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 #352 here.
It’s Episode 352 and we’ve got plugins for Notifications, Admin Email, Shortcode Mastery, Taxonomies, Upsells and WooCommerce Barcodes. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 352 and we’ve got plugins for Notifications, Admin Email, Shortcode Mastery, Taxonomies, Upsells, and WooCommerce Barcodes. 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 sunny shores of Laguna Beach, California, I’m Marcus Couch.
John: And we have the usual great show for you here today. But of course right off the top, don’t forget 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 subscribing to us and reviewing us over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store.
Marcus: That’s right, and remember you can check out our training videos, screencasts, or watch us live the first Monday of every month on YouTube, and we’ve got more details about that on our website and all round. Remember to follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and remember to scribe to our newsletter because all the future giveaways of the show are going to be dependent on you subscribing to that newsletter, so check that out at wppluginsatoz.com.
John: Absolutely. And of course with that, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
And we have our usual great allotment of plugins today and first up I have one that was sent in to us by Jakub Mikita. This plugin here is Notification Plugin and it’s an ultimate notification plugin system for both developers and regular users. It allows you to hook into any of the WordPress actions and sending notifications.
In the free version, the plugin can only be used as an email or webhook, but they have Pushbullet integration, notification for custom fields, conditional setup for it, a file log that’s built in here, and advanced cron manager pro, and a pop slider pro that goes with it. These add-ons go anywhere from $14 to $50 a year, depending on which ones you get, how much they are, and this could be a useful plugin for you if you need notifications to happen off of your website.
Pushbullet’s actually quite useful. I started using Pushbullet about six months to a year ago and I find it really quite handy for getting notifications from my servers, because all of my servers integrate into Pushbullet, so this is something you might consider having a look at.
All in all, it’s a pretty great little plugin. You might want to go check it out. It’s called Notification Plugin. The base plugin is free but the add-ons are premium and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice! That’s a nice plugin. All right, the first one I’ve got for you, John, it’s really easy, really lazy plugin here for everybody. This one is called Admin Email Carbon Copy, and it does something that’s very lazy and very simple, John. All it does is it copies the admin user on every email that goes out through WordPress. So that’s great if you have – I don’t know – a lot of clients, employees, whatever it happens to be – anything that’s going out email-wise and you kind of want to get a sense of what goes out, not just to snoop but maybe sometimes to audit it, to log it, to see what’s going down.
Marcus: And this one helps to do that. I’ll give a great example. I had a membership site that I was running for a client that was 50,000 people – registered users – within a WordPress Multisite. Every now and again, it would send 100 people with an email that said, “Hey, I see you changed your password,” and they never did.
Marcus: And then they would email me as the admin going, “Hey, I never changed this. What’s going on here? Do you got bad security? Did you get hacked? What’s going on?” It was nothing of the kind but if I had this plugin installed, I would know right away that this kind of thing was going on.
Marcus: It’s called Admin Email Carbon Copy and I give it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Whoa! Wrong button!
John: Wrong button!
Marcus: It’s the show closer!
John: There we go…
Hit the wrong button. Hovered over the wrong button and hit the wrong button. That’s okay. Yeah, that’s nice. The first thing I’d suggest though is make sure it’s going to an email account that is not your constant feed, because you could end up with a lot of emails.
Marcus: Oh yeah, of course. Of course.
John: Yep. Other than that, a really great plugin. I like the idea.
John: Okay, well this show here currently brought to you by…
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Absolutely, give me a call. Okay, and also a real brief mention as for contests. Make sure you go sign up for the newsletter as we mentioned at the beginning of the show. But any contests that may start in between the live shows, which we will do, they will be announced in the newsletters, so you can get a first crack at them there. So make sure you go sign up for the newsletter at wppluginsatoz.com.
John: Okay, this brings us up to our next set of plugins. And our next set of plugins here we’ve got for you…what have I got for you? If I get the show notes to actually do what I want them to do…it brings it up here to…quit bouncing, you bloody thing.
All right, what I’ve got for you here is another one that was sent in by one of our listeners out there. It’s sent in by Sergey Timofeev and it’s a premium plugin which costs $20 and it’s called Shortcode Mastery. This plugin here has a high potential for the unlimited creation of shortcodes. The Shortcode Mastery allows you to create shortcodes with custom options, advanced query builders, it uses Twig templates, lots of predefined templates and an editor that helps you to speed up your development process, scripts and styles sectors, and more.
The plugin is available from Envato, which is a very good place to get lots of code nowadays. I found that the plugin is really nice to use. It looks quite nice, so you’ll want to go check this out if you’re looking at creating your own sets of shortcodes for your website, which you may have to do. I mean, we use a lot of customized shortcodes over at wppluginsatoz.com with a pretty old plugin, but it still works well.
So anyway, go check it out. It’s called Shortcode Mastery and I give this plugin – what did I give this plugin here? These notes are being a pain in the neck to me today for some reason. Every time I move ‘em…
John: There we go! A 4-Dragon rating, so go check it out.
Marcus: All right, I’ve got something that’s pretty cool and it’s called Taxonomy List. Now, there are things that are taxonomies, like a product list, like if you did a product category or if you did everything that’s in a specific tag, right? That follows within a specific taxonomy.
Marcus: Well, what if you wanted to display that with a shortcode? This allows you to do it. So with this shortcode with Taxonomy List, you can actually use it where there are pages, posts, widgets – any of that. So if you had just a category of say magnets and you had, you know, refrigerator magnets, yet you also had rare earth magnets and electricity-generating magnets and all the rest of it, you could choose to use the parent and then select all the different child things through a shortcode or you could select just one of the child categories and all of the posts and products would be listed underneath that.
This is all shortcode-based, all taxonomy-driven; the usages are endless for this. And for the first time, we’ve now got a way to do it with a shortcode rather than PHP or any of that stuff. It’s called Taxonomy List and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That’s kind of a cool way to list up your taxonomies. I like that.
John: And with the new added HTML widget, you can actually use shortcodes in your widgets now, so…
John: They finally got around to doing that without having to add it for added support. All right, well this week here we do have a little bit of listener feedback. This is an email that was sent in here directed towards me from one of our listeners out there, Jerome Lacroix. And the email, I’m going to read the email out here and his questions. It says:
If you don’t mind sharing your expertise a bit, please read on.
Two weeks ago, my friend’s site (atelierdecocadeau.com) have been cloaked by a hacker and the site started to show Viagra pills when visited from Google. They added a few PHP files and modified the .htaccess. I fixed the site in about 2 hours, but since it was the first time I was witnessing that, (it’s called a pharma hack, by the way), some questions pop in my head:
- How can this be done by the hacker?
- How can this be prevented?
The WordPress core was up to date, as well as the plugins. The theme is a few years old though (I’m working on a redesign). Both WordFence and GoDaddy (via email) reported successfully the malicious files (which made it easy to spot and delete). I don’t think the database was modified. The admin page is still under /wp-admin and I know I should change this.
But, besides that, what should I do to avoid this happening again? Maybe you could talk about it on the podcast, because I did not find any articles about this specific “cloaking” attack. Any tips for me or useful articles? Thanks for your help and time John.
Jérôme (from Quebec City on the other side of Canada)
Okay, well Jerome, it sounds like you’ve done quite a bit to it. You’ve got a couple of monitoring plugins on there. That is the pharma hack. I’ve seen that many times. I’ve repaired that so many times it’s not funny. And having GoDaddy monitoring the WordFence monitoring is useful. How it happened? Well, that’s kind of a gray area. They could’ve found an old hole in the older theme, it could have come as a sideways attack from another site on the GoDaddy server. It could’ve come as something in an older plugin. There’s any number of attack vectors that they could’ve got in there.
The thing I would suggest to help keep it clean and keep it from being hacked in the future is start by first installing a plugin called WordPress File Monitor. This plugin here monitors all file changes on your WordPress website. You can set it to check every hour, twice a day, or every 24 hours. I have mine all set for every hour and so I get an email if a file has so much as changed in a WordPress website. This has helped save me from hackers numerous times because they hack the site, I get an email, I know immediately that this file doesn’t belong. I’m able to go in, fix the site, and then look for and close the hole that happens.
This is one of the best things you can do for it. Usually hackers, it’s a script that gets in there and hacks your site, not an actual hacker. They upload a small file and the hacker doesn’t show up for a few days to a couple of weeks to finish off the job and then make a mess of your website. So this is one of the ways you can help deal with that is by installing this plugin to add an extra layer of monitoring on your website.
Other than that, all you can really do is monitor, keep everything up to date and secure as best as possible, and ensure that whoever your hosting provider is, that they keep the server up-to-date and secure. That is a big one and on GoDaddy’s servers, it’s kind of hit and miss. You could be on a new server that’s highly secured or you could be on one of their very old servers which is not as secure, even though they say they are.
So that’s what I’ve got for you, Jerome. Hopefully, that helps. I did email you back with the same information but you did say hey, talk about it on the show, and of course I’m sure all the other listeners out there could benefit from this information. So thanks a lot for your questions, Jerome. I greatly appreciate it and so anyone else that would like to send us stuff, please feel free. We’ll get it into the show.
Marcus: Yeah, even if you have a question you’d like to ask us, you can go right to the website and click the little microphone button. Ask us a question, record yourself, we’ll put it on the show.
John: Absolutely. And of course this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, we please ask that you give some value back, that being cash would be preferable. And in that vein, we’d like to acknowledge those who’ve supported the show. Anyone over $50 or more gets a note read out on the monthly live show and the notes printed out in the show which the donation applies to.
And this week here, we’d like to thank all our donors who came in under $50. Thank you very much; you know who you are, so that’s all we’ve got there. And if you’d like to donate to the show, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate, where there’s multiple options to donate to the show.
John: All right, that takes us up to the next part of our show here, the final set of plugins we’ve got for you today. And the last one I’ve got for you is another one that was sent in to us by a listener from Chris Mason, and this is a premium plugin. It’s $300 a year, so it’s a pretty big plugin but it’s a WooCommerce plugin and it’s called One Click Upsells for WooCommerce. This one here allows store owners to offer unlimited one-click upsells and downsells to their customers. It’s 100% post purchase, meaning once someone enters their credit card and clicks ‘buy,’ they are presented with offers relevant.
Website: Hi, my name is Chris Mason, and for the next 60 seconds…
John: Oh, and so I did some clicking on his website.
Website: I’m going to show you how you can increase the average order amount…
Marcus: What did you buy? Did you buy something by accident?
John: No, no. I clicked on his website to look at the plugin here and it’s got an autoplay video hiding somewhere in it. All right, you’re annoying, Chris. Just so you know. I hate autoplay websites.
At any rate, it’s not a bad looking plugin. It looks like it could be quite nice. The cost of the plugin is pretty high. They do have a 14-day trial that costs you only a buck, so if it’s something that looks like it might work for you, make sure you have a good, solid 14 days where you’ll want to test it out, sign up for the 14-day for a dollar. And if it doesn’t work out, cancel and you’re done. If it does, hey, see if the cost of $299 a year is worth it.
So go check it out. I give this plugin a 3-Dragon rating. It’s called One Click Upsells.
Marcus: Yep, and sometimes those are worth it, so you’ve just got to weigh that out.
John: Yeah, you’ve gotta weight that out on your own website. It depends on what you…
Marcus: All right, well here’s what I’ve got here for you today. It’s called WooCommerce Product Barcode Label Printing, and it’s also nicknamed WooLabel, and so what WooLabel enables you to do is print physical product labels for your actual WooCommerce products. So this gives you the option of each label to have a price tag, a scanable barcode, a SKU number, product title – all that kind of stuff. It’s just, you know, like a regular price tag but it allows you to use self-adhesive label stickers to help physically identify products for your physical or online retail store.
So you’re kind of making your own barcodes for your WooCommerce products and you can use those to scan in things and all that, so a lot of different uses. I didn’t have one specifically, but I thought it was very intriguing and I’ve been asked about this a couple of times. It’s called WooCommerce Product Barcode Label Printing and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s kind of nice. I can sort of see it now. I used to own a computer store about 10 years back and of course the e-commerce wasn’t that big yet; it was just growing. But it could be quite useful if you have an actual physical store and you people can order off your website.
John: That way you could track your products through WooCommerce and have the labels for them for people who purchase in-store or your label to ship it out.
Marcus: Yeah, exactly.
John: That’s about the best use I can see for it. All right, well that closes out this episode here. I covered up Notification Plugin, which I gave a 4 to; Shortcode Mastery, which I gave a 4 to; and One Click Upsells, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Admin Email Carbon Copy, which gets a 5 out of 5; Taxonomy List gets a 5 out of 5, and WooCommerce Product Barcode Label Printing, also known as WooLabel, gets a 4 out of 5.
John: All right, and a couple of quick reminders. Please stop into our YouTube channel, check out the screencasts that go up there, and also our training videos and eventually more stuff there. Also 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-contests, where all the pertinent information could be entered there and you can help support the show that way.
And that’s pretty much all we’ve got for you now, so 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.
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