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 #290
It’s Episode 290 and we’ve got plugins for Removing Old Slugs, Removing Products, Cropping Background Images, Remote Site Search, and Custom States for Woo Commerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: This week here I’ve got a great plugin for WooCommerce. It’s called Woo Add Custom States. It is a freemium plugin, so you can get the premium version which is only $5.95, or you can go with the free version from WordPress.org. Now the plugin itself comes about because of the implementation of the new shipping zones by WooCommerce and their new shipping system. With the way it was set up in their new system, not all countries use zip or postal codes and you may need to create custom states for shipping, as well as you might want to split some states or other areas in the specific shipping zones or regions.
This plugin allows you to create the separations to improve your shipping. The free version has limits on how many specific zones or regions you can create, but the premium plugin is unlimited – only $6.00, so check it out if you’re using WooCommerce and you want to have your shipping more manageable and more under control. This plugin should help you out with that. It’s called Woo Add Custom States and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: All right! Well, I also have a WooCommerce plugin to kick things off. This one is called Woo Product Remover and basically it allows you to do one very simple thing with one click, and that is to remove all WooCommerce products from your site. It cleans up the database from the products, metadata, relationships, variations, coupons – all that stuff. If you just want to blow the store up, this is your plugin. It’s Woo Product remover, and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! Be careful with that. It sounds like it could be a dangerous toy.
Marcus: It is but if you are just setting up WooCommerce, sometimes you are just —
John: You put a bunch of sample stuff in there and you need to terminate.
Marcus: — yeah, blow it up.
Marcus: Then put some new stuff in.
John: Absolutely. That’s a great way to clean out your sample database, instead of one-by-one.
John: I’ve done that before. Next on the list here, I’ve got a plugin that came about due to a request from a client for some work. It’s called Remove Old Slugs and what had happened is he was running the WooCommerce store and as he was going along — his store is built up to such a point that products have had name changes and they’ve been moved in locations. Unbeknownst to many people, WordPress creates what’s called a “backup slug.” So if you create a title on a post, a page, or a product, or whatever, and then you go in and you change the title and the slug, well WordPress keeps the old slug in the database and it creates a forwarding link in the database for you. So if you had a post that was Post A and you changed it to Post AB, that Post A slug is still in the database.
If someone typed in “Post A,” they would be directed to the Post AB. But the problem comes along is if you have titles that were in similar names like Post A and Post AB, then you needed one to go to AC, sometimes it would redirect back to Post AB. (I know it sounded a bit confusing.) But this confusion happens in WordPress because of the old slugs, so you might be trying to go to one product and it gets redirected to a product with a similar name, instead of being directed to the correct product that it’s going to.
Now to clean this up, what is often recommended is going through your database and running a query on a database to remove the old slugs. Well, during my research about how to clean this up, I ran across this plugin here called Remove Old Slugs. It’s a very nice, easy plugin. You install it and bring it up and it brings you a list of all the old slugs in your database and you can go remove them one-by-one, nice and easily. A really great plugin to help you clean up that mess that is created by the old slugs without having to run a query against the database. It’s a really great plugin, so it can be quite useful to a lot of people out there. Give it a check-out. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating for Remove Old Slugs.
Marcus: All right. We’re removing all kinds of stuff.
John: I hope that made some sense to people.
Marcus: I’m sure it does. Okay, John, for years – how many years? Two? Three?
Marcus: REST API – how long have we been talking about it?
John: Oh, REST API? Two or three years I think the API has been kicking around now.
Marcus: Okay. I’ve finally found something that we can use to start exploring what it does.
Marcus: So this is called WP Remote Site Search and it’s a search plugin for WordPress that returns any other WordPress site’s data back to that site using the REST API. So if you activate the plugin, you add the shortcode into it – to a page, post, anything like that, whatever the specific search happens to be – that’s what the result is returned. I’m still playing around with this. For the one test that I did, it worked.
Marcus: And so here’s what I’m getting at, people, is if you have one site and then you have another WordPress site, you can pull data from Site A into Site B using this plugin.
John: Holy smokes!
Marcus: We’ve not been able to do that before.
Marcus: And this is the start of it, so this is the genesis, the birth I guess of REST API.
John: How’s the search function return? Is it pretty decent search results?
Marcus: It’s —
John: Or is it still the same WordPress return?
Marcus: Yeah, it’s a value – it’s whatever value you’re searching for or if it’s a lot of —
John: What I mean is are the results really usable or are they off in like the current WordPress search results? So is it —
Marcus: Well, it searches for something else. It’s not searching for content; it’s searching for like how many posts do I have that have this tag in them —
John: Oh, okay.
Marcus: — on this other site? Right? So as we start to learn these things, when do I start to incorporate like six or seven different sites to create my own sort of stats internally?
Marcus: What’s the newest? What’s the most popular? What’s all the REST? I mean, this is what the REST API was supposed to do for us.
Marcus: So if you want to get your feet wet, just dip your toe in a little bit with the REST API and have it talk between one site to the other without having to learn a ton of code, this is what you start with. It’s called WP Remote Site Search, and I give it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. This looks like it could definitely be a bit of a game changer.
Marcus: Yeah, try it out.
John: All right, I think I will. I kind of like that because I’ve got a couple of sites I would like to bring the search results into WP Plugins.
John: Okay, the next plugin I’ve got here today is called The Awesome Designer. It was sent in to us by Steve Despierres and it’s a really great plugin. It’s a third-party service. You just install the plugin, activate your account with the third-party service for The Awesome Designer. What it’s for is if you run an e-commerce website or you have a client who runs one with custom printed things, such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, books, pens, phone cases – you name it – the list is pretty endless. This allows people to upload an image, place that image, move it around, create the text, choose the font styles, all of these bits and pieces, and get themselves the perfect layout they’re looking for.
Then what it does for you is to provide you a fully print-ready (not PDF but digital version) of what you need for prints and publications. It’s a print composite image created from their web-to-print technology. It’s pretty impressive in how it works, it’s a really great plugin, it looks to be some of the things that many of you listeners out there asked us for something to help create customized things in your WooCommerce store, and this looks like a really great thing.
It is a third-party service but considering what it does, I think a third-party service is about the only way you’re going to be able to go with this unless you’re on your own dedicated server platform, because what it does is pretty intense. Anyway, check it out. It’s called The Awesome Designer and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: All right. Well, the final plugin that I’ve got is actually an official plugin that is sort of a candidate to be molded and put into core. It is called Background Image Cropper and it’s just like how we have where we can crop an image for the headers.
Marcus: This does the exact same thing but with background images and it just helps to improve the experience. I imagine if they’re going to put this within the customizer, but they’re starting it out as a plugin first to gauge user interest and usability. So I encourage everybody to check out this plugin, download it, and if you can interact with the developers, it’s like I said: it’s an official WordPress plugin that is going to be brought into a future version of WordPress in core, but this lets you try it out first to see how you like it.
Maybe there’s some things that you can think of that might make it better and before it gets merged into WordPress core, you get to weigh your feedback, so maybe your idea can transmit to the millions of installations that are going to happen around the planet after that. So here’s your opportunity. It’s called Background Image Cropper. Like I said, you just import an image, crop it the way that you want it to be in the background, and that’s all you have to do. I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Okay, I kind of like that. I don’t do a lot of background images but it can be quite nice for getting just the right look on it.
John: Okay, then that covers up this week here. I covered up Woo Add Custom States, which I gave a 4 to; Remove Old Slugs, which I gave a 4 to; and then The Awesome Designer, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Woo Product Remover which I gave a 4 to, WP Remote Site Search gets a 4 out of 5, and we just talked about Background Image Cropper, which gets a perfect 5 out of 5.