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 #340 here.
It’s Episode 340 and we’ve got plugins for Content Masking, Salt Keys, Event Ticket Management, Spacing for Gutenberg, Image Optimization and Gutenberg Portfolios. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 340 and we’ve got plugins for Content Masking, Salt Keys, Event Ticket Management, Spacing for Gutenberg, Image Optimization, and Gutenberg Portfolios. 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 British Columbia, Canada, I’m John Overall.
Marcus: And from the Beachside Bunker in Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And we have the usual great show for you today, and of course right off the top, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And make sure you take a few minutes out of your time to go and subscribe and review the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store.
Marcus: Absolutely. Those reviews help attract new audience members and the more, the merrier. The more listeners that we have, the better resources that are available, the more kinds of questions and all that kind of stuff. Overall, we just love helping people with plugins, and that’s what we do.
John: Absolutely, bringing you great plugins every week – a whole new set of them. And of course, you can join us over on YouTube, where we have training videos and screencasts and more. And also you can follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz.
Marcus: Yep, and we have a great newsletter at our website, so go to wppluginsatoz.com, subscribe to our newsletter. That’s where we store all the news and all the stuff that is non-plugin related and bring it to you every week in your email box.
John: Absolutely. So with that being said, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
And today we have our usual allotment of six great plugins, and the first one I’ve got for you right out of the bat is called WP Reset Keys and Salt. Now, this is a really simple plugin and for those of you who might not be comfortable or know how to edit your WP config file, this is a plugin for you. And in case you don’t know what it is, the WordPress itself uses Salt keys to increase the encryption of your password and other sensitive areas of your site. Everywhere that there’s encryption going on that uses Salt keys – there’s a set of (I think it’s) six of them now. They originally started with four and they’ve expanded it. Now, changing those Salt keys requires you normally to go create a new set of Salt keys at WordPress.org/salt2 (I believe) – something like that is the URL. And then you copy those keys and then you would open up and edit your WP config file, paste in the Salt keys, and then save the WP config file.
Not always an easy task for those that are not technically inclined and for those that are nervous about editing the most critical file of your WordPress website. This plugin saves you all that grief. You just install this plugin and with one click of a button, you can update all those Salt keys and then reset the encryption of your website. Now, one of the beautiful things about resetting Salt keys is if you’ve been hacked or you have people that have been in using stuff and you don’t know if everyone’s logged out properly, the moment you reset the Salt keys, every user is instantly logged out of your WordPress website, so they have to re-authenticate with whatever current credentials they have.
So this is a great plugin for handling that and this plugin here – simple. It eliminates the problem of having to manually edit your file, easy to install, easy to use – the best type of plugin we love here – so of course I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Go check it out: WP Reset Keys and Salts.
Marcus: Use with caution.
John: Well…I don’t know.
John: It’s not that hard to use. You just make sure you’ve got your current passwords so you can log back into your site, because the moment you use this, you’re logged out of your site, too.
Marcus: That’s true. All right, I want to talk about a really nice plugin that I just tried out. It’s called Ultimate Image Optimization Helpers. I used this plugin called Image Magic already and I’m going to put a link to Image Magic in the show notes. It’s a free plugin that you can get in the Repository. And this is a very, very nice companion piece. It’s a very efficient solution to help reduce your image file sizes and improve the SEO and performance, while still preserving and improving your image quality.
John: Very nice!
Marcus: So you use this plugin if you’ve got a lot of image quality issues. Maybe you sized things down too much and then it upscales. Maybe WordPress generates kind of an alternative image size and it’s not very good in terms of how it looks. I mean, that’s all over the place. This one will do it.
It will adjust the image compression rate. You can also apply a light blur or a filter to compensate for some of the quality loss that you might expect. So if you’re upscaling, maybe blur it a little bit or use a filter that helps it. I mean, it works wonders on your phone, right? Why not your WordPress site?
John: Why not?
Marcus: It optimizes actually the original image and it does a list of all the image sizes right in the Media Library, so as you’re looking at the image, it shows you the actual size of the thing. Now here’s the cool thing, John.
John: What’s that?
Marcus: If I want to and I have a nontransparent .png file or PNG, I can convert that with one click to a .jpg —
Marcus: — and make it a lot smaller in size. This thing has tons and tons of features – all kinds of cool stuff. I definitely recommend you check it out. It is called the Ultimate Image Optimization Helpers, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s nice! A nice free one.
John: And it’s very important to optimize your images, improve your speed load of your websites.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s the biggest thing —
Marcus: — is speed. And if you reduce your image file size – oh gosh, what was the name of that? Pingdom, I think? The name of that tool is?
John: That’s one. I use GT Metrics a lot.
Marcus: Yeah. So you go to those and you put in your website and it tells you how long things take to load.
Marcus: And on my old site, images used to take forever because I was stupid and put like 3MB images on there.
John: Yep, didn’t optimize them. Yeah, I had the same. It’s part of the reason why JohnOverall.com became a website at 14-16 seconds down to 2 seconds, so —
John: — images were a big, big thing.
Marcus: Yep, that’s it. So this helps even that. Check it out.
John: All right. Well, with that being said, this show here is brought to here by…
“Take the work and worry out of maintaining and caring for your WordPress website. JohnOverall.com has 20+ years’ experience and offers hosting, maintenance programs, emergency support and more to keep your site up-to-date and running smoothly. We offer free estimates and only bill you for the time used, not by the block. While you’re caring for your business, let JohnOverall.com care for your website. Think of us when you think of WordPress. Visit JohnOverall.com.”
There you go – brought to you by JohnOverall.com.
Marcus: Right. And I say it every week, so I’m just gonna be brief this time, which is if you’re interested in writing about WordPress, any kind of a tutorial or maybe something cool that you found about WordPress or plugins or a specific theme or techniques – whatever you want to do. I am the WordPress Editor for Smashing Magazine.
If you’re interested in the opportunity to get a lot of exposure by one of the biggest design resources on the planet, check out marcuscouch.com/smashing. I put a little video together that explains the entire process. You’ll fill out the form and as soon as you do, it’ll reply back with more information, kind of the guidelines of what we do, what we’re going for, and you take it from there. So check it out at marcuscouch.com/smashing.
John: And the other content there is a great thing to get to. All right, and currently we are in the midst of a contest where you can earn yourself a premium – or actually, win yourself – a premium license from Foliovision for their FV Player Pro plugin. And this video player plugin allows you to play YouTube, Vimeo, and many other video sources on your website in an excellent player and allows you to put things such as overlay ads and other controls on there to give your user a more satisfactory video experience for you to put more information on there than just having the YouTube videos and depending on the ads for your stuff.
So anyway, it’s a great thing. The license is worth $75 for a year’s worth of license at the pro level, so go check it out and you can enter the contest by going to wppluginsatoz.com/contests. So head on over there and enter the contest. All we need is your email information and your name to enter the contests.
Marcus: Heck yeah. That’s a great, excellent plugin to use. Even if you’re using your own videos —
Marcus: — why not put a button on there or a promo or your current service or the hot product that you’ve got this week?
Marcus: That’s pretty cool and it’s also something you can check out in terms of client use, too.
John: Oh, absolutely.
Marcus: That’s really cool. You know, put a related video on there. If you’ve got a golf website, let’s say you know, your client golfs or you have a golf store or something like that. You know, you could use golf swing techniques and just throw your product on there as terms of the ad or the pop-up or the overlay.
John: “Click here to buy this video now…”
John: That’s it. All right, and this takes us to our next set of plugins, and the one I’ve got here next for you is another Gutenberg plugin that had been appearing, and as I’ve said, more and more of these are appearing in the Repository. This one is the Gutenberg Spacer Block by GutenKit. Now, this is one of many plugins I’ve discovered from this one developer. They’ve got a whole kit they’re putting together, so I’m gonna showcase the plugins they’re putting into the Repository and there’s a link in the show notes that’ll take you to where you can possibly sign up to get access to the whole kit, which is currently in private beta.
So at any rate, this plugin here, it doesn’t do a whole lot except create a spacer block, and from what my understanding so far is of Gutenberg, the spacer block will be a space in between the blocks you create for your content, much like a page builder where you can put a space block in between your blocks of content in the page you’re building. So I assume it’s gonna be something like that. I haven’t been able to test these yet, but as I get a chance to test the Gutenberg products, you will know more and more and more and more of my opinions and viewpoints on Gutenberg. But anyway, go check this out if you’re experimenting with Gutenberg. Just stay away from a live site with it. I give this one a 3-Dragon rating. Check it out: Gutenberg Spacer Block by GutenKit.
Marcus: Note to self: start checking Guten domains.
John: Mmm…. now there’s an idea!
Marcus: Or ‘berg domains.
John: Yeah, there’s an idea. That is something to start thinking about.
Marcus: All right.
John: Because those are gonna start to become really popular soon as people suddenly wake up to the fact that Gutenberg is really popular – or they’re gonna be popular.
Marcus: I gotta think of a cool name.
Marcus: Hm…all right. So I’ve dealt with a lot of clients that are motivational speakers or they are associations that have conferences and expos and events, and what is the biggest pain in the ass when dealing with an event? And that is ticketing.
John: Oh, yeah.
Marcus: Dealing with tickets, checking people in, making sure they get their stuff, doing all this – you know, it’s crazy. There’s all kinds of plugins out there. I used to use the ticket module that goes with the Events Calendar. I’ve used WooCommerce tickets. Nothing compares to this next plugin called Tickera. It is a WordPress event ticketing agent and it does exactly what I’ve been looking for for a long time. You can send and sell tickets, especially if you’re setting up your own kind of hosted solution where you set up the profits. This is contrary to like, Eventbrite —
Marcus: — which a lot of people fall back to but they forget that you have to give up a cut to Eventbrite.
Marcus: Also, you can use an Android or an iPhone and it has a barcode reader that will actually read the barcode on the ticket, which goes to check people in on your WordPress site. So you have a list of who’s checked-in and who’s not checked-in – all that. It totally speeds up the check-in process. It’s called Tickera, the WordPress Event Ticketing Plugin, and I give this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That is so cool that somebody has finally figured out the ticketing issue.
John: Because that I’ve experimented with several of those too, and I’ve never been able to get one to work fully 100% and had to fall back to someone like Eventbrite where you have to give up – what is it? – 5% or 10% of your ticket price?
Marcus: Yeah! Yeah, it sucks.
John: So not only are you giving up money to them; you’re still giving up money to the credit card processors. You lose 15%.
John: You know, it’s bad enough to lose 3-5% to the credit card processor, but hey…
John: And this way, you can keep it all and also maintain the control, so that’s nice.
John: I like that.
Marcus: Yep, fully-ingrained system and again, I always say if you’re a developer or designer (because we have so many of those that listen). I mean, if you’re into WordPress plugins, God, you’re in this deep.
Marcus: So, you know, this is something that you can use for clients that have events and say, “Hey, look. We keep this all in-house.”
Marcus: “We don’t have to do anything externally.”
John: Absolutely. All right, well this brings us up – the next thing is we’re always looking for listener feedback. You can do that by going to our contact page at wppluginsatoz.com or clicking the SpeakPipe button in the bottom corner and leading us a SpeakPipe message there, or you can email us directly off the website. So go do that; we’re always looking for questions or comments or, you know, whatever you think about us, the show, or anything else. We’re always looking for that information, so go leave it.
And also, this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. And to do that, you can simply go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate to leave a donation to the show, and all donations go to help support the show by paying for things such as transcripts, bandwidth, web hosting – all the necessary things just to keep a website up and running. None of the money actually makes it to our pockets. It goes to pay expenses. And that’s all we’ve got for that, so that brings us up to the last of our plugins for today.
And the last one I’ve got for you today is another Gutenberg plugin for you. This one here is called Gutenberg Portfolio Block, and again, it’s by GutenKit. And this one here is pretty straightforward in that what it does for you is it creates a block for your Gutenberg website to allow you to create your portfolio of websites or images or whatever your portfolio is made of.
It looks relatively easy and straightforward to use if you’re running Gutenberg. You plug it in, turn it on, and now you have this new block to use in your editor area. So if you’re into Gutenberg and still testing it out, add this one to the mix and see what it does for you. Go check it out. It’s called Gutenberg Portfolio Block, and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Awesome. You know, John, a long time ago when I first started designing websites, I did it in this program called Net Objects Fusion.
John: I sort of recall that.
Marcus: Going waaaay back!
Marcus: And it was a very obscure program. Not many people knew how to do it. I happened to work for a company at the time that paid me to go get training and the main two guys that created it actually taught me how to use it, which was great because then I could get into the shortcuts and all that. One of my favorite things that I used to use on that all the time was called Screen Door, and it allowed me to pull in content from other places, yet still maintain it on that specific page.
Marcus: Today, I found that in a WordPress plugin. It’s only taken 14 years, but it’s here! It’s called Content Mask. Now, let me tell you about this. It allows you to embed content on a URL similar to like what a domain forwarder with domain masking would do.
Marcus: So if you go to GoDaddy obviously or any other website, you can change the – what do they call that? – the records —
Marcus: — you know, the domain records.
John: Yeah, those records. Mm-hm?
Marcus: Yeah. And it basically will – okay, so if I had, you know, thegreatestpluginshowonearth.com and I just wanted it to go to wppluginsatoz.com, what happens then? Do I get any benefit from any Google Analytics? Do I get to put any Facebook pixels in that? Do I get to do anything like that? Nope – nothing separately, right? But Content Mask actually allows me to do that.
So if I wanted to take a domain or any page or anything like that and make it go to somewhere else, like what a 301 would typically do, yet still get all the benefit of WordPress running in the background so I still get all the stats as to who hits that page. I still get all the – be able to, you know, put a Facebook pixel in there so that I can remarket to them later. Add a Google pixel and all that kind of stuff? This is awesome for that. It’s called Content Mask and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That’s kind of a cool plugin, reading about it and what it does. It creates a complete – what’s the thing I’m looking for? – is domain masking.
John: So you can pull in XYZ domain and point it to WXY domain and make it look like it’s coming from WXY domain while it’s coming from XYZ domain. That’s pretty neat.
John: Yeah, that’s a neat tool. That can be used in numerous ways, especially if you have your own domains masking stuff back and forth between websites.
Marcus: Right. I’m not going to get into the dark side of what you can do with this —
John: The dark side of this —
John: The dark side is what popped in my head first —
John: And I actually got a big warning – they actually got a warning here on the thing that says, “Make sure you have the rights to use the content before you mask it.”
John: Because you could find yourself in trouble if you went into the dark side and they tracked you down for it. But yeah —
John: — it’s kind of cool.
John: Well —
Marcus: So be careful. Be careful.
John: Everything has a dark side available to it. That’s absolutely is true.
John: All right, well that wraps it up for this show here, and I reviewed in this show here the WP REST Keys and Salts, which I gave a 5 to; the Gutenberg Spacer Block, which I gave a 3 to; and the Gutenberg Portfolio, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: I talked about the Ultimate Image Optimization Helper, that is – 4 out of 5; Tickera, the event ticket management plugin gets a 5 out of 5; and we just talked about the evil… —
Marcus: — or potentially evil —
Marcus: — Content Mask, which gets a 5 out of 5.
John: It’s a great plugin, but its potential for misuse is really high. All right, well that brings us up – you go check us out on YouTube and you can check out our YouTube channel where we have screencasts, training videos, and more there. And 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 to submit that license to us and all of your information. 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 @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.