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WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #350 here.
It’s Episode 350 and we’ve got plugins for Facebook Events, Scheduled Posts, Responsive Menus, Scheduled Tweets, Post Reading Progress and Using Excel Tables directly in WordPress. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 350, and we’ve got plugins for Facebook Events, Scheduled Posts, Responsive Menus, Scheduled Tweets, Post Reading Progress, and Using Excel Tables Directly in WordPress. 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 in the cloudy but sunny shores of Laguna Beach, California, I am Marcus Couch.
John: And we have the usual great show for you here today. This is our monthly first of Monday every month, our live show that we do, and we’ve got some great plugins 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 us and leaving us a review in those places.
Marcus: And a good hearty welcome to everybody who’s watching us here as we do every first Monday of the month on YouTube at 10:00 Pacific Time. But while you’re on YouTube, you can also check out our training videos, screencasts, and as I said, watch us live. You can follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and remember to go on our website, wppluginsatoz.com and subscribe to our newsletter.
John: You had an idea about the newsletter.
Marcus: And yes, the newsletter. I got an idea. You know, we do contests; we should actually kind of do a secret password and half of it you get on the show and half of it you get in the newsletter. This is for future contests. Like half the link will be in the show, the other half of the link will be in the newsletter. That way, they’ve got to subscribe to both the show and the newsletter. I think we’re gonna do that.
John: I like that. I like that. That’s something to work through and figure it all out.
John: All right, well with all that being said, it’s time to dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
Marcus: All right.
John: So off we go.
Okay, and we have the usual great plugins for you today and the first one I have up for you is called Facebook Events. Now, this plugin here is one that you may find the need for eventually and what it does for you is it displays Facebook Events into your website, and you can pull them pretty much any public Facebook page using this plugin and display those events into your site. Now, they’ve even got an additional tool you can get from them and go pro with it. They call it the WP Event Aggregator Tool, and this allows you to stick those events into some of the most common event calendars, like the event calendars from – oh, God. I forgot their name now. The Event Calendar – everyone knows what the Event Calendar is.
Marcus: Modern Tribe.
John: That’s it, Modern Tribe. Thank you. I couldn’t get it in my head. But anyway, this is a really great plugin. It worked well. I had a client that I needed to set up some Facebook events onto their page. You go in there, you can either display the events via a widget or a shortcode onto the page. You do have to go create an app in Facebook to get it to work. But it takes a little bit of set up but it’s well worth it in the end. It’s a pretty decent plugin; go check it out. It’s called Facebook Events and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice. I’ve used something similar to that. I’m going to check this one out because it looks like from what I’ve seen here on the WordPress Repository page that it does some things that the other one I tried did not do, so we’ll check that out.
The first plugin that I’ve got today for you is called Last Scheduled Post Time. Now, one thing I don’t like about WordPress scheduled posts function is that it never tells me
is in the place that I need it most, which is the post editing screen, and this plugin will actually show the date and time of the last scheduled post within the publish box, —
Marcus: — which means before I hit ‘publish’, it actually shows me and says, “Hey, your next scheduled post is going to be here,” you know, “April 19th. That’s your next scheduled post.” Okay, well now I know that. I can schedule this one for April 20th —
Marcus: — or what have you. So this is just a simple little reminder that tells you when the next scheduled post is going out so that you don’t overlap, so that it allows you a little bit of time to schedule, not crowding your content, kind of space it out. A really nice plugin: Last Scheduled Post Time and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s very cool. Yeah, that’d make it a lot easier instead of having to go all the way back to the list to see what you have.
Marcus: Yeah. You know, one other feature that it did have is it actually has a shortcode which is, you know, next scheduled post. It’s just a blank post to show when the next scheduled post is going to be. So you can actually use that as a frontend content saying, “Hey, the next product,” – whatever – “the next briefing is going to come out on this day at this time,” —
Marcus: — which is pretty cool.
John: That’s kind of useful, too. That’s a way to —
Marcus: Yeah, it’s a nice little preview.
John: Your content —
Marcus: What’s coming, yeah.
John: I like that. All right, well that brings us up to this show here currently brought to you by:
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Marcus: All right.
John: Okay, and we do have a winner for the contest —
John: — contest plugin —
John: I forgot to pull that name up before the show. For some reason I had a lot on my mind today.
John: And that winner will be announced in the following prerecorded episodes that’ll be coming out in the next couple of weeks and we’ll put it in this week’s newsletter. But we do have winner. We had numerous entries into it. It finally got cleaned up and functioning correctly, except I did make for one error in there that somebody called me out on Twitter. They said, “Hey, kinda funky here. It says Valentine’s Day.” I said, “Oops, I forgot that.” Well, April Fools.
John: The end of the contest was April Fool’s Day, so other than that, it went much better this time and we do have a winner. And that winner will get his notification and he can get the license from Foliovision. They will deliver it to him for the FV Player Pro Plugin, and thank you very much to Foliovision for supporting us. And we do have another contest in the queue, which will be announced in the coming up prerecorded shows. I’ve just got to confirm it with the developer. He said okay with it, but I’ve got to confirm it with him and make sure we’ve got it all squared away.
Marcus: Nice. Thanks to Foliovision for that big giveaway.
Marcus: And that’s something that I’ve been playing around with. I really, really like that plugin.
John: Absolutely. I’ve been using it off and on on a couple of websites and their free version is quite nice to use too, so I’ve used it on a couple of client sites – the free version – because that’s all they really needed. But the premium version, very useful if you’re really dedicated to your videos.
Marcus: Cool. All right, let’s go to our next set of plugins.
John: Next set of plugins we’ve got for you. The first one I’ve got up here is called Responsive Menu, and Responsive Menu – now, I know in this day and age of mobile themes and mobile-ready themes and CSS and everything else, having a responsive menu plugin is kind of a redundant thing. But every once in a while you’re going to run across a client who’s running an old theme and is not ready yet to spend all the money to update and replace that theme. But they need a responsive menu for mobile devices. After all, 50 percent plus of traffic is now coming mobile.
Well, there are several responsive menu plugins out there, but this is one of the better ones I’ve found in the free Repository, and they do have a premium version which can be useful. But what it does for you is it simply allows you with a few clicks install a plugin, go in and change some settings and set it all up. You change out the menus from the nonresponsive in your WordPress theme to a responsive menu. It requires a little bit of setup and you’ve got to have a little teeny bit of CSS knowledge or at least figure out what the CSS wrappers are for the menus, so you can tell the code when it goes down the mobile size when to hide the menu that is already currently there, and bring out the mobile menu.
But it turns out to be quite a useful plugin and I’ve found it to be fantastic. And of course, since it is a free version and they have a premium version, it knocks a point off of it, so I give this one a 4-Dragon rating. Go check it out: Responsive Menu.
Marcus: And that’s actually a nice plugin to use, even if you do have a theme that is set up for it, sometimes this might even be better – a better experience.
John: That’s possible, too. There is that possibility to get a better experience out of it.
John: But almost all the themes I use have a really good experience for the mobile, so…
Marcus: Now, let me ask: does it take – do you set up a separate menu just for this plugin, or does it just take a menu?
John: No, it takes the menus you assign to it – the same ones you are using. What it does is it looks for the CSS wrapper code for the menu on the theme, and when it goes down to say 700, it hides that main menu theme and it produces the mobile menu.
Marcus: Hm, interesting.
John: So it’s kind of useful. I found it to be a little different than what I had experienced in the past where they created and set up an entirely different menu that you had to populate and set up. This uses the exact same menus; it just takes and hides via CSS the other menu and produces this one.
Marcus: Wow…wow. Well, let’s move on to the next one here. Now, there are a lot of different tools out there that allow you to schedule tweets. If you used tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, this plugin does exactly the same thing. It’s called Scheduled Tweets and it lets you compile and schedule a series of tweets and their respective links, images, hashtags – all that. Once you set it up with your Twitter credentials, you’re actually able to use it right out of the box and create your own kind of Twitter publishing machine.
It’s very simple, very easy to use, great solutions for anybody that uses Twitter frequently. The difference between this plugin and the ones that I’ve reviewed in the past in terms of tweeting is that this doesn’t rely on tweeting out posts, which is generally what we do, right? When we have a new piece of content, it automatically tweets out that new piece of content back to Twitter. This does not do that. This does entirely different. This is just a Twitter machine like Buffer and Hootsuite and CoSchedule and the rest of it, so now you’re just running kind of a tweet machine coming out of WordPress, completely independent of any content that you run on the site. Very cool, very awesome plugin. I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: The dragon is loud today.
John: Ah, that’s all right. This is a pretty awesome looking plugin. This is one that’s one that I need to dig into, because if you can do this from your WordPress dashboard instead of having to rely on Hootsuite or any other place, this can save tons of time.
Marcus: Yeah – and you own your data.
John: Well, yeah. You own your data plus I can set up all the tweets that I sit here and do manually on the live show day. I can set them all up in the site and say they’ll just go out.
Marcus: Yep, including the image.
Marcus: You can preload the image in there with it, too.
John: Oh, sweet! Okay, yeah. That’s definitely one worth checking out, folks. Go check that one out: Scheduled Tweets. It looks like a nice one.
Marcus: Yeah, the one thing that I did not see that it does is import. But, you know, can’t have everything.
John: Well, you can. It just takes more money and time.
Marcus: Yeah, I mean plugins like WP All Import actually could do it. But that’s, you know, $250 plugin suite.
John: All right, well that brings us to this show here is listener-supported and we don’t have any feedback or audio clips this week. But if you would like to support the show, you can go to wppluginsatoz.com. You can leave a comment via SpeakPipe in the lower right-hand corner or you can contact us through our Contact page, send us an email, or hit us up on our Facebook or even on Twitter. We do respond – not always really quick, but we do respond and we try to get to people as soon as we can with any questions that are sent our way.
Marcus: Absolutely. If you’re looking for a plugin, you’ve got a problem with your site in terms of, you know, what particular plugins to do, or any need or anything that you’ve reviewed that we talk about on the show, please let us know. We’ll share it here in the show and also a nice benefit is also that if you put a link in it, we’ll link back to your site, so you get a little link love with it. You know, it’s a good thing.
It’s funny that John and I, you know, in the first couple of years that we did this show, had kind of the lower audience and got feedback all the time. But as we’ve grown and as we’ve grown like four or five times the audience, people are too shy. I don’t understand.
John: I don’t understand it, either. It’s been a while since we’ve had very much contact.
John: At any rate though, this show is also a value-for-value, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. And in that vein, we’d like to acknowledge those that have supported the show in the past few weeks. Every time we do the live show, we acknowledge anyone who’s donated in between the live shows. Fifty dollars or more gets you a note read out on the air and fully acknowledged, plus the links in the show notes. Also, $50 and below, well, you remain anonymous and we thank you very much.
We’d like to acknowledge $50 came in on April 14 from Jezweb Pty. Ltd., and his note in here is:
“This donation is on behalf of Wallsend Executive Apartments – https://www.wallsendapartments.com.au a WordPress website built by Jezweb https://www.jezweb.com.au in Australia with Elementor, our favourite plugin and page builder for 2018.”
And as you can see real briefly, we’re showing you the website they’ve built with it, so thanks a lot, Jez! We really appreciate your support. You have been an ardent supporter of the show over the last year and it’s very much appreciated.
Marcus: Yeah, I’ve gotta buy that Elementor.
Marcus: I do.
John: I keep running into it, so yes, I’m going to have to head into it.
John: So if you would like to support the show or donate, you can go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate, and there’s multiple ways you can choose to donate to the show there and support it. And all the monies that come in, well, none of them buy us beer or anything. They actually help pay for the things that are required to run the show: bandwidth, time, keeping the server up and running – all the et cetera stuff, so these are the things that the money goes towards. It’s not going into our pockets, so…
John: And also to our Patreon donors, there’s still a couple over there. I’ve decided to leave Patreon running and thank you very much to the Patreon donors.
Marcus: Absolutely, and let’s head into the home stretch.
John: All right, and the final plugin of today that I have for you is called Post Reading Progress. Now, this plugin was sent in to us by – oh, whoa, it’s too small — Piotr Szarmach – I probably butchered his name, but thank you very much. And also, if you send plugins in to us, I will try to get them into the show.
And what this one is, this is a simple plugin. I haven’t seen one of these in a while and I’m still kind of questioning whether they’re needed or viable or not, but I still like to bring up things that people bring us. Basically what it is, it’s a simple plugin that you install and it puts a bar at the top of the post so as people scroll down and they’re reading the post, the bar fills up, giving them an idea on how much content is left in the post for them to read. So if you’re writing 2,000-word articles, this is kind of helpful to people to figure out, “Well, how much longer do I gotta read through this if it’s getting boring near the end,” which happens.
Sometimes I’m reading an article, really interesting the first couple of paragraphs, last few paragraphs – boring. You’re like, “Well, is there really more information or do I just bail it here?” So this kind of gives them an idea, so I’m not sure if these are really good and viable. It might just give people an idea, “Well, I’m halfway through it – no longer good – yeah, bail it.” Or, “Halfway through it, still great. Let’s keep going.” You know, I don’t know. At any rate, you might want to check it out. If you’ve got something like that, not a bad plugin. It works all right and it’s called Post Reading Progress and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Yeah, I’ve never had much use for those, but…
John: There’s been a bunch of them produced over the years and this one came in a couple, three weeks ago. I’ve got a list of plugins in the queue to get in here, and so I decided to pull this one in.
Marcus: Cool. Well, let’s wrap it up here. This one is called Excel Tables, and this is a very unique plugin that I just had to check out on behalf of a new client project. And what it does is it gives you the opportunity to import and Excel file directly into WordPress. We’ve kind of all wanted this for a while.
John: We have.
Marcus: File in via shortcode after you set it up in the Excel tables tab with in the admin screen. It not only imports and displays the Excel file very nicely, but it also, John, allows the editing of the file as well. So it’s a great solution for those of you who want to use Excel tables directly in WordPress without having to convert them to those ugly HTML tables. Very nice – it’s called Excel Tables and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s nice. And where do you edit the Excel table? Do you just set it and re-upload it, or…?
Marcus: Well, you – it’s just another tab on the side of the WordPress admin panel.
Marcus: You know, menu on the side.
Marcus: And so you set up your Excel tables there.
John: Oh, okay.
Marcus: You upload them, set the parameters on how they’re going to display and all that right there and then you just insert the shortcode of that table —
Marcus: — within your post’s or page content.
John: Okay, so then you can pop back in there and edit the table. Okay, that’s —
John: — kinda nice.
Marcus: Now, what I’d really like this to do (which it doesn’t do right now) is be able to import other stuff, like Google Sheets into this.
Marcus: That way you could have something that is updated real-time —
Marcus: — be embedded within your WordPress site.
John: Yep, absolutely. All right, well that closes this out and I covered up in this episode Facebook Events, which I gave a 4 to; Responsive Menu, which I gave a 4 to; and then Post Reading Progress, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I reviewed Last Scheduled Post Time, which gets a 4 out of 5; Scheduled Tweets gets a 5 out of 5, and Excel Tables gets a 4 out of 5.
John: Very good roundup today. All right, and some reminders for you. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel where screencasts for the live show goes up later and watch any add-on stuff I may or may not add right now. Also, a note to developers out there. If you would like to support the show, you want to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest, or if you have a plugin to submit, go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugins and you can submit your plugin there.
And if you want to be interviewed, hey, hit me up there also. There’s a page there in the same area to be able to be interviewed. The interview shows are a bit behind in being uploaded right now, but I’m still taking them, so all of those things can help you out along the way. We try to put as much back as we can. And that’s pretty much it, so 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 email@example.com. 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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