WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #323 here.
It’s Episode 323 and we’ve got plugins for Facebook Reviews, Speed Monitoring, New Posts via Messenger, Nearby Locations, Media File Types and Latest Posts. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 323 and we’ve got plugins for Facebook Reviews, Speed Monitoring, New Posts Via Messenger, Nearby Locations, Media File Types, and Latest Posts. It’s all coming up next on WordPress Plugins A to Z.
WordPress, it’s the most popular content management and website solution on the internet. And with over 60,000 plugins to choose from, how do you separate the junk from the gems? Join John Overall and Marcus Couch for this weekly unrehearsed conversation about the latest and greatest in WordPress plugins. This is WordPress Plugins A to Z.
John: Well good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you happen to be hiding out there on the globe today. Coming to you direct from the Pits of Hell, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And celebrating Labor Day here in the United States – last three-day weekend of the summer – I’m Marcus Couch.
John: Yeah, it only feels like the Pits of Hell. I’ve been dealing with spammers and hackers on all my servers for the past two days. Not done yet – after the podcast and only because we’ve scheduled it to run live have I taken a break to do that. So, doing this just for all of you, our wonderful listeners out there.
Marcus: And it just goes to show that everybody’s vulnerable – everybody.
John: Everybody is and it happens once in a while. So anyway, let’s get onto it. All the show notes all can be found at wppluginsatoz.com. If you’ve got a few minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time. Over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, the iTunes store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the podcast. Also, you can check out the screencast videos and more on YouTube and follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: All right.
Marcus: Got it all there for you.
John: And don’t forget, please subscribe to our newsletter, because there is more information about that near the end of the show. And right off the bat, lets dive right into the meat and potatoes of this palindrome edition of WP Plugins A to Z.
Marcus: All right.
John: Off we go!
John: Okay, I have – well, we have our usual allotment of six great plugins today and first up I have a plugin which I found while doing some research for a client, and it’s called Latest Posts. I know it’s another latest post plugin. I was looking for something that’s done better than most of your standard widgets for showing your latest posts, show the standard column with the image to the left. I wanted something we didn’t have to customize up; just simple, easy drop-in that would give us the large image at the top, snip it underneath it, and several smaller ones on the side. You know, really simple and straightforward.
Anyway, this plugin fits the bill but you do have to jump up to the pro version of it. The free version is pretty decent. It gives you a good layout, looks good and nice, but the pro version is what you need to get the customized formats in it and they have several formats that go with it. It’s only $19, worth the extra cash, and it does a great job of displaying your posts in the widget areas that you put it. So go check it out, Latest Posts, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! And I’m going to actually see your Latest Posts plugin and raise you a Messenger!
Marcus: Because my plugin is called News Booster for Messenger, and what it is it’s a subscription plugin that somebody can subscribe to your latest posts via Facebook Messenger. So your readers actually subscribe not via email, not via anything, except Facebook. That allows you to reach obviously that massive audience within Facebook Messenger and we all know this: when you get a Facebook message, you read it. You open it.
John: You do.
Marcus: Messenger receives an 85% open rate, so it allows you to reach an audience that you never really could before in a way that you never really could before, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice!
Marcus: News Booster for Messenger.
John: Check it out. Yeah, it’s one that I might have to check out with the improvements I’m doing to my other site.
John: All right, well just a little talk about myself here today. If you’ve got troubles with your WordPress website, been hacked, cracked, well, I am actually quite good at it. I repaired six websites in the last 12 hours. At any rate, I’ve got 20 years’ experience online, eight of those dealing with WordPress exclusively. If you’ve found you have troubles, I can help save you time, money, get you back up and online, but very little effort (well, sometimes). Well, I don’t know. Anyway, go visit my website, JohnOverall.com or give me a call (818) 850-7729 or email me at email@example.com. I might be just a little punch drunk here.
Marcus: Ah, all right. Well hey, anybody listening to the show has a complete passion for WordPress and if you’d like to write about something unique for WordPress, you get exposure to Smashing Magazine, which is one of the largest web design entities on the internet. Just do the following: go to marcuscouch.com/smashing and you’ll get to the form and a video that tells you all about the process. You get to see my smiling face tell you all the details – marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: And it’s a really great deal, folks.
Marcus: Yeah, you actually get paid and get some nice reviews out of it, too.
John: That’s one good part, too. But earning a little money for writing? Hey, that’s a great thing to do. All right, next up in our plugins here I have one that I discovered while just randomly looking around to see what was available out there, and it’s called Nearby Locations. What it’s for is it’s another Google Map plugin, but this one’s a little different. Once you set your location in there, what it does is it’ll create a map and then showcase other things that you choose to showcase, such as shopping, retail, conveniences, bars – all the nearby stuff to your location on the map.
So this could be a nice little enhancement to your website for whatever business you might have. If you’ve got a hotel or something, you might showcase all the restaurants that are nearby. Or you’ve got other businesses, this is a great little way to showcase it. It’s pretty simple to use, pretty straightforward. Just enter your Google Maps API key, choose your location, and then go choose the categories you want to display. So a really great, simple plugin, it tests out okay. Give it a try. It’s called Nearby Locations and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: That’s very nice. Yeah, that is handy for any location-based business.
Marcus: All right, the next one is something that’s pretty close to my heart dealing with the media library. This one is a very restrictive type of plugin that allows you to enable and disable different things. It’s called WP Media File Type Manager and what it does is it allows you to enable or disable specific file types for security reasons. So if you only want .png and .jpg and just strictly images and maybe no other kind of file, no Word file, no Excel file, no PDFs – none of those things – you can actually set what is allowed and what is disallowed within the media library.
This is great to work with clients so they don’t upload, you know, stupid things, .eps files, all that kind of stuff, and keeps it so that your media library is completely clean. So it’s called WP Media File Type Manager and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very cool! I like that. Another way to lock down your website and keep out the crap.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: Okay, well we’d like to let you guys know that this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. And in that vein, we would like to acknowledge those that have supported the show in the past week. All donations $50 and over are read out and their notes are published here with links back to wherever they want them. And for those that come below $50, they will remain anonymous and we thank you very much.
So this week here we have $50 from Jezweb Pty Ltd. and his note is:
“Hi John and Marcus. This week’s donation is on behalf of The Mark Hotel, https://www.themarkhotel.com.au/ which created some interesting challenge because there was very little text information available for the design and we are expecting most users to be on mobile. Jezweb shot and produced the video on the bottom of the homepage which is something we are gradually getting more interest from clients to have done. One plugin I tried today that I haven’t used before was https://wordpress.org/plugins/attachment-pages-redirect/ Attachment Pages Redirect. So that we could disable the attachment pages for a client. However, on seeing how simple the code is for the functions file we are going to just include that in the future rather than relying on the plugin.”
Yeah, sometimes it’s not a bad thing if it’s a simple function. You just drop it in. Anyway,
“Thanks for your efforts on the show. The new format feels snappier and progresses well from each section.”
Thanks a lot, Jez.
Marcus: Very nice, and yes, anytime that you can fork a common plugin into a regular recurring function, it’s always great. I like plugins though just because it allows me to disable them —
Marcus: — with just a click, rather than having to deal with code, which might be in a couple of different places, so that’s cool. Also, hey, remember that there are other ways that you can contribute to the show beyond, you know, just donating that $50. It’s at wppluginsatoz.com/donate and everything that you can do helps to support this show and you can also contribute a monthly donation via Patreon and there’s a lot of different benefits that John has created – some tutorials, things like that – that you get in exchange for that regular donation. So help us out if you can. As John said, it is –
John: After we lost Marcus for a little bit there, we got it cleaned up. He was discussing how you can go support the show. You can drop in at wppluginsatoz.com/donate and help us there or through Patreon. So that takes us into our next plugin we’ve got. The next one I’ve got here for you is called Site Speed Monitor and it is a way to monitor your website to see what kind of speed you’re getting out of it.
It’s a simple site speed monitor that connects up to the webpagetest.org API and one of the things it does for you is you can run tests manually or you can set it up to automatically run tests. It remembers from the first test you’ve run on your site, so you can get a first view, what the repeated views are, and so you can see how you’re improving over time or if you’re losing speed, so you can start to track down any issues with it. It’s a pretty simple plugin but it works really nice and it’s a simple way with inside your WordPress website to check out your speed. So go check it out, Site Speed Monitor, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Great. All right, the final plugin that I’ve got today is called OT Facebook Reviews and a lot of people that have Facebook business pages are going to find this of use. What it allows you to do – I’ve reviewed different plugins like this before where it either takes your Google review, your Yelp! Review, whatever, and inserts it within your site. This does the exact same thing for people that leave Facebook reviews for your business, which is becoming more and more prominent. So if you receive any testimonials on your Facebook page, it allows you to embed them right into your WordPress site. It is called OT Facebook Reviews and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That one’s kind of cool. That’s another one for me to keep in the back of my head as I’m doing some redesign work, because I’ve got a couple of business clients that get Facebook reviews on their Facebook page. This’d be a nice way to pull it over.
Marcus: Absolutely! And this gives you an indication as to where my brain always is within Facebook and all these other external services. It’s cool to have them, never use them as a replacement for your WordPress site, and go from Facebook to your site, not the other way around.
Marcus: Right? Make your site the focal point of all of those things and that way if someday Facebook goes down (which is only in my dreams, really) —
Marcus: — but if they happen to have something that goes wrong or awry or whatever it happens to be, change their code, you can just snip that plugin right out of there instead of having to rely on Facebook themselves.
Marcus: So that’s the way to do it. Keep the content on your own site.
John: There you go. Okay, well closing out this episode here, the plugins I covered on this one were Latest Posts, which I gave a 4 to; Nearby Locations, which I gave a 4 to; and Site Speed Monitor, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about News Booster for Messenger, which gets a 4 out of 5; WP Media File Type Manager gets a 4 out of 5; and we just talked about OT Facebook Reviews, which gets a 4 out of 5.
John: A nice roundup of plugins. We had a nice, good, even 4s across the board today.
John: All right, a little bit of promotions and information. Be sure to check out the YouTube screencast that gets uploaded later in the day. It might not happen today because I’ve got a lot on my plate with cleaning up websites, but definitely starting in the next episode you will be able to watch an add-on part that will have me doing first impressions of one of Marcus’ plugins. We tried that last episode; it didn’t work so good. So now I’m just going to add it in to the end of the show that goes up on YouTube, so it won’t even be in the regular show.
And also, a notice to developers out there, you want to support the show? If you would like to offer up premium licenses for giveaways, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/contest. Fill out the form, submit your license, fill out all of the information we’ve asked for there, and we will build a contest for you to help promote your plugin and share it with all our listeners out there.
John: And don’t forget, we also have training videos up on YouTube and go check out our YouTube channel. Link is in the top of the webpage and more training videos are coming up this week. And the final bit here, where we used to have WordPress News and other information, that segment is going to be dropped out and to get that, it’ll still be included in our newsletter, so make sure you go subscribe to our newsletter to get additional tips, information, and news from us on a weekly basis.
Marcus: That’s right. And remember, you can – let’s go through some reminders here. You can support the show at wppluginsatoz.com/donate, go to wppluginsatoz.com for all your show notes and subscribe to the show on Stitcher Radio, Google Play, the iTunes store – all that – and make sure that you are following the videos that we’re putting out and that is on YouTube. And remember, you can follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
John: Absolutely. And how can they contact us, Marcus?
Marcus: Well, you can – this is a weird reversal.
John: I know. That’s just the way it flowed today. That happens. Sometimes you get things backwards.
Marcus: All right, well you can find me at my website, marcuscouch.com, on Twitter at @marcuscouch, and remember that opportunity I gave you before, marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: All right, and you can reach me on my website at JohnOverall.com or for emergency support, go to wppro.ca/emergency or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus: And that’s it! Take care.
John: That’s all we got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.
Thanks for listening to the show. This show is copyright by JohnOverall.com. So until next time, have yourselves a good morning, good afternoon, or a good evening, wherever you happen to be out there on the globe today.