WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #330 here.
It’s Episode 330 and we’ve got plugins for Image Galleries, Customer Rewards, Push Notification, Halloween, Day of the Week Content, and Custom Admin News Feeds. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 330 and we’ve got plugins for Image Galleries, Customer Rewards, Push Notifications, Halloween, Day of the Week Content, and Custom Admin Newsfeeds. 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, Canada, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And from the sunny shores of Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And we’ve got the usual great show for you here today and of course right off the top, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. Make sure you take a few minutes to subscribe to the show and review us at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store. Take a little bit of time, drop into our YouTube channel and check out our training videos, screencasts, or you can watch us live every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
Marcus: That’s right. Also remember you can follow the show at WP Plugins A to Z and also once you visit our site, be sure to sign up to our newsletter. That’s where you get all the latest news, stuff that we don’t talk about on the show, and the latest developments in plugins.
John: Absolutely. Well, with that all being said, we have our usual allotment of six great plugins for you here today, and we’re gonna dive right into the meat and potatoes.
[Plugins intro music]
All right, the first plugin I’ve got here today is another gallery plugin. I know I did quite a few of them the other day, but I needed another more specialized type of gallery plugin than what I reviewed. This one here is called FooGallery and one of the nice features of this plugin here is it allows you to create individual galleries quickly, simply, and easily by uploading all your media to the media library, then selecting all those images.
You create a custom post type with the gallery, you arrange the images the way you want. It pulls the title and the description directly from the image, so you don’t have to do duplication of content here when you’re putting everything together, which is a very nice feature in it. And then you place the gallery in a page using a shortcode.
It’s very nice; it’s a free plugin. It’s got a couple of slightly premium add-ons to it, but the initial free version of it works fantastic. You can go in and adjust your thumbnail size – as I said, pull the info automatically, tweak some of the layout because of a few custom layouts that are available for it, and it is responsive which is very important. So anyway, a great gallery. I found it to be just fantastic the way it was, so I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.
Go check it out: FooGallery – Image Gallery WordPress.
Marcus: Very nice, very nice. All right John, the first one I’ve got out of the gate is something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Things like Yoast and Blubrry podcasting and those kinds of things – when you install them, you get kind of this news widget on your dashboard or this newsfeed. Well, I’ve designed probably – I don’t know – a couple hundred sites for clients over the years. Boy, I wish I had this right now on all those sites. It’s called Admin Dashboard RSS Feed, and it allows you to take a feed from your site (your own website) and through the magic of RSS, actually populating on the dashboard of all your clients. It’s really cool, really easy, short and sweet, easy to set up, totally valuable for what it does, and here’s some of the things that you get to import.
You put your company name, your company logo, your website, your company RSS feed URL, and the number of items that you want to show. And instantly, every time your client goes into their backend, it tells news about your company or perhaps new products that you’re unveiling, or maybe even tutorial steps or things like that. Any combination of news or tutorials or anything that you want to put out to your clients, this will do it. It is called Admin Dashboard RSS Feed. It’s a great plugin; I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That’s a fantastic looking plugin. I’ve got a use for that one in my new site redesign and trying to stay in touch with my current client base, so…[inaudible]
Marcus: This is the way.
John: It’s an excellent way. It’s an excellent way to keep reminding your clients of all the work that you do do.
John: One of the biggest problems I’ve realized I face is too many of my clients don’t remember I do things and then they contact me after they’ve done it and say, “You know I did that, right?” “Oh, I didn’t realize.”
Marcus: Right, and it’s another way that maybe perhaps you want to create sort of a backend private feed or something like that —
Marcus: — that goes to your clients. This is a great way to do it.
John: That’s a fantastic one. Okay, well this brings us up to let you know this show is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses. Currently sponsored by JohnOverall.com WordPress and Web Services. With today’s internet, finding quality WordPress hosting and support can be a challenge. Drop all that stress by contacting JohnOverall.com Web Services.
I can help you eliminate your WordPress stress, solving your WordPress emergency issues and doing the more day-to-day items such as finding that perfect plugin, helping you move to a new hosting provider, or even providing quality WordPress hosting. With 20 years’ experience online, eight years dedicated to WordPress, JohnOverall.com provides all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress development, repairs, and emergency WordPress malware removal. Visit JohnOverall.com or call me: (818)850-7729 or send an email direct to email@example.com.
Marcus: And John, anybody that listens to this show – this show about plugins – obviously, you’ve got a passion for WordPress. Why not write about something unique within WordPress? As you probably know, I’m now the WordPress editor for Smashing Magazine, one of the largest web design resources online, and I’m looking for folks to write great articles about WordPress.
You can get a lot of exposure to yourself, your company, your work. Just visit marcuscouch.com/smashing and I will reply back with all of the info that you need to get started. It’s a great opportunity to contribute to the WordPress community, get a lot of exposure for yourself, and earn a few hundred bucks for the effort. Just check out marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: And they are great articles, folks. Really in-depth stuff that’s helpful. I’m finding more and more there as I keep digging down through it.
Marcus: Yeah, it’s nice.
John: Okay, well our next set of plugins we’ve got for you – what I have here for you is a push notification plugin for WordPress. And if you’ve ever thought of going into push notifications or having push notifications on your website that go directly to your phone without using a third-party service, this might be a plugin you’ll want to have a look at. The setup of it though will take you some time, because you’re going to have to go in and create yourself a push notification API for Apple or one for Android, whichever phone you have that you’re being used for. I’ve got a link in the show notes on how to do the one for Apple, because that one’s a little more complex than the Google one, which is right in the API console.
So anyway, it allows you to launch notifications to IOS, Android devices. It doesn’t use a third-party service. You can specify a single user from your WordPress website or multiple users. You can specify whether it’s going to send you a notification for posts or pages or other content updates. It’s got a few things to it; it’s not a bad plugin all in all, but the kind of stuff you have to go through and wrap your head around to get it working properly will probably kind of push it down the line, so currently I give it a 3-Dragon rating. But go check it out: Push Notification Sender for WordPress.
Marcus: That is a tough one without a third party being involved.
Marcus: It always has been.
Marcus: Yeah, push notifications.
John: Well, that’s why I thought this one would be interesting to bring out for folks to go check out and those that want to avoid a third party. Like me, I try to use as few third parties as I can because let’s face it, you cannot 100% depend on a third-party service because they’ll either change it, yank it —
John: — close it, and it’s happened dozens of times in the last few years. I’ve seen it happen many times to people that get hooked into a third-party service and suddenly it’s gone.
Marcus: Right, right. All right, well the second plugin that I’ve got here today is called Day of Week Widget, and what this is, it’s a cool, lightweight, easy way to show different content based on the day of the week that it is. So if you want to have unique content or items based on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday, blah, blah, blah, this is for you. You don’t have to have new content every single day; you can actually leave a day empty and it just skips it. But this is shortcode based and you enter in your text in the backend of the plugin.
So you just kind of enter Monday’s content, then you enter Tuesday’s content, enter Thursday’s content. It’s great for maybe restaurants, bars. You know, here’s today’s special or whatever you want to do. It’s just kind of a rotating thing that based on whatever day of the week it is, it will show specific content wherever you place it within the shortcode. That could be a sidebar, on the front page – anything like that. A really cool plugin. It’s called Day of the Week Widget and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s kind of useful. You could also use it for running daily specials for pretty much any business; not just restaurants or bars.
Marcus: Yeah, absolutely.
John: You know, there are daily offers or who knows? Maybe you have a daily message you just like to send out to the world of something that is, you know, good to hear.
Marcus: Right, right.
John: Lots of great uses for that one.
John: Okay, well this is where we showcase our listener feedback and our show donors, and we would love to hear some listener feedback from all you folks out there. All you’ve got to do is head over to our website, drop down to the lower right-hand corner, click on the SpeakPipe channel there, and you could leave us a voice message that we will happily play here. Ask us a question, you know, send us a response, tell us what you think of the show – all of that great stuff. But hey, you can get free advice by asking questions about plugins. We’re more than happy to go digging for you. So – and feedback via contact pages, other areas.
We also like to showcase our show donors and the show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it at all, please give some value back. In that vein, we’d like to acknowledge those that have supported the show in the past week. All donations $50 and over are read out and their notes published here. For those who come in below $50, they remain anonymous and we thank you very much. And this week here, we’d just like to thank all our donors who came in under $50. You know who you are; thank you very much for your support of the show. It really helps pay for all the things that are required to maintain a podcast and a website: time, money, bandwidth, web server, hosting – you know, all of that stuff.
John: Transcripts, yep. I forgot transcripts. Can’t forget those. They’re fantastic and they’re mostly up to date now.
John: We’re only one show behind and that’ll be up today.
John: There will always be about one show behind because they’ve got to go, the sound’s got to go to the transcriber, they’ve got it and they send it back to me, and they usually come on a day when I can’t put it up on the website until Monday.
Marcus: And it’s professionally done.
Marcus: It’s not done by a robot —
Marcus: — or anything like that. It’s done by a very professional person that’s —
Marcus: — you know, that’s their business.
John: Yeah, Peterson Transcription Services – fantastic job she does.
John: If you need a transcriber, go check ‘em out. (Thanks for the plug, John and Marcus!) Okay, and there are many ways you can support the show. Go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate to support us. You can go to our Patreon account at Patreon.com/wppluginsatoz and help support the show. Okay.
Marcus: That’s right.
John: Next up we have our final plugins for today. Now, the last one I’ve got here today is just kind of a fun plugin. Every time holidays come around – Halloween, Christmas – you know, I always look for the ones that are kind of interesting to see if they can add a little pizzazz to your website for a day. So I thought I’d check out this one called Halloween Box. Well, it’s kind of cool in theory but when you put this one into practice it doesn’t work perfectly well. It’s a simple CSS change for your sites, pages, and posts content box – only the content box on your pages and posts. And what it does is it changed it out to a Halloween theme motif with a funky looking font and lighted pumpkins in the background.
You know, it’s kind of cool looking but it doesn’t work; it’s not really compatible with theme builders such as the N-fold theme that I use. I thought I’d check it out through my N-fold theme and it doesn’t come out very well in that. It probably works very well if you’re using the standard WordPress theme, but of course nowadays with so many themes, it’s kind of hard for the developer to take into account all the ways it’s going to work in those. So at any rate, it’s a very simple thing to do; it’s kind of fun if you have a simple website or just a toy that you’re playing with. This’ll be a great toy for you to throw there but for use on everybody else’s website, probably not so much. But anyway, check it out: Halloween Box and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: That’s cool. Very nice. Yes, a lot of cool holiday plugins and that’s certainly one of them that’s um…
John: [chuckling] I like the holiday plugins. They’re pretty useless but, you know, they just add some fun to your development.
Marcus: Yeah. All right, so keeping in tune with everything that I’ve been doing I’d say the last I’d say ten, 15 shows, let’s feature a WooCommerce plugin…why not, right?
John: Why not? There’s lots of them out there.
Marcus: So one of the things that I wanted to do is create a rewards system for a certain program that I’m putting together, and this new plugin is called WooRewards, and it’s something I’ve already purchased the pro version for, and that was I think 41 Euros, which ends up being $46 or something like that. Here’s what it does.
It develops a reward system for your website. It’s one of the most efficient ways to develop customer loyalty within your WooCommerce site. Basically, your customers receive rewards and discounts when they buy stuff from you. So with this plugin, you simply define the number of points that a customer will receive on purchases, so maybe they get a dollar for every – I’m sorry – a point for every dollar that the spend – and the number of points equals either a promo code that they can redeem it for or maybe there’s a special discount that they get after a certain amount – whichever it is, that’s built right into WooCommerce.
So what happens is they make a purchase and your customers receive an email with all the info that they need to use their coupons, such as the coupon code, the value, the validity period, how long it’s good for – you know, those kinds of things. And then with the pro version, actually customers can log in and check their point balance and coupons at any time. I think that’s within the free version, too. Again, there’s the standard and pro version. My suggestion is that if you’re gonna go and implement something like this, get the pro version. Get everything you can; don’t just half-ass it when it comes to customer rewards. Really give them something that they can use and go in and check and look at their points history and all that. And the pro version also has a reminder system.
So if somebody has a bunch of points in their account, you can email them automatically and tell them about the latest things that they can redeem it for on your website or the latest – you know, maybe you’re gonna up the coupon by 5% or something like that. But this thing automatically generates all the coupon codes, custom for the clients, all that kind of stuff – really cool. It’s called WooRewards and I gave it a 5 out of 5.
John: That’s a very sweet way to do it and yeah, you want to build yourself a good rewards program and definitely don’t cheap out on that.
Marcus: No, for $50, come on. I mean, to build your own thing like this would take you $1,000 in development costs.
John: Oh, that would be – that would be at the low end of the development cost.
John: People forget developing takes hours and hours and hours to accomplish.
John: You know, and then testing and retesting and then multiple places – and yeah, but no, it’s definitely a worthwhile system if you’re running an e-commerce store and you want to bring your customers back. I like the feature there in particular of reminding folks, “Hey, you’ve got points. Come spend your points,” you know?
John: While they’re there, they might actually spend some real cash again too, so hey…
Marcus: That’s it.
John: That’s the whole point. All right, well closing out this episode of plugins, I covered our FooGallery Image Gallery WordPress Plugin, which I gave a 5 to; the Push Notifications Sender for WP, which I gave a 3 to; and then the Halloween Box, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Admin Dashboard RSS Feed, which gets a 5 out of 5; Day of the Week Widget gets a 4 out of 5, and we just discussed WooRewards; that one gets a 5 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Now, some reminders, commercials, promotions…I want to bring forth a little bit of a promotion on my own behalf here is I am doing the Movember again this year for the first time in a couple of years, and going to grow a moustache in support of men’s health and family issues, raising awareness to men’s health and family issues around the globe. I’m looking to raise $1,000 this year, so I’m gonna pass it out to all of our listeners out there on this show. Maybe you’ll support that great cause and also spread the word. Tell your friends, family, whatever, and that’s pretty much it. Join me for the Movember. It starts, of course, November 1st and runs through November and I’m going to go from the clean shaven face I have today to sporting a moustache and I might even try to grow a beard. I’ve never actually grown one of those, so I’m going to see how it goes.
John: I’ve never had a beard in my entire life, so–
John: — I think it’s time to try it out and see how it looks.
Marcus: When have you last had a moustache?
John: Ah, two years ago, when I did the Movember.
John: It looked like I maybe a porn star. They —
John: — they don’t look good on my face, but that’s okay.
Marcus: Well, I’ve already got a beard and a moustache, so…
John: There you go. Yeah, the rules of the game where you have to start clean shaven November 1st.
John: — and then grow it out through the whole month and then try to document it, so it’s kind of a fun thing to do, and I know lots of men in this area that join it and a few help me support and donate to the cause, and this is a really great cause.
Marcus: Yes, absolutely.
John: Okay, and also the usual reminders here, don’t forget: go check our YouTube screencast that goes up later where I add a part to it on my first impression of one of the plugins Marcus reviewed. And a note to developers out there, if you’d like to support the show and like to offer up a premium license to give away, go check out wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest, and go check out our training videos up on YouTube.
John: All right, and for all of the WordPress news and information, go to wppluginsatoz.com and right there on the front page, you can easily subscribe to our newsletter. So just scroll down the page a bit and you can subscribe right on the bottom of the page, and we look forward to having you there and that’s where we will get all our information, and that’s all we’ve got. Anything left?
Marcus: That’s about it. I know that we’ve got some beta stuff coming up for the new version pretty soon —
Marcus: — but you’ll have to subscribe to our newsletter to find out more.
John: Absolutely. The 4.9 beta. That’s – it’s in beta one or beta two right now, isn’t it?
Marcus: Mm-hm, That’s correct.
Marcus: Beta 4, actually.
John: Oh, is it Beta 4? So it’s — oh yeah, so it’s supposed to be released November 14th.
John: It’s supposed to be released in two weeks, so it’s probably gonna release and fortunately, they pulled back on some of the things that are in that.
John: You know, which was – there was a few things that were gonna be a –nightmarish. I’m not looking forward to 5. I really am. I’m not overly excited about what 5 is going to do with Guttenberg and everything else.
Marcus: It’s the new Apple Maps.
John: Yeah, it’s pretty much what it is.
Marcus: And with that…
John: With that, that’s all we’ve got for you, folks. Take care now, bye-bye.
Reminders for the show [female speaker]:
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.
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