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 Episode #273
It’s Episode 273 and we’ve got plugins for Custom Logins, Captcha , User Managers, Scratch & win cards, Staff and Team Displays and A new Multi-Column layout for Gravity Forms. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: Okay, the first plugin I’ve got here this week is called Custom Login. Now what happens from time to time when you’re building a client’s website, sometimes you need to customize the WordPress login page. You can do it numerous ways, there’s numerous plugins, there’s a couple of plugins like – I’m trying to remember the other one that gives you a whole unique page that’s built around your theme. But sometimes you just want to take the default WordPress login and modify a few things on it.
Now you can do this by dropping things into your CSS file and your functions file. But sometimes they just don’t seem to make the connections correctly and I was having this kind of issue on a site I was working on recently. For some reason I put it in the functions CSS and it just wasn’t taking, so I finally just surrendered and said, “Screw it, let’s get a plugin to deal with this,” and I found Custom Login.
It’s a really great plugin and it allows you to do the customizations on your login page that makes the task easy, quickly change out the default WordPress image, add some custom HTML for a message, you can change the background color, add a custom background image, add some custom CSS, help remove those links that are on the default thing so that the only link that’s there is the one where they can retrieve their password if it’s lost – things of that nature.
Now this is a freemium plugin and it has some premium options available that you can extend it out to do things such as self-login, login redirects, and even some default styles built into it, so all in all, it’s a pretty great plugin. It would’ve rated a 5, but of course since I’m working on the free version, I had to knock it back to a 4-Dragon rating. So check it out at Custom Login, a really great plugin.
Marcus: Cool. Well, I was looking for a way to randomize promo codes for the Membership Coach site and I’m going to be doing a Facebook campaign around it. I found this plugin that’s really cool. John, you know how you get those lottery scratcher tickets —
Marcus: — and you have to take a quarter and scratch it off?
Marcus: And then you get to see what you win? Well, you can do that with this plugin called Scratch & Win Giveaways for Website & Facebook – that was a little too far, guys, on that plugin name. Scratch & Win Giveaways would’ve done it. Okay, so what you can do is either through a Facebook tab or through your website itself as a landing page, you can have them go fill out a form and then they get the scratch ticket – which by the way gives you a lead right there – and then they scratch away to reveal what their promo code is or what their percentage off is, or things like that. So this is a good way to get people on your site and checking things out in terms of what you can offer them in discounts or prizes or giveaways. The free version, which is on the WordPress Repository, gives you only ten people that scratch off your card, so don’t do too much testing or you’re going to be out of credits. But there is a paid version as well and that’s a service. They actually run it as a monthly service and the paid plan starts at $10 a month.
So it’s a really cool system. I really like it. I’m not going to stick with it though and I’m probably not going to pay the $10 a month, but it’s pretty intriguing and I’m going to keep trying to find solutions that do this kind of thing. But this is a pretty cool, so I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here is called Login No Captcha reCAPTCHA. Now, reCAPTCHA is something that’s one of my least favorite things on the internet. I’ve hated it since the day it was created, because you can never read the numbers, you can never read the letters, you type them in correct and it says they’re wrong. They’re just annoying.
But I was asked by a client to put a reCAPTCHA on their login page and I couldn’t talk him out of it, but they really wanted it. Then I remembered I’ve been seeing the CAPTCHA out there a lot, the one that says, “I’m not a robot,” and you check the box and it works. That one comes from Google and I remembered, “Oh yeah, that’s probably the best one to use,” so that’s what this plugin does for you.
It goes in, it installs the CAPTCHA that says, “I’m not a robot,” they check the box, and they’re done. They don’t have to answer anything, they don’t have to decipher anything, they don’t have to very poorly worded stuff. It’s just a great plugin, very simple, and works well. You activate it and all of a sudden, it’s there on your login page, so of course this is one of those beautiful plugins and we had to give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Nice! Yeah, that’s very common. Ticketmaster in the States here uses it.
John: Yeah, it’s become very common I’ve noticed in the last six to eight months in a lot of places. I just realized that’s the reCAPTCHA to use.
Marcus: Yeah, use what everybody else is using because that gives familiarity, plus they know what to do.
John: Yeah, it’s kind of hard to make a mistake. But see, robots can’t check the box.
Marcus: Right. The next plugin that we’ve got here is called AWSM Team, and this is for displaying your team members or people in your staff, or anything like that. Now there’s two versions to this. There’s a lite version, which is on the Repository that has three different presets, and then there’s the pro version. The pro version is really cool. This allows you to have tons and tons of different styles to show off your team, you can choose whether to put social stuff in there or not, you can put the little bio snippet, their title, their name – all that. You can do circles, you can do four-wide columns, you can do it all smashed together, you can do a masonry grid – anything that you want, even like just a plain list is pretty cool, too.
There are different carousel options to that you can use and then it has individual short codes for the individual people’s bio. This is the best staff and team viewing system that I’ve seen in terms of a plugin. There are both lite and pro versions. Now, the lite version only gives you the three styles like I mentioned, but the pro version is pretty cool too and it’s probably definitely worth buying. The price on it – let me check this really quick – is only $15. It’s actually over at Envato at CodeCanyon, so check it out. It’s called AWSM Team and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Okay, the final plugin I’ve got this week is called Cimy User Manager. What this one is for is – well, moving a website like if you’re moving a website and it’s formatting or making lots of changes, or you’re keeping a live site while building up a new site and it’s got an active user database in it, your problem that comes along is the longer it takes you to finish up the development site, the more your active user database will change from what you modified in the development site.
While it’s easy to bring over the content to keep the content up to date, bringing over the users is not always an easy task. Or if you’re combining two websites with two separate user databases and you want to combine those users into one, this plugin helps make that process easier. It allows you to go export the users from one website and then go import them right into the other website. If they’re duplicates, it just doesn’t overwrite them; it just says, “Oh, we’ve already got this user in here.”
It’s a great way to bring your users across when you’re dealing with site changes, going from a live to a dev, or when you’re merging a couple of sites together with two user bases in. It’s a great plugin; it’s called Cimy User Manager, and because it was so simple and works so well, I had to give it a Top Dragon rating.
Marcus: I would do exactly the same because I’ve used that plugin myself and love the way that it handles and handles users.
John: Ah, yeah, it made my life easier because I completely forgot about that aspect when I was working on this dev site that’s getting ready to go live in a couple of days.
Marcus: Yeah. So you use GravityForms, right?
John: I do. I actually use it exclusively.
Marcus: Yeah? You know, the one thing that really ticks me off about GravityForms is that it’s really tough to put things side-by-side.
John: Yes. I discovered you can do it with CSS.
Marcus: Yes, but some of us don’t know CSS, which is a problem, John.
John: Yes, yeah.
Marcus: So for those people, I’ve got GravityForms Multi Column. It divides a form into different columns and you can mix and match any amount of columns that you want to. If you want to have five columns in a form, you can do it. You could put first name, middle name, last name, all in one line – all that kind of stuff that you’ve been dreaming about doing forever —
Marcus: — with GravityForms. This is kind of the Holy Grail in terms of how this thing works and I love it. I love it so far. It’s doing the job for me, it’s really working well. However, it’s not drag-n-drop, which is kind of what the new Ninja Forms is all about. It’s not the best in the world anymore – it could be, but it’s not – so we’ll give it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Yeah, I saw that and I’m like, “Sweet! Somebody took the CSS and put it into a plugin. How nice.”
Marcus: Yes. Yeah, so if you’re locked into GravityForms, this is the thing to use.
John: Yeah, I’m pretty much locked into GravityForms for everything I do. But yeah, I’ll be pulling that one down because I had a couple of forms that I was going to think about writing the CSS for but it takes time. This would eliminate that issue.
John: A beautiful plugin. All right, well this week I covered up Custom Login, which I gave a 4 to; Login No Captcha reCAPTCHA, which I gave a 5 to; and then Cimy User Manager, which I gave a 5 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Scratch & Win Giveaways – gave a 4 out of 5, AWSM Team Lite – gave that one a 4 out of 5, and GravityForms Multi Column gets a 4 out of 5.