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!
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.
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.
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.
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 —
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.
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.
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.
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.