years this year.

Marcus:           Holy cow!

John:                I know, I know. It’s hard to believe. Somebody was asking me about it the other day and I went, “Oh, wait a minute. Wow!” At any rate, let’s move on to the last couple of plugins we have for today, and the last one I’ve got for you here is one that will help your WooCommerce store – maybe even help you get more sales. It’s called Checkout Counter for WooCommerce and this plugin here is one that kind of gives that time-sensitive urgency to people when the check out on your store. As soon as they hit the checkout page, you set a timer as to how long their product will be held, and that timer starts counting down for them, giving them a sense of urgency to finish the purchase.

And that has been shown to actually encourage people to finish their purchase, instead of abandoning it and helping them to make that decision when they’re hemming and hawing about it. It’s a really great plugin. It’s got shortcode availability to it for placement to it, and once they hit the checkout, the counter starts counting down for whatever you set it to and you can customize that counter so it stands out really well and it is all set and ready for WooCommerce 3+, so go check it out. Checkout Countdown for WooCommerce and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           You know, that happens when you’re buying tickets to events.

John:                Oh, well I understand tickets to events because, you know, if you don’t grab those tickets, they want to resell them to somebody else.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s perfect.

John:                It’s perfect if you’re doing something like that but hey, even for other products that were use —

Marcus:           Limited quantity stuff.

John:                — limited quantity stuff, get people to buy it now.

Marcus:           I like that a lot. I like that a lot. All right, so hmm…we helped you separate the junk from the gems, right? That’s what I say at the intro of every episode.

John:                Absolutely.

Marcus:           All right, this one is called CS Multiple Image Import and it is a plugin which is labeled as a simple plugin, which enables you to import a zip file containing images in its attributes in an Excel file to be uploaded in the WordPress Media Manager. So basically here’s what you do. You take an Excel file that has the image title, image description, image caption, and the ALT tag, and you zip it in with all the images and you click Upload.

Okay, sounds great, doesn’t it?

John:                It does!

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                It sounds like it’d be a fantastic plugin.

Marcus:           That’s until…you actually do it.

John:                Hm…okay.

Marcus:           And here’s what the problem I ran into was. First, you have to use the file name for everything.

John:                Mm-hm?

Marcus:           And that’s a pain, having to get every file name of something when somebody gives you a hundred images.

John:                Oh God, yes. That’s a —

Marcus:           And then put it in Excel?

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           And then do all the ALTs and the titles and all that, so I did, and I did a bunch of different tests. And with 10 images, it worked pretty good. In that time that I uploaded the 10 images in that process, I probably could have manually uploaded them one by one and just done it, right? Copy, paste from the data I already had.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           So I tried it with 100 —

John:                Ooh.

Marcus:           — and I ran into upload limits.

John:                Mm.

Marcus:           And then it – the third time I did it with 50 and it made the image file name the image title.

John:                Hm.

Marcus:           — and not my regular title.

John:                Ouch.

Marcus:           So this gets a 3 out of 5. It works halfway when you’re doing small images in terms of byte size and also, you know, not too many – something that can throw off the – this – you know, it skews the fields so to speak and screws up your data import, so it gets a 3 out of 5. It’s called CS Multiple Image Import.

John:                Well, it sounded hopeful and maybe as it develops, it’ll get better.

Marcus:           Maybe.

John:                All right, well that wraps us up today, and I covered up NiftyGridZPro, which I gave a 4 to; the Plugin Detective, which I gave a 5 to; and the Checkout Countdown for WooCommerce, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about the Customized Facebook Feeds, which gets a 4 out of 5; WP Gift Vouchers, which gets a 4 out of 5, and CS Multiple Image Import – hopeful, yet gets a 3 out of 5.

John:                All right, and be sure to check out our YouTube channel and check out our screencasts and other training videos. And a note to developers who’d like to support the show, if you’d like to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and enter all the pertinent data there. And I’d also just like to give a big shout out and thank you to all those who attended the WordPress Meetup in Victoria last weekend. It was lots of fun and we greatly appreciate you showing up.

And that’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.

[Female speaker]

Reminders for the show: 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 @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 @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]

[End of Audio]

It's Episode 358 and we've got plugins for Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds, Checkout Countdown, Gift Vouchers, Plugin Detective and Multi-Image Importing. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

WordPress Plugins A to Z Episode 358 Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds

Episode #358 Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds #Wordpress #Plugins #Podcast Click To Tweet

It's Episode 358 and we've got plugins for Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds, Checkout Countdown, Gift Vouchers, Plugin Detective and Multi-Image Importing. It's all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!It’s Episode 358 and we’ve got plugins for Product Grids, Customized Facebook Feeds, Checkout Countdown, Gift Vouchers, Plugin Detective and Multi-Image Importing. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

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