Transcript of Episode 208

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.

See complete show notes for Episode #208 here.

It’s episode 208 and we’ve got plugins for Stopping Spam, Conditional Logic, Simple Shortcodes and an awesome new plugin to embed a PDF as easily as an image. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode #208

John:                All right, plugins I’ve got this week are all related to keeping spammers off your website.  So, the first one I’ve got here is called Flip it on Spammers: Be the Aggressor.  It’s the WP spam hammer is what it is and this plugin here, if you’re looking for a way to block spammers from across the globe, this one is great.  You just simply install it.  You choose the countries or continents you want to completely block from being able to submit comments and it’s done.

One of the great things I’ve found on it was it also slows down spammers in that it turns the submit button for comments into a timer, and you can set that timer for however long you want.  The default is 15 seconds.  But if you have a real person going to leave a comment, they’ll have to read your article generally before they can comment, so it’ll take them 15 seconds to get to the bottom of the page anyway, so they won’t even notice the timer.

But all in all, this turned out to be a really great plugin.  It works well in conjunction with a couple of other spam plugins I tested out this last week, and I gave this one a top 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           I love the timer.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           It’s like, “Hey, where do you think you’re going, spammer?”  You can’t go down there and hit submit.  No way!

John:                Well that’s exactly what it does.  It prevents the spam bots from popping in and trying to submit immediately.

Marcus:           Yeah, that’s awesome.  All right, this first one from me is a great plugin.  It’s brand new, called GTH Simple Short Codes.  And much like what I discussed I guess in the news segment, this plugin gives you fast access to some of the most popular template mods that you can use right in your WordPress editor without knowing anything about templates, themes, PHP — any of that stuff.

What do I mean by that?  Well John, here it is: if you want it to do something like the post’s title, right?  Just insert the post title somewhere within the post.  That’s GTHSS_pagetitle, right?  If you want it to display the current user that’s logged in, instead of guest, you could do _username or _displayname, as far as their real name.

If you wanted — now this is where I like it — it displays the current year and month, so I have something that I have to go and update every single month when it’s a new month, and it’s content — it’s actually listing coupons and it’s saying that it’s current for that particular month.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Now that helps out for search engine optimization because people are typically looking for the most current ones, so they’ll put the month and year in, so I want it to have that functionality.  But I always — always — have to go and update it manually.  Now I only have to update it one place, because I’m using the My Short Codes, which I gave a 5 out of 5 on a previous show.  But now this way, I don’t ever have to do it again.  So it is called GTH Simple Short Codes.  It does a lot of the cool things that you would expect to build within a theme, but now you have the power to do that within a post, and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Oh, very nice.  All right, the next one I’ve got here is Stop Media Comments Spamming.  Now this is something that a lot of people don’t think about in their WordPress website.  Every media item you put up, it creates its own page in WordPress.  Most of the time we never notice it because we never go to those pages.  Or occasionally we might remember to disconnect those pages from the media that’s put up there.  But a lot of people don’t realize that and so if you click on a media item and an image or something, it’ll pop open another WordPress page.  And at the bottom of that page will be just the media item and then a comment block.

The problem is the spammers have discovered that comment block sitting there and they’ve started to attack that comment block in a place that nobody ever pays attention to.  So what this plugin does is it goes in, it’s very simple.  You install it, activate it, and it turns off commenting for all media that is uploaded to your WordPress website.  A very simple one, it works very well.  Gotta like it and I had to give this one a top 5-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Nice!  And that’s something, John, that yeah, you don’t know about but the spammers know about it —

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           — because all they have to do is do a Google search.  And this is something out there maybe you guys don’t know about.  You just type site:http and then whatever your domain is.  And it will show you all of the indexed content that is on your site, and that’s actually something that you can keep a personal score of every single month to make sure that Google is indexing more and more of your content.

But when you do that, it exposes all the holes too, so it sees everything that Google sees throughout its navigational crawl.  And if you start seeing those attachment pages, those things that come up because of uploading images, then this is definitely one that you’re gonna have to install right away, because it’s gonna get exploited and you’re gonna have wasted traffic going to your site.

So the next plugin I’ve got, John, is called Conditional Logic Solutions.  Now I’m a huge fan of being able to hide stuff in the dashboard.  What about you?

John:                Oh, I love doing that.  It’s really important, especially for some clients.

Marcus:           So that’s exactly right, because I don’t need clients tinkering around with things in WordPress that they have no business touching.  So just like it’s called, CLS, it stands for Conditional Logic Design, which allows you to put control over almost everything in the back end of WordPress.  Now what am I talking about, John?  I’m talking about first off, groups.  So you can say if this person’s an administrator, don’t do any of this stuff.  If they’re a regular client, account role access, whatever, a customer, things like that, shut these things off.

Now I’m gonna tell you what these things are.  John, you could shut off feature images.  You could shut off — not only just shut off, like, “Okay, only this access level can’t see the featured images thing.”  Or, you know, it’s infinite as far as what you can shut down in the sidebar.  You can remove plugins, you can remove anything you want as far as different options within that administrative menu so that they don’t see it whatsoever.

You could actually get down to the widget groups in different parts of the sidebar, so you could let them have access to one sidebar area where the widgets are but not the other ones, so they only have access to the good stuff.  Or, you know, they don’t have access to the good stuff.  And it’s a dream come true for any designer that has to deal with their clients in the back end and you really kind to want to shut them out of all the different areas that they could probably cut themselves or burn themselves on.

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           So I gave this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Very nice.  It’s always nice to be able to do that.  You don’t have to do it too often, but occasionally you just gotta do it.

Marcus:           Yes and you know, it’s nice to — this is why I love CMS Commander, John.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           We always talk about CMS Commander, which is, if my memory serves me correctly.  And what’s nice is I set up now — I have a stage site that I use as a template that I just clone over to any new site that I do for a customer.  And now I have this, so I can lock down all of the settings, as far as in Conditional Logic Solutions and know that everything from then on is copied with that particular visibility of those different sections in WordPress, completely hidden from view, so it’s very nice.

John:                All right, well the final one I’ve got here is a return back to what I did last week, which is the Stop Spammers.  Got a little foot-in-mouth disease here, whereas last week I misspoke a little bit about it blocking comment spammers with a message.  Well, that was AntiSpam B Plugin that was doing that.  But at any rate, this plugin here, aside from what I’m gonna talk about here, I’ve also created a video or a screen capture on how to set this plugin up correctly.  You can check it out on my YouTube page,

And what we’ve got here with this plugin, what it does is the additional things that just made it so much more viable was its connections to the additional honeypot APIs, the Botscout APIs.  You could use your WordPress API from a kismet if you wanted to use it for stopping spammers.  It’s got numerous checks in there.  Some of them dig deep into things like the DNS blacklists that runs.  It checks against the list of spam server IPs, it checks to see if the website visiting you is coming from a TOR server, and on and on.

It helps produce a great anti-spam blacklist of its own.  It’ll produce a blacklist of IP addresses, it’ll produce a whitelist of IP addresses — usually your own.  So if you log in from different computers or different locations, every place you login from, it’ll track that IP and throw it into the whitelist, keeping you from ever being blacklisted on your own website.

All in all, this plugin just turns out to be fantastic.  The Stop Spammers Plugin, a great plugin.  Give it a checkout.  I had to — I’m not sure if I gave it a 5 last time, but just in case, we’re going to give it a 5-Dragon rating this time.

Marcus:           Hmm…I like it.  I like it a lot.

John:                I do.  I put it on my sandbox page and I haven’t seen an inch of spam since I put it on my sandbox page, which used to get just pummeled with spam.

Marcus:           Huh…very nice.  That’s very nice.  I’d love for Google to know that we have all these anti-spam things on.  Wouldn’t that be a nice thing to put in a quality score?

John:                Hey, it could be.

Marcus:           We’re protected over here, you know.  Give us a little higher ranking.  That’s never gonna happen.

John:                No.

Marcus:           But what is gonna happen, John, what seemed like an impossibility is now reality.  PDF Embedder is here.  John, here’s what it lets you do.  It allows you to upload PDFs and embed them straight into your WordPress installation, just like adding images.  So it’s just like putting in a featured image.  It’s just that easy and they’re automatically sized to the natural shape and size.  They’ll just fill the width that’s whatever is available, whether you have a sidebar or a fullscreen or anything like that.  Or optionally, you can set the width yourself and the height just gets constrained proportionately automatically.

The nice thing is it’s also responsive, so if a user is looking at it in a different view or perspective or device, then it accommodates accordingly.  So this makes it essentially like Slide Share.  You’ve seen Slide Share, John.

John:                Oh yes.

Marcus:           Well, this is exactly what it does is it embeds the PDF just like this.  It’s a great thing out there for you designers that have needs of your client to embed PDFs or include PDFs, and that’s anybody that’s a public company that has to put shareholder information or even menus or takeout menus for restaurants, catering menus, things like that — a lot of uses for this.  It’s called PDF Embedder, and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Holy smokes, we had a perfect deck this time!  But yeah —

Marcus:           Didn’t we?

John:                It’s about time that’s come to pass.  I’ve been wanting something like that for ages.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                So anyway —

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s good because now it kind of eliminates Slide Share completely and allows you to house your content on your site, rather than someone else’s.

John:                Yes, no doubt.  All right, so I covered up in this Flip in on Spammers, which I gave a 5 to, Stop Media Comments Spamming, which I gave a 5 to, and Stop Spammers, which I gave a 5 to.

Marcus:           And I reviewed GLS Simple Short Codes and gave that one a 5, Conditional Logic, gave that one a 5, and we just talked about PDF Embedder, which I also gave a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Yes, we did it.  We hit a perfect deck this time.  Been a while.

Marcus:           Yeah, it has.

[End of Audio]

It’s episode 203 and we’ve got plugins for Stopping SPAM, Print Tools, SMS notifications, GitHub integration, and a great new way to implement direct coupon links in WooCommerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Transcript of Episode 203 WP Plugins A to Z

It’s episode 203 and we’ve got plugins for Stopping SPAM, Print Tools, SMS notifications, GitHub integration, and a great new way to implement direct coupon links in WooCommerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-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.

See complete show notes for Episode #203 here.

It’s Episode 203 and we’ve got plugins for Stopping SPAM, Print Tools, SMS notifications, GitHub integration, and a great new way to implement direct coupon links in WooCommerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode 203

John:                All right, we’ll the first plugin I’ve got here this week is called Reading Time.  And what this plugin is for, this is another one of those plugins I’ve covered in recent weeks.  It’s one that puts an estimated amount of time progress bar up inside the post, so when people hits your website, it’s going to tell them how long it’s going to take to read it.  It’s a very simple, basic plugin.  It’s pretty easy to install and has no configuration, really.  But once they hit your website, they’ll see a bar that says, “Hey, this will take about three minutes of your time to read.  Go ahead and start.”  Other than that, a pretty nice little plugin.  Pretty basic, pretty easy.  I gave it 3 Dragons.  Check it out: Reading Time.

Marcus:           Nice!  All right, yeah it’s a simple plugin.  I’m not sure how — I don’t really — I want people to read the whole post.  I don’t care how long it takes.

John:               Well yeah.  This is for those people who are time conscious and go, “How long is this going to take me?”

Marcus:           Yeah, okay.  I gotcha.  Okay, I use this on a client’s site and it is a Woocommerce plugin.  It is called Woocommerce URL Coupons.  It is made by a company called Skyverge.  I want to tell you up-front this is a premium plugin and Woocommerce itself is free, but of course this add-in is not.  What it does is this, John: if I have a special and let’s say I want to give you — if you sign up for a ticket and you also want to have the VIP upgrade and I want to give you a coupon code so that if you buy both of them, you get $200 off.  It sounds like a pretty cool deal, right?

John:                Yeah, it’s a pretty cool deal.

Marcus:           Okay, well that’s not that hard to do within Woocommerce itself.  But what if, John, I could put a link together that with this one click of a link, it would add both of those items straight to your cart, apply the coupon code, and then forward you right to checkout?

John:               Oh, that’s nice!  It saves time.

Marcus:           That’s all it is — a signup and at the bottom, the discount is already applied.  So you can create any kind of custom URL and then it adheres to the rest of the Woocommerce coupons settings and restrictions, meaning the URL can be set to be used only one time, maybe 10 times, 100 times, as far as purchases go.

John:                That is.

Marcus:           And you have an infinite tracking ability based on who uses what link.  So this is one that was an absolute lifesaver for a very, very particular client.  And it solved a lot of problems at once.  It solved the problem of convincing somebody to (a) go to the site and go find two different products, add them both into the car, then try and figure out the coupon code aspect, and then trust them to check out and go through at process.

John:               Yeah.

Marcus:           That saves them about three to four minutes of time, probably some frustration throughout navigation and it pretty much guarantees that you’ve got the net on them once they click that link.

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           So this is pretty amazing and I don’t even know of any, you know, big e-commerce sites or stores or merchants that have something like this.  So I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:               Very nice!  Yeah, that’s well worth it.  That’ll definitely save a lot of time and a lot of frustration of users in an e-commerce store.

Marcus:           Yeah, and it’s $50.

John:                I might have a use for that one.

Marcus:           Yeah, $50 for a single site license and just one person clicking a link and making a purchase could pay that for you.

John:               Right.  Well, the next one I’ve got here, this one came about with some work I was doing for a client recently, helping them repair some stuff and get their Woocommerce site up and running.  And one of the things that was happening was they didn’t have their store set up for registrations.  Now, of course if you know, once you set something up for user registrations in very short order, you start to get the spam registrations.

And there is lots of ways to deal with them.  Lots of people like to add in the lowest irritating text, that Captcha, and then there’s other plugins.  But I decided to do a little research and check and I found this plugin called Stop Spammers.  And what it does, it does a fantastic job of not only stopping the spam registrations on your site; it also add additional stuff to stop spammers from hitting the forms.  It stops spammers in numerous areas across the website.

All in all, it turned out to be a great plugin.  We went from having a dozen spammers registering for their site in a day to absolutely zero, and only legitimate people signing up for the website.  It also locks out numerous other areas of the site.  It’s got a lot of configuration to it — a little bit to set up but other than that, it’s a fantastic plugin.  You should check it out.  It’s called Stop Spammers and I gave it a rating of 4 Dragons.

Marcus:           Not too bad!  Okay, let’s talk about Get Hub.  John, you’re aware of Get Hub.

John:                Yes, yes.  I’ve been there to get stuff that I want and can use.

Marcus:           So people like Get Hub as far as the developer and programmer aspect, because they can create versions of things.  And you can save multiple versions so that if one screws up, you can go back to the old one.  So here’s what’s cool is there’s a new plugin called WP Pusher.  What it allows you to do is directly deploy changes of your WordPress installation from Get Hub right into WordPress and never have to copy anything through FTP or anything like that.

It works everywhere, even on shared hosting or anything like that.  It allows you to install and update WordPress themes and plugins straight from Get Hub, so that you can try out different versions if something screws up, you can revert back to another one.  It works — what’s cool is this, John, is that — you know how they hack this to work with Get Hub is that they hacked into the WordPress core auto update feature.

John:               And they found they had a good use for that.

Marcus:           So you can auto update themes and the plugins through your Get Hub installation.

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           Yeah, so it’s really cool and it has kind of a backup to Get Hub.  It’s got all kinds of support.  There is a pro version; I don’t know if the fee is for this one.  But for developers and anybody who is doing any designs or theme switchovers or anything like that, this is really nice because then you don’t have to share credentials with designers or programmers.  You can just let them work right in Get Hub, share the space, and work right there.  It’s a really cool and we rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:               I actually just thought of a really interesting use for it.  If you’re a developer and you manage multiple sites using a developer’s license for a theme or something, you can set this up for those sites to get an auto update from your own Get Hub account where you get your updated theme.  You put it in Get Hub and have it downloaded to all the sites.

Marcus:           That’s true.

John:                It was just a thought.  I wondered how that would sort of work instead of having to go push out to you know, say you have five or six sites you use the same theme on —

Marcus:           Right.

John:               Instead of having to push out the updates for that theme, you could run it through Get Hub and have them auto update to it.

Marcus:           In the plugins!

John:                — in the plugins.  Now there’s actually a cool idea and you can use it quite nicely to save yourself a lot of time.

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s kind of like your own private lab, I guess, that you just kind of, you know, put your dealing cards, so to speak to your different sites, based on your Get Hub installation.  Really cool idea.

John:               All right, well, the final one I’ve got is one that periodically I get someone who asks me for this on their website if you’re into development.  What it is is called Print-O-Matic.  All it is is a simple way to allow anyone to print your web page in any basic form they want.  You know, they just hit the print button and it prints it out to a printer.  I’m not sure why people are still wasting paper on stuff, but occasionally it happens.  Occasionally it comes to light and I have to do something about it.  So anyway, that’s what I’ve got for that.  Print Hub, I gave it a 3 Dragon rating, so check it out.

Marcus:           Yeah, printing is — I don’t know, it’s kind of a lost art.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           All right, let’s talk about — John, you know me.  I’ve talked about Aesop’s Stories, as far as Parallax stuff.  I talk about three clicks, a really cool Parallax theme, I’ve talked about Story FTW, which is a nice little Parallax style.  I guess you could call it horizontal slide presentation style, kind of in a Parallax way.  We’ve talked about Parallax gravity landing, which is a cool plugin that’s in the repository that I use the pro version for.

So naturally, I’m drawn to everything in the Parallax dimension regarding plugins and themes.  This one is called Parallaxer — Parallax effect on content.  This allows you to do kind of images — not necessarily backgrounds, but I would guess kind of the equivalent of what a featured image would look like, but do it in a Parallax style within a post, and squeeze it into your normal theme.

It’s really — it’s a nice, super smooth type of way to scroll through your posts, yet still give that Parallax style where it’s kind of like a cut out window, yet your images may be bigger.  As they scroll, it just kind of scrolls up through the background of the image.  Of all of the Parallax tools and plugins and themes, John, this one is probably the worst that I’ve seen.

John:               [Laughter]

Marcus:           It does work for the purpose that it’s built for, but the purpose is ugly, so I gave this one a 3 out of 5.

John:                Ah, that’s too bad.  It sounds like a great idea in theory.  But you know, theory sometimes doesn’t bat it out.

Marcus:           Exactly.

John:               All right, that’s all we got.  I covered up in this episode the Reading Time plugin, which I gave a 3 rating to, the Stop Spammers plugin to stop those spammers from hitting your website, which I gave a 4 to, and then the Print-O-Matic to add printing function to your web page, which I gave a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I reviewed WooCommerce URL Coupons, from Skyverge, which I gave a perfect 5 out of 5, WP Pusher, which allows you to deploy from Get Hub and never use FTP again.  I rated that one a perfect 5 out of 5.  And we just discussed Parallaxer, which allows you to put Parallax effect in your content, and I gave that one a 3 out of 5.

[End of Audio]