Transcript of Episode 362 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 #362 here.


It’s Episode 362 and we’ve got plugins for Bigger WooCommerce Product Images, Bulk Editing WooCommerce, Private Demos, Tweaking WordPress Settings, Email Logs and Your Own Plugin Update Server. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!


Episode #362

Marcus:           It’s Episode 362 and we’ve got plugins for Bigger WooCommerce Product Images, Bulk Editing WooCommerce, Private Demos, Tweaking WordPress Settings, Email Logs and Your Own Plugin Update Server. 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 have the usual great show for you today, and of course right off the top, you can get all the show notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you have a few minutes, we would greatly appreciate your time subscribing to us and reviewing the show over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store.

Marcus:           And check out our training videos, screencasts, and watch us live on YouTube the first Monday of each month in the morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Also remember, you can follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and subscribe to our newsletter. We put all of that WordPress news in our newsletter because we don’t have time for that here. We’re all about the plugins.

John:                Absolutely. And with all that being said, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.

[Plugins lead-in music]

We have our usual allotment of six great plugins for you today, and first off I have for you a plugin that was sent in to us by Rostislav Sofronov – and I butchered the name. Oh well.

Marcus:           You got it! Sofronov.

John:                Sofronov – hey, okay. At any rate, the first plugin here is called WOOBE, or WooCommerce Bulk Editor Professional. Now, this does have a professional version and a free version that’s available for you to test it out. It’s a WooCommerce Bulk Editor plugin that allows you to go in there and bulk edit all of the WooCommerce fields, the attributes, categories, tags, custom taxonomies, meta fields, and more.

It allows filtering by the WooCommerce product fields for further bulk editing or export, products export using native WooCommerce data format, which allows import data back in using their native format, history of what you’ve done, solo operations, and you can even add necessary meta fields to the system that don’t exist. So it’s possible to edit or serialize /jsoned products meta data also, so this is a pretty heavy plugin and the initial free version gives you about 20 fields or so you can manage and check. The pro version, which is about $40 allows you to do everything to do it. So if you test it out and find that it’s working for you, spend the $40 and get the full-blown version to do all the bulk editing you need with it.

At any rate, it looks to be a really great plugin. Go check it out. I give it a 4-Dragon rating and it’s WOOBE – WooCommerce Bulk Editor Professional.

Marcus:           Beautiful. Boy, you can make a living using this plugin, fixing people’s WooCommerce blunders.

John:                Oh, absolutely.

Marcus:           Geez. All right, I’ve got a lazy plugin but it is WooCommerce-related also. We’ve got a lot of WooCommerce plugins lately, John, but that’s just because that’s the type of thing that I’m involved in right now – and you, I guess.

John:                I’m in —

Marcus:           — building some WooCommerce sites.

John:                Just getting into this WooCommerce site, and I expect it to be finished in another month or two.

Marcus:           Exactly. So this one is very common. When you get a WooCommerce site and you put a product image in there, it kind of looks crappy, and in fact it’s not big at all. It might even, you know, hinder your sellability because it’s so small within the [unclear – 4:31] page. This is called WooCommerce Bigger Product Images, and actually it’s really a lazy plugin. There’s no settings at all; you just install it and activate it, and what it does is it increases the size of your product images on all the shop pages, as well as the individual product pages.

One of the popular themes out there for WooCommerce is called Storefront. It works directly with that. Many other themes – I tested it with mine; it works perfectly. Again, no options available. You just install it and activate it and you’ll get a nice, better user experience because of it. Check it out. It’s called WooCommerce Bigger Product Images and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar]

John:                I’m gonna have to check that one out, because images are so important in the products, especially the products my client’s gonna be selling, so…

Marcus:           So I tried it on two different sites. The first one, it didn’t do anything to.

John:                Yeah?

Marcus:           And the second one, it did. So the first one I could understand because it was X Theme and it was kind of twerked around a little bit by me. But the other one, it worked great.

John:                Excellent. Well, X Theme is always a bit of a challenge. I’ve worked with X Theme a few times and I tend not to build in X Theme. I only work with it if I’ve taken over something in X Theme.

Marcus:           Yeah, it’s good for – like I use X Theme for my own personal site and it’s great because I have static pages and things that really don’t change, and I had to do a lot of tweaking to how I wanted the blog to look. But once I had that done CSS-wise, it’s worked great for me. But again, next time I have to do a major upgrade to the site, I will not use X.

John:                [chuckling] All right, well that being said, this show here currently brought to you by…

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Absolutely. Give me a call. I can help you out with all your WordPress needs.

And that brings us up to our next set of plugins here, and the next one I’ve got for you is called WP-Tweaker – that’s a really cool name. Initially when I read through on this one here and the lack of information, I thought it was another joke plugin, so I actually downloaded —

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                — the plugin first to go check it out.

Marcus:           [chuckling] Did it have a bag of blue meth from Breaking Bad?

John:                Yeah, I thought it was going to be something like that —

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                — because I’ve gotten nailed by one of those plugins in the past. Just install it and it works, and it did absolutely nothing. There were no settings and when I read the code, it turned out the code was nothing but a joke, so I learn from my mistakes. So I downloaded it, read through the code, and oh, it does actually do something. It creates some information and an admin page for you.

What it’s designed to do for you and what I discovered by entering in WP-Tweaker – if you put “Tweaker” into the search box for WordPress plugins, you get a whole list of plugins that are all about tweaking all of the functionality in your website and speed and other miscellaneous stuff, so that’s where the term obviously comes from or relates to WordPress.

This is a simple plugin that helps you clean up the unnecessary things on your site. You install it, activate it, go to the admin page for it, and you can turn on or off any of the following items. You can disable the WordPress version in the header, deactivate the WP emojis, remove the WP manifest, remove the RSD links, remove the RSS links, remove the short links, remove the links to a /jsoned post, and limit post revisions to five. Just a couple of few things it does in there. It could help you improve your performance of your site by, you know, miniscule amounts which could make a difference between fast and slow, so it’s something to look at.

Not an overly impressive plugin on the whole, but something that can be useful and helpful to you, and it looks like it’s very low-impact on your website so you can go ahead and use it. At any rate, I give WP-Tweaker a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out.

Marcus:           Nice. That reminds me of the old Windows days. Do you remember Tweak UI?

John:                I do! I remember —

Marcus:           Change it?

John:                — I remember Tweak UI.

Marcus:           Change Windows settings?

John:                Oh, yeah. I think I’ve still got a Windows 6 machine that has WS Tweak UI still installed. [chuckling]

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                Yeah, I remember that, so I had – I used that a lot when I owned my computer store.

Marcus:           Yeah. All right, so this is something that is pretty groundbreaking – this plugin here, John.

John:                Okay?

Marcus:           How many times have you gone to something that’s like a plugin demo or something like that or a theme demo, and you can – it gives you like demo and the password’s 1-2-3-4 or whatever, right? And you can go in, check it out, and see what they’ve done and all that stuff. Great. The problem is people spam it and do crazy, stupid stuff in there, and put their own links and all the rest of it. It just becomes a mess.

This plugin is called Private Demo Generator for WordPress and convincing the customers is generally the most important part of the selling process, so getting them access to your product. Admin installation can very easily convince them to choose your product.

I’ll give you a great example: WP All-Import was a plugin I shelled out a couple hundred bucks for it instantly, because I was able to go into the admin and actually run a test.

John:                Right, very useful.

Marcus:           Okay, so the problem with this is you get these installation conflicts.

John:                Mm-hm?

Marcus:           So this is – this Demo Generator for WordPress actually allows specific users of a website to be able to generate a private demo of an existing installation, and so you can clone any WordPress product demo with all the plugins that you need in it, the themes, all that stuff. And so when somebody logs in, they just put a set of credentials in and it creates a whole new installation with a temporary folder to test each aspect of the plugin or theme.

Now, the cool thing is is multiple – so Marcus can come to the site and it generates the Marcus.productsite.whatever.com. John, you go to the site and it generates a John one for you.

John:                Right.

Marcus:           So the cool thing is each clone installation comes with kind of a set amount of resources so that it’s not taking up your whole server. It also has kind of a privacy built into it and you can also set an expiration time so that in 24 hours, this demo gets deleted —

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           — so it’s not cluttering up system time.

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           For something like this, I’ve never seen anything this great in order to show off exactly what a specific plugin can do, and I’m talking about like if you had an event plugin, right? You’d want to prepopulate it with some stuff.

John:                Right.

Marcus:           Now probably if you had a BuddyPress, you’d probably want to prepopulate it with like 500 users to show what the conversation could be like, and this is easy for something like that to happen. So check this out – oh, and by the way…

John:                Hm?

Marcus:           — before I reveal the rating.

John:                Okay?

Marcus:           You could also use this for clients to show them what a backend would look like if specific themes were used or setups that you had.

John:                Oh, cool!

Marcus:           You could say, “Here, take the backend for a test drive. See if you’re comfortable enough in navigating this.”

John:                Nice.

Marcus:           Something for you to think about.

John:                Oh, yeah – absolutely.

Marcus:           Private Demo Generator for WordPress, and I give this a perfect 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar]

John:                That’s kind of cool because I know I’ve talked to you about it, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it much on the show. I have three plugins in the development pipeline right now and one of them is due to be finished at the end of this month, and it’ll be the first of a fully, properly developed plugin. It started out as a fork about a year ago, but it’s going to be the Data List Manager plugin, and it’s one that I will need to be able to showcase to people because it’s going to be a freemium plugin – free version with premium add-ons to it, and so this is a nice way to be able to showcase that sort of thing, so very nice.

Marcus:           Now, I’ve thought about this. I’m not a plugin developer, so I don’t have any use for this – except one thing, John.

John:                What’s that?

Marcus:           When I’m testing plugins now…

John:                Mm-hm?

Marcus:           I can use this on one of my kind of throwaway domains.

John:                Oh, yeah!

Marcus:           And I can instantly generate a staging domain to test out a new plugin —

John:                Hm.

Marcus:           — that already has other plugins going on it, so I can see if there’s any sort of interaction.

John:                Yeah.

Marcus:           Right? So it’s a setup that I choose and determine with an install – maybe I want to seed it with 500 posts on it and then load in the plugin and see what it does.

John:                Oh, absolutely.

Marcus:           Now, I don’t have to worry about having some stage site out in the open forever. I can create my own private staging site that lasts maybe an hour until I want to delete it.

John:                Oh, excellent. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, well feedback, feedback, feedback! We love listener feedback. If you want to give us some listener feedback, go to our Contact page on wppluginsatoz.com/contact, go to the SpeakPipe button in the lower right-hand corner of the website, or you can email us directly. The emails are at the end of the show and in the show notes. So get a hold of us. Your feedback will be featured here. Think of it as a way to tap some very expensive minds and get some free advice on your WordPress website.

That being said, this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back. In that vein, we like to acknowledge that those who have supported the show with $50 or more in donations, they get a note read out on the show and a link in the show notes if they provide that, we get it shared out and they’re really good links. They’re not non-tracking links; they are – go ahead and track these links – whatever it’s called. For some reason, that escaped my head.

At any rate, we’d like to continue to thank all of our donors who continue to come in under $50 and thank you very much. Your small donations help support the show and offset the costs of doing the shows, such as server bandwidth, transcripts, and all the miscellaneous incidentals that go into making a show. And if you’d like to support the show, go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and there’s a list of ways you can support the show there. Or, you can go to our Patreon account and support us there through Patreon. We still are using that because well, there’s still a few people there on Patreon and thank you very much for your support on Patreon.

Marcus:           Yep, so if you like the show, give us a review. If you love the show – which a lot of you do – give us a nice donation. We would appreciate that.

John:                Absolutely. And that brings us to our final set of plugins. The last one I’ve got for you today is called Post SMTP Mailer Email Log. This is a post – an emailer system to replace the WP Mail on your site and it helps in delivery of mail. Sometimes if you’re on shared hosting services, getting your emails sent from your server can be a challenge. You might end up on a shared server where they don’t really care if their IP address ends up in blacklists. You might be on a shared server that has 2,000 people on it, so your emails are never getting sent, etc., etc. All kinds of problems on shared hosting sometimes.

At any rate, this allows you to use an SMTP service of your choice, such as Google or some other SMTP service. The plugin helps integrate your email systems with your plugins such as WooCommerce, WP Forms, Elementor Forms, GravityForms, Contact Forms 7, Visual Forms Builder, Contact Form Builder, and more, so it helps with a whole list of form plugins you might have on your website and helping ensure that those emails are getting sent out from your website to you and your clients, because it’s really important that those emails are sent out, especially if you’re running an e-commerce website. Those emails are critical to get to your clients and to get to you to make sure that they are getting the information they need. So this is a way to help avoid the problem that WP Mail sometimes has on a shared hosting environment.

So if you have those issues, try this plugin: Post SMTP Mailer Email Log and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.

Marcus:           Nice. Yeah, that’s important sometimes, I mean especially if you’re looking at email that’s – gotta know what’s going where.

John:                Yep, absolutely.

Marcus:           Okay, this next one is complicated. [chuckling] So if you are not a – if you’re not really tech savvy in this kind of thing, I wouldn’t really attempt this. But it’s called WP Plugin Update Server, and what it does is it allows developers to provide updates for plugins and theme packages that you typically do not host on wordpress.org. So if you have your own plugin and you don’t have it on the WordPress Repository, maybe it’s just privately done or maybe you make your own plugins, you can use this plugin to actually integrate to things like Bitbucket, Github, Gitlab, self-hosted installations of that, or even just some remote repository, public or private.

So what you can do is upload this and then it has access to whatever your repository is so you can update all of the plugins. Now, it’s a little complicated as I said, but this allows you to do it. So check this out if you’re a developer. This really works well for you: WP Plugin Update Server and I rated it a 5 out of 5.

[Dragon roar]

John:                Thank you very much! That one there has just saved me a whole heap of trouble. I was thinking about that as my first plugin is getting ready to get released. It’s how am I gonna deal with getting the updates dealt with, because I have no —

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                — intention of going through the hassles of putting it up in the WP Plugins Repository.

Marcus:           Yep.

John:                And yeah, this is gonna save me a lot of grief and plus the fact that it’s gonna be a freemium plugin, it’s gonna have a license and we’re gonna have to have the license checked for people to be able to use the premium versions – or the premium add-ons to the plugin. This is a fantastic tool and —

Marcus:           Yeah.

John:                — any of you other plugin developers out there, this might be something you’ll want to look at for managing your plugins if you don’t want to go through the WP Plugins Repository.

Marcus:           Yeah, I knew this was special. You’re not gonna hear about this plugin anywhere.

John:                No.

Marcus:           Nowhere else, except this show.

John:                No, everyone else is gonna pretty much avoid it, I’m sure.

Marcus:           [chuckling]

John:                All right, well that wraps up this show here. I covered up this time the WOOBIE – WooCommerce Bulk Editor Professional, which I gave a 4 to; the WP-Tweaker, which I gave a 4 to; and the Post SMTP Mailer Email Log, which I gave a 4 to.

Marcus:           And I talked about WooCommerce Bigger Product Images, which I gave a 5 out of 5; Product Demo Generator for WordPress gets a 5 out of 5, and WP Plugin Update Server also gets a 5 out of 5.

John:                Excellent. And a couple of reminders: well, I’m looking forward to – it’s the end of June and I am going camping in a week.

Marcus:           Hm!

John:                Heading out to a nice fishing spot and getting away for three days for my birthday, so I’m looking forward to going to do that. And next week it’s going to be Canada Day/Fourth of July week for everyone, so it’ll be a happy holiday for all those and it’s summertime and just keep in mind the WordPress Victoria meetup group will be starting all its events coming September, and there’s gonna be lots of cool things coming for that.

And of course some other reminders – note to developers, 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-contests. Leave us all the details of what you want to share and what sort of things you would like us to say about your plugin, and we’ll create a contest just for you and your plugin. You get lots of promotions and exposure to your plugin and people come and join the thing. It’s lots of fun.

Also, if you would like to submit a plugin for review, whether it’s yours or one you think is just cool, you can go to wppluginsatoz.com, hit the button up top that’s Submit a Plugin, and you can submit a plugin for us to add to the queue for reviews.

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]