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WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #298 here.
It’s Episode 298 and we’ve got plugins for Pulling from Facebook Pages, Real Estate, Smart 404s, Advertising, and a cool new way to use widgets horizontally on pages. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, first off this week, I have one that was sent in to us – they didn’t leave a name in it, but at first I’d confused it with another person who’d sent it in, so I went ahead and checked out the plugin and thought I would bring it forward. It’s not one of my favorite sorts of things, but what it is, it’s called Ads 1K. It is a third-party service to display ads from a network on your website. When I started digging into it, you have to join this service. It’s like any other ad promotion place like Google AdSense and others, except this one here, I don’t know about the quality of the ads; I couldn’t check them out. I wasn’t about to create an account to test it. I don’t have any websites anymore that depend on advertising. If you do, you might check it out and see if it’s quality.
Some of these third-party services are a little sketchy in the ads they deliver, but this one might be okay. The one problem I did have with it is it brings in popup ads more than anything else. (Popups and pop backwards ads – the ones that are in front or behind websites.) I really don’t like those ones; I find them dangerous at best. But you might check it out. It’s a plugin that connects to it and makes the job of using their service significantly easier. Other than that, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about it and so I have to give it a middle-of-the-road 3-Dragon rating. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but you might investigate it. It’s called Ads 1K.
Marcus: Nice. I like a good ad plugin. There’s nothing wrong with that.
John: Yeah, it’s the service. That’s the only thing that I ever wonder about.
Marcus: Yeah. All right, so this next plugin that we’re going to talk about here is called Facebook Page, or it’s also known as Add Facebook Feed. So what this allows you to do is if you have a Facebook page or any kind of public page or Facebook fan page, you can now create posts and pull that in from your Facebook page and automatically put that on your WordPress site. So it can add multiple or single Facebook fan pages into your website using just shortcodes.
Marcus: So it’s really cool. I tried it out myself and it works great. I wish I would have had this a couple of years ago when a client was beating me over the head with this kind of need, and this plugin didn’t exactly exist. It does foot the bill nicely. It’s really cool if you have a Facebook page and you also have a website built in WordPress that accompanies it. This is a great solution for you and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Yeah, it’s always useful when you can pull in the content easy.
Marcus: Yeah, I’m all about bringing things back and forth to social networks. I think that’s probably one of the most vital things about running your own site is the ability to do that, to make sure that nobody has to really leave your site to see all the content that you create.
John: Yeah, I’m always a big proponent of having as much of the content on your own site as possible, even if you have it in other areas.
John: All right, the next plugin I’ve got here is another plugin that was sent in to us. It’s called Essential Real Estate and it was sent in by Chin Tron. What it is is if you are looking to create a real estate website and you want to simplify things by using a plugin versus one of the real estate themes that are out there, you can pretty much with this plugin use any theme you want. It brings in via custom post types all of the essentials you need for creating a real estate website.
It allows you to set up for real estate agents, homes, areas, maps – a whole lot of things. They’ve even got a fair number of videos on their site for the plugin to show you a bit about how it works and set it up. It allows you to create your listings, edit, change, delete. It’s got a whole lot to it; it’s a fairly extensive real estate plugin, which is separate and apart from many of the themes I’ve seen, so I kind of like that idea. So anyway, it’s a great plugin; it’s free currently at the WordPress Repository. I imagine one day the developer might realize that hey, some of these things he could enhance on and move them to a premium service, so check it out now while you can. It’s called Essential Real Estate and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Excellent, excellent. Okay, well let’s talk about some of the page builders that have been out there lately. Really, page builders, all they are is simplified widgets actually being added to specific sections of the page, and I found something that’s really cool. It’s called Easy Widget Columns.
What it allows you to do is create side-by-side widgets horizontally on your page, so you can kind of have a row where you’ve got nothing but widgets on it and it allows you to kind of create some really complex layouts right there from your widget area, your sidebar – anything you want to do. So if there’s something that you wanted to do within your site that is shortcode driven or widget driven and you’d like to see that on the page, and maybe see some things side-by-side rather than stacked one on top of each other —
Marcus: — this is a really great plugin to do it. Check it out if you want further explanation as to how it works and how you can use this. It’s called Easy Widget Columns and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s kind of a cool looking plugin. It looks like it could do some nice enhancements for you for your website.
Marcus: Yes. In fact, I have a page builder that I put this into that the widgets – and actually, I tested it – it is responsive as well.
John: Oh, sweet!
Marcus: So all of those things stack very nicely.
Marcus: So I used it for some real-time stuff where I was not pulling from the WordPress Rest API, but a different API and bringing information in, so it worked really, really well.
John: Nice. All right, the final one I’ve got here today is again another plugin that was submitted by our listenership out there. This one was submitted by Antoine and it’s called AdBack Solution to AdBlock. Now, it is a third-party service but one of the great things is if you’re looking for ways to convert visitors to your websites that are using ad blockers. They offer the service for anywhere from free to $79/month, depending on the plugin and service pack that you choose.
One of the great things I found while investigating this is while the free service only has default messages in it, if you go for the paid premium versions of it, you start to be able to customize the messages. You can try to target those people that are using ad blockers on your website if you depend on advertising for your website. You can pop up and message to them saying, “Hey, you’re using an ad blocker. Would you prefer to pay for the content or can we teach you how to whitelist our website,” or more. There’s a whole lot of ways you can customize this up to target and get your visitors that are using ad blockers to come through and actually help support your website.
So anyway, it’s a really great plugin. It looks like a really great service. We’ll be knowing more about it later; I do have an interview scheduled with Antoine later today and in that interview we’ll be discussing this plugin and whatever other services they offer up, so we’ll have that interview coming out later this afternoon after this show is done. So anyway, check it out: AdBack Solution to AdBlock, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice. You could always use something like that. Okay, finally, I’m going to end it off with something that we don’t like to ever see on our site and that’s a 404 error. That’s basically a page not found. Well, this plugin is actually sort of intelligent in the way that it does it. It looks for the slug that you’re trying to reach. Let’s just say it was like, you know, marcuscouch.com/beer_favorites, then it would actually try and match that slug or look for a similar name and instead give it that page.
So if I had something else, /beer_run or something like that named within my slugs anywhere within a page or a post, the 404 Solution plugin will actually redirect it to that page, rather than just putting an error page up. So it’s kind of a neat way to do your 404s and sort of give people that same subject area. I tested it out; it works well. I don’t have too many kind of common things, but I definitely typed in some stuff that didn’t exist and it found something rather similar, so it’s pretty cool. Check it out: it’s called 404 Solution and naturally, I had to rate this a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Yeah, I’ve used a solution like that in the past and they do help out quite nicely to keep people from just bouncing from your website off a 404.
Marcus: Right, and understand too that Google kind of penalizes you when you have 404s, so maybe this is a better way to increase some things within your search console just solely based on one plugin.
John: Oh, absolutely. All right, well this week here I covered up the following plugins: Ads 1K, which I gave a 3 to; Essential Real Estate, which I gave a 4 to; and AdBack Solution to AdBlock, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I covered the Facebook Page plugin – gets a 5 out of 5, Easy Widget Columns lets you do side-by-side widgets on the page, 4 out of 5, and we just discussed 404 Solution, which I gave a 4 out of 5.