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 211 and we’ve got plugins for Social Sharing of Images, Cron Job Management, SEO Enhancement, Advertising plugins and a plugin to hide content unless people sign up to your mailing list. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, for this week here, I’ve got the first one out of the gate. It’s WPX Cron Manager Lite. Now it seems every once in a while the WordPress cron just goes crazy. I have no idea why or what causes it, but it seems to have happened to me again recently, and so I had to spend a little time finding another WordPress cron manager. And I dug into it; this one popped up, so I gave it a try. It helps you clean up that mess.
It does a pretty good job but it depends on an integration plugin which they have a separate plugin that you have to install after you installed this plugin. They walk you through it, download it and install it. It’s very easy to deal with. Once installed, this gives you a list of all the cron jobs that are on your site, when they run next, the name of the job, how it is scheduled, whether it’s hourly, twice daily, three times a day, or daily — however often it’s supposed to run. Then it gives you a live countdown time to when its next run is for that particular cron job.
And if it’s missed its schedule, it gives you the ability to force that cron job to run now. All in all, a pretty good cron manager. It helped me clean up my cron jobs. It seems I have a lot of cron jobs running on my website, probably due to the excessive number of plugins I have. But other than that, it’s a great plugin. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating. WPX Cron Manager Lite.
Marcus: And as I look at this screen, this is the most intuitive cron management screen I’ve ever seen.
John: It is.
Marcus: It’s got these nice little toggles that you can turn off a cron job, just by —
Marcus: — just by toggling it off and on, it looks just like the iPhone toggle, actually.
Marcus: Pretty cool! All right, John. Well, let’s see what I’ve got in the bag of tricks here today. Well, first one out of the gate is called Viral Hover Buttons. Now this is a pretty interesting plugin. What it does is if you hover over an image within your post, or even a video, it will add a social share button over the picture. So that’s pretty cool. You can share the entire article but it just hovers over the picture. I don’t know; I’m not quite sure the correlation there. But it’s really nice because it’s out of the way, it’s in a different kind of place than people are used to, so they might click on it. Who knows?
It’s really easy to set up, really easy to install. It’s a brand-new plugin that’s only about three days old, about 25 downloads. But so far, so good. I’ve tried it out myself. I might install this on my personal site as well. It’s called Viral Hover Buttons, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: I can see the use for that, too. When it clicks to share, does it share just the picture or does it grab the whole article that goes with the picture?
Marcus: The whole article.
John: Ah, that’s a beauty, because people love sharing photos and then it’ll snag the article along with it.
John: Yeah, I like that. That’s actually nice and it allows you to go to Facebook, twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.
Marcus: And Pinterest, and that’s the biggie because if you’re gonna be sharing images, then you’ve got one that’s already perfectly —
Marcus: — in line for Pinterest.
John: Perfect. All right, so my next set of plugins for the rest of this show and probably into the next show is advertising plugins. I have been faced with the prospect of replacing my advertising manager or ad manager plugin because it just doesn’t produce the stats I want, so I’m reviewing a lot of these plugins to find one that will provide as much as possible the equivalent to an old ad server software I used to use. I may have to go back to it but I’m hoping not to.
So without further ado, we’ll start with this one. It’s called Advertising Manager. This one here, at first I thought it was gonna be an okay platform. And the problem that I ran into — it’s a great advertising manager plugin if you are importing ads from another ad program or you’re bringing in ads from like Google Ad Sense or some other platform. And what it does is it inserts a code then it builds an ad for you out of that code.
It’s not real useful I’ve found if you’re trying to create the ads from scratch. The other problem I faced with it was the stats were very minimal. It did not seem to have an easy way also to insert an image into an ad. You’re required to create HTML code to get the ad in. It’s kind of a little bit old-fashioned, so this one here might not be one you’re looking for, so you might want to move along to something else. But because I checked it out, I wanted to let folks know what I found. I gave this one a really low one: 2-Dragon rating. Advertising Manager.
John: Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve had a two.
Marcus: Yeah, I can’t remember stooping that low.
John: It doesn’t happen very often. It’s got to be a plugin that just provides very poor usability, and that’s what this one provided unfortunately.
Marcus: Okay, well let’s see if we can raise the hopes of the listeners right now. This one’s called Content Upgrades, and it’s a plugin that helps you create content-specific bonuses within your posts — something that people have to opt in in order to see. So you first create a special page with the bonus content, then you can customize a little pop-up email form that will advertise what the bonus is, and then you link the pop-up form to the content of the article. So by clicking on that special link, your visitors then get a pop-up.
It’s not just like a pop-up that happens, you know, instantly. Or, you know, automatically or when they hit the article. They actually have to physically click the link that says yeah, I want to see more. Then it pops up, then it says, “Leave your email address to get the bonuses.” And once they do, the plugin redirects them to the page with the bonus content automatically.
A really nice plugin and it does everything all within WordPress. There’s no crazy Mail Chimp auto responder sequence to have to program or anything like that. It’s all within WordPress — really easy, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. It looks like it actually integrates to Mail Chimp. So I’ve got one question and I don’t know if you tested it. Does it —
Marcus: I did.
John: — does it want someone to subscribe to the email list, or does it just let them through from that point forward if you have additional items?
Marcus: Hmm…I didn’t try a second one yet.
John: Okay, that was my question —
Marcus: I will do that.
John: — because if they’ve already subscribed and they have to subscribe again, it could be irritating if they’re trying to get other content, or they want to reread that content again.
Marcus: That’s true. Maybe it pops a cookie? I don’t know.
John: Okay, well that was just the first question that comes to my mind with things like that is how do you keep from annoying people?
Marcus: I could’ve used that lesson a long time ago.
John: All right, well the final one that I’ve got here is called Advanced Ads. This one here is another great ad plugin with some great basic use in creating an ad on it, so it was a little bit on the difficult side. It does not seem to have, unfortunately, any real usable stats. It has some stats but not the extended stats I was looking for. I did find the creation process for the ad was a little bit on the lengthy side and I did run into a little bit of an issue with the short code in the text widget. I can probably cure that with a little bit of CSS help, but I did need more options in the ad creations and getting stats. Other than that, not too bad. This one fell in the middle of the road. Advanced Ads, I gave it a rating of 3 Dragons.
Marcus: Hmm…okay. Well, this next plugin requires that you use Yost — WordPress SEO by Yost. This is an add-on to it.
John: Oh, okay.
Marcus: And to me, it should sort of be part of Yost, but it’s not. It’s a real tiny kind of footprint plugin that works with WordPress SEO by Yost as I mentioned. It truncates your title if it’s too long — same thing with your meta description tags. If it’s too long, it will trim it to that specific point of I think it’s 155 characters.
Marcus: And you can actually set that length limit, so you can go 150, 160 — whatever you want. Now here’s where I used it, which is I have a client site that they decided rather than go through CSS or things like that within their page, that they would just go ahead and put H1s on everything, as far as the headings of every single paragraph and all that.
Marcus: They just went, “Yeah, that’s a big enough font. We’ll just use that,” without knowing the implications of having multiple H1 tags on your content. It’s a no-no, as far as SEO. You want to make everything else in H2. And typically your title is in H1, so that would mean you really can’t use H1s in the rest of your post.
So what this does is it automatically finds multiple H1s within your post and automatically changes them to H2, without you having to do anything. Now this is big —
John: Really big.
Marcus: — because if you use anything like SCM Rush or Mas or Raven Tools or any of those cool things for SEO, that’s one of the biggest errors that it typically finds within an SEO crawl is multiple H1 tags. That and no alt tags on your images. This one doesn’t do that one for you but it definitely takes care of that H2. And if you’ve got a lot of different pages on your site, this is definitely one to help save a ton of time having to go back. So I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. I like it for that one feature alone, helping clean up the H tags.
Marcus: Yeah, and I took one off because it requires another plugin, and it’s Yost.
John: Oh well. You can’t always win but okay. That covers it up this episode here. I covered WPX Chron Manager Lite, which I gave a 4 to, Advertising Manager, which I gave a 2 to, unfortunately, and then Advanced Ads, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I spoke about Viral Hover Buttons, which I gave a 4 out of 5, Content Upgrades, also a 4 out of 5, and we just discussed SEO Enforcer, which I also gave a 4 out of 5.