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 #284
It’s Episode 284 and we’ve got plugins for Dynamic Charts, Text to Speech, Table Of Contents, Responsive Tables and a new method to design custom products on the fly. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: Okay, the first plugin I’ve got here today is called HiCharts. It was sent into us by Mustapha and it’s a free plugin. What it does is it allows you to create some really great charts, all done locally on your website. It uses Java, JQuery, and other ways to create the charts. It creates multiple charts. It comes with built-in templates to allow you to create pie charts, scatter charts, bar charts, backwards, forwards, just for the bars – everything you need in it. It makes it a breeze setting up the charts on here.
They’re very pretty; they look very nice, and if you’ve got a chunk of CSV data that you want to turn into a chart, you just import that CSV data and it builds the chart out for you automatically. It’s a really great plugin. The developers have a couple of other great plugins that allow you to create more intensive charts and maps that are their premium versions. Also, we’re going to be doing an interview with these guys coming up in about a week, so stay tuned for that. But other than that, it’s a really great plugin. I found it lots of fun and very useful for creating charts and I had to give it a nice 5-Dragon rating, so check it out.
Marcus: Cool. That’s really nice. I will check that out. The first plugin that I’ve got today is something that’s pretty interesting, actually. We all have seen some of those things that you can go design your own T-shirt or some of those other things where they just kind of have a blank T-shirt or business card maybe, and you can design your own based on some of the fonts and the clipart that they use. This allows you to do that exact thing.
You can place like a blank T-shirt down and give a couple different designs that people can chose from and then they can drag-n-drop things, they can put stuff on the back, if they wanted to design their own jersey or their own business card, or anything like that – any kind of custom personalization.
This plugin is called Product Designer and it works via shortcode anywhere in the page. You can add any kind of unlimited clipart, custom post types, anything like that, and it works very, very well, so check it out. I’ve got a link in the show notes to it and to a demo of this plugin. It’s called Product Designer and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That sounds kind of cool.
Marcus: Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like it for WordPress.
John: No kidding. That’s nice.
John: So that works with WooCommerce. That’s a great way to sell your custom products like coffee cups, T-shirts, and other miscellaneous things.
Marcus: Absolutely, absolutely – anything.
John: Something I’ve been looking for for WooCommerce for quite some time.
Marcus: Yep, anything like that. It’s pretty cool for a product designer.
John: All right, the next plugin I have here is called Table of Contents Plus and this is a plugin that helps you build a table of contents for your site and it does this by creating a menu base of your posts and pages hierarchy. Now, this would be a great plugin if you’ve got your posts and pages categorized or your posts categorized or your categories in a hierarchy, being parent and subcategories, child categories, and everything through it. Your page is set up in a hierarchy of parent and child categories.
What it does is it takes those and then it builds an automatic menu. You can place the menu anywhere on your site using a shortcode. You place it in a post, a page, a widget, or a sidebar, and it builds it out automatically. It’s a great way if you’ve got an extensive website with lots of subcategories and other things that you need to be able to easily display for people to find their way around, this is a great plugin for you. It’s relatively easy to set up, it’s a pretty decent plugin, and I liked the functionality of it. It would also build out a great sitemap for your users, too, if you wanted to use it as a sitemap builder – a user-friendly sitemap builder, so you can stick it all on one page and have an instant sitemap. So check it out. It’s called Table of Contents Plus, and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very good. All right, the next plugin that I’ve got is called Text To Speech Widget, and it allows you to convert any text into speech in a selected language and voice. It supports 63 different voices and different languages and as the plugin implies, it converts text into speech. It’s pretty easy to install, very flexible in how you can use it, and it requires almost no configuration. So you can drag-n-drop this widget into the widget areas and it works great in terms of reading out your blog posts or anything like that.
It’s based on HTML5, so it’s not Flash-required or anything like that. It’s works right out of the box with standard WordPress and there are no limitations on this plugin. It’s a free plugin and you can convert unlimited words to speech, and I gave it a 4 out 5. And John, I’m waiting for the day where it can actually use my voice and then I’ll never have to show up to record another podcast again. I’ll just blog and record the text-to-speech output. But until that day, I’m happy to podcast.
John: So, real briefly, I was just looking at it. So you actually have to write the text into a block and have it play it back for you?
Marcus: Yes. Mm-hmm.
John: Okay, so it doesn’t just automatically – what they’d have to do is copy and paste the text from your page and then hit play and play it out?
Marcus: That’s right.
John: Ah, okay.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: It’s still kind of useful. I was thinking that if they hit play, it would start reading on your page.
Marcus: Well, there are some options for that. You can actually do that type of thing but it requires a little bit of setup beforehand.
John: Oh, okay. That could be quite useful, especially for those that are having troubles making out what you’ve written or don’t have time to read it and just want to hear it.
Marcus: Yeah, and if you’re sight impaired, then you can definitely use this to hear what’s going on.
John: Okay. All right, and the final plugin I’ve got here is called JTRT Responsive Tables. This one here is if you do use tables of data on your website and you want to have those tables responsive, you can use this plugin to build out your tables. You build them out in the backend of your site and it uses custom post types for building out the tables.
Not a bad plugin. It allows you to import data via CSV file, it’s got lots of options on how to configure your tables, and you can use it for the creation of unique product tables that will automatically adjust in size as people hit their mobile devices on it. All in all, not too bad of a plugin. Check it out: it’s called JTRT Responsive Tables and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very cool. All right, one last one here. It is a WooCommerce plugin and it’s called Featured Products First. What it allows you to do is create and flag specific products in your list that are featured products and no matter what iteration, sort setting, filter, or things like that that you list, it will always put the featured products first. It’s especially handy if you have maybe a couple of main products and then some side products, this will make sure that those main products always get filtered first to the top of the list. It’s called Featured Products First for WooCommerce and I have it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. That would be a great way to take your products that are on sale and put them at the top of the page.
Marcus: Yeah, and not just your on-sale products. But if you have specific products that always are going to be sold, like a membership plan or something like that, let’s just say will use the Membership Coach site for example. I have annual or monthly plans, but then I also have things like e-books and little starter courses and things like that that I sell for just a little bit cheaper.
Marcus: But I don’t want people to just buy those; I want them to buy the membership. So I’ll put the membership plans as featured products and then I know that no matter what, they’ll always end up on top.
John: Very nice. Okay, well in this episode I covered up HiCharts, which I gave a 5 to; Table of Contents Plus, which I gave a 3 to; and then the JTRT Responsive Tables, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Product Designer, which I gave a 4 out of 5; Text To Speech Widget, 4 out of 5; and Featured Products First for WooCommerce also gets a 4 out of 5.