All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of John and Amber’s discussion of this weeks plugins that have been reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #553 here.
It’s Episode 553 and we have plugins for Block for Events, Memory Logging, Download Delay, Starbox Humans, Simple Box, Complianz… and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Transcript for Episode #553
(Plugins lead-in rock music)
John: Alright, what we’ve got here for you here is first off, we’ve got a little bit about ClassicPress. We don’t have any ClassicPress news. We do like to keep mentioning that for anyone who happens to listen to the show that’s a ClassicPress user.
Amber: We do actually have something this week.
John: Oh, do we?
Amber: Yes, I was told by your alter ego we have something.
John: What do we have? Where? I don’t see anything in here. I see nothing in the Show Notes for it.
Amber: No, I don’t see it. That’s–
John: Okay well, we’ll have to bring in next week. I’m not going to dig into the–
Amber: Alright, I’ll have to bring it in next week. Sorry everyone.
John: Yeah next week, we’ll have something new for ClassicPress whatever it might be. But let’s get talking about our plugins.
First plugin I have for you this week is called Events Block for the events calendar. This is the Events Calendar, the one we gave away not too long ago. We have a great interview for not the developer, but their marketing team on the events calendar. But this is a block that you can use for your Guttenberg developments to display your events for the event calendar. A simple little block you just add in there and then it lets you showcase your upcoming events in a nice Guttenberg block on your website. Just a simple, straightforward plugin for that to help you display it in a much cleaner fashion and sense than it normally does. Go check it out. Nice, simple, straightforward plugin, the Events Block for the events calendar and I give it a four dragon rating.
Amber: And the first one I have up is Starbox – The Author Box for Humans.
Amber: This is something I came across when I was doing some research for a client and I thought it was pretty cool. It was created for those who want to present the authors of their posts and articles in a very pretty and clean presentable way. Most theme author boxes that come with themes aren’t really all that pretty I find, so going out and finding one that you like seems to be the best idea. This one has a lot of options. It’s totally free. And what you can do is you can personalize each author, set it up so that’s visible in only posts or pages or both at the same time. You can set it up where the box appears in relation to the post or article whether it’s on top, the side, below, your choice. It has a Google attachment to it so like when people go searching through Google, the little author box is set up here. You’ll actually see that picture with the information you put there in the Google search. I thought it was pretty cool.
Amber: It’s very easy to use, very simple to set up. It’s essentially a bunch of toggles and then you choose whichever template you want your author box to look like and then you add in the information. Very easy and very pretty. I rate this at five dragons.
John: The next one I have for you here is called Memory Meter. Hang on a second, I got to take a break, take this here.
Amber: No it’s, I’ll carry the show along for a moment. Memory Meter – View and log memory usage and memory limits. Let’s see, he wrote down here, Memory Meter is a simple plugin that adds a memory meter to the admin bar in your website’s dashboard and front end so you can see memory usage. It also provides latest and flagged memory usage logs. I can see how that would be useful especially if your site runs a bit slower and you want to know what the heck is going on with it, see if any excess memory is being used up and by what.
John: Alright, back to the show.
Amber: I read out what you wrote down for this.
John: Oh okay well that doesn’t help it. Alright, Memory Meter. What it’s used for? This is a plugin if you’re having memory issues on your WordPress website which is a common occurrence in WordPress is out of memory issues or you get notices from your cheap hosting providers saying your memory use is excessive, you can install this plugin. And it will log and give you a lowdown on what items are using memory in your site. Tells you memory usage by file size, memory usage or percentage of memory, PHP max limits, and usage logs, latest and flagged.
It’s a way to help debug and find out what is going on, on your WordPress website without the headaches of trying to track it down in other manual ways. So I thought this was a very useful plugin that could be used. It’s a relatively new plugin and it could help save you some time. So you might want to check this one out if you’re having some memory issues on your WordPress website. So go check this one out. It’s the Memory Meter – View and log memory usage and memory limits. And I give it a four dragon rating.
Amber: Very nice. I definitely see how useful that could be.
Amber: Next up for me is Simple Author Box. This was another one that I came across during my research there. And I think this one is a really good alternative or runner up to the Starbox one. Because this one has a lot more options. It has a Pro version. So the free version for this one for presenting your author box is pretty simple but it still gives you more specific personalization options. Like you can change the size of the box’s padding, change the color and text options. There’s more information you can add in. It’s a little more easy to personalize it. But if you really want to get the full use set of it, you will have to go Pro. The free version gives you just enough. The Pro version is what you would really want to go for. It’s kind of a step up from the other plugin as well. There’s a lot to it. You can really personalize it. You can change the social icons, you can change the entire color pallet. There is so much you can do with this. I definitely recommend checking this out if you are looking for more in-depth fancy author box. I rate this at four dragons.
Amber: Hambian (Phonetics 00:26:40) had a comment here.
John: What’s that?
Amber: He says I have to keep checking resource usage in cPanel. Does this allow me to stay in info in WP backend rather than going to cPanel?
John: It looks like from the plugin of the memory usage, it’s similar to what you get in cPanel to see what’s happening there, resource usage. This one here just tells you which files or which ones are using the memory and how much memory they are using. So it seems like a shortcut to me instead of going to cPanel because it tells you the memory usage by file size, the current memory usage, percentage of memory limit. And it gives you logs with it. And they don’t have any screenshots of what it is right now. So I would imagine that.
Amber: I can definitely see that making life a little easier.
John: I would imagine it would be a whole lot easier to use. Okay, the final one I’ve got for you here today is one for those of you who are giving out PDF files or music file or who knows. If you’re allowing downloads from your website, specific files maybe after they have signed up for something or you’re just giving something away free but you want them to sign up, well this one creates a download delay when you wrap the link for the file in the Short Code. And this could be anything; archives, mp3, PS etcetera.
It pops up a window where you can either showcase in advertisements or showcase a form to fill out, you know, get them to do something while they are waiting for the file to download. Basically, they shouldn’t have to wait but what you’re doing is you are creating a daily long enough to push some advertisement or promotion or some additional item into them and say hey, check this out while we prepare this in the background. You know then their file starts downloading and then they ignore it most of the time. But if it’s something that you can work with your marketing team to develop, it could be a major benefit to your site to increase your number of signups to your mailing lists or encourage them to do something. Or if you’re selling ads on your site just show one more ad on your site and make an extra penny, anything along that lines. Seems like a very useful tool. I found it was very nice and something to go check out. And it is the Files Downloads Delay and I give it a five dragon rating.
Amber: I didn’t hear a dragon (inaudible 00:29:20).
John: Yeah it fired.
John: There it goes.
Amber: For some reason I’m not hearing it all of a sudden. That’s true. I got this pretty cool plugin.
John: What’s that?
Amber: Last one I have for today is Complianz – GDPR/CCPA Cookie Consent. I thought this was a pretty decent one that it covers all the bases. It does have a Pro version. And I think if you are looking specifically to cover all your bases and also have logs, you are going to want to get the Pro version. But the free version will give you a decent amount to work with.
It takes a little time to set up. Definitely not as easy as some others that I have come across in the past but it’s very in-depth. You can set it to one of these countries; Canada, European Union, UK, USA, Australia, South Africa, or Brazil. You can also set it to sub regions within these countries and you can set as a banner template, just as a cookie consent popup. You can have legal documents, no jQuery Dependency. There is a lot just in the free version.
The Pro version also gives you the ability to hold records of consent, set up the Respects, the Do Not Track settings and Global Privacy Controls in the end-users browsers; use Google Consent Mode, and integrate with Europe Consent Framework for publishers, plus a lot more. I think if I were to say everything, it would take me a good 10 minutes just to read it all out.
Amber: If you have a lot of traffic from these countries, this would be a fantastic addition to your site in my opinion. I rate it at four dragons.
John: Alright, yeah there are so many cookie consent plugins out there now.
Amber: Hambian said a number of dodgy download sites used Delayed Free Downloads as incentive to pay for downloads.
John: Oh yeah absolutely.
Amber: I never thought about that.
John: They do, do that. I know of them. I sometimes will wait for it, sometimes I won’t. You got to have trust in your users and you’ve got to make sure you’re not just slamming them with useless crap when you use something like this. All those downloads, dodgy to download sites. I miss the days when downloads were more trustable than they are now.
Amber: Yeah me too.
Amber: Just go on to the site and see it from anywhere.
John: Hey, we have some listener feedback this week.
Amber: Yes, I forgot to mention that.
John: Alright. Here we go. Feedback from a listener out there; Hi Amber and John. I’m enjoying the show and listen every week. I have learned a great deal from you both and am glad you have added the section with Amber asking you, John, questions. I find I am learning even more than I anticipated. An avid listener. Thanks a lot.
John: Thanks a lot whoever sent that into us. We greatly appreciate it.
Amber: That’s exciting. I’m glad my questions are helpful.
John: Well, I’m sure they are. Alright, so we do have a few other things here. Let’s wander into–
John: Absolutely. Thanks to Steve Goodtime and Brant Matthews who donated that awesome jingle. Alright, we do have a contest. Currently, we are giving away a single lifetime domain license for Interactive Geo Maps valued at $49. It’s a really cool plugin. This is a mapping plugin that doesn’t give you high definition maps, but you know maps done for simple stuff, you know. I like to follow this trail here and you can trail out that map. It gets down to regions. It even gets down to counties on some maps. You know, North American maps, they can get down to counties with some of them. You know, some in Europe and other places. But it is a really great map plugin. And it allows you to do all kinds of cool things, colorize the different states and provinces or countries, or add a marker on there that when people mouse up on it, it gives them some more description on it, just lots of really cool features on this plugin. If you are interested in this, hey, go enter the contest. Contest is running until April 6th with the winner being announced on April 7th. So it’s a really great plugin. And yeah make sure you come check it out folks and go signup and register for it. All we ask for is your email address and we’ll send you our newsletter if we are ever sending out newsletters anymore. Not sure, haven’t seen one.
Amber: That is 11 days left to enter for your chance to win.
John: Yes so, running up real quick. Starting to run out of time real quick. Alright, cover up a couple of quick things here. And what we are going, the plugins we covered in this show here. I covered up the following ones; the Events Block for the events calendar which I gave a four to, the Memory Meter – View and log memory usage and memory limits which I gave a four to, and the Files Download Delay which I gave a five to.
Amber: And I covered Starbox – the Author Box for Humans which I rated at five, Simple Author Box which I rated at four, and Complianz – GDPR/CCPA Cookie Consent which I rated at four.
John: Alright, cool. Alright, we had a meeting in the pre-stream today for those of you who might have caught the pre-stream. We decided that now that the (inaudible 00:35:13) has been past, we are going to have a meetup on June 25th.
Amber: Super exciting.
John: And that information, we’ll get all the details out later and how you can sign up for it because it will be a limited number of people who can show up, because you know I can’t host the entire world as much as I would like to. Because it will combined with the meetup from the Rogue’s Tavern and also at the No Agenda Show. I’ll be putting it up on No Agenda as a meetup. So we’ll have a whole bunch of different types of people showing up for this meetup. Once I get that all organized, we will be announcing out where you can go signup and RSVP for it. So it is coming.
Alright, would you like to be on an interview show? If you would like to be interviewed, you are a developer, a WordPress worker, or know something about WordPress, you are marketing WordPress plugins, you’ve got something to say about WordPress itself or whatever, you want to be on the interview show, reach out to me at wppluginsatoz.com/interview and schedule an interview with me and we will get you on an interview show. And if you have plugins or suggestions for plugins or anything else, just go to wppluginsatoz.com/submitpluginreview and we will get that information into the Show Notes. Alright, it is time for us to head into the Q&A segment.
It’s Question and Answer Time!
John: With Amber.
Amber: Oh I heard that one. That one was loud and clear.
John: Well it must be, they are probably at different levels in that thing.
Amber: So before I get into the questions, if anyone out there has any questions they would like to have asked on the show, send them into me at email@example.com and we will get them up here and we’ll see if we can stump my dad. My first question for you is how long is too long to wait for updating your WordPress site?
John: Okay well that’s kind of a variable. I find that you need to, if you are going to keep your site up to date, you need to do it at least monthly, at least once a month. If you take it out two months, your plugins could be two or three versions behind. You could be one to two versions behind on WordPress. And it gets risky, riskier more problematic to leap forward two or three versions of a plugin.
Especially we’ll take for example WooCommerce, one of my most feared ones to update. It’s been really good for a very long time. Hopefully it stays that way. But there are times though if you don’t keep it up to date in all the increments and then they suddenly do a big update from an incremental point update to a new version update, if you jump to that new version without the increments along the way causing it to do the updates to the database along the way, you can break it. And then it’s no longer fun. It makes your life miserable.
And the same thing with WordPress itself. You know, if you jump two or three versions of WordPress and the points don’t, you know, one or two versions of WordPress and the points versions weren’t done along the way, it can break it. So I try to do them at least once a month if I’m trying to keep them up to date. If you don’t do them and you just don’t want to update, you can just leave it at a certain set point and they will work okay for a while provided that the plugins that you are using don’t develop any holes that are there are discovered. You can keep going for a long time. There’s many people out there that are running two or three versions olds of WordPress along with very old plugins. But the problem is that they were all working perfectly at that time.
And sometimes you update and things don’t work perfectly. And you spend time fixing whatever went wrong with the update. It’s a Catch-22. Do I update and everything goes well, or I update and it goes wrong, or I don’t update and everything stays well. I don’t update and one of the plugins suddenly has a security flaw in it. Well, it didn’t suddenly. It had the security flaw the whole time. It discovered the security flaw and now it’s been attacked or taken advantage of. So it’s like if you’re keeping it up to date too long is two months. Past two months is getting too long. So never let it go more than two months. So I try not to. Even on my own sites, I keep them up to date.
And sometimes they will get out two months and I’ll look at it and I’ll go okay well. And of course the big thing, if you’re going to be updating and you’ve gotten some stuff that’s old, make damn sure you’ve made your backup immediately before updating anything. Never go oh I don’t need a backup today. I’ve made that mistake. Oh I don’t need to back up today. It will all be fine. Boom, hit the first plugin, crashes the whole goddamn site. And then you’re like oh shit, what version of that plugin was it? You know, because you can revert back. That’s the nice thing about WordPress. WordPress does revert back.
Amber: Next question. If you install two plugins that do the same thing for example monster insights and exact metrics, will having them both running simply cover all bases, or will it cause crossed wires and create issues or will it just be redundant to try running them both?
John: It’s both redundant and it may cause crossed wires and issues because it’s two plugins doing the same thing, trying to grab the same information. It could also be considered spamming by the search engines because you’ve got two sets of that information hiding in your code.
Amber: I can see that causing issues.
John: Yeah because each one and then the same thing with other plugins. If you’ve got two plugins doing the same thing such as sliders, you know, it’s redundant information at that point. But you know any time you’ve got two plugins doing the same thing, it’s redundant information and it could cause you cross wired issues depending on the plugin or the plugins involved in it. Especially with the SEO plugins, you don’t want more than one. One SEO plugin is all you want. Because anything more than one could create SEO issues to the search engines because you have double the information in your code. Because each one uses its own blocks to present answer information.
Amber: Hambian said something to my last question there. He said I update most days.
John: Yeah well if you’re only working on a couple of sites, easy enough to do. Back in the beginning, when I was doing just a few websites, every time I would log into those websites, first thing I did was update any new plugins that were due for update. So if you’re logging into a website regularly and consistently, absolutely, update immediately. Just get it done, out of the way but make sure you have a backup. Always back up. Whatever you are updating, always back it up.
Amber: I think Hambian said is any plugin could conflict with any other plugin. The more plugins, the more risk.
John: True, absolutely true. My record right now is 125 plugins on a website.
Amber: I’m going to have to take the sandbox and see if I can beat your record.
John: I had it on a live site. I had it on a live site. A live site, it had 125 plugins. I have since pared this website down to about 60 because I realized I didn’t need all the plugins. I was able to do some of it with code and other stuff but yeah 125. And as he said, increased risk on the plugins are similar. Absolutely, the risk goes higher. That is a problem. It’s true. The more plugins you run, the more risk you run.
The number of plugins, you know, the question always been answered about how many plugins should I have in my WordPress website? You have as many plugins as you need to perform the tasks that you need. If you can get by with five plugins, five plugins is all you need. If you need 50 plugins, 50 plugins is what you need. It’s for whatever functionality you’re going to do. Now the thing is you can’t take a lot of plugin information or a lot of plugins only provide you know one specific item. You can actually put that code into the functions file or create a massive plugin that covers all the bases.
I used to have, once upon a time, I used to have a default plugin that I would load into websites that had all the specialized functionality all in one plugin. So it depends on what you want to do and how you are doing it. Yeah it was 125 not 120. It was 125. And it wasn’t just to see if I could do it. It was because I kept adding information to the site.
John: I have pared that site. That’s one of my own personal websites and I have pared it down to about 60 now I think.
Amber: You are doing it for that reason but I want to see if I can, in one of my playground sites, I want to see if I can put more than 125, have them all actually be useful and just see if I can break the record just because I want to.
John: Okay well they got to be useful. They can’t just be you know go to 126 because I had dumped 126. They got to be useful. They got to make something out of the website. They can’t just be useless.
Amber: Well no, that would be totally pointless. You managed to make 125, all totally useful and you are using it, I have to see if I can break that record.
John: Okay, well good luck with that. Alright, read out your last question then we’ll close this out and deal with it only for those on the YouTube channel.
Amber: Alright, what was the oddest site you’ve ever come across in regards to the way it was set up and the way it ran, and what about it was so odd?
John: That one will take me some thought. Maybe I’ll remember that while we listen to our girl take us on out.
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