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 #343 here.
It’s Episode 343 and we’ve got plugins for Opening External Links, Display Only Products, User Update Control, WooCommerce Shipping Audits, Shortcode Widgets and Extra Fees. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 343 and we’ve got plugins for Opening External Links, Display Only Products, User Update Control, WooCommerce Shipping Audits, Shortcode Widgets, and Extra Fees. 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 Beachside Bunker that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And we have the usual great show for you today. But don’t forget, right off the top, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you’ve got a few minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store, subscribing to the show, and we have a little treat for you on how you can get it and make it even easier.
Marcus: Oh…Hey, Siri!
Marcus: Play the WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast.
Siri: Playing podcast: WordPress Plugins from A to Z…
Marcus: Thank you.
John: There we go! Simple as going to Siri and asking Siri to play it for you.
Siri: …and welcome to the WP Plugins —
Marcus: It does it!
Siri: — Interview Show.
John: That’s – the latest one was an interview show.
Siri: It seems like I cut you off.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah.
John: Yeah, yeah.
Siri: Can you please repeat that?
John: Go away!
John: Go away, Siri. You can probably –
John: — do the same thing with “Hey, Google” too.
John: So that’s an easy way to go and subscribe to the show and also —
Marcus: And make your coworkers and friends subscribe to the show too by saying it out loud.
John: Now there you go! Now there’s something I should start doing. Everyone that’s got an iPhone or Google Play —
John: — that has the voice activation, make them subscribe. I’ll have to test that one on a couple of friends of mine.
John: All right, so you could also go to our YouTube channel, check it out, where we’ve got training videos, screencasts, and more. And you can watch us live every couple three weeks when we do our live show. And also, follow us on Twitter @wppluginsatoz.
Siri: …of Blake Cornell…
Marcus: God, it’s – it just doesn’t want to stop playing the show, John.
John: It’s really exciting, man. I don’t blame it. This fantastic show, you know? The longest consecutive running WordPress plugins show out there – WordPress show, period.
John: So —
Marcus: Three forty-three.
John: Three – 343 and over six years of running now.
Marcus: All right, well let’s get to the reason why people listen.
John: All right, time to dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
All right, we have our usual allotment of six great plugins and first off the one I have for you today is called Open External Links in a New Window. Now one of the things that happens when you’re working on your WordPress websites or developing out websites and you get to a point sometimes when they’re aged, you have links going off to external websites. The problem with it most of the time is they’ll open in the same window when someone clicks on them. That can be problematic for many ways. Some people don’t use the back button. I personally rarely use the back button; I just close the window, and sometimes I’ve left the website and went, “Oops…didn’t need to do that.” And if it wasn’t really important, I’d just continue on my way and forget about it.
This way here, every time someone hits an external link on your website, it opens in a new window for them and when they’re done, they can just close that window and boom, they’re right back on your website wherever they left off. A nice little plugin. This one here came into existence for me because it had to replace an older version of a similar plugin I was using across sites, so go check this out: Open External Links in a New Window, and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: It’s very nice because when WordPress – I forget which revision back ago it was – where they changed how the links were handled, they took that external link thing out of eyesight view. You could still do it through menus —
Marcus: — but boy, was it a pain.
John: It’s still a pain.
Marcus: And it’s nice to know that you could just make all externals open in a new window like that with this plugin. That saves a ton of time —
Marcus: — site-wide.
John: And it’s only for externals. It doesn’t do it to your internal links. But this plugin does have an option where if you want specified internal links to open a new window, you can set ‘em that way.
John: So —
Marcus: That’s very interesting. Okay, so the next plugin here that I’ve got, it’s called Non-Purchasable WooCommerce Products. And so what this allows you to do is actually it takes away the option for someone to buy the product. You set certain WooCommerce products actually to be Non-Purchasable, like only a display model, with a custom message and button text. So it allows you to change the status of a product in WooCommerce from purchasable versus Non-Purchasable. It works with all kinds of product types including variable products that you can customize the button texts and the message on your product page, and you can actually disable the message output completely if you don’t want to do it that way.
Now, why would you want to do that? You could actually just say, “Call us,” instead – you know, “If you want to purchase this, give us a call,” right? It’s gotta be custom made or we’ve got to do a custom quote for you or something like that. But you still want to make it an option where maybe you’re gonna give a price but they still need to talk to you, and you just can’t make it so that they can just blatantly pay online like that, or maybe you require a check or a purchase order if it’s a business-to-business, and that’s where things like this come about. I seem to recall somebody asking a long time ago if they could make a catalog or something like that out of products that didn’t allow people to buy, but it gave them catalog information.
Marcus: I seem to remember that.
John: Yep, we had that.
Marcus: For all I know, it could’ve been five years ago.
Marcus: Who knows?
John: Yeah, well we’ve had – we’ve answered a lot of questions and stuff all the time, so…
John: — it’s —
Marcus: Yeah. But this one will kind of do that functionality.
Marcus: And it’s not meant to completely wipe out e-commerce on your site altogether, but maybe you’ve got some diamond in the rough or literally a huge diamond that you sell on the site that you want to, you know, haggle or do whatever. It doesn’t make a difference. If you want to put a Non-Purchasable product in your WooCommerce site, this is the plugin to do it and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s a pretty useful plugin if you’re running a site and you do – because you do run the things you don’t want to put a price to and just have, “Hey, call me.”
Marcus: Right, exactly.
John: Okay, well perfect. Okay, this show is brought to you by…
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Marcus: There you go! All right, well let’s talk about our contest that we have where you can win a premium plugin license. This month we’re giving away – up until February 14th is I think the last day that you’re actually allowed to get involved in this. But we’re giving away the Foliovision FV Player Pro plugin, and you can hear John’s last interview. We left a link in the show notes with the founder and talk about that plugin there. So make sure you go to wppluginsatoz.com/contests to enter that contest and win that premium plugin. I think it’s worth $100, bucks, John?
John: Yeah, it’s worth $75.
Marcus: Seventy-five – almost.
John: Seventy-five bucks. It’s a $75 value, one-year license on the plugin – the plugin I’m just beginning to get into testing, and it’s really a quite fantastic plugin the more I start digging into it. So we’ll have more on that in an upcoming show after I’ve given it a really good review, because I’ve actually got a client that I want to use this plugin on. So…
Marcus: You know, that gives me an idea. You know how you had the segment of you were gonna review a plugin that I suggested —
Marcus: — on YouTube at one time?
Marcus: We should do it where we both dig into this thing, like I say, “Okay, can you do this with it? All right, let’s – you know…”
Marcus: “…let’s try this with it.”
John: Oh, you dig in —
Marcus: I should think about doing something like that.
John: You dig into this – this one here is – is if you use YouTube videos – if you’re a YouTube video – videonet or whatever —
John: You have lots of YouTube videos, your website is full of ‘em, this one that can change the way YouTube videos display on your site. You can add your own ads to it, it has a transcription function where if you get it transcribed, you can add the transcript to the video and people can click on a word in your transcript and go directly to that point in your video. You know, there’s a lot of little functions in this plugin that I have yet to fully test. So something that you’ll want to look into and check out, and it’s something that eventually may – I may get incorporated into the WP Plugins site with all the screencasts that we’ve put up that we have transcribed. So…
Marcus: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, I’ll tell you this right now, listeners: I’ve never heard of any other plugin that can do what this thing claims to do, —
Marcus: — so it’s an original —
John: Yeah —
Marcus: — by every sense of the word.
John: Yeah, and it’s not just YouTube videos. You can do it with Vimeo videos, Viddler videos – all of the major video hosting companies are accommodated by this plugin.
John: So that’s one of the great things about it, so hey, go enter the contest. Win that free license. Enjoy.
John: All right, well that brings us up to our next set of plugins and the next one I’ve got for you here today is called BusinessPress. This is another plugin by Foliovision, the makers of the plugin we were just discussing. This plugin here allows you to take some control over your WordPress website. It allows you to activate – or disable – to disable the capabilities for other admin users. Say you’re the developer of the site and you give an admin rights to your client, and you don’t want them to mess with certain things.
Well, you can go in there and activate/deactivate plug- — you can prevent them from activating/deactivating plugins and themes, prevent them from updating plugins and themes, prevent the core from automatically updating (even the point versions, if you need that done). You can install/edit/delete plugins, themes. There’s a whole lot that this does. It also takes over the generator tag, the REST API, emoji – it allows you to turn those things off on your site with one plugin, preventing all of the excess things that are unneeded on many websites.
A really nice plugin – it replaces anywhere from three to five other plugins that allow you to deal with these tasks all in one plugin, which is a really nice feature. I haven’t fully tested the plugin, but hey, so far it’s looking quite fantastic. Go check it out. It’s called BusinessPress from Foliovision and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Awesome! That’s very cool. All right – okay, so the next plugin I’ve got, it’s named – it’s got a cute name but it has nothing to do with the name. So the plugin is called Weight Loss, and it has nothing to do with diets, fitness, or health. However, it will probably save your health and a lot of stress when it comes to losing money because you may have improper shipping weights —
Marcus: — listed in your products in WooCommerce. So this plugin checks all of your WooCommerce products to make sure that you have weight in them.
Marcus: Because otherwise, it will either cause your postage calculator to malfunction on check out or it will not charge them anything for shipping because it thinks that it doesn’t weigh anything.
John: Yeah. That could be a problem.
Marcus: So this plugin actually searches thousands and thousands of products for you to make sure that you’ve got weights listed within your products, and the ones that don’t have weights, it lets you know which ones don’t have the weight. And so why wait to install it?
Marcus: It’s called Weight Loss and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: And the puns are flowing.
John: All right. Okay, well this leads us up to – we’ve got some listener feedback and audio clips. If you would like to participate in the show by providing feedback or asking us questions or anything along that lines, head over to wppluginsatoz.com, go to the bottom right, click on the SpeakPipe where you can leave us a message, or you can go to our contact page and send us an email with a question. We’re more than happy to do that or you can reach out to us through our Facebook page or through Twitter.
Marcus: Yeah, any of ‘em.
John: Any place. We may not answer you immediately on the forums, but we will get your questions and bring them to the show as soon as we can.
Marcus: Yes, and so we have a question from Jeff in Cleveland, Ohio. He says:
“Hi, John and Marcus. I am writing hoping that you can help. My company uses Gmail, Google apps for email, and I want to be able to change WordPress settings so that when it emails out, meaning WordPress, it is using my Gmail account. That way, it’s authenticated plus I get a copy in my Sent folder. Does this kind of plugin exist?”
And I’m happy to say yes, it does! It is called WP Mail SMTP, and actually you can go right through the step-by-step instructions and it’s got Gmail as one of its preferred things. So you can go right through and authenticate it and all of that. And I’m telling you, within 90 seconds to two minutes after installation, you’ll be sending right through Gmail, so check it out: WP Mail SMTP.
John: Sweet! Nice. Yeah, that was what I would’ve recommended to was WP Mail SMTP, which replaces the standard PHP function in WordPress. And for some cheap hosting providers out there, you just need this plugin anyway.
John: All right, and this show here, value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. You know, we really appreciate all those who donate to the show. We list out the donors in the show that donate $50 or more and on the live shows, we acknowledge them live on the air. And hey, every little bit helps. The donations help cover the general costs of providing the show: the bandwidth, the hosting, all of the transcriptions, etc. etc. – all the miscellaneous things that are continually having to be done. So make sure you go there to wppluginsatoz.com/donate to support the show.
Marcus: Yep, and with that, let’s get to our final plugins.
John: Yep, last set of plugins we have for you today, the final one I’ve got for you is called Shortcode Widget. Now, you would’ve thought that when they put it into core finally to have an HTML widget and a text editor for the regular widget, that shortcodes would’ve started working in the widgets. But you’d think wrong if you thought that, which I did, and it turned out I had a recent site I was developing that we needed to run a shortcode in the widget. I thought, “Oh, well they’ve got the new widgets. Shortcodes should work fine.”
No, it doesn’t quite work that way. So you still have to go out there and get a plugin to allow for shortcodes to run in widgets. This one here creates a specialized widget that allows you to just dump your shortcodes into it and poof, your shortcodes run just the way they’re supposed to. So go check it out: Shortcode Widget, and I give this one a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: So you’re telling me –
Marcus: — this is me in my Matt Mullenweg mind.
John: Yeah, yeah.
Marcus: So you’re telling me people really want to run shortcodes in a widget?
John: Yeah, imagine that!
Marcus: That’s why we don’t add it to core, because we didn’t think people wanted it.
John: Yeah, yeah. I know. Just like it took – what was it? – they just introduced it 14 years later before they had a text editor for the widget?
John: So I guess it’ll be another 10 years before we can build into the core running shortcodes in the widget?
Marcus: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. All right, so we’ll end this show here with another WooCommerce plugin. This one is called Advanced Extra Fees, and I tested out the lite version. There is a premium version to this. WooCommerce has a pretty awesome fees API, but really, it’s only accessible to developers, so this plugin kind of cuts that gap for you and it allows you to set up some rules where different fees will apply to the cart. It depends on who’s buying it, where the products are being shipped to – all that kind of stuff. If it’s a rush order, maybe there’s a fee on it, you know, depending on when they want it shipped and any of that kind of stuff, or if you’re selling event tickets. Heck, everybody is used to paying concert tickets and paying a $10 fee. Hey, tag some extra bucks on there. Keep it for yourself – who knows?
So this one does exactly that, so it sets a different set of conditions. You can either add a negative or a positive theme, maybe you can subtract some money off it, maybe you could get a loyal customer discount of like $3 every time they put an order in and they’ve been a customer for more than a year – stuff like that. This is pretty cool. It also has a schedule of publishing of fees for the future so that if anybody comes on, they can see that the fees are going to increase or change.
Marcus: And all the fees are also visible in the cart, checkout, thank you page, and in the order email as well, so this handles all of it. Again, I tested the lite version. There is a premium version of this that does a lot more features as well, but I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Excellent. That’s always nice to be able to collect all the fees you’re missing out on.
John: After all, that’s how the banks got rich: charging fees.
John: All right, well that closes out this episode and I covered up Open External Links in a New Window, which I gave a 4 to; the BusinessPress, which I gave a 4 to; and then the Shortcode Widget, which I gave a 5 to.
Marcus: And I rated Non-Purchasable WooCommerce Products a 4 out of 5, Weight Loss (which helps you with your shipping) gets a 5 out of 5, and WooCommerce Advance Extra Fees Lite gets a 4 out of 5.
John: And on a final note, if you’re a developer out there and you would like to support the show, you can do that by offering up a premium license for us to give away in a WP Plugins A to Z contest. All you need to do is go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest, where you can submit all the pertinent information for your license to being included in an upcoming contest that we present out to all our listeners out there. Get yourself some exposure. As you can see from this show, we tend to talk about the plugins that are in the contest. So hey, it could be well worth your time.
And also, take your time and subscribe to our newsletter that goes out every week and catch up on the news, information, and the latest shows that come out from WP Plugins A to Z. And that’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye.
Reminders for the show:
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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 @marcuscouch. Thanks for watching and have a great day.
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