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 #201 here.
It’s Episode 201 and we’ve got plugins for Woo Commerce Quick Checkout, Landing Page Generation, Event Management, Contact Form Sliders and a new way to simulate user roles. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, so the first plugin I’ve got for you this week is a premium plugin. It was submitted to us by Brian Paul, and this plugin is called Contact Form Slider. I’m not one to always look at contact forms. I pretty much settled on my favorite contact form plugin. But this one kind of piqued my interest because what it does is it allows you to assign a contact form to each specific user on your site.
If you’ve got multiple users, multiple authors, and you’d like them to be able to get contact direct, instead of going through the usual rigmarole, this is a great plugin for you. It allows you to create custom contact forms for each individual user, and then assign that contact form on a per-post basis, using shortcuts. It works pretty sweet; it’s pretty decent for layout, easy enough to use. All in all, a decent plugin. I give it a 4 Dragon rating. Check it out: Contact Form Slider.
Marcus: So what makes it a slider?
John: Well, it slides out from the side of the page. It puts an icon –
Marcus: I got it.
John: — on the side of the page and they click on it, and out it comes.
Marcus: A little bit of a side slide or something like that. Interesting. Well John, recently I’ve been involved in a project for a client that involved taking a PSD Photoshop design, basically just a graphic, and converting it over to a PSP landing page. And boy, there were so many issues that I wish I could’ve dropped this template into WordPress and run Gravity forms through this, instead of just this PHP form going into a custom CMS and all that.
So in searching for a solution to use WordPress as my platform, I found this plugin called Grid. Now, it’s kind of a container landing page editor, which allows you to drag and drop different boxes and containers and modules into a really nice interface to make a landing page that doesn’t necessarily conform to the theme, so it’s outside of it. I’ve found the interface very handy, very easy to set up, and I’m still in the process of completely converting this old PSD file into the Grid format, but so far, so good. So I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice — it sounds like it could be very useful. Okay, the next plugin I’ve got for you is also a premium plugin. This one was submitted to us by Michela Chuicini. It’s called Diva’s Cookies. And what it’s for is if you’re a developer in the EU, then you know that you have to make your website compliant with the EU cookie law. There’s multiple ways of going about it.
All in all, a pretty decent little plugin. It’s pretty straightforward. You just set it up and add in your proper coding and your link to your policy, and away you go. So check it out. It’s called Diva’s Cookies and it’s a premium plugin and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Nice. That is a solution. Do you know what the laws are, you being in Canada and me being here in the US? Do we have to comply with something like that if we’re doing transactions or business within Europe?
John: I’m not really certain about that. I just assumed I lived in Canada and I comply with Canadian law, you know?
John: And that’s the way my business works. I know that some laws cross the borders, but not all of them. And the EU cookie law is specific to websites for businesses based in the EU —
John: — don’t quote me on that; I’m not a lawyer. I only play one on TV.
Marcus: Yeah, I don’t know the specifics. I’ve never had to implement such a plugin on any of the WordPress installations I’ve used.
Well, one thing if you do a lot of different roles on your sites, and I’m talking about user access levels — it’s really difficult to see what that specific person sees without having to log in as them and then go in and do the test. This new plugin called Test User Role is actually kind of a user role simulator where when you log in and get that howdy screen up on the bar, you can actually click that and then decide which user role you’d like to be to experience the site.
It presents you with that complete package of what that role will see as you navigate and go around into the different aspects of the website. Now this is great for testing out membership plugins, e-commerce plugins, seeing if someone was a previous customer, if there’s specific content that goes to them — those kinds of things. So it’s really good in troubleshooting and auditing your site and just testing it from a user experience level. It’s called Test User Role. Outstanding plugin and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s very nice! That can actually be quite useful. I know I was working recently on a project that we had to do just such a thing — log in and log out — but that can save a ton of time.
Marcus: I would say if you’ve got at least three different types of user roles, then something like this would really make sense, as far as your initial testing phase.
John: This site had seven, so —
John: All right, the final one I’ve got here, this is an events calendar plugin I’m in the process of prepping up the presentation for events calendars, so I started checking out some of the events calendars I’ve never looked at. This one is a simple one; it’s called Events Manager, and while it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it’s a pretty good basic events manager plugin.
It does have a premium version, so if you buy the premium modules for it, you can actually events, take money from them, book them through PayPal and other payment processors. Plus they have a couple of other features for it. But in its base form direct from the WordPress repository, it allows you to set up a nice, clean event. It’s got a nice Google Maps integration into it.
It sets up nice and clean, it sets up its own events page. All in all, it’s a pretty decent one; pretty straightforward. I’m going to have to dig into it a little further to see how it works. For some reason, my Internet was giving me grief when I was examining this and I couldn’t get to their website to check out the documentation. But all in all, a great little plugin. I’ll give it a middle of the road 3-Dragon rating. Check it out — Events Manager.
Marcus: I use the pro version of this —
John: Oh, do you?
Marcus: — on a client’s site. And I’ll tell you, it’s clunky.
John: Is it?
Marcus: It’s clunky. And see, I use it for actually selling tickets to the event with an add-on to it called Wootickets and Woocommerce, so you can actually buy tickets to the event. It does work and it does do the tickets. I’ll tell you the one kind of cool thing about the ticket add-on aspect of Events Manager is that you can check people into the event with like an iPad or something like that, by logging into the back-end admin. And as people come in, you could just check them off on the user’s list as being checked-in —
Marcus: — which is pretty cool.
John: All the new data is integrated with a scanner and it’d be even easier.
Marcus: Yeah, like a iPhone — QR code that would actually be —
John: Yeah, a QR scanner.
Marcus: Trigger that — hey, that’s a plugin idea for somebody out there.
All right, let’s wrap it up, John. I’ve got one final plugin here to talk about. And it is Woocommerce-related, actually. One thing that I’ve found with — and in fact, it’s with the ticket process that I just spoke of. One thing that is really irritating is that when someone is ready to buy, and especially when it comes to tickets, they select how many tickets they want, they select — let’s buy them — and then it takes them to a cart or adds them to the cart.
John: Yeah, you’ve got to walk — walk through the process.
Marcus: Yeah, and you’ve got to coax them to get back into the cart again and check out. Well, this plugin is called Woocommerce Quick Buy, and it adds a quick buy button in a single cart page in Woocommerce. So when the user clicks the button, it actually adds them to the cart and they are automatically redirected right to the cart page to check out.
Marcus: So this is — kind of shuffles them right through the gift shop, so to speak. And I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: That could be very useful. I just picked up a Woocommerce site recently that has to be some cleanup done to that, so hey, I like how that will help them out.
All right, well I covered up in this episode Contact Form Slider, which I have a 4 to, Diva’s Cookies, which I gave a 4 to, and Event Manager, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Grid, the landing page creator in WordPress — gave that one a 4 out of 5, Test User Role, which I gave a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Woocommerce Quick Buy, which I also gave a 4 out of 5.