Transcript of Episode 360 WP Plugins A to Z

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 #360 here.


It’s Episode 360 and we’ve got plugins for Copying Posts from Another Blog, Media Library Management, Self-Hosted Google Fonts, Drag & Drop Surveys and Instant Discounts for Newsletter Subscription. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #360

Marcus:           It’s Episode 360 and we’ve got plugins for Copying Posts from Another Blog, Media Library Management, Self-Hosted Google Fonts, Drag & Drop Surveys and Instant Discounts for Newsletter Subscription. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!

[Intro]

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’re here with another fantastic episode of WP Plugins A to Z show for you, and right off the top, don’t forget you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you’ve got a couple of minutes, we’d greatly appreciate your time in Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and the iTunes Store, subscribing to the show and leaving us reviews there.

Marcus:           That’s right. That does help out with the rankings and brings new people to the show and makes John and I feel better. Also remember, you can check out our training videos, screencasts, and watch us live on YouTube every first Monday of the month in the morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. You can also follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and subscribe to our newsletter at wppluginsatoz.com. That’s where you get all the news about WordPress because we like to keep this show about plugins.

John:                Absolutely. And with all that being said, it’s time to dive right into the meat and potatoes.

[Plugins lead-in music]

And we have our usual great allotment of six great plugins for you today and right off the top, I have for you a plugin called Enhanced Media Library. Now, if you’ve got a library of media in your WordPress website, being images, PDF files, music – whatever you’ve got in there – you may eventually hit a point where you want to organize it as a recent client of mine did. They asked about “How can I organize the media library up into categories or tags, be able to create galleries just out of the media library itself?”

Well, this plugin here is one that will help you do that quite well. It allows you to categorize the items via categories, tags, as well as any other taxonomies that may have been created by any other plugins or themes in your website. Once you finish doing all that categorization then, you can also use shortcodes to then display the groups of categories you’ve just created. Create the galleries, create a gallery, put all the images into a gallery, use a shortcode, and display that specific gallery nice and simple. You can do the same thing with playlists or PDF files or anything else with this plugin.

This one here turned out to be quite a good one. I reviewed a couple of others; they’ll show up later in the show or in other shows. At any rate, Enhanced Media Library, you might want to go check this one out because I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.

[Dragon roar]

Marcus:           Come on, John. The media library is just fine the way it is.

John:                Oh, absolutely! That one needs —

Marcus:           [snickering]

John:                — whatsoever. [chuckling] The default media library, they put so much time into everything —

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                — else in the WordPress. Everyone is going, “When are you going to do something with the media library?” Uh…nobody cares. You’re right, nobody cares.

Marcus:           [electronic distortion of Skype audio] Well, they have been listening to the show for a long time and listening to us complain about the media library over the years. Now that’s a totally funny inside joke.

John:                Yeah, can you —

Marcus:           [electronic distortion continued] All right, and first —

John:                — can you hold one second —

Marcus:           Yeah?

John:                — for me and call right back in, because you just suddenly started breaking up. It’s such a mess. Yes, the media library is an absolute mess, so…all right.

Marcus:           It’s not a mess. Come on, it’s perfect the way it is, John.

John:                Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Marcus:           [chuckle]

John:                You’d think WordPress would do something about it.

Marcus:           Yeah, well anybody listening knows that it’s an inside joke. I’ve been complaining about the media library for years and this is a great plugin to help declutter that mess.

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           So let me talk to you about something new, John, that I’ve come across that it’s pretty cool. [electronic distortion of audio] And actually, I’m going to try and use this on my own personal site and make it so that it pulls episodes of this show onto my site. It is called Copy Posts and it’s by a company called iPressGo, and it allows you to duplicate posts from any other WordPress blog that has the REST API enabled and put it onto your own WordPress blog as either a draft or published or whatever. In addition, you can create multiple kind of copy jobs that will automatically schedule posts to be duplicated onto your blog, so that is awesome.

Now, you could actually set a start time or time between posts, a total limit of how much stuff you want to bring over – any of those things – and then you save your copy job. So it allows you to do multiple sites, not just one. It runs in the background and it runs until stop or delete the specific jobs, so pretty cool. You can create higher limits so that it can actually do it in a higher frequency or you can actually set it lower if you only want it to post every now and again. So it does the most recent available according to the schedule and settings that you configure. It’s something I want to do to try and pull in the podcast from WP Plugins A to Z over to my site so that I don’t have to do it myself manually every week. Check it out. It’s called Copy Posts and I rated it a 4 out of 5.

John:                That’s a pretty cool plugin, but I’m going to have to enable the API on the WP Plugins site first.

Marcus:           Shh…mute that! No hackers. You hackers sitting here that…no.

John:                [laughing]

Marcus:           I thought – you know, it might be worth a test.

John:                Well —

Marcus:           — because I know you also put it in a couple of other places, too.

John:                Well yeah, but I push ‘em out. I push ‘em out from the website. I don’t – I don’t pull them in; I push them out. So that’s why it’s – you’re reading this and I’m like, “Wait a minute.” So with this plugin here, you can go out there and say, “I like everything on your website and hey, you’ve got the API enabled. Cool!” Pull it over.

Marcus:           Right, that’s it.

John:                Yeah, okay. That’s what I thought I saw there. But yeah, a really great idea and yeah…no, I disabled the APIs on both my sites simply to —

Marcus:           DAMN YOU!!!!

John:                [chuckling] They were actually causing unneeded resources going out, and I got tired of people hitting against the API for the users list.

Marcus:           Hm…

John:                So…

Marcus:           Well, you might want to put it back on there and actually start embedding ads into – more ads into the thing.

John:                There you go! Now, there’s a good idea. If you think your stuff’s going to be pulled by the API, embed more ads so you get more coverage.

Marcus:           Right.

John:                Okay, well this show here currently brought to you by…

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Absolutely – give me a call. I’ll fit you into my schedule in two to three weeks down the road now.

Marcus:           And also, this show is brought to you by the public storage that I don’t have to pay for anymore, because I moved it all out last week, so…

John:                Oh, sweet!

Marcus:           Four hundred bucks back in my pocket. Thank you!

John:                Wow, that’s expensive public storage. Was that like the size of —

Marcus:           It is.

John:                — a two-bedroom house?

Marcus:           Well, they wanted to raise the rent. They actually wanted to actually raise the rent. When I started, it was $200.

John:                Yeah, wow. Well, public storage is good business. If you can get yourself space for that, I highly recommend buying an industrial warehouse to turn it into public storage and it’s basically like printing money.

Marcus:           No kidding. And the more demand that you have, you just raise the rent.

John:                That’s it.

Marcus:           “Oh, next month we’re tripling the rent. Those of you that want to stay, great.”

John:                “If not, well, I’ve got…”

Marcus:           “Those of you that don’t, we have people already waiting in line to pay triple rent.”

John:                There you go. All right, well our next set of plugins we’ve got here is – the first – the one I’ve got here was sent in to us by Dmitri Kurmanov and it’s called SurveyJS. Now, this is a really interesting plugin. Most of it is free; it’s got a premium version. But it’s a plugin for creating surveys on your website. It uses easy drag & drop survey builder, lots of options in it. It’s based on popular JavaScript developer community library and builder. It’s got lots of different elements and questions and panels for simple inputs. It’s got multipage support. You can localize it in many languages and supports many language surveys, control survey flow, full data, and more.

This is a really interesting plugin for creating surveys for your website and keeping all the data local onto your website. The premium version is available to help you integrate it into additional systems you might be using, so you might want to look at the premium version. The premium version is pretty pricey and – but it could be worth it if you need full integration into assorted platforms you might build. The free version might work well for just creating surveys on your website to get input from people. So anyway, go check it out. It’s SurveyJS and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Cool! Nice. So John, the next plugin I’ve got – do you use Google Fonts on any of your websites?

John:                I do. I use it a lot.

Marcus:           Yeah. See, the thing about Google Fonts is it actually calls out to Google —

John:                Yes.

Marcus:           — every single time that you have a page rendered or to – at least initially —

John:                Mm-hm.

Marcus:           — to make them cache that font. Sometimes for security reasons you may even have a website that you don’t want to do those external callouts to, or you just want to increase your speed. For that, I’ve got a plugin here for you. It’s called Self Hosted Google Fonts. So what this does is it meets all those security and law requirements and all those things. It also helps with theme and plugin offers that don’t actually include fonts in a lot of different things.

Actually what this plugin does is it’s really lazy and easy and makes a quick scan of all the CSS on your site and then it automatically downloads and hosts all the Google web fonts right on your server and calls to your server, and not externally to Google when it comes to loading up those fonts. A really handy tool, self-hosted Google Fonts lazy plugin, and I gave it a 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar]

John:                That’s quite awesome and something I think I’m going to have to implement across all my client sites that use it because that could increase page speed load, too.

Marcus:           Sure.

John:                Having those fonts locally. You could, you know, shave off a quarter of a second or a half a second, or, you know, every little bit helps considering that the speedpocalypse is coming later this summer.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                And Google is about to impose many penalties on lack of speed, so anyway, back to JohnOverall.com, see me to help speed your website up if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. Yeah —

Marcus:           And John might actually install this plugin for you.

John:                Yeah, I might install this plugin to help —

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                — along with all of the other things I do. I’ve actually got quite a few things I do for speeding up websites. I took on a new client yesterday after I got him all up and running. I managed to trim two seconds off of their site just by going through and fixing things, so – and that was just the start. So there you go.

At any rate, the next thing we got here, listener feedback. We really enjoy listener feedback. You can do that by going to our contact page, sending us an email there, SpeakPipe, you can hit the lower right-hand corner of the website, or email us directly. The emails are at the end of the show.

Anyway, we did have a contact from a listener recently and he had to say this:

“Hello.

Sorry if this has been mentioned before.

I listen fairly often. Many of your ratings are 4. There are a few 5’s and very few 3’s. Since most plugins are a 4 it really doesn’t show me how valuable they are or how they compare to other 4 rated apps.

How about if you opened the 4’s scale to 4.0, 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, 4.8, (5.0). I think most people don’t want to use a plugin if it is 3 unless it’s the only one or does the best job. But there is possibly a big difference between a 4.2 app and a 4.6 app. This detail is missing when both apps are a 4.”

Thanks, Chuck.

Marcus:           Hm…can I answer that?

John:                You can. I had an answer for it too, so go ahead. You first.

Marcus:           No. Here’s the thing, Chuck. I probably look at 20 plugins before I pick three for the show, so I’m never gonna show a 1. I’m never gonna bring a 2 to the show. There’s no way. I don’t want to waste your time with something that I think sucks. If I really think it sucks, I might mention it in passing but I like to bring things that are useful. So when we say “we separate the junk from the gems,” I also like to bring plugins that are – maybe there’s four or five different types of that same plugin out there, but I’ll bring the good one to light, so that’s my thing. Plus, it’s just way too complicated if I gotta go through decimals.

John:                Absolutely. I kind of feel the same way there about going through the decimals and it’s kind of hard to do that. Again, same reason Marcus just mentioned. I look at a lot of plugins and for instance when I discussed media library plugins I will be discussing, I probably looked at about 10, 12 of them and I settled on three or four, and then I finally settled on one. The one that got the highest rating was the good one and the other ones may get a similar rating to each other because they have similar functionality, so this is the way I kind of look at them. You know I can try to enhance and say “Yeah, this one’s a little better than most,” but still it’s only going to get a single dot rating, instead of trying to decimalize it out.

So anyway, but thanks for the feedback, Chuck. Much appreciated.

Okay…

Marcus:           Absolutely. Thank you, Chuck.

John:                And this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give a little value back. And in that vein, we’d like to acknowledge those who have supported the show. All those that donate $50 or more are called out here on the show and a note is published if they provide us with one. For those who come below $50, they’re always anonymous and we thank you very much, and we would like to continue to thank our donors who have come in below $50 over the past month. Much appreciated – your small donations help defray the costs of the transcripts, the bandwidth and the server and everything else that goes along with just making a show, so thank you very much.

And if you’d like to support the show, just go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and you’ll find all kinds of ways there to help donate and support the show.

Marcus:           Yep, thank you to all of our supporters and if you love the show, please consider donating yourself.

John:                Absolutely. All right, and our final set of plugins we’ve got for you today, the final one I’ve got for you here is called Media Library Categories, and this is another one that I was looking at to help sort out the media library. This one here is kind of a simpler version of the first one I talked about in that all it really does for you is help you create different categories to put all of your media files into and then allows you to separate and sort those by their files and see what’s up with them and to organize them.

It does have a gallery shortcode and a taxonomy filter, but it was nowhere as thorough as the first one I looked at. So at any rate, it’s a pretty decent one if you need something simple and easy, this would be something that you might want to check out even though I still give it only a 3-Dragon rating. Check it out: the Media Library Categories.

Marcus:           That’s a good start. All right, I’ve got a really good plugin for everybody that uses MailChimp and WooCommerce. I imagine that’s the majority of people out there.

John:                Ah, that’s a large number.

Marcus:           Pardon?

John:                I said it’s a large number, yes.

Marcus:           Yeah? Okay, so this is called Newsletter Discounts for WooCommerce and what it does is it helps increase your store conversions and make more sales by offering a discount to your visitors. Now what happens is a popup form comes up to welcome your visitors and says, you know, “We can give you an immediate discount code to the store and just fill out your name and your email, and we’ll give it to you.” So in exchange for them signing up to your email list, it actually creates a unique coupon code that is specific to them and lets them know.

Now while it does that, it also adds them to your MailChimp list, so that’s pretty valuable.

John:                Hm.

Marcus:           Also within MailChimp, it also gives the promo code that was created for them in WooCommerce within MailChimp, so you can track that later. You can set things like the type of discount, whether, you know, that’s percentage of fixed amount or off specific products, and you can actually also make an expiration for the discount as well. Great plugin, Newsletter Discounts for WooCommerce, and I rated this a 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar]

John:                That is an excellent plugin and it does work. I have signed up for email lists just to get the discount so I could buy something.

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                So it does work. It works really well for the first purchase.

Marcus:           That’s what I did, too.

John:                And then if they – you do well, well, I’ll keep buying stuff for you and keep hoping that your newsletters will send me further discounts down the road. So anyway…

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                All right, well —

Marcus:           That first one is the hardest and any bit of e-commerce, getting that first sale from somebody is always the toughest.

John:                Absolutely. All right, well closing out this episode, I covered up the Enhanced Media Library, which I gave a 5 to; the SurveyJS, which I gave a 4 to; and the Media Library Categories, which I gave a 3 to.

Marcus:           And I had a lot of plugins that I liked this episode, including Copy Posts, which gets a 4 out of 5, Self-Hosted Google Fonts, which gets a 5 out of 5, and Newsletter Discounts for WooCommerce gets a 5 out of 5.

John:                It’s a good round of plugins today. Okay, and reminders – and one reminder I’d like to put out there is for all of those who live on Vancouver Island or visiting this area, June 16th there’s another meetup for WordPress Meetup that we’re having at the Boston Pizza again in Victoria. You can go to meetup.com, signup there, join the group, and come show up for the meetup. And thank you very much to any Vancouver Islanders who showed up to the meetup previously.

And also, don’t forget to go check out our YouTube screencast, our YouTube channel, and check out our screencasts there. We get the live screencast goes up there along with training videos that I’m in the process right now of creating a training video, so that’ll be up sometime soon.

And a note to developers: if you would like to support the show and you want to offer up a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and enter all the information there.

And that’s pretty much all we’ve got for you now, so take care, bye-bye.

 [Female speaker]

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 john@wppro.ca. Marcus can also be reached through his website at marcuscouch.com or Twitter @marcuscouch. Thanks for watching and have a great day.

[Outro]

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.

[Child giggling]

[End of Audio]