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 #338 here.
It’s Episode 338 and we’ve got plugins for WooCommerce Frontend Management, Social Cross-Posting, Podcast Players, Device Detection, Caching and a new Swiss Army Knife plugin you’ll want to know about. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 338 and we’ve got plugins for WooCommerce Frontend Management, Social Cross-posting, Podcast players, Device Detection, Caching, and new Swiss Army Knife plugin that you’ll want to know about. 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 direct from beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And from the sunny shores of Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And of course we have the usual great show for you here today. Welcome back to the new year! Happy New Year’s, everyone. Welcome to 2018. This is our first show for 2018 and we’ve got a pretty good one for you today, along with the usual slew of six plugins that are coming. Don’t forget, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com, and if you’ve got a few minutes, make sure you stop in to Stitcher Radio, Google Play, the iTunes store, subscribe to the show there, and leave us a review. They really help us out.
And don’t forget —
John: — oh, go ahead.
Marcus: [laughing] Dang! We’re two minutes in and already a mistake this year. We’re done.
John: That’s all right, man.
John: Welcome to the new year. You know, we’re a little rusty. We haven’t done a live show since before Christmas, so hey —
John: — it’s all good.
Marcus: Just wanted to acknowledge YouTube, all the people that are watching us live right now, as we do every Monday morning at 10:00. We may shift that around a little bit but please join our Facebook group and you can actually get notifications as to when we go live. Also on that YouTube channel, check out some of the training videos that John’s done, screencasts, all the other stuff. And remember, we’re also available on Twitter. You can follow us @wppluginsatoz.
John: All right, and that’s an excellent thing. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our newsletter, too. That’s changing up too, coming into the new year. All right, with that, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show, so off we go!
[Plugins lead-in music]
All right, the first plugin I’ve got here today is a plugin that was submitted in to us. It was submitted to by Shhiv Narayan and it is a WooCommerce frontend manager plugin. It’s WooCommerce Frontend Manager – WC Marketplace & WC Vendors with Booking & Listings. So what this one is – this is a WooCommerce plugin that is a frontend manager that allows you to manage your WooCommerce site from the frontend, instead of the backend of your website. And for some people this is a much more efficient way to get in there and manage, especially if you set this up for a client and you set them up with this frontend management tool.
It allows them to go in and manage their store, see their stats, billings. It’s also compatible with most of the WooCommerce add-on plugins, Multivendor Marketplace, WooCommerce Bookings, WooCommerce Appointments, Job Manager, and more. It looks to be a really great plugin if you’re running a full-blown WooCommerce store. You might want to check this out. I give it a 4-Dragon rating, so go check it out: WooCommerce Frontend Manager.
Marcus: Yeah, and okay – so I’ll give you my impression of this that I’ve seen just 15 seconds of what this can do. This is great. I love this because of one specific thing only – well, among others.
John: What’s that?
Marcus: But I love this because it allows your clients to access their store, their orders, their sales, and all of that, yet keeps them out of the backend of WordPress.
John: Oh, now there’s a thought that hadn’t occurred to me – very useful thing.
Marcus: Because if a client is going to do something, you basically want them just to deal with their ecommerce situation.
Marcus: You don’t want them messing around with WordPress unless they’re doing blog posts or things like that, and as a developer, you can charge to do those things. So this is a great solution.
John: Yeah, it’s a very nice looking plugin, so…
Marcus: All right! Thanks for submitting that and I’m gonna check that out myself. Okay, so in the intro I talked about a Swiss Army Knife tool, and this is called WordPress Developers Tool. I love plugins like this. I love them! So what this does is it will replace maybe three or four different plugins that you may be using or perhaps you’ve got scripts or things like that. So real quickly, here’s what this thing could do.
It can compress large images. It can add second titles to your posts. It takes care of views; so how many hits does your individual page have? You can temporarily disable comments. You can remove attachments with posts. You can change the empty page message. You can set it up for maintenance mode. You can disable emojis. That’s pretty cool – all that stuff. It’s got a bunch of scripts and then it also has WooCommerce functions, like you could set what product is your best seller. You can do wholesale. You can measure units. You can do different pack quantities within the box, so you can calculate your shipping more effectively. You can add plus and minus buttons for quantity. You could do all those kinds of things, so this is just one plugin and it does all this kind of stuff.
Now, ordinarily that’s a perfect plugin. But then I started using it a little bit this morning and I noticed it is a little wonky with some of the scripts that it does. It does like sticky blocks and font awesome and those kinds of things. I don’t think I’d use it for the scripts; I think I’d maybe use those scripts on my own or within my theme itself. But for the WooCommerce and the WordPress components itself, this is a great plugin and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Cool! It looks like one for me to give a little bit of a checkout to see if it’s something that can help me trim some plugins.
Marcus: Yeah, it’s got about 50 different functions, and I’ll tell you, if ten of them are applicable to you and your WordPress site, worth it.
John: Yeah, it’s definitely something worth checking out. All right, well that brings us to the point here – this show is brought to you by the following people. With all the changes in website requirements, pulled, compromised, and abandoned plugins out there, now is the time to update and upgrade your WordPress website. JohnOverall.com has 20+ years’ experience and offers hosting, maintenance programs, 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.
There you go – brought to you by JohnOverall.com.
Marcus: Damn, I need like a lightning strike at the end. “JohnOverall.com…” [lightning sound effect by Marcus]
John: Hey, now there’s an idea. I can improve that ad. That ad’s actually running on another podcast now.
Marcus: Oh, is it?
Marcus: Well, now you’re making me step up my game here for my ad.
John: I was rather stoked to – one of my clients doing a podcast asked me about an ad and I went, “Okay,” and so we created ads and I recorded them.
Marcus: All right, well from my end, anybody listening to this show definitely has a passion and a drive for WordPress, and I am looking for authors for a new gig that I’ve taken as WordPress Editor for Smashing Magazine. If you have any inkling about a different technique that you work in or something within WordPress, I’ll tell you, one of the great articles that I’m editing right now is by a gentleman that is sight impaired. He’s legally blind and he uses WordPress, and he tells us how and actually shares a video, too. So it’s pretty cool in terms of what it is that we’ll do over there.
Smashing Magazine is a huge entity. It gets millions of hits every single month. It’s bigger than all of the other WordPress news sites combined, so if you’d like to get some exposure for yourself and for your work, visit marcuscouch.com/smashing and I will reply back with more information about the opportunity. It is a great way to contribute to the WordPress community, get exposure for yourself, and get paid in the process. Check it out at marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: Excellent. Yeah, it’s actually a good deal, folks. I like the articles there. I’m finding more and more of them are appearing in Google Search when I’m searching for information on WordPress now.
Marcus: Yeah, there’s a lot coming, too.
John: So that’s actually gonna be nice as more and more information appears there.
John: Because the ones I’ve read, they’re really well done, so – and if you’re a writer, submit. You can make a couple hundred bucks, instead of the freebies that are everywhere.
Marcus: Yeah, it’s not an easy process. I will say that. You get reviewed at least four or five different times before it even appears on the site – and that’s a good thing.
Marcus: Because that keeps you honest as a writer, it makes sure that what you have is worth it —
Marcus: — and there’s a lot of different processes involved. So yeah, by the time it hits the site, it’s actually gone through 10 or 20 different edits at that point.
John: Well, that would explain why they’re so good in the end.
John: All right, well we’ve got – it’s been a while since we’ve had one, but we do have a contest starting this week and it will be going up this week. It is a free license from Foliovision and Foliovision is a plugin that allows you to host your video anywhere. It gives you powers over your videos. You can add…. I’d have to go look through it again, but I can’t remember all the stuff.
Marcus: Hm. Yeah, it looks like it’s a video player that does embedded ads within it as well.
John: There we go. Yeah, ads that you can control, HTML overlays – there’s a lot to this. This plugin here, we’ll be doing a review on this plugin in an upcoming show.
John: But at the moment it looks to be a fantastic plugin to check out. I don’t have all the details of it, but they are giving away a free one-year license to you our listeners out there. All you’ll have to do to enter the contest is go to wppluginsatoz.com/contests and fill out all the information there to enter the contest. That contest will be running through to the second week of February, so make sure you jump on it and get yourself a free license for this, especially if you run videos on your website. This is a plugin that will help you dramatically, so…
Marcus: Hm. Yeah, and I’m going to inspect this myself, so look forward to a review on this coming soon.
John: Yep. Coming soon, folks! Okay, well that brings us up to our next set of plugins and the one I’ve got for you here is another one that was submitted to us by a plugin author. This is called the Podcast Feed Widget Player, and while you might be using Blubrry’s Podcast Player, the podcast thing that I use from Blubrry or you might be using the Feed Player from WordPress, this one here is a little different in what it does.
What it allows you to do is it allows you to go out there and get a podcast. You could either use your podcast or if you wanted to showcase others, go out and get the podcast feed for the podcast, the number you want to display from the feed, the thumbnail, and then the iTunes information on it and the Google Play information. What it’ll do is it will pull in the podcast specific or the unique custom podcast tags, which allows some of the podcasts out there have used them to the max where their artwork changes every time the show plays and it brings in additional custom ID information. I haven’t gotten around to getting that detailed with ours yet, but many of those podcasts do it, so it’s a nice way to display your podcasts and you stick it in the sidebar in a widget.
Very nice, versatile, little podcast feed player widget without having to go through a whole lot of work in your site to display podcasts. Go check it out. It looks to be a very simple plugin. It was submitted to us by Douglas Karr from DKnewmedia.com, so a great little plugin. I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Nice! And I am going to put something in the show notes next to that, John. I interviewed Doug Karr —
John: Oh, did you?
Marcus: — on a little show that I used to do called Industry Night.
John: Oh, nice! Okay.
Marcus: And I have a link that I’m going to put in the show notes where you can hear me and Doug talking about developing in WordPress and all the rest of it. So that’s nice. Thank you! Thank you so much, Doug.
All right, I’m gonna talk about something called Device Detect, and ordinarily I don’t think I’d really care about this kind of thing. However, many of you know that I am doing a day gig right now where I’m working for the largest telecommunications company in North America. Do they do marketing based on device? Oh, yeah.
John: I would hope so. [chuckle]
Marcus: Oh, yeah. I mean the cardinal rule is you don’t show people that have iPhones the Android stuff, and vice versa.
Marcus: Right? So this is pretty cool because it allows you to detect a device of the user and insert content specifically for those devices within your posts, pages, products – whatever you want to do – and it really restricts what other devices can see. You can show desktop-only stuff, maybe if it’s desktop-only, then you can make it so that, you know, maybe the content is not so optimized. Maybe you want to make it so that the videos play in 4k or whatever it happens to be, that’s the way to do it. So this is a really handy little plugin to sort of identify what device is on your site and changing the content accordingly. It’s called Device Detect and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s pretty cool. The marketing for that is gonna be quite useful. And as I learned a whole lot over the holidays, I had a little extra time not having to work on the show during the holidays and I spent a lot of time getting better at my SEO and understanding Google Analytics in particular for a client that runs a newspaper.
John: And I was watching the traffic and I was amazed watching the traffic flow across. How many? It was 75% mobile versus 25% desktop, and it’s like this sort of thing could allow them to tailor ads.
John: Tailor ads —
John: — specifically for the mobile devices.
John: Increase their ad revenue by hey, we’ve got ads, we can sell to 75% of our visitors come from mobile. We can get your mobile ad right there in front of them, so yeah.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: That’s some nice stuff there. Excellent.
Marcus: Yeah, if you don’t do it already, I always build for mobile first —
John: Well, I do build for mobile first now.
Marcus: And then back out into desktop.
Marcus: And not the other way around.
John: You have to do that now, especially since the traffic changed about – what? – it was about two years ago.
John: It became even and now it’s about 75% mobile traffic now to a website.
Marcus: Yeah, which is great because then I can use my little netbook that doesn’t have any resolution anymore to build sites now. [chuckling]
John: There you go. Excellent. Okay, well this brings us up to the section where we’ve got listener feedback, audio clips. This week we don’t have any but don’t forget you can contact the show, leave information on our contact page, ask us questions, hit the little SpeakPipe button down in the lower right-hand corner, leave us a voice message, and we’ll be happy to respond to those for you. You know, get some free advice. You know, our time is quite valuable, so it’s a way for you to get free advice from us.
And of course, this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get value out of it, please give some value back. It helps support the things necessary to run this show, meaning the transcripts that we do, the bandwidth, the hosting – all of that stuff has to be paid for somewhere. And if you’re so inclined, please donate. Anyone $50 or over will get mentioned here in the show. Less than that, we’ll just say thank you very much.
This week here, we would like to thank Jezweb Pty. Ltd., who donated $50 and he left a message here for us:
“This is on behalf of This is on behalf of Lady Bikes International. http://www.ladybikes.org which is a non-profit organisation helping women in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda buy motorcycles to setup [their] courier businesses. It is a neat example of a single page website by Jezweb ( http://www.jezweb.com.au ) built in WordPress.”
And give me half a moment and I’ll get that site up for people to just have a quick look at, because that sounds kind of interesting. I forgot to make the links in the show note properly, but that’s okay.
Marcus: That sounds like a really great idea: Lady Bikes International.
John: Yeah. Well, here it comes – loading up – there we go.
Marcus: Oh, so we’re going to show it to our YouTube audience – oh, very nice!
John: Very – yeah.
Marcus: They’ve got biker jackets and everything.
John: It’s a single page, so it’s a one-page scroll all the way down to the bottom. Nice!
Marcus: Yeah, that’s all – it looks like it’s app-driven also.
Marcus: Man, everything’s app-driven. John, soon you and I are gonna be – where’s the WordPress developer app where I just need you to come to their business real quick?
John: Oh, absolutely.
John: That’s a cool site.
Marcus: All right.
John: All right, and thank you to anyone who came in under $50. And there are great ways you can support the show by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate.
Marcus: Yeah, it’s very important. Please help us out. We don’t try and harp on it, but it is listener-supported. We do depend on your help to, you know, at least make things break even. John and I don’t do this for a living in terms of this show.
Marcus: You know, it’s pretty impossible to do that.
John: Well, we tried. [chuckling]
Marcus: But we do like getting the hosting and the transcriptions and all the rest of it covered, and all the contributions help, so thank you very much.
John: Yeah, that’s one of the biggest things is trying to get the hosting, transcriptions, and the bandwidth and other miscellaneous things covered.
John: All right, well this brings us up to our last set of plugins, and the last couple plugins we have today, the final one I’ve got for you today is called WP Fastest Cache. Now, one of the things I’ve been doing for the last few months, especially running towards the end of the year, is I was doing a lot of SSL conversion and site improvement work across the web for many of my clients, new clients that were coming in and needed that done, etc. And one of the things I wanted to do was I wanted to get better at making websites run faster, and my website was a big example of it.
I think my site was loading at JohnOverall.com was loading like 12 to 16 seconds, which was ridiculously slow. So I went through and I learned a lot, improved, and found specific codes necessary to bring that site down. Of course, speed is one of the major influencers for SEO these days. But a lot you can do manually can only bring your site down so fast, usually within the 3-5 second range and you can’t get much faster than that without some caching.
Now, I had been using WP Comic Cache, which is a good plugin, but it wasn’t always working correctly. It would have issues occasionally. The cache would corrupt – I don’t know what was going on with it. So I started examining other caching plugins and the one that I kept hearing from in particular, I would hear from May Ann over at BlogAid.net, and she talks about this one, so I thought I’d give this one a shot and see how it worked. It’s very easy to use, very easy to set up. It does a really great job of caching, clearing its own cache when it needs to. It has a premium version which allows you some expanded stuff for minifying and other CSS – maybe even get another half a second out of it.
But what I found great with it was it brought my site down to approximately 1.8 to 2.5 second load speeds, which is a dramatic improvement overall for everything I did.
John: So all in all, a fantastic plugin. It trimmed almost two seconds off of my final load time before I put this in, and it seems to be quite stable. I’ve been watching it now for – I think I’ve had it on my site for four weeks now and I’ve been watching it. The stability has been nice and I’ve started to use it across my clients’ sites to bring their speed down even further. Now, I was never a big one for caching until the last eight months or so when I realized even through you don’t need caching per se for traffic, you need caching now to get your speed down to get your SEO up, because speed is a major ranking factor nowadays. So anyway, go check out WP Fastest Cache, and this one here hit the top mark of a 5-Dragon rating.
That dragon’s loud.
Marcus: First one of the year, all right!
John: The dragon’s loud today! [chuckling]
Marcus: Very good – yeah, it’s a little loud. All right, I am going to close off the first show of the year here with a plugin called Social Booster, and it is pitched as “A helping hand for engaging your social audience and keeping your content alive.”
So what it does is it’s a social media auto-poster and it also does scheduling. So you can make a post and it will automatically publish it to – I believe right now it’s just Twitter and Facebook, and I think that LinkedIn is coming, I think Google+ is coming, and a couple of other ones. I like this because it’s free and there are so many other plugins out there that are not free that do these types of things.
So it automatically publishes your posts out there to social media, it can auto-publish old blog posts so that you can repurpose some of your old content, you can schedule to post later – so if you put your blog post out and then you want it to maybe wait an hour or so until it does that, you can do it. It lets you auto-post and schedule so that you could auto-post the old stuff and schedule new stuff to go. You can have custom message options, white labeled posts – all the rest of it – and the nice thing is it has a log that keeps track of everything that it does so you can monitor the success.
So it is called Social Booster and I rated this a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s very cool. I like the fact that it allows you to repost some of the old stuff, because I’m currently using a paid plugin for doing the auto-posting, but it doesn’t bring back the old stuff, which is —
John: — kind of nice.
Marcus: That’s why I found this pretty unique.
John: Yeah, I like that because it’s great if you can repost your old stuff that’s still relevant —
John: — and drive traffic back for those things, so yeah, a great plugin.
John: All right, well that closes this episode out. I covered up in this episode the WooCommerce Frontend Manager, which I gave a 4 to; the Podcast Feed Player Widget, which I gave a 4 to; and the WP Fastest Cache, which I gave a 5 to.
Marcus: And I talked about the WordPress Developer’s Tool, which gets a 4 out of 5; Device Detect, which gets a 4 out of 5; and we just talked about Social Booster, which gets a 4 out of 5.
John: There we go, a nice roundup of plugins for the new year, everyone. All right, and don’t forget, go check out a few things. Check out our YouTube channel where we’ve got screencasts, training videos, and other miscellaneous things up there. And a note to developers, if you want to support this show, offer up a premium license to give away, go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest, where you can submit your license to us to create a contest around you, where you’ll get a fair bit of promotion around it too, so keep that in mind.
And that’s pretty much it.
Marcus: All right, first one in the can for 2018!
John: That’s all we’ve got 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 at @wppluginsatoz.
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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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