WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #327 here.
It’s Episode 327 and we’ve got plugins for Shortcode Tracking, 360 Degree Media, Event Management, Recent Purchase Popups, Product Feeds and Amazing WooCommerce Tools. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 327 and we’ve got plugins for Shortcode Tracking, 360 Degree Media, Event Management, Recent Purchase Popups, Product Feeds, and an amazing set of WooCommerce tools. 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 Brewery Overlook in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And from the Beachside Bunker in Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And of course we have the usual great show for you here today, and right off the top, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com and make sure you take a few minutes to subscribe to us over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and the iTunes store, where you can also listen to the show and download it. And of course check out our training videos, screencasts, and watch us live on YouTube every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. We’ve got a lot of great stuff up there on that channel, so go check it out. And for those of you joining us live, welcome to the show.
And of course, don’t forget you can follow us over on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
Marcus: That’s right. And remember, when you go to our website, you can subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get some news and event information about WordPress that you don’t hear on the show, and we’d greatly appreciate that, so check it out.
John: Absolutely. And with all of that, let’s start diving into the meat and potatoes of the show. Off we go.
All right, today we’ve got our usual slew of six great plugins for you and first up I have a great plugin that was submitted to us. It was sent in by Jessie Taylor from Planaby.com and this plugin here is an events widget manager plugin using a third-party service. It’s a pretty decent app; it’s an app designed for smartphones for people to check out events that might be located near them. It seems to be a global sort of app for events. The biggest problem I found with it is that it is a third-party service, so you have to put your events up on their website and then you use their app to display the events over on your webpage.
All in all, it looks like a pretty great way to showcase your events and get them out to the world to maybe find more viewers or listeners or people to come to your shows or whatever. The advantage of it is that it’s a phone app, helps spread the word. It looks to be pretty good. You might want to check it out. I will be having more about this plugin later in a separate show as I am doing an interview with the developer about it later on today. But at the moment, go check out Planaby and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Great. All right, John, well the next plugin I’ve got is called Sphere Manager and we’ve all seen those amazing 360-degree videos and images where you get to look around, see what’s all around. After I reviewed this plugin, I actually got on Facebook and saw one right away. It was really strange. You can now get this exact same effect native in WordPress and though it does seem to have a bit of a learning curve to it, Sphere Manager actually guides you through the process of adding your own 360-degree media file and allows you to add your own text within the media as you move around within the 360-degree image or video. It has a full backend editor that allows you do to all of this stuff internal within WordPress.
So John, I started to think about how this could be used, especially within the designer or developer community that we have a lot of listeners in, and it would be great for real estate agent sites, restaurant sites, or anywhere that you want to show a physical space and possibly make notes within that space. This is a really cool plugin. It allows you to do things that you can only do, you know, typically in Facebook or in Twitter or things like that, except now you actually have an editor that you could suppress and supplant by just different images and text within that image, and it’s really cool. I love it. It’s called Sphere Manager and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That does sound like a cool thing to do and then looking at the way it works, it looks like it can add some great —
Marcus: Yeah, I’ve never seen —
John: — specs.
Marcus: I’ve never seen anything that actually allows you to put the text within that video itself, and this does it.
John: No, that’s definitely different. All right. Well, we want to let you know that this show is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses, currently sponsored by JohnOverall.com, which of course is me. WordPress and web services and for you, it is time to update your website, moving to a new host, or simply sorting out your long-neglected plugins? Well, I can help you with all that and more. Just go on over to JohnOverall.com Web Services, where I can help sort out your WordPress website issues, problems from finding that perfect plugin, to helping you move to a new hosting provider or even providing quality WordPress hosting. With 20 years’ experience online and over eight years dedicated to just WordPress, John – or I – provide all of your web services needs from hosting to WordPress development and repairs. Check me out at JohnOverall.com.
Marcus: All right, and anybody listening to this show, we know that you love WordPress and why not write about something unique within WordPress? As you’ve probably heard on the show before, I’m now the WordPress editor for Smashing Magazine, one of the big web design resources online.
John: There you go. That’s definitely a great deal, folks and there’s some really great articles there, so you’ll want to check out Smashing Magazine. Interesting, I’ve noted is that in many of my searches lately for information, I’m starting to see Smashing Magazine articles show up.
Marcus: Ah, that’s good!
John: So —
Marcus: Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, they get a lot of traffic. In fact, they get a lot more traffic than most all of the other WordPress sites that you probably visit combined.
Marcus: They’re pretty incredible, so hopefully I can drive it back in terms of the WordPress exposure.
John: Just need more recent articles and that’ll help drive it right up there.
Marcus: I’m working on it.
John: All right, we’ve got our next set of plugins up here for you. The first one I’ve got here is called Shortcodes in Use. Now, if you’ve had your WordPress website up for any amount of time and you’ve changed plugins or changed themes, which generally happens every couple three or four years or couple of years, and plugins fall out of favor, bring in new ones, well many of those plugins and themes have their own shortcodes in them. Those shortcodes will build up in your site and as you remove those themes or those plugins, well those shortcodes are just dead text that starts to show up – the naked shortcodes, as they’re called. We don’t want to run around naked on your website.
Cleaning them can be a chore and a half, trying to remember where they were used, what you used them for. Well, this plugin here, Shortcodes in Use, helps simplify that problem for you. Once you install it, activate it, what it does do for you is it goes in and gives you a list of all the shortcodes it can find on your website for you and where they’re located, so you can read through them and see which ones you’re not actually using anymore, and then you can go in and manually clean them.
There are ways to do automatic cleaning of them, but you’ll want to be careful about the automatic cleaning because you could clean out ones that you’re actually using, so you’ll want to do a lot of manual. Unfortunately, it’s a manual process but it’s well worth it to get your WordPress website cleaned up and this is a really great plugin to help you with that problem, so go check it out: Shortcodes in Use and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s very handy. Well, John, if you’ve seen any modern landing page lately, you’ve probably seen a pop-up that displays to the customer, something like “John just purchased X 90 minutes ago,” right? It’s usually on a landing page or store or something else. It’s making more and more prominence. It not only puts peer pressure on you to buy, but it provides trust, engagement, and authenticity. So this plugin is called SalesPop and it is in comparison of something that I’ve seen before called Proof, and the problem is for the Proof widget, this little social proof thing, you have to pay a pretty hefty monthly fee that’s associated with it and it’s also capped in users and views on sites.
I’ve been looking for something within WordPress that does just what Proof does, but without that $79/month fee that goes along with it and something that could actually be used within WordPress itself. So Sales Pop runs beautiful little slide-in popups to notify visitors of recently bought items. When visitors are aware that many other customers are buying from this brand, they’ll be more confident in making first purchases with you.
So what happens is this auto-syncs with your store’s sales data to generate real-time sales notifications of actual orders. Now, if you have a new store you’re just starting out, you can create fake notifications to promote any different items that you have as hot sellers. This plugin also has many different popup design options to match your store’s look and feel, there are options to control how the notification popups look and display within your site, and you can also add a direct URL link to the product within the popup so that the visitors that are interested can click right on that notification popup to view the details right in the product page. A very good plugin, brand new on the shelf here – fewer than 10 active installs – one of them is me, and I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s an excellent way to help showcase your information and encourage people to buy.
John: Because we’re all influenced by things we see or sort of a little bit of social proof to say, “Hey, we’re not gonna get ripped off when we’re here.”
John: All right, well that brings us to this next part. This show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, we request that you give some value back to the show. 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, their note is published here with any links back to where they would like them to go. And for those who come in below $50, they’ll remain anonymous and we thank you very much.
So this week here we have $50 from Jezweb Pty. Ltd., who has given us a donation. His note says, “This donation is on behalf of Business Wise First Aid Training at bwfat.com.au, a Jezweb-built WordPress website.” That’s actually a really cool website. They do some really good work over there.
John: All right, and a big thank you goes out to all of our donors who came in under $50 and we thank you very much for that. And for those of you who have set up the small weekly donations of $2.50, $3.00, and $5.00, we greatly appreciate those. Those help this show out quite a bit. They help defray the costs – pretty much all the funds that we collect right now are going to pay for the services of the show: the hosting services, the bandwidth, the transcriptions – you know, all of the little incidentals that are required to just keep a website up and running.
Marcus: Yes, and we just this past month hit record downloads, so by a lot.
John: By a lot.
Marcus: We smashed our previous record.
Marcus: And we’d love to see all of you new folks that have just joined the show participate in helping to support the show. So just remember you can go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and donate to the show. We do appreciate it.
John: And there’s lots of donation options there to choose from. Or, you can also support us over at Patreon.com/wppluginsatoz.
Marcus: Yes. Greatly appreciate your support.
John: Okay, and that brings us to the final plugins of the show today, and the final one I’ve got here today, this is another one that was submitted to us by a developer. It came in from Omar Fariq Simata. I’ll have to get that one out from Rex Themes and it’s a WooCommerce plugin. It’s called Best WooCommerce Product Feed, and I’ll be discussing more about this plugin again in a separate show, because I am interviewing this developer later today also. But at the moment, what I found out about the plugin, if you’re running a WooCommerce store and are looking to enhance the feeds that are leaving your store for your products, this may be a plugin for you.
It makes the task of creating those feeds that are tailored for specific merchants such as Google, Amazon, eBay, it makes tailoring those feeds for them much easier. It allows you to include specific metadata into the feed, enhance your listings, you can also limit the feed to your best-selling products or a specific product lines – numerous things you can do about that. With the free version of the plugin (because they do have a premium version), you can create a feed of up to 2,000 products. It’s got unlimited feed creation for pro users, it creates XML and text format feeds. Feeds are also accessible via HTTP or HTTPS so that you can support the merchant easier and more.
This looks to be a pretty great plugin if you’re running a WooCommerce store that has products and you’re trying to get them into those areas of all the specific merchants out there. So check it out; it looks to be pretty decent at the moment and it’s called Best WooCommerce Product Feed and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! Yes, those products are actually – I’ve had some good experience with those in the past from Google Shopping back in the day and they really work. When you can get a full Amazon, the webstore, based on your WordPress backend feed, boy, that’s pretty powerful, so check that out.
Okay, I also have a WooCommerce plugin to close out the show. This is called Premmerce WooCommerce Toolkit.
John: We’ve got a slight delay issue with Google. Let’s give it a sec. All right, go ahead. Uh-oh, we actually lost you. All right, live feed. Let’s —
Marcus: — twice as nice.
John: I paused there. Okay, we’re running the recording again now.
John: All right.
Marcus: So this next plugin is also a WooCommerce plugin. It is called Premmerce WooCommerce Toolkit and it is a complete set of add-ons and extensions developed for WooCommerce. It’s developed to add some of the missing essential tools for your e-commerce business, back to the basic version of WooCommerce. So what it allows you to do is things like adding a video to the product and displaying it in the photo field. Instead of the photo, you get a video, the option of adding descriptions to the shipping methods, and I was especially intrigued by cool things like catalogue mode, which actually is a setting that converts your store into a catalogue of products so that the user cannot make purchases but still see everything that’s available to them. This is compatible with WooCommerce, Yost SEO, and WooCommerce Multilingual, so it does a lot of the integrations of plugins that you probably already use. I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Very cool. I like the catalogue mode and —
John: — I might’ve built a website I did recently where I created a catalogue, I might’ve chose WooCommerce if I could have turned it into a good quality catalogue.
Marcus: Yeah. Yeah, it makes it a lot easier and then you can update it and it updates the catalogue.
John: Yeah, that’s actually quite nice. All right, well that covers up everything we’ve got here today. I covered up in this episode the Planaby Shows and Events Widget, which I gave a 4 to; Shortcodes in Use, which I gave a 4 to; and then Best WooCommerce Product Feed, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I’ve got three of a kind here: Sphere Manager, which I gave a 5 to, SalesPop also gets a 5, and we just talked about Premmerce WooCommerce Toolkit gets a 5 out of 5.
John: Very cool. All right, and some reminders/commercials/promotions – whatever you want to call them – and what we like to do is be sure to go check out the YouTube screencast which goes up later after the regular podcast goes up, so you can watch the add-on part that has me doing a first impression of one of Marcus’ plugins reviewed from this show here (or maybe a previous show, depends on the one he’s got). Also, a note to developers who would like to support the show, if you want to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and fill in the information there and submit it and we will create a contest around it and help promote and support your plugin. That’s the premium version.
Now also, don’t forget we have training videos up and more are on the way. They take a while to plan and produce as I’m finding out. They’re not as simple as they used to be, because I like to produce quality videos that people actually do use and I get a lot of feedback on them, so people seem to enjoy them, so more will be coming. And if you have suggestions for a plugin you’d like to have a training video on, send it to me. I’ll be happy to look into it and see if it’s one I’d like to do.
John: And also, one other last thing is having added some new encoding software to my computer over the weekend and doing some experimentation with live broadcasts for YouTube and Facebook, you can start looking for some upcoming random Live Streams from me that will appear on our YouTube channel or our Facebook page. Basically, a lot of them will be breaking news in WordPress or ideas or thoughts that I might have or information that I think is really good to pass along to people, so that will be coming. That’s an experiment that I’m gonna be playing with and it’s going to be a separate part from the show, so more and more stuff that’s coming along, so make sure you come check it all out, folks.
Marcus: Great! And remember, any WordPress news that comes about or interesting WordPress-related posts, we do put that in our newsletter now and you can subscribe to the newsletter by visiting our site at wppluginsatoz.com.
John: And that’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.
Reminders for the show :
All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and while you’re there, subscribe to the Thursday newsletter for more useful information directly to your email inbox. Wppluginsatoz.com is a show that offers honest and unbiased reviews of plugins by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and choose one of the weekly donation levels or make one that fits your budget. Help us make the show better for you by subscribing and reviewing to the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store. You can also watch the show live on YouTube, check out the screencasts and training videos, and remember to subscribe to us on YouTube, or follow the show on Twitter at @wppluginsatoz.
John can be reached through his website at www.JohnOverall.com, or send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Marcus can also be reached through his website at marcuscouch.com or Twitter at @marcuscouch. Thanks for watching and have a great day.
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.