WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #332 here.
It’s Episode 332 and we’ve got plugins for Content Paywalls, Site Search, WooCommerce Fulfillment, Importing and Exporting Customers and Cloning Widgets. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 332 and we’ve got plugins for Content Paywalls, Site Search, WooCommerce Fulfillment, Importing and Exporting Customers, and Cloning Widgets. It’s all coming up next on WordPress Plugins A to Z.
WordPress, it’s the most popular content management and website solution on the internet. And with over 60,000 plugins to choose from, how do you separate the junk from the gems? Join John Overall and Marcus Couch for this weekly unrehearsed conversation about the latest and greatest in WordPress plugins. This is WordPress Plugins A to Z.
John: Well good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you happen to be hiding out there on the globe today. Coming to 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 roundup of stuff for you here today and of course as usual, right off the top, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. If you’ve got a few minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time over on Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store, subscribing to the show and leaving us a review. And if you have a few minutes, please stop into the YouTube channel where you can catch us live every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. or you can check out there for screencasts, training videos, and more as it’s slowly added to the channel.
Marcus: That’s right. Got a lot going on there. Also remember, you can follow this show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and we’ve got a great newsletter that we feature all the latest WordPress news. Make sure you go to our website, wppluginsatoz.com, and subscribe to that newsletter.
John: Absolutely. The newsletter helps – we’re starting to put more and more news and tidbit information in there, so make sure you do subscribe to that. Well, with that all being said, it’s time for us to dive right into the meat and potatoes time and the rest of the show. Off we go.
[Plugins lead-in music]
All right, today we have our usual allotment of six great plugins and first up I have one here called WordPress Users WooCommerce and Customers Import & Export, and this plugin here is one that I pulled together for a client who was looking to clean up their user database. They had outdated users and miscellaneous in there and for them, one of the easiest was to do it was get it all into a CSV file so they can do a better search and delete. This downloads a great CSV file of everything that you need, so you can get in there, manually edit it, change it around, and you can then re-upload the CSV file.
But I did find one caveat to this: it doesn’t delete something that’s on the site, so you have to manually delete stuff when you re-upload, so that’s one of the things about it. It’s a pretty decent plugin; it’s great for bringing down that data and it gives you some limitations. Like a lot of these plugins where it brings down everything that is associated with the user, this one helps you determine which columns you want to export such as names, login names, user ID, email, password. You can include them or exclude them during the export, thereby getting just exactly what you need to do all of your editing to this file. Anyway, a great plugin: WordPress Users and WooCommerce Customer Import – and it’s the basic – they do have a pro version, so go check it out. I give this a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! Very good to do that, especially if you’ve got a WooCommerce site that’s been around a long time and you’re going to engage in something like MailChimp or something like that for maybe a newsletter – whatever you want to do — that’s a very vital feature.
John: Yeah, there’s another great use for it.
Marcus: Yep. All right, I’m going to stick with WooCommerce here in terms of the subject matter for the moment, and this one is called WooCommerce Customer Care. Now, it’s great to have WooCommerce on board to take different orders, but you know, what’s out there that actually helps you fulfill the order once it comes in? That’s a different story because shipping the product out is the most important part and often also what’s the worst part of dealing with WooCommerce. So this plugin is called WooCommerce Customer Care.
It is billed as a complete customer care system for WooCommerce. You can actually assign users (or assign yourself or other people) within your website that when an order comes in, it actually auto-assigns to a specific person: one manager or say you’re a department head or something like that that you have specific products that you take care of. John, let’s just say you and I had an e-commerce shop together.
It could assign all of the high-end products let’s say to you, all the medium end products to me, and all the low-end products to somebody else. Whoever makes an order, it then goes to say that customer service manager to see it through and make sure that it goes all the way through. So it does both auto-assign and self-assign and it also prevents access. Say John, if you had one that you picked up, it would prevent me from also picking that up because it knows that you picked it up —
Marcus: — which is pretty cool. It also has a running log that tracks all of the changes and everything that happens in between. It’s called WooCommerce Customer Care and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! That’s excellent to be able to track the stuff from start to finish so that it’s always looking the way it needs to be.
Marcus: Isn’t it something that WooCommerce does so much in relation to the e-commerce end but it forgets to take care of the fulfillment end?
John: Yeah, well, so fulfillment is very important. It’s one thing to collect the money but it’s another is you better deliver on the product.
Marcus: Yeah. I’ve even had to do it with actual live clients. I’ve had to actually use Zapier and make it go to a Google Sheet online so that people could see orders, rather than having people have to log into WordPress, go in the backend – all that other stuff.
Marcus: It just seemed too hard for them in the past and we had to kind of make a different means for them to display what the order were.
John: Oh, absolutely.
Marcus: A thing like this actually prevents all of that, so —
John: That’s pretty nice.
Marcus: — if that’s a common mistake happening within your e-commerce site or the ones that you develop for clients, this is probably a good solution for you.
John: That it is. All right, well that brings us up to the point here we wanted to let everyone know is currently sponsored by the following people and/or businesses. It’s currently sponsored by JohnOverall.com WordPress and Web Services. Finding quality WordPress hosting and support can be a challenge. Well, you can drop that stress by contacting JohnOverall.com Web Services. We can help you eliminate your WordPress stresses, 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 20-plus years’ experience online, over eight years dedicated to WordPress, JohnOverall.com provides all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress development, repairs, and emergency malware removal on your website. Visit JohnOverall.com or call me at (818) 850-7729 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus: And anyone listening to this show, we know that you have a passion for WordPress. Why not write about something unique within WordPress? I am now the WordPress Editor and Head Curator for Smashing Magazine, one of the biggest web design resources online, and I’m looking for folks to write great articles about different facets of WordPress. So if you’d like to do that, get a lot of exposure to yourself and your work, then visit marcuscouch.com/smashing and I will reply back with more information right away with an autoresponder, give you all the different guidelines – everything that needs to be done. It’s a great way to contribute to the WordPress community, get exposure, and get a few hundred bucks for yourself just for the effort. So check it out: marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: Absolutely, and if you’re in need of some research or stuff to help you find your way, go check out Smashing Magazine’s resource library of WordPress articles. Really great stuff there.
John: All right, well this brings us up to our next couple of plugins and the next one I have for you is one that I did – or Marcus did review – last week and I made a brief mention of that I tried to review it but I was having problems with it. And initially, I’d loaded it up on a live website – my sandbox area – and I couldn’t get it to load and I assumed it was due to a conflict with all the other mess I had in there. Sure enough, it turned out that way. I managed to get it tested and loaded on a clean dev site and it’s on a local development site.
It loaded up fine but it loaded up with an error in the code. Once it activated, it worked fine – no further errors. But it was an activation error and I moved that error on to the developer so that he could take a look at it. But afterwards, I did check the plugin out. It’s a pretty nice plugin for getting in there and hiding the plugins from other users in your website, preventing them from turning them on or off or hiding the ability to them to try and do updates to them.
All in all, a really great and simple in its idea and it’s a very simple way to take care of that issue. Check it out; it’s called Hidden Plugin and hopefully the error will go away and for most live sites, you might not even see the error when it comes up. It only comes up when you’ve got it set to show you PHP debugging. So anyway, go check it out. It’s called Hidden Plugin and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Hmm…very interesting. Yeah, I did not get that error but that’s because I must have that error logging turned off.
John: Well, error logging is turned off by default, but I found —
John: — that the local dev site I have, it’s turned on by default, so you can find all the little problems you’re having.
Marcus: And just to differentiate, John has his own hosting server and also local development that gave him those problems. I used a managed host setup – WordPress managed host, so…
Marcus: — just the differences.
John: It’s the interesting thing about WordPress and so many hosting providers out there; everyone does it differently and some things will work in one spot and won’t work in another because of whatever the configurations might be.
Marcus: Okay. Well, I’m going to review something next that’s pretty cool. It’s called Donate to Access Content. Now, this is a subplugin for the Give donation plugin that we all know and love. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s pretty cool. It’s called Give – it’s a full setup for taking donations. This one is actually an add-on to that, so once you install Give (and I’ve got the link to that in the show notes) and you install this plugin, it allows you to actually restrict a specific page or a piece of content on your website until somebody has made a donation.
Once the user has made the donation, it unlocks that particular page for them. So you can choose as an administrator to restrict the content of the site via a shortcode or you can restrict an entire website or, as I said before, a particular page, post, category, post type – all that stuff – all within one specific plugin. This one, Donate to Access Content, really nice plugin. It’s on the back of the Give donation plugin and I rated this a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. That’s quite useful and if we had enough decent content, I think I’d add it to our site to lock it down and get some donations in.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s something to look forward to. Yes. That’s why I brought this up.
John: Leading that up and this talks about our show is a value-for-value model, meaning that if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. A cup of coffee, you know, figure it any way you can. You know, weekly donations, monthly donations – anything to help support the show. After all, it does take time to produce, plus we have to pay for bandwidth, transcripts, and more. So anyway, this week here we would like to make a shout out to our donors here. All those who came in below $50 will remain anonymous and we thank you very much. This week here, that’s all we’ve got [chuckling]. Just thank you to all donors below $50.
Marcus: Yeah, those donations really help out and John and I do a lot on the backend for the site and for the show, and we do appreciate all the donations. They definitely help; they don’t go to gas money or anything like that. They go right back into promoting and improving the show.
John: Absolutely. And also just a brief reminder: next week we are hitting Episode 333. Go support the show by creating a weekly donation of $3.33.
Marcus: Yeah, that is a great idea.
John: That’s a great number, too. All right, this brings us to our final set of plugins for today and what I have for you this week is Site Search 360 as a plugin and this looks like a very interesting thing. It is another search plugin in my never-ending quest to find a better search function for WordPress because after all, their built-in search function basically sucks, for lack of a better term. Unfortunately though, this plugin isn’t gonna solve the problem on our site that I was hoping for, but it still looks like a pretty decent plugin.
It is a third-party service that you’ve got to sign up for and then it grabs all your data and indexes it for you and gives you some nice displays. Then on their control panel, you get to see some stats about people, how they’re searching your site, etc. etc. It looked to be quite useful; I didn’t realize it was a total third party.
I myself was unable to thoroughly test this site because I wasn’t gonna put it on a live site because I’m leaving my cowboy coding days behind me and I’m slowly working – I’ve been working the last couple of months to do local development and I’ve finally hit the point where almost everything is gonna be local development now. So I decided to test this; this plugin would not activate on a local development system because it needs a live active domain before it will register for you. So anyway, it looks like a great plugin. Go check it out: Site Search 360 and at the moment I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice. All right, we’ve had kind of a weird mix of plugins today.
John: We have.
Marcus: And I’m going to leave off on a high note. This one is called Duplicate Widgets (or Duplicate Widgets, which ever one [pronunciation] you prefer). It is a very simple plugin that you install and activate that lets you duplicate your existing widgets with just one click. It’s made for easier management of widgets, especially if you’ve had a lot of widgets with similar configurations, which a lot of my websites do.
Essentially, this plugin gives you a clone link where you typically would see just close and delete, and all you have to do is clone that widget and then it makes a little copy of the widget for you, places it right under the original widget, and then you can drag-n-drop that in position wherever you need to. So this can save you tons of time that you are doing site development and helps you to develop and replicate complex widgets with just one click. It’s called Duplicate Widgets and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Very nice! We finally hit something high today. [chuckling]
John: Nice work. Well, that closes this one out here. I covered up in this episode WordPress Users and WooCommerce Customers Import/Export Basic and I gave it a 4; Hidden Plugin and I gave that one a 3; and then Site Search 360, I gave that one a 3.
Marcus: And I talked about WooCommerce Customer Care; gave that one a 4 out of 5, Donate to Access Content gets a 4 out of 5; and Duplicate Widgets gets a 5 out of 5.
John: Excellent roundup of plugins today. All right, some little bit of promotions/tidbits here. I’d like to ask everyone to join me in supporting men’s health and family issues by donating through my Movember campaign page at mobro.co/johnoverall, and you can see my great beard and moustache that’s coming out here if you go look at the YouTube stream or the YouTube video. And it’s itching like an SOB but I’ll be glad when it’s done so I can shave it off.
But at any rate, I’m suffering through this to raise awareness for men’s health and family issues and I have a goal to raise $1,000, so support me in any way you can. Go over to the link on the show notes at mobro.co/johnoverall. And also we’ve got – be sure to check out our YouTube screencast that goes up later. Watch the add-on parts that I add in here doing first impressions of the plugins that Marcus reviews.
And note to developers: if you want to support this show and you’d like to offer up premium licenses to give away, go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and go check out our YouTube channel where we have training videos and more up there. And that’s all we’ve got for you now. Anything else, Marcus?
John: That’s it.
Marcus: Looking forward to next week.
John: All right, take care now. Bye-bye.
Reminders for the show [female speaker]:
All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and while you’re there, subscribe to the Thursday newsletter for more useful information directly to your email inbox. Wppluginsatoz.com is a show that offers honest and unbiased reviews of plugins by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and choose one of the weekly donation levels or make one that fits your budget. Help us make the show better for you by subscribing and reviewing to the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store. You can also watch the show live on YouTube, check out the screencasts and training videos, and remember to subscribe to us on YouTube, or follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
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