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 #370 here.
It’s Episode 370 and we’ve got plugins for Shopping Cart Sidebars, Role Based Redirects, Duplicating Menus, Displaying Thumbnail Sizes, Amazon Links and Revisions for Widgets. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Marcus: It’s Episode 370 and we’ve got plugins for Shopping Cart Sidebars, Role Based Redirects, Duplicating Menus, Displaying Thumbnail Sizes, Amazon Links and Revisions for Widgets. 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, but of course right off the top, don’t forget 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 in Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store, leaving us a review and subscribing to the show. And coming soon hopefully, we will be on Spotify.
Marcus: Oh, sorry.
John: That’s all right.
Marcus: And remember that you can follow us every Monday month as we do our live show at noon Pacific time — that’s the first Monday of every month on YouTube. Also remember, you can follow this show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz and subscribe to our newsletter while you’re at our website, and that’s where you get all the goodies, all the news, all the different stuff that we don’t talk about here on the podcast, because on this podcast we like to talk about nothing but plugins.
John: Absolutely. And with that, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes.
Okay, first up what I’ve got for you this week here is a WooCommerce plugin. This one here is called WooCommerce Cart. Now, when you’re throwing together your WooCommerce website and you’re working through everything, there’s several WooCommerce themes or even just themes in general I’ve discovered that just don’t display the shopping cart very effectively, unless you go through a whole lot of effort to make them stand out. Meaning that, you know, once someone adds something to the cart, the initial window pops up where they can go to the cart. But if they continue shopping there’s no real quick way to get to the cart except by putting it up the top menu, which often scrolls out of view depending on how your theme is developed.
So what wound up doing was went looking for a shopping cart add-on that would display the shopping cart somewhere where it’s always in their view. And what this plugin does for you is it puts down in the lower right-hand corner a little floating shopping cart that if they click on it, it pops out of sidebar and it lists up everything that’s in their shopping cart. It gives them the opportunity to change the number of items in the cart or jump over to make payments – whatever you want to do, but it makes the job for your client a lot easier to view what they’ve got and then go pay for what they’ve got if they have decided to do a little additional shopping.
All in all, it just makes the customer experience a little bit better when they’re on your WooCommerce website. So this is a really great plugin, very easy to set up, it works exactly the way it’s supposed to, and so far I’ve used it with four different themes and gotten the exact same results, so it works beautiful across multiple themes. Go check it out: WooCommerce Cart and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: That’s probably the most susceptible and ugliest looking page on the entire WooCommerce architecture is the cart. It’s ugly.
John: Yes, yes. It is.
John: It even if you spend a wacka load of time customizing it.
Marcus: Right. So it looks like that plugin makes it a lot easier, which is great.
John: It does.
Marcus: All right, the first plugin that I’ve got out the gate here for Episode 370 is called Role Based Redirect, and this is a really simple kind of plugin. It basically redirects a user to a specific page or area based on what their defined user role is. You probably wouldn’t want to use this all the time, but maybe – maybe direct them to a specific member page or something like that if you have a membership site.
But what I thought of that you could use this for is actually redirecting an existing customer that logs in to a sale or perhaps a loyalty thing or an express coupon code for logging in to the site – anything like that. It could be maybe you’re doing some premium discounts and maybe only specific user roles want it. Or, maybe you’re doing a multi-offer blog and somebody who’s an editor or somebody like that gets to a specific page of maybe just new posts or whatever it happens to be so that they can review it and critique them. Who knows? There’s a lot of different possibilities that you can use this plugin for. It’s called Role Based Redirect and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s a very useful plugin and I like the way that – well, it can be helped out and used.
John: Yeah, I kind of like that one.
Busy night. What can I say? Okay, and this show here currently brought to you by…JohnOverall.com. Off we go…
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Absolutely. Give me a call. I can help you out with all your WordPress needs. And currently we also have a contest running for a giveaway for WP Nearby Places plugin. This is another premium license that’s being offered up by WP Nearby Places, a great plugin to help you use Google Maps to showcase all the neighboring businesses around your business. Go check it out and if you’d like to really get a good discount on it before you win the contest, there’s a 25% off coupon code for WP Nearby Places. Use the code FLASH and find out more about the plugin with the interview I did with Albert Harlow from WP Nearby Places. There’s a link in the show notes for it.
And a quick shout-out to Simple Giveaways plugin who provides the pro version of the contests plugin that we use on this website.
All right, and our next couple of plugins for you. The next one I’ve got for you is one I may have covered before. I sort of recall doing it but since it’s been a while and I recently had to use it again, I thought I would bring it back again. It’s called Duplicate Menu and this is a plugin that is a really great tool, especially when you’re redoing a website. You’ve inherited a website or some client’s come to you and said, “I want to rebuild my website,” and they’ve got multiple menus or they’ve got a couple of really big menus, and you just want to shorten them down and clean them up. Well, you can go about it either by deleting things and hoping you get it right or you can start from scratch and try to get it right.
The nice thing about this plugin is you can make a duplicate of that menu, preserve the original, and then go through and edit it until you’ve got it right. And if you mess it up, you can just wipe it and go duplicate the menu again. It saves tons of time when you are having to redo a website and allows you to create all the menus again in a much faster format than one at a time.
It works great, very easy, very simple to use, sets up and does exactly what it’s supposed to do; one of those really great plugins that are out there in the WordPress Repository for free. Duplicate Menu and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Nice. That might go along with the next plugin that I’ve got, and it’s pretty cool. It’s called Widget Revisions. We’ve all dealt with widgets and the big problem that widgets generate, right? You can’t really save them; you can’t really do anything with them.
Marcus: This is pretty cool. This plugin keeps a record of every single parameter change that you’ve ever made for any of your widgets. It enables you to roll back your widget, just like you would content when you’re creating a blog post.
John: Oh, nice!
Marcus: And you can restore those previous settings with just one click. This plugin maintains a log of all the changes that you’ve made to your widget and it shows a total list of the entire history, all of the parameters that were changed to every single widget, and like I said, just one click gets it right back to where you want it to go. It’s called Widget Revisions and I gave it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: I like that! That’s very useful and especially if you’re working on text widgets or HTML widgets.
John: Yeah, that’s – that’s a very useful one.
Marcus: I would say in terms of a website that you’re setting up, you want to install this —
Marcus: — so you can tweak out widgets and make sure that they’re exactly the way they were and if something screws up, you’re not having to store things in Notepad or lists in Excel as to how you had the widget or things like that.
Marcus: You’ve already got it saved.
John: Yep, absolutely. Save you tons of time. Okay, this show here, we like listener feedback and if you would like to support the show and give us some feedback, you can reach us through our Contact page, SpeakPipe, lower right-hand corner of the website, or send us an email direct, and all those links are at the bottom of the show notes.
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Marcus: Yes, we appreciate all your help. Thank you.
John: Okay, and the final set of plugins we’ve got for you here today…the last one I’ve got for you is called Amazon Associates Link Builder. Now, this is actually an official plugin from Amazon itself and it is a really great plugin. If you’re like me, well, I’ve had my Amazon Associates Program for years, but recently I decided to revive it and start using it effectively after I’ve been doing some research. And I was trying to find the simplest and easiest ways to add links into the website itself, and to do that there’s multiple ways. You can go to Amazon, get a link, copy and paste, and then you can get the plugins. Some things bring in more than others. I was looking for something really nice and effective on a per-post basis.
What this one does for you is once you install it, activate it, insert all your Amazon connection stuff, choose the stores you’re going to use, whether it be U.S., Canada, U.K., etc. – whatever Amazon stores you want. Then all you’ve got to do is when you’re at a post, it has a little window up above in the editor window that says Amazon on it. You type in a keyword or two and it pops up a window and it presents you with all the products that are related to those keywords.
Now, hopefully those keywords are related to the post that you’re working on, so then you just choose those products, click on them, then you choose the format you want the products to be displayed, whether you want it to be displayed as a link, as a carousel, images, etc. Do that and it inserts the shortcodes directly into your posts for you and then you save it. Nice and simple, easy to use.
It’s a really great plugin and it might be a way if you’ve got an Amazon Associates and you’re not making full use of it, this could help you make full use of your Amazon Associate account into your WordPress website. Go check it out. It is the Amazon Associate Link Builder plugin from Amazon themselves and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
…and we’re quiet.
Marcus: I was just caught in my head a brilliant comment for the Amazon Associates Link Builder, too.
Marcus: I was gonna say, I gotta start using a lot more of that kind of stuff because there are so many products and things that you can talk about and share and believe it or not, you can make some money, even if they don’t buy that product that is featured on your site. So if they go to it, click your link and they go, “Ah…I don’t really want this,” chances are they’re gonna buy something from Amazon pretty soon and that cookie will still stay in there and you’ll still get credit, which is pretty great.
Marcus: All right, the final plugin I’ve got is called Show Thumbnail Sizes, and this is a simple but I’d call it a clunky plugin that presents you with the exact names and sizes for the different plugins that themes use thumbnails – I’m sorry – for the plugins and themes that use thumbnails. Sorry about that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually had to dig into demo content of a theme and try and figure out what the actual thumb sizes are supposed to be.
Half the time when they create the demo content, they don’t even put in the correct size that is called for.
Marcus: They just stick something in there and that’s the way it is. So I was kind of sick of my thumbnails getting cropped and cut off due to either improper sizing or proportions. But now with this plugin, I don’t have to worry about it.
So what it does, John, is it actually outputs this screen that gives me all of the fields, like custom field names, and gives me the resolution that is called for within that specific custom field. And so that will actually let you determine what your thumbnail size is going to be. That’s why I called this clunky, because it is still a little bit of work and you have to kind of decode what the fields actually mean, but it works quite well. In fact, it worked on a site that I just put together. I was trying to put some podcast art in there and it ended up being full-screen every time it tried to do a square image, and I finally figured out why, and it’s because I completely had my proportions wrong.
This is called Show Thumbnail Sizes and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s an excellent plugin. I will probably make use of that with many things I develop, because I end up with so many different image sizes that I don’t know what’s what and the way this one looks is it pulls up, gives you the listing of all of the thumbnail names – all the image names and their sizes.
John: It’s not just thumbnails; it gives all of the entire listing of all the images that are named in the themes and the base WordPress.
Marcus: Right, right.
John: That’s —
Marcus: So you can totally format it —
Marcus: — perfectly.
John: That way, you can get your images perfectly formatted and of course that is a major thing for speed of your website, is getting the images —
John: — formatted perfectly and proportioned and dropping compressed properly.
Marcus: Yeah, because WordPress on its own stinks at doing it.
John: Oh, absolutely. Okay, well that closes out this episode where I covered up the WooCommerce Cart, which I gave a 5 to; the Duplicate Menus, which I gave a 5 to; and the Amazon Associate Link Builder, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about the Role Based Redirect, which gets a 4 out of 5; Widget Revisions, which is great and you should try that – gets a perfect 5 out of 5; and Show Thumbnail Sizes gets a 4 out of 5.
John: And if you’re a Meetup user, go to the Victoria WordPress Meetup Group in particular if you’re on the island or over there on the mainland and you want to come over to Victoria, September 5th is the first meetup of the fall for the Victoria Meetup group. And in that meetup I will be presenting two presentations, each presentation about a half an hour long with about a half an hour for Q&A.
I’ll be doing a presentation on how to set up WordPress properly from the get-go and a presentation on how to configure the Yoast SEO plugin from the get-go. So two great presentations; I’m gonna record those, get them up on the WP Plugins A to Z YouTube channel so everyone can share them, and with a little luck, we’re going to livestream it. This is gonna be interesting if the livestreaming actually works. So look forward to that, so check out our YouTube channel and subscribe to it so you’ll know when that is going to be happening.
Other than that, that’s all we’ve got for you now. Take care, bye-bye
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