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.
It’s Episode 206 and we’ve got plugins for Adding Categories to Pages, Locking WordPress to your site’s SSL, Widget Favorites within the Customizer, Ad Banners, Help Desk Tools and new ways top get detailed info on the plugins you have installed. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, well the first plugin I’ve got this week was referred to us by Simon and Ann. And this one here is called Floating Banner Ad Rotator with Tracking, and it’s actually a pretty nice plugin. It’s in beta stage right now, so you know, it works really well but I think they’re still working on some improvements to it. But I’ve installed it and checked it out and I really like it. It installs a banner that floats at the very bottom of your website and you can put multiple banners in there and then what it does is it rotates through them on per page load.
And in the back end, you get a little bit of specs on it to show how many views the banner has had and how many times the banners click through and then it gives you a click through rate on it. Other than that, there’s not much to it at the moment but hey, it’s pretty simple. It’s a quick, easy way to get banner ads up in the bottom of your website where they’re there for people to view. And if the people don’t want to look at it, they can hit the little X in the corner and it goes away. So all in all, a pretty good-looking banner ad rotator plugin. Check it out: Floating Banner Ad Rotator with Tracking, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: All right. Well I’ve got an interesting one. It’s one that you might think would not be associated with what it does, but it does. It’s called Add Category to Pages. Now we often think of just categories as something that we would put in a custom post type or just a regular post, but not a page.
John: Oh, I’ve done it before for pages.
Marcus: Yeah, so there’s various benefits in why you would want to add a category to pages. You can embed a category-based list of pages, you can create a tag based on different archives for pages. So if you have a ton of pages that you wanted to archive, you can just archive them based on that category. Or you can also hide pages that belong to a certain category, so that’s pretty nice.
It’s a nice way to be able to just kind of turn things off and on as you need them within the page structure. So I thought this was a very handy plugin for those who’ve had difficulties dealing with pages over posts and sometimes default over to posts when they really don’t want to. This is that nice little bridge that can help you get there. So I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. I’ll have to keep that one in mind the next time I need that. I know in the past — I haven’t needed it for quite some time and I don’t even remember how I dealt with that issue. But this looks like a much easier way to deal with that issue.
Marcus: Yep, and it’s good for all the installations up to 4.1, so it’s a brand new plugin.
John: Excellent. Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here is another one that’s referred to us. This one came to us via Mike Jordan and it’s called More Plugin Info. And what this plugin does is when you install it and activate it, it provides you with detailed information about the plugin. All that details and bits that you find over at the WP.org website lists the plugins, tells you the latest time it was added to the repository, when it was last updated, what version of WordPress is required, what version it’s tested to, the ratings, the rankings. Also if you want to donate, it puts the donate link right there for you.
Basically, all of the information from the WP.org website is now brought over to your website and so when you go to your plugins page and list all the plugins you have installed, all that information is displayed nice and easy for you to access, instead of, “Hey, I remember something about this plugin. Now I have to go open the .org web page to look it all up.” Now you can do it right there on your back end, saving you a step. So it’s a pretty nice little plugin. It works pretty easily. Check it out: the More Plugin Info, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Cool. Well, the next one I want to talk about is something that actually just happened to me this week. I’m dealing with a client website and you do a simulated crawl and you find out that there are double the pages listed on there that you thought, and the reason is because you’re getting the http version and also the https version, if they have an SSL certificate. So what that is is you’re creating duplicate content for your website, basically yourself — you’re creating two versions, which dilutes the overall SEO value of whatever you wanted as the main page, because you’ve got two different versions.
What this does is it redirects all your traffic. This plugin is called WP Force SSL. It lets you redirect all traffic from http to the more secure https on all of the pages of your website. So if you have a SSL certificate, basically what this does is it forces WordPress to use the secure version over the unsecure version. Very handy, very easily turned on, and it can save you hours and hours of headache.
Marcus: So I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: That could come in handy. Okay, the final one I’ve got this week is again another one referred to us, so thank you all out there for referring plugins. It really makes the job a whole lot easier sometimes, instead of finding out which plugins to check out. This one came to us by JulieAnn LeBouf, and it’s called Awesome Support. And this is a plugin to turn your WordPress website into a support desk. It’s a premium plugin and it offers up the free version with all the base stuff which works very nice and allows your users to create tickets, allows you to respond to tickets, allows you to track them, set up some administration for it. Basically it’s a very nice support desk for your website.
But what this one also has is they have some plugins — add ons — that you can go take a look at for it, including a notifications add on so that certain administrators will get notifications when information comes across. It’s got — they’ve got a Mail Chimp integration add on. They’ve got one for Private Notes; you can add private notes to the tickets back and forth as needed, and a useful one if you’re in Avanto or Code Canyon author, and you want to ensure that you’re only getting tickets from people who have actually purchased your software and not somebody who has just grabbed hold of it. They have to enter their validation code to ensure that you are only helping those who have purchased your product, so that’s a really useful one if you’re an Avanto or CodeCanyon author.
And there is also canned responses and more in the pipeline. They have this great roadmap on their website showing all the things they’re working on. They’re going to be improving this plugin, so it looks to be a good long-term solution for creating a WordPress support desk, so check it out. It’s called Awesome Support and at the time I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Cool. Yeah, I’m looking for a support system for something I’m working on.
Marcus: I’m tired of the emails that are floating in.
John: Yeah, I’m –
Marcus: It’s just the little ticky tech things.
John: I’m looking at having to do that this year, so —
Marcus: Okay, well I’m gonna close this show out here with a really nice plugin. This one is called the Widget Favorites and sometimes John, you have certain widget configurations that you need to use over and over again.
Marcus: Well this allows you to save a widget instance by name and identify it later when you’re loading it out of your favorite widgets. This only works with widgets that you manage in the customizer, but it allows you to kind of save a common set so that you can bring them up over and over. We talked about in the last few shows I talked about a customizer favorites, so this allows you to actually get into the widgets as well. So I’ve see this trend where we’re being able to save our own preferences within widgets and differences within widgets and different layouts of the site and things within the customizer. And that’s cool, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had two browsers side-by-side, one site to the other site, and trying to copy the exact same code from one widget to the other. So this one really, really saves a lot of steps and I gave this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Yes it does, and that’s great. I’m going to have to keep that one in mind too when I’m moving or converting or creating websites with a lot of the same stuff.
John: All right, well that pretty much wraps this up. I covered up the Floating Banner, which I gave a 4 rating to, the More Plugin Info, which I gave a 4 to, and then Awesome Support, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Add Category to Pages, which I gave a 4 out of 5, WP Force SSL, also a 4 out of 5, and Widget Favorites, another 4 out of 5.