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Transcript of Episode 217

It’s Episode 217 and we’ve got plugins for Button Creation, Tracking Code Embedding, Event Calendars, Membership Sites, Activity Feeds and Shortcodes displayed in your content based on time. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

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 #217 here.

It’s Episode 217 and we’ve got plugins for Button Creation, Tracking Code Embedding, Event Calendars, Membership Sites, Activity Feeds and Shortcodes displayed in your content based on time. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

Episode #217

John:                All right, this week I’ve got a few great plugins for you and so-so plugins in the process.  The first one thought is one for helping you manage events on your website.  Now there’s lots and lots of events and calendar plugins out there and I’ve reviewed several of them throughout the last couple of years.  This one here is one that I came across recently while helping someone get their website up and running and it was one that they had chosen.  So I thought I would look into it and see how well it would work.

It’s called the Events Calendar and it does a pretty nice job of helping you set up your events on your site, and it is a premium plugin — one in a long list of premium plugins, as I discussed a couple of years ago of how the premium plugin was going to take over the WordPress world.  It started to happen in droves.  But this plugin here, it does a pretty nice job of creating maps for your events.  It’s got a decent interface and back end for creating the events.  It helps you to create recurring events.

It has the premium version and the pro version to it.  It allows you to have multiple layouts and when someone hits your website, they can have the calendar view, they can have the month view, an archive view, or they can have a map view.  A map view is very nice and what it does is it produces a map that sets up icons on there so they can see where the events are in and around your city.  They can click on that and go right to the event.

The biggest problem I ran into with this plugin though is that it does have more issues than most with conflicts between other plugins.  We were having a problem with this one here in the icons not working and it turned out to be a conflict with a plugin that wasn’t discussed anywhere else.  I mean, once you go through all of that and get it set up, it’s a pretty decent plugin and works fairly well.  I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.  It’s the Events Calendar from Modern Tribe.

Marcus:           Yes, and I’ve actually used this in the pro version for a client setup that was selling tickets, so there’s a little module that you can add in here so they can actually buy tickets through WooCommerce in the Events Calendar.  And this is one of those that’s kind of Event Brite similar, where you can set up those different entities within the events calendar.  The only thing that I found a little wonky with it was the actual integration within WooCommerce, and it’s a little different in how you present the product versus a ticket within the events calendar.

Some of the pros that I’ve seen with the Events Calendar is if you have someplace that you have an event a number of different places that you have, you can RSS and URL and all of that of that destination place one time, and then it’s just a drop-down as far as when you make a new event.  You can choose from the drop-down if it’s an old place that you’ve already been.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           So I’ve experienced good luck with that one as well.

John:                Yeah, it does have a good venue setup in it.

Marcus:           Yeah.  So right out of the gate here, I’m going to talk about a cool new plugin that I found called Time Lord.

John:                From Doctor Who?

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                A tip of the hat.

Marcus:           I don’t watch Doctor Who, so I don’t catch the reference.

John:                Sorry.

Marcus:           It’s basically this, John.

John:                Yes?

Marcus:           You can put a short code or a series of short codes within one post and tell it when to start and stop showing that particular section of your post.

John:                Oh, that’s nice.

Marcus:           So you can do a drip-feed of paragraphs with .  So the case used for this would be if you’ve got particular content within your post and you only want certain sections to show at certain times.  This thing allows you to turn it off and on based on date and time.  So you can start one, stop the other.  Start one, stop the other, or just reveal things in the post as time goes on or pull things away as time goes on.

It’s really cool, all short code based, a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                Excellent.  Yeah, well the Time Lord reference is the only reason I catch it as I recently started watching Doctor Who and because it’s on Netflix I would binge watch and play catch-up to it.  A really good show, but for the longest time I wouldn’t have caught the reference to Time Lord, either.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, well the second plugin I’ve got here for you is a premium plugin and it’s called Wish List Membership.  This is a membership plugin and now I’m currently on the hunt for membership plugins, but this relates to the previous plugin I was working on for a site for a client.  We were working to get this membership plugin to get set up.

While this is a pretty decent membership plugin in how it controls the content on your site, I found that the setup for the plugin was not a completely easy task.  In particular, when using PayPal as the payment system, which is one of the most common payment gateways, the integration for this plugin was seriously lacking and it was kind of a throwback to years ago when you had to go create your PayPal buttons manually and then place them on your site, which is what this thing has you do, instead of having a nice, clean integration between the plugin and your site and your layout.

It was kind of disappointing in that aspect.  Also, the other thing I found with it is it doesn’t have an easy way in for creating a $0 or a sample signup to your site.  I mean, many membership sites offer 24-hour gateway or a 24-hour pass in exchange for signing up to their email list.  This didn’t offer that simple way; I had to do a bit of a workaround to make it work.  So it was a bit disappointing.

Initial paid setup on it is very easy.  It’s got a good walk-through on it, it’s got a good automation system to help you get the initial pages up and running, although you have to go through them afterwards and do some touch ups to it.  All in all, I found it a bit difficult in its functionality.  It does work well once it’s functioning but it wasn’t the cleanest setup out there, so from the other ones I’d used, I used S2 Paid Membership Pro.

This one here ranks down below those ones, so I give this a rating of 3-Dragons — almost a 2, but I couldn’t give it a 2.5, so we’ll give it a 3.  Anyway, Wish List Membership — check it out.  You may or may not find it useful for you.

Marcus:           Hmm…yeah, membership plugins are very tricky.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           And it’s one of these things that when you commit, you commit it.

John:                That’s the problem.

Marcus:           So you’ve got to make sure that whatever you choose is what you’re going to lock yourself into.  There’s a number of different things.  I think one of these days we’ll do a strictly membership plugin show and we can kind of back and forth go through all of them and that would be great.

John:                Well, that may happen sooner rather than later, because I actually have to hunt one down because we were looking to replace this after we found out the limitations on it.

Marcus:           Great.  Well, something I’m going to bring here — you know, when you advertise in Facebook, Google AdWords, or any other kinds of tools, it requires you to insert a bit of HTML code for tracking and conversion pixels.  And a number of different things can happen and typically, there are plugins that help you with analytics, plugins that help you insert the Facebook pixel, and all of that.  Well, I found one plugin that it lets you do all of them in one plugin.  It’s called Tracking Code Manager, and quite simply, it lets you manage all of your tracking codes all in one place for every different service.  You can just add them on the fly, as you need to.

It not only integrates with Google and Facebook; it also has other kinds of SAS tools that it will integrate into.  So if it’s got an interface, chances are pretty good that you can just put this in there.  That’s things like Zen Desk and all of that.  So it worked really well for me.  I was able to take a couple of different plugins that I had and actually condensed them all into this one.  I gave this one a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That’s always nice when you can take one plugin and replace two or more.

Marcus:           That’s right, as long as it holds up and keeps working well, then I’ve got no problems.

John:                All right, the final one I’ve got for you is all you runners out there or just a basic active person.  I myself recently joined the world of running and it’s probably almost been a year now.  At any rate, if you’re a runner or active person and you use Run Keeper, this plugin is a very useful one if you want to share your stats.  It’s Run Keeper WordPress Activity Feed.

What it allows you to do is if you use Run Keeper, the little app on your iPhone for doing your tracking of walks, hikes, or runs — whatever you want to do — every time it sends something up to Run Keeper, you can then have the feed from Run Keeper then prepopulate into your WordPress website.  You can create a post based around it or even have it just create the simple posts of, “Hey, I went for a run.  It was this long.  It was this amount of information.”

So if you’re one of those folks that are out there, check this plugin out: Run Keeper WordPress Activity Feed.  I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Nice!  Now does it show the map and things that you did?

John:                No, it doesn’t pull up the map.  I was rather disappointed but it puts a nice link in there that they can click on to lead back to the map and other information.

Marcus:           Yeah.  See, I think it would be fun.  Does that Run Keeper also allow you to take pictures along the way?  I mean, I know you’re running.

John:                Yeah, well yes.  The Run Keeper, you have to stop, hit the camera button to take a photo.  Every time I hit a run, I hit it with a little selfie that gets posted to my feeds.

Marcus:           Of you exhausted and panting?

John:                Actually, in bliss from all of the endorphins that are running through my body.

Marcus:           Ah, there you go.  All right, well finally, I want to talk about a plugin called Mango Buttons, and it is a button creator for WordPress.  I’ve been really into a bunch of different button creators lately.  This is one that’s no exception as far as how cool it is.  It basically has an interface right within the Wizzy Wig editor.  You just click on it and it pulls up an interface.

It says what kind or style of button would you like, and there are a number of different shapes and colors and things like that.  But you can use the color editor to pick your own custom color and a custom hover color over it as well.  It also gives you the option to add in before the text a number of different icons that you can choose.  I like to look at these as wingdings — do they still call them wingdings?  I don’t think they do.

John:                Well, the wingdings still exist.

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s SVG files anyway.  But it’s very intuitive, very easy to create excellent looking buttons.  I don’t think you’re ever going to have to go into Photoshop and make a button again.  This does it all within the existing CSS or you can insert your own style sheets to match your particular theme.  It is called Mango Buttons and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.

John:                That’s kind of cool.  I’m finding more and more these days I’m having to start creating buttons for websites, so the easier the better.

Marcus:           Yes, and it allows you to do multiple buttons in one post, and that’s something that I’ve found is a restriction of an old button plugin that I used.  So you can use this multiple times within one post or page.

John:                Very nice.  All right, well I covered up in this episode the Events Calendar, which I gave a 4 to.  Wish List Membership, which I gave a 3 to, and then Run Keeper WordPress Activity Feed, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about Time Lord, which allows you to insert variable content based on time, right within your post — perfect 5 out of 5.  Tracking Code Manager, which allows you to insert multiple different tracking codes from multiple sources — 5 out of 5.  And we just talked about Mango Buttons, which I also gave a perfect 5 out of 5.


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