All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of Marcus and John’s discussion of the weekly plugins we have reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #334 here.
It’s Episode 334 and we’ve got plugins for Anti-Spam, Hosting with WordPress and Site building. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: It’s Episode 334 and we’ve got plugins for Antispam, Hosting with WordPress, and Site Building, all coming up next on WordPress 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. And today’s a special kind of show. Marcus is not with me today as he worked an 18-hour shift and just really needed some sleep. So at any rate, still getting the show out for you – out to our fans out there, and this is a special post-Thanksgiving Cyber Monday podcast of the best WordPress plugin podcast out there. So without much further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Don’t forget, all the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com and be sure you take a few minutes and subscribe to us and review the show over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store. Also, go visit us on YouTube. You can watch us live on YouTube or check out the training videos that are there or the other miscellaneous stuff that will eventually appear there, although times will be changing. We’ll discuss more about that later on in the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and also visit our website, subscribe to our latest newsletter.
Okay, well there’s all the miscellaneous stuff right off the top, so with that, let’s jump right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
Okay, well today there’s only going to be three plugins in the show and mainly because, well, it’s just me today. I don’t have Marcus bringing in his fair share. So first up though, what do I have for you? I have a plugin that used to be in the WordPress Repository – no longer there – pulled down for various reasons. You’ll want to check out the links in the show notes and this plugin was involved in some WP drama recently. But it’s a plugin that I don’t think I ever reviewed in the past when I was working with anti-spam plugins, mainly because I had pretty much settled into my favorite anti-spam plugin, Antispam Bee, and I just didn’t have the need to go reviewing them. Well, I’m going to change that a little bit here and I decided to review this plugin and see what it was all about.
While you can’t get it in the WordPress Repository, you can still get it from their website at redsandmarketing.com and it’s a pretty decent plugin. It is actually an easy antispam plugin with even more features than what I’ve been using for Antispam Bee. I may transition a few websites to it but where I have started experimenting with it, it’s been working really well. It’s got a lot of easy setup in it, it’s a lot of boxes to go through and tick them off, and just determine what you want on, what you want off. It also includes things such as having in there antispam for your most popular forms, such as Contact Form 7, GravityForms, antispam of course for your comments section, it’s got built-in blockers to stop email harvesting, and more.
This is a plugin you should probably have a good look at and check out. They were being used by more than 100,000 users. They were the second most popular plugin out there and more. At any rate, it’s a really great plugin: WP-Spamshield and it’s got a really good history. Go check it out. I give this plugin a 5-Dragon rating.
Okay – the hard part about doing this by myself and doing it live here is how do you fill all the time? Well, we’re going to fill this section of time here with this show is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses. JohnOverall.com WordPress and Web Services, where finding quality WordPress hosting and support can be a challenge. Well, you can drop that stress by contacting JohnOverall.com Web Service. They can help you eliminate your WordPress stress, solving your WordPress emergency issues, and doing the more day-to-day mundane items such as finding that perfect plugin, helping you move to a new hosting provider, or even providing you with quality WordPress hosting.
With 20 years’ experience online and over 8 years dedicated to WordPress, JohnOverall.com provides all your web service needs from hosting to WordPress development, repairs, and emergency malware removal support. Visit my website at JohnOverall.com. You can call me (818) 850-7729 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mm…definitely gotta get some liquid in there. Be working on this one.
All right, and also as you may know about Marcus, Marcus is the WordPress editor for smashingmagazine.com and you’ll want to go check them out. If you’re a WordPress developer, you’ve got information that is easily shared with the world. I myself am working on a couple of articles now that I will be helping to share with them. Processes – you can send them in to Marcus at marcuscouch.com/smashing and he’ll get back to you on that. It really is a great system there. They pay you – it’s not free articles. They’ll pay you for your time in bringing those articles together and you earn a little bit of money. Share it with the world. It really is quite the excellent thing to have.
Okay, next up for a plugin I have the following. Hey, Larry! How are you doing? No, not 10 today. Uh-uh. No, but you never know. Life may change. But that’s what happens when I’m pulling the show off by myself.
Okay, the next plugin I’ve got up here for you is one for those of you out there that may be considering having your own small hosting business or if you know of clients that use WHMCS for anything else aside from hosting. WHMCS is a billing software and it’s a really excellent billing software can be used in multiple ways. I’ve seen it used numerous ways throughout the web, and integrating into WordPress has always been a challenge.
I’ve been using WHMCS as long as I’ve been doing WordPress, and they’ve always had to live apart and separate. My client list there, separate from my client list on my website. And recently as I’m starting to make changes in the coming year in my business, one of the things I need to do was get my hosting service integrated into my WordPress website and vice-versa so that they can communicate together and I could communicate with my clients in a much better way.
So what I did was I switched and I discovered that while finally technology always catches up to your thoughts eventually, there is a plugin out there called WHMCS Bridge and they have a pro version also. The bridge itself is very useful and makes that connection quite nicely. Although you can’t get into the premium stuff until you jump into the pro version. The pro version is about $45 I believe and once you hook it up and connect it between the two, it does some very nice seamless integration between your WordPress site and your WHMCS site, integrating the clients together, syncing them together. It has a single sign-on so that they sign on on your WordPress site. They’re automatically signed into their WHMCS account. This way, they can send tickets to you because the ticketing system in WHMCS is one of the best I’ve ever used of all the ticketing systems. The problem is I couldn’t integrate it.
Now that they can be integrated into the site, this is going to make my support and everything else for my hosting business a whole lot smoother and cleaner than it’s been in the past. It also allows me to display the purchasing of my hosting on top of my sites in my theme, instead of sending them over to the WHMCS site, which I could never get to quite match, so this is going to clean up that mess and organize it together.
Between the two of these here, it’s going to allow a whole lot more functionality and it will allow you to integrate those two together. This plugin here is one that you really want to go get into if you’re using WHMCS and you will want to spring for the premium version because the free version, while it’s helpful, won’t give you quite everything you need to do the job. So anyway, great plugin – WHMCS Bridge and pro version, and so far everything I’ve used with and the changes I’m making to my website, give this plugin a 5-Dragon rating, so go check it out.
All right, dragon roars today. Okay, well this is the part of the show where we like to talk about our listener feedback and donor support. And in this show here, I’m going to talk a little bit first off about listener feedback. We haven’t had listener feedback in quite some time. It’d be really nice if those of you out there listening could give us some feedback. You can drop in to wppluginsatoz.com and click on the SpeakPipe in the bottom, leave us a voice message, send us an email. We actually read all of that. If you’re looking for information, some help, hey, we’re willing to give you some free information and help here and that’s quite the value getting some of my time for free. So please, get out there and give us some listener feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Now, show donors. This show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. And that being said, I want to jump into a little bit about how the value-for-value model has been going for us. We’ve been doing this value-for-value model exclusively for the last 20 months. For a while there, it looked promising. Now, we gave it an entire year – since January of last year – to try and turn this into a show that was supported by you, the listeners. We really had high hopes for our listener base and we had several of our listeners jumped on board and supported us for a while. Maybe we weren’t doing anything right or something, but must of them have fallen off, and that’s unfortunate.
The thing about doing a podcast that anyone who’s never done one before should know is podcasts require time. Even a half an hour show requires a minimum of three hours of time to pull it together, do the research, create the notes, get the posts up, and everything else. You know, we’ve also tried to do a few other things along the way: additional training videos, we’ve gone live with the show, and numerous other things along the way, trying to put things out there for you, our audience, to appreciate and hopefully support us. You know, we’ve heard many times from people saying how much value they’ve gotten out of this show. You know, it saved them time, introduced some plugins they’ve never heard about. These were the sorts of things we were trying to do.
But at this moment in time, it’s not looking like that’s going to occur and since we’re coming into the last month of this year, well I think the show is going to change in the new year. It’s not going to go away. We’re not going to stress so much the value-for-value model on the show anymore. We will still gratefully, happily accept donations to the show to help support and justify the time, but the time will drop off to more of a minimal versus how much was going into it. I was putting into the show two days a week. That’s two eight-hour days of work where I was trying to do just for this show, the website, the YouTube, and all of the other miscellaneous things. I couldn’t always do it because I still had to make a living.
Well, in the coming new year, there’s some changes coming in my business and direction of my business, and this show will stay a part of my business, but it will no longer be the focus of my business. So that being said, here are ways you can continue to support the show. You can support the show by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate, pick a donation level that you’re happy with or set your own. Give us a donation; we’d greatly appreciate it. You can donate some time to help us do editing. You can donate time by, you know, going out there and taking a phrase from the No Agenda Show, “Go out there and hit ‘em in the mouth and tell them about the WP Plugins A to Z show.” Tell more people about the show, spread the word that we exist. These are the sorts of things that you can do to help us out.
The Patreon account, there’s a couple of people there that are still supporting us via Patreon. Thank you very much to those of you that are doing that and we will continue to use the Patreon account, so you can go support us there. I won’t be looking at bringing in additional ways. These will be what we’re going to stick with and continue with the show. So thank you very much for everyone out there.
No, no – no real luck with Patreon, Larry. The problem with Patreon is that with Patreon what you have to do is you have to go create the multiple levels and the premium paid content and the other things that could happen there. I just never could pull together that amount of time. I still needed to put food on my table and the way I do that is I run a web hosting business, I run a development business, and my premium business that makes me the most amount of money is fixing broken WordPress websites when they’re hacked or attacked and bringing them back from the dead. That’s where I make most of my living at, so that can actually eat up a fair chunk of my time. The support from Patreon is minimal. I think currently it’s only like about $25 a month, give or take, you know, from the Patreons that are helping us.
So at any rate, that’s all I’ve got there to say on that. This brings me into the final plugin for today. The final plugin today was sent in by Truong Giang and it is a plugin for building on your website. It’s a builder plugin, basically. Now, this one here, I didn’t go into actually full-on testing myself, mainly because builder plugins are a bit of a – I don’t want to call them a misnomer – there are so many of them out there that most of the builder plugins I use are built into the themes. Or – I’m trying to remember – WP Bakery, that’s the one that gets a lot of use. That’s a pretty popular one.
When I looked at this one and I’m playing their YouTube video right now to show how it works, is that this plugin here has a lot of steps to go through for building out separate components in your website and theme. Now, if you’re building a site from scratch and you want something that’s very smooth, quick, and easy and it’s going to be set up once and done, I think this would be a great plugin for you. But if it’s one where you’re going to want to be customizing page after page such as using WP Bakery or the build-in builder in one of my favorite themes is N-Fold. If you’re going to use that, you’re gonna find that this plugin here might not serve the purpose as you need.
While it can still be a great plugin, it just might not fill all of the holes that are needed to be filled. At any rate, it does look to be useful, so it’s not to be dismissed completely out of hand and you may want to check it out if you’ve not settled on a builder plugin. You might find this one relatively easy for you to use. Any rate, this one here gets a 3-Dragon rating and it’s called PuppyFW, and thanks again by Truong Giang, who sent it in to us.
Okay, where do we go from here? Ah, yes. Closing out this episode, the plugins I covered in this episode was WP Spamshield, which I gave a 5 to (and you’ll really want to go check them guys out because the dramas that they’re involved in – wow – I’m just so entertained by WordPress drama). WHMCS Bridge, which bridges WHMCS billing software with your WordPress website (and it does a beautiful job of it), I gave that a five, and then PuppyFW, which I gave a 3 to.
Okay, and closing out here, please, as the month of Movember comes to a close, there’s only a few days left. Join me by donating to the Movember Foundation. You can see by this nice fur on my face that I’ve been going for the last month is that looking pretty good and we’re down on the countdown for the end of the month. Currently I’ve raised $295. Somebody, please go donate $5 to this just so I can pass the $300 mark. You know, I’ve already made my donation to it, so you know, it’s also tax-deductible and the money goes to support men’s issues and men’s health, so this is something that is pretty near and dear to me, so make sure you go check this out. I know I’m not gonna reach the $1,000 I had shot for but maybe next year.
And also, be sure to go check out our YouTube channel and check out the screencast. There’ll be no extended screencast today but it’s still going to be a screencast up there and I may put a little more information after the show to talk a little bit about how the future of this show is going and where I think it’s going to go in the coming year. And also if you’re a developer and you’d like to support the show, offer up a premium plugin license that we can set a contest giveaway for. So go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and donate your license there.
And finally, just go check out our YouTube channel for the training videos I have there. I think I have three there and I had started on a couple others, but they will eventually get created because I sooner or later get around to finishing everything I start. Other than that, that’s all we’ve got for you today and we’re just going to directly play out the show closing information, so off we go.
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 email@example.com. 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.
John: All right, that’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.
Okay, this little piece will be both on the show going up and in the extended screencast. It’s a little different than most of them. This is – you can just kill the show at this point here. This has – this is just a little discussion from me about what the direction of WP Plugins is going to be in the coming year.
Now, due to everything that’s happened in the last year, the efforts we’ve put forth, and how the audience has minorly responded. We’ve got a lot of responses, we have great supporters out there who support us on a regular basis, have one fantastic supporter from Jezweb.com who supported us week after week, month after month, since I think about this time last year with, you know, $50 here, $50 there – sometimes as much as $200 a month. Now, that was an amazing amount and we had other supporters that support us with $5 to $25 here. You know, it varied across the field.
It never amounted to more than about $350 to $400 a month in cost. And believe it or not, it costs to do a show like this. You know, we’ve been doing the transcripts for a couple of years now. I think it might be three years now and they average, you know, a dollar a minute for transcription, so you know, that’s anywhere from $15 a show to as long as $35 a show, and it’s varied over time. The bills, while they weren’t extreme, they were still an expense. There’s the hosting – yeah, I have my own hosting business, but I still have to justify that expense within the whole realm of things.
The show itself takes time. You know, my time currently is valued at $125 an hour, so if we’re talking about me eating up you know, 16 hours of my time or even – let’s just say on a light day, it would be – what would it be? All right, so we’re talking about justifying my time and you know, even if we go for a 5-hour day which is oftentimes what it takes on a general show day, we’re talking about $625 there of my time to do this. Time that I could be doing some other work that is paying me that amount of money. You know, I had really hoped when I started this project about a year and several months ago – actually, a year and a half, almost two years ago now – where I had the goal of getting this turned into a self-sufficient show that I could do full-time. I really did want to take it in that direction but the audience didn’t respond and I don’t have the kind of reserve funds to continue this until it does finally take off, because I know it could. It would just take a lot of time to get there and a lot more promotion and other things that I don’t have to do, because I still have to pay the rent, put food on the table, you know, put gas in my car – things of those nature. Stuff that the donations never did for us. They never provided that sort of thing. They provided to help pay for the expenses that the show incurs.
So that being said, what’s going to happen to WP Plugins A to Z? Well, the show is the longest running, continuous running, WordPress podcast out there. It is older than WP Engineer by about two weeks. I started my show about two or three weeks before he started his. The only one that could be considered longer is the Tavern show, but the Tavern took at 2.5 – 3-year hiatus there when he had to leave the industry and go earn a living for a while until he got bought out by Matt Mullenweg and they took over and they gave him a job, so he was an acuhire. You know, he continued doing what he loved, but he no longer had to have the stress of running the business behind it, which is always a challenge for people running a business behind something you love can be a challenge. You know, if you don’t have income, you end up having to give up what you love just so you can put food on the table.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love doing WordPress development and in particular I love fixing hacked websites because I like the challenge of figuring that out. But I really did like this a bit more. But so what’s going to happen with the show is it’s going to continue. It’ll continue in its current form for the most part I think we might be looking at changing the time slot that it is broadcast in, instead of being broadcast in the morning, it’s probably going to shift to being broadcast in the evening. It will still have, you know, three plugins. You know, one of the things that I’m considering looking at here is that no longer will every plugin be something that I have actually tested and gone in and used on a website. It’ll be plugins that look interesting to me and something that I think might be of interest, I’ll just bring it forward and talk about it from the point of view of not having used the plugin and still give an opinion and a thought about that plugin.
So there’s a lot that’s going to change in it. We’ve worked to changing the format. We think the format we have now is working very well. We’ve had almost no feedback on it. We’ve had a few people feedback and say, “Hey, I really like the new show’s format. It flows very nicely.” That sort of thing. So the format’s probably not going to change. The time, the amount of time the show is still going to be between probably at our low end of 15 minutes to our top end of 35 minutes for the show. You know, we’re still going to continue with the current format, avoiding all the news, information, and stuff unless it’s incorporated into the discussion of a plugin or something.
Other than that, this is how I see WP Plugins evolving over the next year and seeing how it goes. It’s there as a support to my main WordPress business, which is JohnOverall.com Web Services. So that being said, I’m going to wrap this all up. And for those of you that took the time to listen at this point in the show, thank you very much, and to everyone who has been supporting and helping the WP Plugins A to Z show, thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holidays and the Christmas holidays are slowly moving our direction. So stay tuned for more and as things evolve with the show, I will let you all know what’s going to be happening with it.
That’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.