WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #324 here.
It’s Episode 324 and we’ve got plugins for User Spam Removal, Products Coming Soon, Layered Popups, Weather Alerts,White Labeling and new upgrades to the Media Player. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 324 and we’ve got plugins for User Spam Removal, Products Coming Soon, Layered Pop-ups, Weather Alerts, White Labeling, and new upgrades to the Media Player. 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. Finding some Zen at the Brewery Overlook in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And from Laguna Beach, California where our mute buttons stick, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And of course we have the usual great show for you here today, and right off the top here, let’s talk about you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com and we’d greatly appreciate your time going over to Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or the iTunes Store, subscribing to us there and leaving us reviews. They really help us out.
John: — especially the subscriptions. And you can also check out our training videos, screencasts, and watch us live on YouTube every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
Marcus: That’s right! Got a lot going on and it’s great to be able to reach out and hit another platform like YouTube and we’ve slowly but surely been getting a little bit of traction on YouTube.
John: Yeah, and it’s slowly coming together for us. Well, with all of that, we’re going to dive right into the first of our plugins and we have the usual allotment of six great plugins for you, so off we go!
All right, first up I have a plugin here today that will help you clean up spam registrations on your membership or your e-commerce store. And if you’ve been running a membership site for any length of time or an e-commerce store for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about with spam registrations. Every once in a while, those registrations just seem to go nutso. It seems the bots take over no matter what you do, Captchas, whatever – they still seem to get through. In particular, this came about due to a client of mine. He’d sort of ignored the site for a while and we were cleaning it up to do some work with it and found it had over 24,000 members in there. It’s like almost every one of them, virtually all of them, were spam. Multiple letters, yadda, yadda, yadda. So cleaning them up looked like a daunting task going through the database or removing them or going through manually and removing them.
Well, I found this plugin here called User Spam Remover and what it does for you, you install it in there and it’ll remove all the spam registrations or all old accounts, period. You can either set it up to tell it how old to keep an account. Say you want to keep accounts that are 10 days or newer (or even less), older, whatever you want to do. It will automatically go through and remove those over the period of 24 hours in blocks or you can manually sit there and click a button for a few minutes and it drops them out at the rate of 1,000 per click. So in very short order you can clean up a site like this one. It took me about 10-20 minutes to clean it up, it’s database cleaned and cleared of all of the spam comments. It’s simple enough, very great plugin, works fantastically, saves hours and tons of headaches. Check it out: User Spam Registration and I gave this one a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Okay, so we’re going to go to a new one here. I use this layered pop-up plugin all the time and now there is an upgrade to it. Somebody forked it and actually made it even cooler. Instead of having a different kind of taxonomy as far as a pop-up goes, this one’s called Page Layered Popup. And so what it does is it actually allows you to take a regular page and make that the pop-up and it also does something which is it allows you to take that page and make it a splash screen which goes on your site. On the YouTube video here, John’s showing the description and things from the author which isn’t very good.
John: No, it’s not.
Marcus: You would actually have to know what this does to try it out, which is what I did, and it works pretty well, quite frankly. So this is one of these that’s kind of the hidden gem; you have to look sort of beneath the surface to see what it is that it does. It’s called Page Layered Popup and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very cool. That sounds like a pretty nice plugin. But yeah, their description on the site there is kind of lacking.
John: But that happens sometimes. That’s all right. Well, that being said, I want to let you folks know that this show is sponsored by either the following people and/or businesses. This week here, it’s JohnOverall.com, WordPress and web services providing for all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress setup and development. Or if you’re having troubles with your WordPress website, if you’ve been hacked, having issues, plugin issues, theme issues, general development questions, then contact me.
And with 20 years of experience online, eight of those dealing specifically with WordPress exclusively, I can get you back on your way, saving you time, money, headaches, all those things. You can visit me at my website, JohnOverall.com, or call me at (818) 580-7729 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus: And if you, like many of the other people out there that are crazy-influenced and love WordPress to death, this might be a good time for you to start writing about WordPress. And if you’d like to write for one of the biggest online web publications there is, it’s Smashing Magazine. If you could just go to marcuscouch.com/smashing, I’ve got a video there that tells you all about the process, how to get started, and how to make some extra money.
John, you’ve been actually helping me review some of those, and that’s something that I’ll be calling for maybe later on is some actual people to help with the reviews so far. But, you know, you’ve seen some of the articles.
John: Oh —
Marcus: Pretty good, huh?
John: The ones I’ve read so far, they’ve been fantastic.
John: And some of them were some really – it’s really in-depth stuff that really will help you with your web development. Even like the most recent one I got from you, it’s like that one there is some things I didn’t even know could be done.
John: So it’s amazing kind of articles and writers that are coming across here, so check it out.
Marcus: Yep! Yeah, so if you’d like to be part of that, go to marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: Absolutely. And look on the bright side, you get paid for it, too!
Marcus: That’s true.
John: That’s the best part.
John: Okay, well – and that’s pretty much there, so I think it’s time to dive right into our next plugin. The one I’ve got up next is called White Label CMS and when you’re turning over a website you’ve developed for a client and you’re turning it over to your client, there’s many times when you turn it over to them that you want to simplify that dashboard up. Make it so that they have very little that they’ve got to deal with or look at. There’s things that sometimes your users or your clients don’t need to see or check out.
And in this particular case here, what you’ll want to do is you install the White Label CMS and it allows you to go in there and customize areas of the dashboard that simplify it, remove all the extraneous stuff like the WordPress News and other things that they won’t be interested in or don’t reflect on what they’re doing with their website. You can go in there and customize up the header area of the dashboard. You can customize and add some branding into it, so you can brand it up. Customize and brand up the login screen if they have a membership or an e-commerce store. So a lot of little things you can do with it and it’s a pretty decent plugin, it works pretty smoothly. Check it out; it’s called White Label CMS and I gave this one a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Hmm…cool! Now John, you guys on this show – all the listeners, that is, have heard me talk about the media library for some time and all the missing functionalities and some of the ways that it could be improved. But one of the things I’ve really never thought about is the actual media player that plays things out of the media library. There’s a new plugin called WP Media Player Addons, and this is an add-on plugin that changes the existing media player. So the default media player, not really that responsive in themes, it looks kind of plain, hasn’t really been updated for about 10 years.
This one actually works a lot better, so it’s a fully responsive media player that works with any theme, you get to style both the video and the audio players, you get to add loop buttons, you get to add your own album art, tracks, titles, artist name, album name – all that stuff is added to the player. You’ve actually got a shuffle button and a repeat button, and you’ve always got some fallback album art that you can place on there as well. It’s got a number of different skins that you can use and it’s really cool. I like this. I’m going to be trying this out on my personal site just for some of the older media files that I’ve got in there and make it maybe a little more homey. I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Cool. It’s always nice to have an additional media player, something different than the default norm.
Marcus: Yeah, isn’t it? This is something we’ve been kind of overlooking the media player forever. It’s not something I really think about that much.
John: No, I hadn’t thought about it much and the fact that with our site we use the Blubrry PowerPress, which has its own built-in media player.
John: So I hadn’t given it much thought and how other people are doing things. I like this.
John: And I will be digging into that one deeper, because I’ve got a client that’s getting ready to drop the occasional audio file in – not a full-on podcast, so this might be a way to deal with that.
Marcus: Yeah, I hope so!
John: Excellent. All right, well we’d like to let everyone 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 that those who have supported the show in the past week, all donations $50 and up are read out and their notes are published here in the show notes. For all those who come in below $50, you remain anonymous and we thank you very much.
And this week here, we would like to just pass a big thank you to all our donors who came in under $50 and to those of you who have set up weekly subscriptions, those small subscriptions really do help the show out. They may not seem like much but, you know, $2.50 here, $3.50 there – hey, it all adds up. It helps support the show by helping us pay for things such as bandwidth, transcripts, and the time it takes to produce the show and to do the website and the marketing that is starting to go on with the show.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: So please, ways you can support the show, head on over to wppluginsatoz.com/donate where there’s multiple subscription levels you can sign up for. Or if you can’t afford anything, hey, there’s even ways listed there where you can support the show by helping us with things on the website, such as editing show notes or tweaking design ideas, or just all kinds of the little things that go into managing and maintaining something like this. So please, head over and help the show at wppluginsatoz.com/donate.
Marcus: Yes, we do appreciate you heading to that link and John, I think that brings us to our final group of plugins.
John: That it does! And finally today here, I had started off with another plugin that I’d found that was brand new. But unfortunately that plugin did not work at all and it was a hurricane watch plugin that was just released. But I tried it on two different websites and different themes and for some reason it wasn’t working, so I threw it out. But in that vein there, I also tripped across another one called National Weather Service Alerts. And of course in the last couple of weeks with all the news of hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes and everything, hey, a National Weather Service alert might be just what you need on your website.
So this is a nice plugin. You set it up, you’ve got to go in and do a little bit of work once you install it. You’ve got to go activate the tables (they don’t activate automatically for it). You have to go in and create your shortcodes to display on the website and it will display any active National Weather Service alerts, and this is across the United States. It doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else, so it’s for all you Americans down there. This is a great way to monitor any local weather reports you have on your sites. A really nice plugin; check it out: National Weather Service Alerts and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! Always handy to have something like that on board. All right, for my final plugin, this is a WooCommerce plugin and it is called Products Coming Soon. And believe it or not, this is one of these glaring oversights in WooCommerce that there is really no native way to show upcoming items as a preview, or possibly a preorder, so this plugin does just that.
If you have a new design concept, new product that’s coming – anything like that – this allows you to add it, take preorders, and actually not run the order until the item arrives and ships out. But it still allows you to start gathering those preorders for things that don’t necessarily exist within your products catalogue yet. It’s called WooCommerce Products Coming Soon and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: An excellent thing to have if you run an e-commerce store and you’re adding products regularly or you’re bringing out new products.
John: All right, well closing out this episode, the plugins I covered are User Spam Remover, which I gave a 5 to; White Label CMS, which I gave a 4 to; and then the National Weather Service Alerts, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Page Layered Popups, which gets a 4 out of 5; WP Media Player Addons gets a 5 out of 5; and WooCommerce Products Coming Soon gets a 4 out of 5.
John: All right, and last bits of promotions here: be sure to check out your YouTube screencast that goes up later in the day. It’s in addition to the live version which gets placed automatically and in that there, I am going to be starting to add on an additional layer to that that comes after, which shows me showcasing one of the plugins Marcus mentioned in the show today. So make sure you check that out.
And a note to developers out there who would like to support the show, if you want to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to our contest page and enter all the information there and we will create a contest to give away your premium license showcasing your product and enhancing the community. And also, don’t forget to go check us out on YouTube where we have training videos, screencasts, and more stuff is gaining traction there, so you can go check us out on YouTube. Links are all in the show notes for that. And for all WordPress news, information, other related stuff, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get all of that. All of that information is now going into the newsletter instead of here in the show.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: And that’s all we’ve got for you now.
Marcus: All right, John, how can they contact us?
John: They can reach me at JohnOverall.com or you can send an email direct to email@example.com.
Marcus: And you can find me at my website, marcuscouch.com, on Twitter at @marcuscouch. Remember to go to marcuscouch.com/smashing if you want to get involved in Smashing Magazine. And hey, remember to follow this show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
John: And 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.