WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #331 here.
It’s Episode 331 and we’ve got plugins for Hashtagging, Custom CSS Injection, Managing Updates, Multi-Part Checkout and a great new way to Hide Plugins. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 331 and we’ve got plugins for Hashtagging, Custom CSS Injection, Managing Updates, Multipart Checkout, and a great new way to Hide Plugins. 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 sunny shores of Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And we have the usual fantastic show for you here today but let’s start off with right off the top, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And we’d greatly appreciate your help and support over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store, subscribing to our show and leaving us reviews there. They really help us out quite a bit. And if you’ve got a few minutes, take out some time, go onto our YouTube channel where you can catch us live every Monday morning at 10:00 and we’ve got training videos, screencasts, and more there. As time allows, more and more stuff will arrive there.
Marcus: And don’t forget you can follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz. Also, please sign up to our newsletter. That’s where we cover a lot of different news that we don’t cover here on the show. Some things that are perhaps just WordPress related but not necessarily specific to plugins. We cover that in our newsletter.
John: Yes, and more and more stuff is getting there all the time. So with all that being said, I think it’s time for us to dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show, so off we go.
Marcus: All right.
[Plugins lead-in music]
John: First off this week, we have our usual allotment of six great plugins as we showcase them throughout the show. You can’t skip ‘em, you can’t skip directly to them. You’ve got to listen to the whole thing to get ‘em all. So the first one I’ve got this week here is one that I’ve been using off and on on different websites over the last few years. I’m not sure if I’ve ever reviewed it, but I thought it was time to bring it forward.
It’s called Easy Updates Manager. It is a great plugin that helps you out with the updates of your website. Since the advent of the automated updates in WordPress for the point versions (and you can even have automated updates for the major core files) and these can create problems there. Plus, with plugins, there’s oftentimes you’ll have plugins that for one reason or another, you’ll hit a stall point on an update or it’s one that you don’t want to update because you’ve done some customizations to it and you just don’t want to see that update notification anymore – things of that nature.
Well, this plugin here makes it extremely easy to manage all the updates and notifications for all your plugins, you core files, the point updates – all of those little bits and pieces that are part of your update system in your site. So you can go through there once you get it installed and activated, you can just go in and choose which plugins to show notifications for, which plugins can be auto-updated, whether or not to have the core files or the point notifications updated – all the little bits and pieces along the way. It works fantastic, it’s been kept up to date, it’s a really great plugin, so go check it out. This is called Easy Updates Manager and I give this plugin a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice. Yes, that is something that anybody who’s serious about WordPress definitely wants to keep abreast of in terms of the updates.
John: Well, it’s been one of the things for me. Like I’ve got a couple of clients where we customize the plugin and we don’t want it to update. But the problem is once you get that notification, it never goes away and it’s annoying. You can accidentally update it if you get that notification.
John: So this hides that notification, prevents you from doing an accidental update on something that you’ve customized to the point where you have your control of it, but you didn’t fully fork the plugin.
Marcus: Right. Yeah, I’ve done that a couple times. Absolutely. All right, the first one out of the gate for me is called WP Hashtagger. This is a brand-new plugin and normally I wouldn’t be thrilled about hashtags or tags or things like that, but this is pretty unique. This plugin lets you use hashtags and @usernames, just like you maybe would on Twitter. It also uses something called $cashtags. So this is something that you use in your posts and your pages. What it does, let’s just take the hashtags part first – this plugin actually uses the native WordPress tag system to file your posts under the different desired tags.
So what happens with it is when you save each post and you have a different hashtag, it actually treats it as a normal tag – like, you know, regular keywords, tags, whatever you want to call it – to the posts, so it’s fully compatible with existing tags. Now when you’re showing a post with all the hashtags, they automatically get converted to links and lead to that corresponding tag archive page.
Here’s where I also think this is pretty cool is it uses the @username or it can use @nickname, actually. And if you’re using a post and you want to @username somebody (so if it was like John on my site and his name was John Overall, I would @JohnOverall). What’s great is I have the option of either within the story that @JohnOverall can either go to John’s profile on my website or it can actually go to the homepage or the website that he’s listed in his profile, so that’s pretty cool. It’s a really nice little plugin that does a lot of different things, sort of out of the box of what traditionally we would do within WordPress, but I really like this. It’s called WP Hashtagger and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s kind of cool. I was looking at that; I almost brought that one forward for review myself.
John: But it did definitely look like it could be quite useful and find lots of ways to use your hashtags, your username. The $cashtags kind of interested me – the $cashtags part of it.
John: But they link off to – what was it? – they linked off to again? Oh, Google Market Watch, Finance, and Yahoo! Finance, too.
Marcus: Yeah, like stocks.
John: Bring in stock symbols, so I think that was kind of a useful piece of information, so…
John: All right. Well, that brings us here to let you know this show is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses at currently. Currently sponsored by JohnOverall.com WordPress and Web Services, and finding quality WordPress hosting and support can be a challenge nowadays. With hosts changing, being bought up all the time, etc. etc., well, you can drop off 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 mundane items such as finding that perfect plugin, helping you move to a new hosting provider, or even providing quality WordPress hosting from JohnOverall.com.
With 20 years’ experience online, eight years dedicated to WordPress itself, JohnOverall.com provides you all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress development, repairs, and emergency malware removal on your website. Visit me at JohnOverall.com or call (818) 850-7729 or send an email direct to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus: And John, anybody that listens to this show is nuts – you’re bananas and crazy – for WordPress!
Marcus: We know that. Why not write something cool about WordPress? As you may know, I’m the WordPress editor for Smashing Magazine, one of the biggest web design resources online, and I’m seeking out a few folks to write great articles about different facets of WordPress. It allows you to get exposure to yourself and your work.
I made it really easy; just go to marcuscouch.com/smashing. There’s a nice form there, a video that I tell you everything that you need to know about becoming an author. Once you fill out the form, it instantly replies back with more information. It’s a great opportunity to contribute to the WordPress community, get exposure, and get a few hundred bucks for the effort, too. So check it out at marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: Yes, and the articles there are fantastic, folks. I actually did some research there the other day for something I was looking for, so —
John: — go check ‘em out. A lot of great articles there.
Marcus: Thank you.
John: All right, our next set of plugins we’ve got here for you today is another plugin I’ve been using for a while on various websites. And again, I don’t think I ever reviewed this one, so I decided to bring this forward and it’s called No Longer in Directory, and this is kind of important nowadays for plugins in that there’s a lot of plugins people are using. If your website has been around for more than a couple of years, you more than likely have one or two plugins that are either two or more years not update or possibly plugins that have been completely removed from the WordPress Repository and you may or may not be aware of it because it’s not always apparent in the plugins themselves.
Well, what this plugin does for you is once you install and activate it, it creates a page with a list of your plugins and tells you which ones are more than two years out of date, never been updated more than two years, and which ones have been completely removed from the WordPress Repository. And this is key, especially if you paid attention to the WordPress news earlier this year where a less than quality company took over some plugins and inserted malware into them, so these are the sorts of things you’ll want to be aware of.
But you’ll want to check out this plugin. It works very well, it allows you to get in there, find that information, go in and sort up, clean up your website, and organize and even set up like okay, these plugins are a couple of years old. All right, let’s set them up to be replaced so you can plan a timeline for doing that. So anyway, go check it out. It’s called No Longer in Directory and again, I give this plugin a top 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: I’m liking that.
John: Oh, I like this plugin. I use it a lot nowadays and it’ll become part of my repertoire when I take over websites is to find out what people have in their site and what plugins really need to be replaced and updated.
Marcus: Ooh! That’s a great thing to do.
Marcus: For everybody out there, if you’ve got clients and you take over a new client or do an analysis of a potential client —
Marcus: — use a plugin like this —
John: Oh, yeah.
Marcus: — to kind of do a forensic analysis of what’s out of date, oh, that’s a great idea, John! Totally.
John: I’m starting to get lots of work for that particular thing right now where people are realizing that it’s been two, three years since they’ve done anything to their sites, have been going along fine, but they’re starting to hear the news about how bad developers are abusing plugins that have been abandoned.
John: You know, WordPress is doing a much tighter job of keeping people from taking over a plugin. But a developer could sell a plugin, you know, which is what happened to those two plugins earlier this year. The developer sold them to a company, thought they were done with it, they took their money, ran, and then the new developer screwed everyone.
Marcus: Mm-hm, exactly. All right, in keeping with my trend, I’ve got another WooCommerce actual plugin here. So that’s one thing I’ve tried to do the last couple months is actually bring in some WooCommerce stuff. Here’s another one; this is pretty cool. It’s called WooCommerce Multistep Checkout. Now, one of the most daunting things about having a big checkout form is sometimes people get a little freaked out about it. They get a little panicky or intimidated by a huge form that they’ve gotta fill out all this stuff. They maybe feel that it might be an invasion of their privacy or it just looks too long or scary or whatever. This is a really cool plugin, really easy to use. It’s called WooCommerce Multistep Checkout.
So what it does is it breaks out the WooCommerce checkout form into sections. We’ve seen this done with like GravityForms and Contact Form 7 and some of these things. Now it’s time for WooCommerce to get in on this. It allows you to check out your customer without this huge form that might scare them off. So it grants you the ability to break this into multiple steps, really easy to do. You just put in kind of breaks where you want the checkout form to go, very easy to use, and if you have a very long checkout process, I definitely recommend something like this. It’s called WooCommerce Multistep Checkout and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: Perfect, yeah. Well, it’s kind of like emulation of Amazon. I know I’ve been ordering from them recently and they’ve got, you know, on a step out – first couple of questions and a couple more, then a verification —
John: — you know. It makes it easier psychologically on people to do the smaller steps than to see the —
John: — great big form, —
John: — you know.
Marcus: Where’s it going to?
Marcus: What kind of shipping options do you want? Okay, now give me some payment options. Is this a gift? Those kinds of things.
Marcus: Those common questions when it comes to shipping.
John: And if you break it into steps, it makes it much easier for people to digest it and eat it up.
Marcus: Yeah, especially by the way if it’s mobile —
John: Oh, especially mobile!
Marcus: Who wants to fill out an enormous mobile form?
John: Yeah, scrolling up and down, it’s so hard to hit the wrong spot if you’ve got thumbs like me.
John: My thumbs are always hitting the wrong thing on mobile. I think half the ad views that I see are accidental clicks on my mobile phone.
John: Actually, more than half of them. At any rate, this brings us to the point in the show where we like to recognize our listeners and feedback to the show. And this week here, we have no feedback but hey, please give us some feedback. You can go to our website, go down to the lower right-hand corner where you can enter a SpeakPipe and leave us a voice contact there and ask your questions. We’re more than happy to go do and dig in some research for you. Also, you can reach us through our contact page on our website.
And we’d also like to thank our show donors this week. This show here being a value-for-value model meaning if you get any value out of it at all, please give some value back, and that value can be anything. You know, from the price of a cup of coffee to contacting us to help us with the website or anything along that lines. Just visit wppluginsatoz.com to find out more information about that.
And we’d also like to acknowledge all those listeners that donate more than $50. Their note is read out here and published. For those that come in below $50, they’ll remain anonymous and we thank you very much. This week here we have $50 from Jezweb Pty. Ltd., and the note on this one here:
“This is on behalf of Infra Steel Global, supplier of sheet pile steel used on construction sites and waterways: https://www.infrasteelglobal.com”
Very nice website there. Thanks a lot, Jez. We really appreciate your support of the show. And to those that came in below $50, thank you very much.
Marcus: Absolutely! I am reminded of a story that I’ve told on this podcast before, and it’s with a famous musician. Somebody came up to that famous musician and said, “Hey! I’m an enormous fan. I love all of your stuff.” And the musician said, “Oh, are you coming to my show tonight?” The guy said, “Well, no.” He goes, “Well, what kind of fan are you?”
Marcus: And it’s reminisce of something that happened to me just over the weekend here, which is I clicked to join a new WordPress-based group within Facebook. The admin of the group replied back to me and he’s like, “Man, I love everything that you’ve done. I love your stuff that you used to do on the Tavern and I love WordPress Plugins A to Z,” and blah, blah, blah. And I said, “Have you ever donated?” [sigh]
Marcus: Crickets. Silence.
John: [laughing] Oops.
Marcus: And so that’s what I mean. I mean hey, look, I love compliments. I love the fact that everybody’s getting great content.
Marcus: John and I have worked years together to try and perfect this show.
Marcus: And what it is that we do and paid people to actually review the show and, you know, straighten things out for us in terms of order and flow and all of that. And it helps when we get value back, so look yourself in the mirror this week as you listen to this show and say, “Hmm…am I doing everything that I should be to support and provide value to the places and the shows that I love?” And this is one of them obviously, so do your part if you can. If not, there are other ways to contribute.
John: Absolutely. Or you can be on live like Larry is right now with a couple of quick comments, so…
Marcus: Oh! What’s Larry saying?
John: Well, he made a note here of when we mentioned in the No Longer in Directory plugin should be part of core. Well, you’re probably right there, but –
John: May or not be.
Marcus: If I had a nickel for every time –
Marcus: — for every time I thought something should be in core, I wouldn’t be asking for donations.
John: And one other comment – he saw that the Multistep plugin, but there are couple others that had been around a bit. So yeah.
John: There’s probably quite a few of those out there.
John: That’s the joy of us; we bring plugins forward and you just never know. There’s tons of plugins for everything you want to do. Different ways of approaching the same problem. All right, well this brings us to our final set of plugins we’ve got here today, and the last ones I’ve got for you, this one here was sent in by one of our listener developers out there, Matthew Mania, and it’s from 77Solutions.eu. This is a plugin called Custom CSS Injector.
And I know that the core now has, you know, the customizer in it. But this Custom CSS Injector is a little different than the ones I’ve seen before in that it allows you to inject the CSS into multiple places into your WordPress website. You can stick ‘em not only like the customer where it goes site-wide; you can narrow it down on this to where it can go into the admin area only for your custom CSS or the login page only, or to the lost password page only, or to the registration page, or to the entire site. Plus, it also gives you the ability to either stick that CSS in the header or the footer, which could be important for what you’re trying to do, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s really a quite simple plugin. It allows you to do your custom CSS and put it to the places you really want or need it to go. Great little plugin; I found it to be very easy to use and go check it out: Custom CSS Injector and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Yeah, I would give this one a 5 if it were me, because I’m gonna tell you something: this thing – if you’re working with other people that do custom CSS on a per-page basis or things like that to your site, oftentimes they end up breaking the whole rest of the site trying to just get a footer to work, or maybe your header navigation menu does something special, or something like that. So this is definitely something that’s pretty cool in terms of sectioning off, where you can inject that custom CSS.
Marcus: I love that.
John: Very nice.
Marcus: All right, John, we get asked for this quite frequently. What’s that thing in Star Trek where it makes you invisible? What’s it called, the cloak device or cloaking device?
John: Cloaking device. Yeah, cloaking device.
Marcus: Okay, so this plugin is the cloaking device of WordPress. It’s called Hidden Plugin and what it does, it’s really simple: it gives the single admin user the ability to hide plugins that are installed, prevent them from being activated, deactivated, or deleted by clients or other users, including other administrators. So by activating Hide Plugins, you’ll be able to see all the plugins and toggle to hide each plugin from selected users on your plugins page.
Marcus: So John, that means if I’ve got Client X and I don’t want them to know that I’m using Plugin A, B, and C, this is what to use. This is what you want to use if you, you know, definitely don’t want them to update something, like, you know, just —
Marcus: — like what we talked about. If you want to hide specific tools or things that you use, or maybe there’s custom plugins that you just don’t want somebody else to see within the system. This one works like magic. It’s called Hidden Plugin; it’s the cloaking device for all the plugins in your admin dashboard and I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s funny. I actually started to review this plugin and –
John: — and I was bringing it forward but I had problems getting it to install on my test site and I didn’t have time to go see if it was my test site giving problems or not, so I set it aside –
John: — till I could deal with it later, because I was kind of excited about the idea of this plugin and what it could do and how it could hide the pieces that you want to hide. Yeah, for some reason it just kept giving me an error it had a bad header.
John: And, you know, bad header wouldn’t activate the plugin and –
Marcus: How did they fix that?
John: Well, it could also be the problem of the way my test site has so much crap in it, for lack of a better term.
John: And I do so much crazy stuff there and I only wipe it once a year and I’m reaching the end of the year. I think — currently I looked at it today. There’s 192 plugins in there –
John: You know, five different themes that I’ve tried and activated and deactivated, and it leaves a lot of junk behind when you do that.
Marcus: Yeah, mm-hm.
John: So when something goes wrong on a plugin, I just go, “Well, I can’t blame the plugin until I try this on a cleaner site or a site I know has no problems.”
John: Because I know my test site has so much damage to it that I can’t trust that it’s the plugin problem itself, so I set it aside. I was gonna bring it forward, so I’ll bring it forward next week on my review. But yeah, it looked exciting. I rather like the idea of it.
Marcus: Yeah, well anybody out there that tries it, let us know how you like.
John: Yeah, absolutely. All right, well that closes us out this episode and I covered up Easy Updates Manager, which I gave a 5 to; No Longer in Directory, which I gave a 5 to; and then Custom CSS Injector, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And we talked about WP Hashtagger, which gets a 4 out of 5, WooCommerce MultiStep Checkout gets a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Hidden Plugins, which gets a 5 out of 5.
John: And a little bit of reminders/commercials/promotions coming in here. I’d like to ask everyone, please join me in supporting men’s health and family issues by donating through this Movember as you can follow me up on my Movember website where you get to see me go from a freshly clean-shaven face to a moustache and a beard. And I’ve never grown a beard in my life, so this will be very entertaining and interesting as it goes. I’m six days into it and I’ve finally got a 5 o’clock shadow.
John: It grows really slow on my face. What can I say? At any rate, it’s gonna be quite interesting. I’m trying to raise $1,000 to raise awareness for this and if you can donate to something, anything, please come here, go donate it, and help raise awareness for men’s issues. Also, take a little time to go off to our YouTube show, where you’ll catch the YouTube screencast which goes up later where I add on a little bit part to it where I do a first impression of one of Marcus’ plugins he reviewed in this show.
And a note to developers would like to support the show: If you would like to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest, where all the information is there that you can enter and give us a premium license. We’ll create a contest around it and promote it in the show and on the website. Hey, what can you say? Free advertising for you. All you’re going to be giving away is a single license and it really doesn’t cost you that much to do that.
And also we have training videos, etc. up on our YouTube channel and you can catch us live every Monday morning at 10:00 here on the YouTube channel.
John: And that’s pretty much it! Don’t forget, stop into our website, sign up for our newsletter, and get all the added news and information from WP Plugins A to Z, and that’s all we’ve got for you 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.
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