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 #335 here.
It’s Episode 335 and we’ve got plugins for Christmas Displays, REST API, Car Dealerships, User Migration and Facebook’s Customer Chat. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 335 and we’ve got plugins for Christmas Displays, Rest API, Car Dealerships, User Migration, and Facebook’s New Customer Chat. It’s all coming up 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 have the usual fantastic show for you here today and of course, right off the top, don’t forget all the show notes can be found over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you’ve got a few minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time over in the iTunes Store, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, subscribing to the show and leave us reviews there. They really help us out a bit. Also, go check us out on YouTube where you can find us live and find screencasts and training videos and other miscellaneous pieces as they appear.
Marcus: That’s right. Hey, also remember, we are pretty active in social media. So if you’ve got a question, a comment, anything like that that you want to talk to us about, you can follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz. We’ve also got a very thriving Facebook page which you can search us on Facebook. And remember, a lot of the meat of the show that we don’t get to in terms of news and other information is available on our newsletter, which you can subscribe to at wppluginsatoz.com.
John: All right, and with that, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
And today we are reviewing our usual great lineup of six great plugins and right off the top first off, I have some Christmassy plugins for you – well, a couple of them here today. The first one here being today is called Christmas Calendar by CMobile, and this plugin here is to help you build and an Advent-type calendar into your website where you can offer up something new every day leading up to Christmas. I imagine there’s a possibility to use this in other ways, too. But it’s Christmastime, so we’re talking about an Advent calendar.
You can create specific landing URLs for each date on here, leading to a special offer or a special of some sort. They do have a premium of this plugin, which will allow you to expand it out a bit further and you can have dynamic URLs with the premium version. You can add in QR codes and the ability to create your own custom coupons with specialized messages on that – even have some stats to see how things are going.
Basically, it looks like a really good, interesting plugin that may help you improve your sales during the Christmas season or just showcase something fun and entertaining for the Christmas season for people who are visiting your website. Anyway, go check it out. It’s called Christmas Calendar by CMobile and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: I know how I could make this a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Can it go beyond the Christmas holidays?
John: I don’t know.
Marcus: Can I use —
John: That was a thought that I didn’t get into digging into testing, but I was wondering if it could be done that way, because then you could use it in numerous other ways.
Marcus: Sure! Countdowns to a product launch —
Marcus: You know, you could have special videos every day with little snippets or things like that. You could have a Deal of the Day.
John: Oh, yeah!
Marcus: All that stuff. You could have like a special month like, you know, one big holiday here in America is Chevy Truck Month…
John: I thought that was just a big holiday doing taxes.
Marcus: Different trucks…you know, this has got some potential as promotional item in another way. I never really thought about an Advent calendar with in WordPress, but it’s actually a great idea.
John: Yeah, it’s got its uses. It just – you know, since it’s at its basic right now, it’s a brand new plugin. You know, they could expand it out and turn it into something very viable for multiple uses.
Marcus: Nice! Okay, so one of the things that I like to do is look at different niches that you can get into as a WordPress developer or WordPress designer. And one of them that’s very big is a car dealership. Now, a lot of the bigger vehicle places – you know, big, huge car dealerships – they’ve got their own thing and a lot of them even have their own internet department where they’ve got many different people. But there are those occasions where you can get some small, family-owned lot, used car lots, or anything like that, and you might be able to get some work from it. A lot of these people rely heavily on things like Craigslist and Facebook ads and all of that, and it’s a great way to sell cars.
Marcus: So I want to talk about this plugin. It’s called JS Vehicle Manager and it gives you the ability and the functions to completely build your own car dealership site. It’s not a theme; it’s a plugin, and it’s really customizable. You could put in a lot of different kinds of cars, a lot of their features, and you could do vehicle comparisons of them all. It’s really nice. It does everything that you would expect in terms of the custom fields, like how many miles is on the car, what kind of engine does it have, the colors – all of those things that are all searchable.
It also has a lot of different statistics that you can use to track and talk about the things, and it has a section for tons and tons of photos. Really, really nice in the way that it works. It’s brand new and really, it’s in development at this point. There is a pro version for it as well. I have not seen what that pro version can do; I’ve just looked at the demo and one of the actual themes that they package in with the demo, but it looks pretty nice. It’s called JS Vehicle Manager – Run your own car dealership – and it’s rated 4 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s very nice. The theme the package with it looks pretty decent, so…
Marcus: It is! Cool.
John: If you’re looking to build it out, I know a couple of small car lots here in town here and they do depend heavily on the Used Victoria, Craigslist, and the other areas, and this would help them redirect them back to their website.
Marcus: Exactly! So here’s what you can do if you’re not sure about this and if the pro version is a little bit expensive, and maybe you don’t want to get into it – I don’t even know how much this plugin costs as far as the pro version. I didn’t really look. But show them the demo. Go to a car dealership and say, “Hey, man. You got a second? Let me show you something on my laptop. Let me show you something on my phone. What do you think about this? Would you like to have a site like this? I can put it together for you to look just like this.” That’s all you gotta do.
John: Yeah, it’s pretty nice and you could definitely get yourself into a niche market.
John: All right, well with that being said here then, we dive into and let you know that this show is sponsored by the following people and/or businesses. Currently sponsored by JohnOverall.com WordPress and Web Services. Finding quality WordPress hosting and support can be a challenge. Well, you can drop all that stress by contacting JohnOverall.com Web Services. I can help you eliminate your WordPress stress, solving your WordPress emergency issues, or 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 and over 8 years dedicated to WordPress, JohnOverall.com provides all your WordPress needs from hosting to WordPress development, repairs, and emergency malware removal. Visit my website, JohnOverall.com, or call me (818) 850-7729, or send an email to email@example.com.
Marcus: And anybody listening to this show, you’ve got just a love for WordPress. We know it, because if you’re into plugins and you’re listening to a plugin podcast, you might as well open the vein. You’re already hooked! Well, if you want to show off exactly how hooked you are and some of your expertise, remember, I am now the WordPress editor over at smashingmagazine.com, one of the biggest web design resources online, and I’m looking for folks to write great, awesome articles about WordPress – different things that you can do.
Now, what do you get in return? You get a lot of exposure for your work, yourself, and you get a few hundred bucks for the effort. If you’re interested, go to marcuscouch.com/smashing, fill out the form, watch the video, and it will reply back with more information on how to get started. It’s a great opportunity to contribute to the WordPress community, get exposure, and get some scratch too for your wallet – not a bad deal. Check it out: marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: Absolutely. It’s a great deal. It looks like Smashing Magazine launched a new website.
Marcus: That’s correct! A lot of new things coming around the bend for Smashing Magazine and there is a membership component to it as well now.
John: Oh, sweet! All right. Well, make sure you go check one out, folks. Highly worthwhile. All right, well that takes on to our next set of plugins here, and what I’ve got here for you today is one that I found brand new in the Repository. It’s called Rest Manager and what it does for you, this plugin – the use of it is not explained very clearly in their description, so as I dumped it in to give it some exam and check it out, it appears one of the things it can do is help you speed up your WordPress website by filtering out which plugins can use which routes in the API.
It looks like it could be of benefit but one of the biggest things I’ve found with it is you’re going to have to up your knowledge of the REST API and all the multiple routes and things you can do with it. It’ll go through – and when you’re setting it up, you can choose which REST API route it can use and then which plugin to use those routes, and how it can be done. Now, I don’t have a full knowledge on how this works, but it’s something that I’ll probably little by little dig into, now that I’ve discovered it.
It looks like it could be of benefit to help you with your website but you will have to spend a fair amount of time researching and understanding all the things that go into this and what you could do. It does look like something that could quickly make a mess of your website if you assign plugins to the wrong spots or tried to tell them to do things that they shouldn’t do, so it could make a big mess of it so you want to be careful if you use this plugin. But if you’ve got the knowledge, give it a check out. It might be of something for you to use. It’s called the Rest Manager plugin and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Not too bad. All right, okay. So one of the new things – if you’ve been listening to the show a while, you know that in the last year I’ve been on this kind of kick about chatbots and RPA, which is robotic process automation. Well, one of the new things that I’ve been doing is playing around a lot with Facebook Messenger, and just about every website that I build nowadays has a Facebook Messenger component built into it, because let’s face it, that’s the platform, right? Everybody’s got that on their phone now, they’re always looking around, they’re always using Messenger, and this is a great thing to use.
So this customer chat actually takes advantage of something that the plugin actually takes advantage of a brand new technology from Facebook. It’s called Customer Chat. Facebook is obviously trying to build up their chatbot, a Messenger-type service for different businesses. Why? Because that’s their platform. They want businesses to come in and advertise. That’s just the nature of it. So they’re going to start building more and more tools for businesses to take advantage of the different things like customer chat.
So, how do you take advantage of it in WordPress? Well, this is the first plugin that I’ve seen that can do it and it integrates pretty well so far. So there are a lot of different things that you can do in terms of options and all that. But a chat is chat; you guys all know exactly what that does and this allows you to do that. I am putting a link in our show notes that has a link from the Messenger developer’s blog post that talks about this brand new beta, which is the Facebook Customer Chat. Really cool plugin and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Very cool! It looks like something quite interesting to use. I’m gonna have to start adding that into my website and get it built up since I’m relaunching JohnOverall.com in the new year.
Marcus: Yeah, now I will say the reason that I want to use Messenger so much is because Facebook is actually very open source in terms of how this particular entity runs.
Marcus: And it runs with ManyChat, which is the thing that I use to program a lot of bots, so it’s kind of got a lot integration in it already.
John: Hm, well it’s definitely something to dig much deeper into.
John: All right, well that brings us up to we’re talking about some listener feedback, audio clips. We like listener feedback and you can leave listener feedback on our contact page at wppluginsatoz.com or through SpeakPipe by going to the website and going to the lower right-hand corner and clicking the SpeakPipe, or you can send us an email through our contact form page.
So this week here, we finally got a little bit of feedback from someone on the show and from a listener who has stopped listening, according to his email. I’m pretty sure for a long time I’ve come across as arrogant and tended to take things a little bit personal. Well, that is and has been changed in my life. He suggested that we were begging a bit too much on the show and as we wanted a value-for-value model, it does tend to sound that way. We are done with that though. He made some suggestions on how the reviews could be improved by talking about the code, the install base, or the update cycles.
But I myself have always felt that this was not necessary. What is important about a plugin is how easy it is to use. Does it solve a problem and can you make money with it? Well, I had a couple of back-and-forth emails with him and while the feedback much appreciated, Jay, and I hope your SEO business does well. So anyone else want to leave us some feedback, please dump it in, send it to us. We’ll be happy to talk with you about and get some emails back and forth, and even present a little bit of it here.
Marcus: You know, I want to talk about one thing though.
John: What’s that?
Marcus: Which is our reviews style. Now, we try and plan this show out so that the things that we talk about, it doesn’t matter that you’re listening to Show 335. You could easily be listening to Show 235 and it should have the same relevance to you in terms of the plugins.
Marcus: So that’s why we don’t talk about versions. We may say it’s a brand new plugin or something like that, but we want it to be left to you. If you blindly install plugins just because we talk about it, you’re kind of dumb as a developer. I don’t want you to do that. I want you to look at it for yourself to put it on a test server, put it on a staging site. Make sure that it works there, which is where you should be doing all your tinkering and your development. You should be doing it in a workshop environment, not on a live client site. That’s the biggest mistake I see all the time.
John: Absolutely. Even I don’t do that.
Marcus: So understand that. We can’t get too deep into the weeds when it comes to this type of review style.
Marcus: We want to make it short and sweet. Could John and I do a four-hour show talking about plugins?
Marcus: Sure! Anybody like that? Maybe two? I don’t know. Who knows? But that’s kind of why we do what we do.
John: Yep. But some of the other feedback we’ll definitely take into consideration.
Marcus: Put it in the circular file.
John: Ah, not entirely.
John: Some of it I kind of, you know, “Okay, some of it. All right. I’ll work with it a little bit and see what we can do.”
Marcus: All right.
John: All right, well this week also, we just want to let you folks know we did have a good donor this week. We got it from Jezweb Pty. Ltd. I want to thank them for their generous donation of $50 this week and the donation is on behalf of Hotel 75 in Newcastle, Australia, who are Jezweb WordPress website clients. Check them out at hotel75.com.au.
John: So thanks a lot and we greatly appreciate it, Jez. Very much appreciate all your support of the show that you have been giving us for about the last 18-20 months. Much appreciated.
Marcus: Absolutely. It looks like a really nice website, too.
John: It is. It’s quite nice. And if you would like to support the show, please head over to wppluginsatoz.com/donate or go on over to our Patreon page and support us there.
John: All right, this brings us to the last couple of plugins we have for today. And the last one I’ve got for you, another Christmas plugin, and this is one that you use on your website to give out some Christmas greetings and cheer. This plugin here, say Merry Christmas to your visitors and provide them with a discount if you’d like. It has integrations into WooCommerce and so you can offer up sale promotions or coupons with personalized messages. Just another great way of, you know, sharing the Christmas spirit and, you know, helping folks out and encouraging them to spend money on your website.
So go check it out: Christmas Greetings and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: You know, these things are actually nice too to bring to your clients.
Marcus: Or you put on your own business site, because it’s already prefab, pre-done – the graphics are done, it does fancy little animations and stuff.
Marcus: And it’s relatively easy to implement. And most importantly, to take off —
John: Oh, yeah.
Marcus: — when it’s done.
John: That’s it. Put ‘em on real quick. You know, showcase it a little bit and then poof, done with the season.
Marcus: Yeah. Very nice. Okay, so finally I’m going to talk about a plugin that you can also use as a designer or developer that will allow you to kind of convince your client to migrate from other sites. It’s called Migrate Users and it’s a very simple plugin. It helps you migrate users from any other system into your WordPress website with just a few clicks. You basically import the user file from a CSV. You then map the fields from your file into the plugin and it actually gives you a sample file that you can start off with and map your fields directly into Excel or Google Sheets or whatever you use.
The great thing is actually you could update existing users. When you export the users, you could actually import them back in with new values. Maybe you want to edit them offline or add different stuff to them. You can do that. There is a complete error log for the entire import process and it’s very, very easy to actually import the users and automatically send them that reset password link that you’ll often get when you sign up for a new account.
Very cool – it’s very easy to use. It’s called Migrate Users and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s kind of cool. That would be quite useful for bringing people from other platforms into WordPress.
Marcus: Sure! And it works on massive scales, too because things like MailChimp or Constant Contact or even click funnels or any of those things, they don’t necessarily integrate right back into your site. So when somebody subscribes, it doesn’t add them in as a user, so this may be a good thing to actually enter and do a monthly export and maybe enter some new users into the system, give them a welcome email, “Hey, we want you to participate in the site.”
Marcus: “…or participate in the store,” or whatever it happens to be, so this is a great plugin to start that off.
John: Absolutely. That’s pretty nice. All right, well closing out this episode, I covered up the Christmas Calendar by CMobile, which I gave a 3 to; the Rest Manager, which I gave a 3 to; and then the Christmas Greetings, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I talked about JS Vehicle Manager, which gets a 4 out of 5, Facebook Customer Chat gets a 4 out of 5, and the same 4 out of 5 rating for the latest plugin we just talked about, Migrate Users – 4 out of 5.
John: All right, and as a couple of final reminders, one thing I’d like to do is I’d like to thank the listeners out there that supported me through Movember and donated to the Movember campaign. Thank you very much. You helped me raise over $365 this year and that money goes to help raise awareness of men’s issues and men’s health issues, and all kinds of things about the men’s world. So thank you very much for your support and that greatly appreciated.
And also, take a few minutes and drop on over to our YouTube channel. Check out the extended screencasts, our training videos, and more. And if you’re a developer in WordPress and you’d like to get yourself some more promotion, drop in to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and leave all the information there to share one of your premium licenses and we’ll build a contest around that and showcase it to all our listeners.
Marcus: That’s right, yeah.
John: I guess that’s it. 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.