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 #309 here.
It’s Episode 367 and we’ve got plugins for Site Search, Admin Login PINs, Popup Boxes, Site Speed, Overriding the Customizer and Addictive Word Count Rewards. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 367 and we’ve got plugins for Site Search, Admin Login PINs, Popup Boxes, Site Speed, Overriding the Customizer, and Addictive Word Count Rewards system. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-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 today with wonderful plugins coming your way. But 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’d greatly appreciate your time over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the show.
Marcus: Yeah, that helps out a great deal. It helps to bring audience to the show and more listeners, so we’d greatly appreciate that. Everybody out there who has helped, hey, if you’re on YouTube – which who isn’t these days —
Marcus: The first Monday of every month at 10:00 Pacific Standard Time, we record this show live so you can actually watch the screencast of us. If you’d like to get a reminder of that, it’s really easy to do. Just go to our Facebook group and you will get notifications of all the events that are there.
Also on YouTube, check out our training videos and some of the other screencasts and things that we’ve done there. On Twitter, follow us @wppluginsatoz and our newsletter is where we keep all the good stuff, all the contests, all the giveaways, the freebies, the tips, the tricks – all that stuff. You gotta go to wppluginsatoz.com and subscribe to that newsletter to get all the cool things that you won’t hear on this show. Why? Because this show is all about the plugins.
John: Absolutely. With that all being said, it’s time to dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
The first plugin I’ve got for you today was sent in to us by Brian Mutende and it is a WordPress search plugin called PicoSearch, and this is a lightweight search plugin that you can add into your WordPress website and it helps to rank results by relevance for your users. It also does things such as saves the user’s searches for future reference that they can use. It highlights search terms, suggests search keywords, and the user types.
It’s really a great lightweight plugin. I’m just kind of testing it out to see how well it works and if it works really well, it might be the new search I use. And if you’ve been listening to the show long enough, you know I’ve gone through numerous search plugins, add-ons, to the WordPress – wppluginsatoz site – and eventually, they all seem to fail. It could be just the amount of content we have. I don’t know what it is, but this one here, maybe it will survive the test of time and make searching WP Plugins easier.
At any rate, check it out: WordPress Search Plugin called PicoSearch, and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s something that WordPress has always had a hard time with.
John: It has. It’s second only to the media library in problems.
Marcus: It’s just getting better by some of the plugins that we’ve brought in the last couple of weeks, you know.
John: Absolutely. Well, that helps the media library but it still doesn’t help the organization of the media library. It’s still got a ways to go.
Marcus: Okay, so I’ve got something that is called Protect Login Page, and this is very interesting, John. This I bet will defeat a lot of the people that are trying to gain access to your site nefariously. What it does is it allows you to put a PIN number in your WP-login.php or WP-admin when you’re logging in. So it’s like this – it’s like your website.com/wp-login? PIN equals whatever your PIN is. And remember, you can have it up to eight digits or a password or anything like that.
So without the PIN, you don’t even get the login screen.
Marcus: So if it’s just your regular kind of spammer/scammer/whatever, just scanning your thing for the WP login or WP admin, you don’t get it because they didn’t put the PIN in.
John: Another way to help avoid that headache.
Marcus: Oh my gosh, can you image how much traffic this is gonna cut down for people?
John: Oh…probably a hell of a lot.
John: I know —
John: — answer constantly hit.
Marcus: Yep. So that’s all well and good and I was all in. I’m like, “I’m putting this on my personal site,” except there’s one little caveat to it. If you require login access other than the main WordPress login page, like the WordPress mobile app, which is something I’m starting to use —
Marcus: — it won’t work.
John: Oh, bummer!
Marcus: So this is a deal breaker for my personal site. But for other sites – all the other sites that aren’t my personal site, yeah, this is the way to go. It’s called Protect Login Page. It’s more of a PIN-requiring device and I gave this a 4 out of 5.
John: Nice – it’s still kind of useful and very useful —
Marcus: Very useful.
John: — nice if you’re working from the computers, which the vast majority of developers are.
Okay, well 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 currently are running a contest. It runs through to the end of the month. This is the last week of the contest. We are giving away a premium licensed version of WP Nearby Places, generously supplied by Albert Harlow from WP Nearby Places and it’s a really fantastic plugin. We’ve discussed it many times here on the show. In fact, he’s been sponsoring the show for the entire month and you can check out an interview I did with Albert. The link is in the show notes and we go in depth and discuss that plugin, so go check that out.
And to enter the contest, just go to wppluginsatoz.com/contests. And if you’re in a hurry to get the plugin, use the discount code FLASH to get 25% off WP Nearby Places. And all contests for WP Plugins are powered by the Simple Giveaways plugin and they were generous enough to supply us with a pro version of the plugin to bring these contests to you, so thank you very much to them.
And that brings us up to our next set of plugins and next I’ve got for you here, this is another plugin that was sent in to us by a developer out there. It came in from Sabrina Zeidan and it’s called SpeedGuard. This is a plugin that is a bunch of free tools that helps the webmaster get some clear, simple answers on what their website is doing, whether it’s the website that’s slow or whether it’s something else that’s happening.
It measures load times, the important pages, it gives you a good report. One of the caveats with it is it does use the webpage test site to run the tests and then it collates and then brings them back to you in the dashboard of your WordPress website. Very easy to use though. They give you a link to take you over to webpagetest.com and get a free API key. Just fill out the form, get your API key, enter it into the plugin, and then run your tests and see what’s running down your website. It’s a really simple way to do it and a quick way to use webpage tests for checking out your website.
Anyway, give it a checkout. It’s called SpeedGuard and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice. I like stuff like that.
John: Yeah, it’s really nice. It helps people figure out what’s going on with their websites and why it’s loading problems are.
Marcus: Yeah. All right, I want to talk about popups. I recently had some experience with creating some forms within popups and I used a different plugin that – what was it called? Jellyfish Counter thing?
John: Jellyfish —
Marcus: Okay, so I wanted that plus a contact form to be put in there for people to actually subscribe to a newsletter.
Marcus: But I couldn’t get it working. I couldn’t do it in a popup until I found this thing called Popup Box – pretty cool. It’s really easy and here’s the tagline: if you want to show your favorite plugin in a popup box but it doesn’t allow you to show the popup, this is the solution. This plugin is developed just for that, putting shortcodes and other plugins within this popup box. You can change the popup box title, the description, the width and the height of the popup box. It has a shortcode that you can use and put it in any page and it’ll automatically insert that within the content.
What’s cool is you can set it so that that popup can only be seen by a user once in 24 hours, so it’s not just like popping up and up and up and up and up. Pretty cool – this did exactly what I wanted it to do. It’s called Popup Box and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very cool! I like the fact that you can put shortcodes of plugins inside it and bring it up.
John: Definitely not very many allow that in a popup box.
Marcus: Mm-hm, no. And most of them are all preformatted.
John: Yes – yes, they are. I don’t think it would even work in the popup box I use regularly. It was Layered Popups, which is —
Marcus: Yeah, that one we – gosh, do you know how old that one is?
John: Yeah, and I’ve been – I’m still using it and they’re still keeping it up-to-date, so it’s really a cool plugin.
John: And it is a premium plugin from CodeCanyon —
John: Okay, well that brings up to the next part here, listener feedback and donor support. This segment of the show sponsored by WP Nearby Places. Customize your Google Maps to skyrocket your search engine rankings with WP Nearby Places. WP Nearby Places lets you easily create Google Maps for your website with your specified location at its center. Your site visitors will have the ability to quickly search what’s around your specified location like no other mapping plugin. Using the power of Google Maps, WP nearby places also uniquely breaks down the neighborhood locations by categories such as restaurants, parks, police, and depending on which version you purchase, provides the location’s name, address, URL, website address, phone number, and distance in miles or kilometers from the central location.
There are three versions available: the basic, which is available through wordpress.org, the pro and premium version, which you can get off of their website. For details all about their licensed versions, check out their website at wpnearbyplaces.com. Show off your neighbors by categories, also. This is an excellent feature with it. You can feature the neighbors in and around your business by showcasing them. You can choose them and place them up and around the map that is displayed on your website, and the best part about those is since you get to choose those, you can sell those as premium ad spaces in and around the map on your website, thereby finding an extra stream of revenue for your site.
A really excellent plugin. I’ve used it myself and Marcus will be checking it out real soon, so go check it out: WP Nearby Places.
Marcus: Yes, can’t – go ahead.
John: No, I was about to say “listener feedback here.” We don’t have any this week but we would really love to get some from you. Go to our Contact page at wppluginsatoz.com or hit us up via SpeakPipe down at the bottom right-hand corner of the website, or you can send us emails direct off the web page, so contact us Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, any of our social media channels, man. We really do like feedback and we do give you great answers.
Marcus: Absolutely. And hey, a reminder this show is a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back to us. And in that vein, we’d like to acknowledge those that have supported us for the show this past week. All donations $50 and over are read out over the show. But sometimes for anonymous reasons or otherwise, people that come in below the $50, they want to contribute but maybe don’t want to be mentioned and that’s okay.
A big thank you to everybody out there who’s done that and if you want to help us out, you can go to wppluginsatoz.com/donate. We are a completely listener supported show and we use the money to help grow the show. It doesn’t go into our gas tanks or me going out and grabbing a steak and barbecuing and all that. Noooo, nooo, no!
John: No, no.
Marcus: It goes to actually helping to propagate the formula of the show. And don’t worry, if you can’t donate, if you’re not in that position, hey, I totally understand that. Just, you know, let your friends know, let other developers know, chime in on Reddit or Facebook or Twitter how much you like WordPress Plugins A to Z and we’d appreciate that as well.
John: Absolutely. And that brings us up to our final set of plugins here, and the last one I’ve got for you here is called Customizer Plus Lite. This here is a customizer plugin that customizes the WordPress customizer. It allows you to go in and individually override the WordPress customizer settings on an individual page or post basis. It allows you to create per page and per post customization settings the same way as you’re creating in the customizer itself.
It allows you to change things like the header image, colors, custom CSS – all of the settings in the customizer and makes it a whole lot easier. Maybe you do have one or two pages which occurs a lot when you’re building out and developing a site to where you just want to customize one page. This allows you to get in there and do that. A great little plugin, seems to work fairly well. Go check it out: Customizer Plus Lite and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Yeah, I don’t even use the customizer —
John: I do.
Marcus: — unless I have to.
John: I’ve been doing it a lot lately, especially for the CSS.
John: I’ve been doing a lot of customized CSS and the best place to dump it is into the customizer, because it comes in higher than the CSS you dump into the custom CSS file that is in your theme folder. And the other thing is if you change the theme, the CSS still sticks around in case you need it for something that’s not theme-reliant —
John: — which I do a lot of.
Marcus: All right, hm. All right, I’m going to end it off here. This will be the last plugin of the month of July, so hopefully everybody had a great July and a great summer so far.
John: Oh, yeah.
Marcus: And this one is more of a celebratory plugin. This happens to revolve around word count, and that’s kind of one our biggest pet peeves when it comes to making content, right? You’ve gotta grind out that word count. Google’s gotta like it, you gotta make some good content and make stuff for your viewer. This is called Confetti WordCount and what it does is you can actually get a weekly word count and see what your progress is in terms of how much you’ve written, and you can set a word count goal for your posts and get a sense of how far you’ve written with this kind of meter that cruises across.
Now, as a celebratory reward if you’ve met your goal, confetti just keeps falling from the admin dashboard to celebrate your victory of getting enough content out there. It’s really fun and the bottom line is despite the confetti, it really does serve a higher purpose of getting you to write and create more content. It’s called Confetti WordCount and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Cool! Yeah, getting that word count up there is important. All right, well that wraps us up here and I covered up in this episode the WordPress Search plugin called PicoSearch, which I gave a 4 to. Then I covered up the….
Marcus: You sure?
John: Yeah, I covered up the SpeedGuard plugin, which I gave a 4 to. And then the final one I wrapped it up with, I covered up the Customizer Plus Lite, which I gave a 3 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Protect Login Page, which is that thing that lets you do PINs. I gave that one a 4 out of 5. Popup Box gets a 4 out of 5 and Confetti WordCount gets a 5 out of 5.
John: And that’s all we’ve got here. Once quick reminder: go check out our YouTube channel for screencasts, training videos, and more. And a note to developers: if you’d like to support the show and offer up a premium license to give away, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest and enter all the details.
And 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Marcus can also be reached through his website at marcuscouch.com or Twitter @marcuscouch. Thanks for watching and have a great day.
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.