WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #325 here.
It’s Episode 325 and we’ve got plugins for Floating Video, Widget Options, Brands in WooCommerce, Featured Image Sizes, Instagram Feed embedding and Search & Replace. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 325 and we’ve got plugins for Floating Video, Widget Options, Brands in WooCommerce, Featured Image Sizes, Instagram Feed Embedding, and Search & Replace. 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 you live from the Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia and preparing to head down below the 49th Parallel, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And from Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: Yeah, I’ve got a nice trip ahead of me in a couple more hours here, finish the show, get it all up and loaded, and jump on a boat to the States today, so…
John: It’s gonna be a nice trip. All right, so right off the top, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com and if you’ve got a couple of minutes, we’d greatly appreciate you taking some time over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and the iTunes Store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the show there. And also, you can check out all our screencasts, our training videos, and watch us live on YouTube every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, so join us here live.
Marcus: That’s right. All those things, plus you can follow the show on Twitter and we encourage you also to subscribe to our newsletter from our website, wppluginsatoz.com gets you all the latest news that we don’t talk about here on the podcast.
John: Absolutely. All right, well with all that said, it’s time for us to dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
[Plugins intro music]
And today we are reviewing our usual allotment of six great plugins and first up I have this great plugin which I found due to some necessary research and solving an issue that we’ve been dealing with. I’m sure everyone out there has been dealing with the SSL conversions of their websites. If you haven’t, you need to get on top of that because the deadline’s approaching very fast from Google. One of the problems with the SSL conversions is often you need to go through the database looking for the old HTTP links that need to be converted, and there’s multiple ways to do it: manually, there’s several search-and-replace plugins. Well, this one I’ve got here for you today is called Search & Replace and it’s a new search-and-replace that I hadn’t seen before, so I thought I’d give it a try.
It’s a really great plugin. It offers up multiple ways of getting that search-and-replace done. It’ll do a URL search-and-replace, straight URL search-and-replace, although it won’t do it if the URL is the same and you’re just changing to HTTPS. But it does do a great search through the entire database, finding all those things, and it will convert them, but it does have a caveat there also. What it does do is instead of making the conversion on your live site, it forces you to download the database and it converts all the files for you, and then you’ve got to re-upload the database through the interface of the plugin, which works quite fantastically. I got to try it on a couple of sites and it does a great job of doing this, just provided your hosting provider allows you to upload a file which could be rather large depending on your database.
All in all, with the tests and the actual live work I’d done with this plugin, it’s a fantastic plugin: Search & Replace. Check it out. I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! You do have to be careful with that, because those changes are permanent.
John: That’s why it forces you to download the database —
John: — so you have a copy of it. It also gives you a chance to back up your database before you start doing this.
Marcus: Ah, that’s true. All right John, we’re going to talk about some cutting-edge technology. That’s right: floating video. Now, that seems to be a trend on sites like YouTube and Facebook and CNN, where you’re watching a video and you scroll down the page, and the video kind of ends up either in the upper left or sometimes the lower right or sometimes the upper right or any of those places. Well, this plugin allows you to embed an mp4 file or an embedded YouTube video right into your page. So as a site visitor scrolls down, it can read the rest of your post while still watching that video.
So I tried this out on my wife’s business site and it worked pretty well. It’s shortcode-based but it is a little bit limited in the placement functionality. It lets you pick one of the corners and assign a margin based on percentage, but the issue that I had is it didn’t let me move it up from the bottom in a bottom-right place scenario because in the bottom I have a “Click here to message us on Facebook” and this kind of underlapped it, right? It played underneath that button. So it can’t be 100% perfect but that was just a special circumstance that I was looking for. Otherwise, I think it’s pretty darn close to perfect and I rated this a 5 out of 5.
John: There you go, rocking it right out the gate here this morning with two 5 plugins. Okay, well, bringing up some information, this show is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses and JohnOverall.com, WordPress and WordPress Services, providing all your WordPress service needs and hosting needs for WordPress websites. And a little bit of information, after the recent spam scam involving a very popular WordPress plugin (and you’d have to be pretty much living under a rock to not know about that one), you may have realized that it’s now more important than ever to start dealing with old or abandoned plugins that are still on your website and in use.
And one of the services I’m now offering up to folks is the ability to help you find the replacements because if you go through and have plugins that need replaced due to being aged and abandoned, there’s probably dozens to choose from to replace them. That’s one of the great services I offer up and if you’re looking to have that done, contact me at my website, JohnOverall.com or call me, (818) 850-7729, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus: And I am still on the hunt for some great authors for Smashing Magazine, and that is one of the biggest web publications on the internet – a lot of cool things coming out for Smashing Magazine, and I need your help. So if you are an author that likes to talk about WordPress, have a passion for WordPress, this is a great way to do it. John, I know that you’ve been privy to some of the articles and things that some of the authors have submitted to me. It’s pretty high-quality, top-notch stuff and if you are capable of doing the same, then head on over to marcuscouch.com/smashing and there’s a nice video and a form there that tells you all about the process. So check that out if you’d like to write for Smashing Magazine, it’s marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: Yeah, I’m looking forward to more of the articles. Some of them have been truly fantastic —
John: — and information that I didn’t even know was possible in WordPress, so…
Marcus: Same here.
John: So yeah, so it looks like Smashing Magazine is gonna start leading the field in high-quality articles that’ll help you out. So if you’ve got one, contact Marcus.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: All right, next up our next set of plugins we’ve got here…I want to talk about the plugin that will help replace the one that was recently brought forth due to the spam hack that was put forward. What I’ve got for you is called Widget Options. This replaces Display Widgets beautifully. Display Widgets, if you didn’t know, was the one I was talking about a little bit ago and you need to replace it if you have it on your site. If you haven’t already, you need to do it ASAP because the plugin is a problem.
Now, Widget Options gives you all the exact same features that you got in Display Widgets, which was one of the problems I had for a long time and why I used Display Widgets for years, and nobody had the exact same options and made it as easy to use. Widget Options makes this fantastic and easy to use for setting your widgets in multiple pages, blocking it from pages, but they add some additional functionality to it if you jump up to the pro version. They give you some display logic, class IDs, even more – a whole lot of different ways you can adjust via taxonomies – lots of ways to hide and display your widgets with this plugin here. And the premium version is only $29 but the free version, still a fantastic plugin, and I had to give this a top 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! So one of the things I’ve been doing lately is actually working on a WooCommerce affiliate store, and one of the things I noticed in WooCommerce is it does just about everything except it doesn’t talk about what brand the item happens to be. There’s not a sortable taxonomy for it…until now, where we bring in you this plugin. It’s called WooCommerce Brands and it allows you to add different brands to your WooCommerce product store. You can create unlimited brand categories for your products and even assign multiple brands to one single product. I don’t know – I guess you could do a bundle or something like that, display brand names on product pages or category pages, and any product listing pages.
So what this allows you to do is filter products by brand now and even have a special sale or special page specific to brands, like Nike headbands on sale or anything like that and get all the SEO benefits that come with it. And now that you’ve got a brand sortable taxonomy, you can actually take care of all that and get one cool SEO page for all your nice branded sales. It works very well. It also includes a nice bonus, which is a built-in WordPress widget to show your brands listed on the sidebar as well. And I thought this was a great plugin and rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Fantastic. A nice way to display everything and showcase your brands on your site.
Marcus: Yeah! Yeah, I couldn’t believe there was nothing for this. Now there is.
John: Yeah, there’s a lot of things that you kind of expect to be there and then you find that they’re not.
Marcus: Right, right.
John: And then somebody builds a plugin for it. Gotta love WordPress for that.
John: All right, well this brings us – there’s listener feedback. We look forward to listener feedback. You can contact us in multiple ways: email, send us a SpeakPipe out the lower corner of our website. Contact forms – lots of ways – so please give us some feedback and we will happily showcase it here for you. And also, this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value at all out of this show, please give some value back. And in that vein, we would like to acknowledge those who have supported the show this past week. All donations $50 and over are read out and their note is published here, and for those who come below $50 remain anonymous and we thank you very much.
This week’s donors are $50 from Jezweb Pty. Ltd. and his note is short and brief this week:
This is on behalf of Jezweb client Paul Harrison Transport, paulharrisontransport.com/au, who have big trucks to relocate heavy things.
Gotta love that; short and sweet. [chuckling] And a big thank you to all our donors who came in under $50 and those who have set up weekly subscriptions. All those small subscriptions are starting to add up and they really help the show out, so there’s lots of ways you can support the show. Go onto wppluginsatoz.com/donate, where you can subscribe for as little as $2.50 a week. Show us, you know, a little bit of support. Hey, help this show grow. We’ve been working really hard at improving everything and it’s actually starting to show that the improvement with the number of downloads we’ve had in the last month, which have almost doubled, so…
John: Oh, it’s been quite incredible in that aspect, so thank you very much to everyone who is starting to listen to the show. So we know people are downloading; let’s hope you’re listening.
Marcus: All right, and that brings us to the final set of plugins.
John: Our final set of plugins today – the one I have up here was one that was submitted to us. It was submitted by Christina Menta and it’s called Flexi Instagram Feed, and this is a premium plugin and it’s available over at CodeCanyon, where you can get it and that may be an affiliate link in the show notes. So this is a nice premium plugin that helps you showcase Instagram feeds on your website and it does a fantastic job of showcasing those Instagram feeds.
It allows you to go in, create an Instagram feed via hashtag, profile, location, or even a feed of all the images that you personally like on Instagram, and it automatically updates that feed, allows you – has an interface to go in there where you can adjust the way the feed looks. Adjust the CSS for the feed, customize numerous settings in it, and it displays anywhere on your website with a shortcode. Very nice; of all the Instagram feed plugins I’ve tried, this is definitely one of the best ones. So you’ll want to check this out. It’s called Flexi Instagram Feed and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice, very nice. All right, I am posting this for a friend, John, that is something that could be very useful for featured images on a website. It’s called Minimum Featured Image Size and with this plugin you can actually set the minimum width and height required for featured images, so if a user tries to use an image that isn’t large enough – something that’ll get pixelated – put on the front page when it probably shouldn’t be and it should be in a better resolution, they will see this nice, friendly little error message and the post status will be reverted to ‘draft’ until they come up with a featured image that is appropriate width and height. I love this plugin; hopefully, somebody I know will start using it, and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: [laughter] I’m thinking you probably should have bumped that one up to a 5. That can save tons of grief!
John: As soon as you mentioned it, it’s like “Wow, I think that’ll solve a problem on our website!” [chuckling]
Marcus: Uh, yeah. Uh-huh.
John: Because I keep having issues with the featured images. I’m working on ‘em. I’m working on it though. Yeah, I actually have clients where I have that trouble, too. It’s getting the right featured image in there, but this is the kind of thing that’ll help solve that, so yeah.
Marcus: Yeah, all right.
John: All right, well that’s all we’ve got here. Closing out this episode, the plugins we covered – I covered in this episode was Widget Options, which I gave a 5 to; Flexi Instagram Feed, which I gave a 4 to; and then Search & Replace, which I gave a 5 to.
Marcus: And I talked about the Floating Video plugin – it gets a 5 out of 5; WooCommerce Brands gets a 5 out of 5, and Minimum Featured Image Size gets a 4 out of 5.
John: All right, and just a few little bit of reminders here at the end, be sure to check out our YouTube screencast which follows this show here. It gets uploaded a little bit later. It has more information and expanded stuff into it. And a note to all developers out there who would like to support the show, if you want to offer up a premium license for us to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/contests and submit your license and we will create a contest giveaway and promote your product for you.
John: And we also now – as we mentioned a few times – have training videos up online in the WP Plugins YouTube channel, so check out the training videos that are getting placed up there on a regular basis and follow our screencasts. And for those of you who watch this on YouTube, if you check out the screencast later, I have an add-on piece that gets added on later. And for all WordPress news and other interesting WordPress-related posts, subscribe to our newsletter at wppluginsatoz.com, and that’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, 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 email@example.com. Marcus can also be reached through his website at marcuscouch.com or Twitter at @marcuscouch. Thanks for watching and have a great day.
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.
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