All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of John’s discussion of the weekly plugins he has reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #392 here.
It’s Episode 392 and I’ve got plugins for CMS Management, Site Security, Site Backups, Gutenberg Blocks, and Classic Press Options, all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: It’s Episode 392 and I’ve got plugins for CMS Management, Site Security, Site Backups, Gutenberg Blocks, and Classic Press Options, 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 80,000 plugins to choose from, how do you separate the junk from the gems? Join us for a weekly unrehearsed conversation about the latest and greatest in WordPress plugins. This is WordPress Plugins from A to Z.
John: 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. And I have 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.
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All right, and with that all done, let’s take it and jump right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
[Plugins lead-in rock music]
All right, first off as I’ve been doing and to start off with, I’ve got a couple of plugins that I have yet to use but thought you might want to know about them and know that they exist and they may be of interest to you. These are plugins that are submitted to me by developers and sometimes I manage to get in and test them, but many times I’m not able to test them for various reasons. Either they don’t fit the projects I’m working on or it’s not something I have time to test. But I’ve accumulated such a backlog of these things, I want people to know they exist. So now what I’m doing is I’m bringing to you every week a couple of them, give you my opinions and ratings on them, based up on what they show in their descriptions, their demo sites that they have available, etc.
All right, with that being done, let’s move on to the first plugin. The first one I’ve got for you is Groundhogg. Now, this one here I found it in my list but it turns out that it had been reviewed way back in Episode 381, but that was when Marcus was with me and he was the one that did the review. So I’ve checked this plugin out and Groundhogg is a plugin that provides essential tools for your client management system. It allows you to create emails, contact information, etc. to help you keep in touch with your clients, send out marketing emails, manage your content, contacts, automate follow-up, sending emails, and more – without leaving the comfort of your WordPress dashboard. So this is something you can do all within your WordPress dashboard.
The plugin is free, except for it does have some additional items for add-ons. The initial content system looks to be pretty decently full and you can do a lot with it. But if you want to integrate it into WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, WP Forms, Gravity Forms, Contract Signing, Advanced Form Builder, and a few other items, you will need to go get the premium version of the plugin. And if you don’t already have a client management system, this might just be what you’re looking for.
Go check it out. It’s called Groundhogg and I give it a 4-Dragon rating. And also, drop into Episode 381 and check out the review that was done on this plugin.
Next up, I have another plugin. This was sent in to us by Akshat Choudhary – I’m getting better. I really am. It’s called MalCare Security Solutions. It’s an anti-malware plugin. It helps you deal with viruses and spam and other issues on your website. It’s got a scanner that goes through and scans your site. They do have ways to help you fix your hacked websites. Again, I haven’t tested this one, so it does look interesting. It looks like something that may be of value to people.
They have one-click automatic malware removal features. The plugin comes with a login protection feature that helps protect the login page against brute force attacks. They make it easy for users to do site hardening measures on their website and it comes integrated with a complete website management module that ensures you can update your plugin’s themes and even WordPress core from the MalCare dashboard. So it may or may not be of value, but it does look like an interesting one if you have not settled on an anti-malware plugin for your site. You might want to go check this one out and it’s called MalCare and I give it a 3-Dragon rating.
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And contests – we do actually have contest up and I forgot to get it in my show notes but I can just pull it up off of the website. We have a contest now that is running from now until the end of February where we are giving away a WooCommerce Product Feed Manager license. It is a way for you to increase your WooCommerce store sales potentially by easily generating product feeds and uploading your projects into major merchant shops such as Google Merchant Center, Facebook Dynamic Ads, Amazon, etc.
What it does is it allows you to connect to all these different merchants with your WooCommerce store, upload your products there, and help and maintain and update that stuff. It looks to be a very excellent plugin if you’re looking to expand your WooCommerce store outside of just your website into all these other merchant areas. So this is a really nice license that we’re giving away and it’s a one-year license to the WooCommerce Product Feed Manager, so go check it out and go check out the contest at wppluginsatoz.com/contests, where all you’ve gotta do is enter your name, email address, enter for the contest, and it is live and running.
The next plugin I have for you is one to help you with backups of your website. This is WP Time Capsule, and WP Time Capsule is a plugin that will really help you with backups. It’s a little bit different than most of the other backup plugins. Most other backup plugins out there do a .zip file, allow you to upload it to your cloud places such as Dropbox or Amazon, etc. But it’s always a .zip file, it’s always a complete backup, and if you’re on a shared hosting environment – one of the cheaper hosting services; definitely not with JohnOverall.com – but doing those can use a lot of resources and get your site limited for periods of time.
So what this one does for you is it makes a full backup but it doesn’t zip up all the files. It downloads all the files intact and it ships them off to your Dropbox, your Amazon S3, Wasabi, Google Drive – wherever you want to send it. And then once it makes that first initial backup, it does incremental backups on both your files and your database, meaning that it only updates the files that have changed since the last time it made the backup.
And you can set it to do this on whatever schedule you’d like. Have it do it daily if you make daily updates to your website. Have it do it weekly if you only make weekly updates to your website. But do it – make sure you’re making backups of your WordPress website. I can’t count the number of times my clients have been saved simply by the fact that I make regular backups of their website and something went wrong and it wasn’t even necessarily a hack. It could just be an update that’s gone bad or it could be something broke in the server and corrupted files. Any number of things can happen, so make sure you’ve always got good backups.
Check out this plugin. It’s called WP Time Capsule and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Okay, listener feedback! I do love listener feedback and please people, give me some listener feedback. I would love to have some here. All you gotta do is go to the website, go to the bottom right-hand corner, click on Leave a Message, and leave me a SpeakPipe message there. If you don’t want to record yourself, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up on the Contact page at wppluginsatoz.com and leave your comments there. You could also pop over to our Facebook page, leave your comments there. We do get to them. Also via Twitter – direct message me at Twitter or @message me at Twitter and I will get your questions brought to the show, so I look forward to your questions and I look forward to answering them. Think of it as getting free advice from a very expensive professional.
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And the final plugin I’ve got for you here today is a Gutenberg plugin. This is called Gutenberg Design Library and with Gutenberg here, unfortunately we all have to deal with it now if we’re going to stay in the WordPress environment. You just can’t escape it. I imagine it may eventually get better and more usable.
This one here is the first of what I see as a major future for WordPress and I predicted this with the rise of the freemium plugins. I’m kind of predicting the same thing here, although I’ve heard the predictions also from others. But what it is is gonna be the custom blocks, and this is the first set of custom design blocks. What they are is blocks for your Gutenberg site that you go in, you click a button, it inserts the block in their particular design format, already laid out with all the information, all the columns, everything you need, and then all you do is go in and customize and change the content based upon that layout.
This saves you having to go through the time to create your layouts in this manner here and saves you a bit of grief, and these are going to become more and more prominent and the blocks are gonna become fancier and fancier as time goes on, and there’s going to be a few more new companies evolving around creating customized Gutenberg blocks, and they’re gonna create some pretty unique blocks as it goes along. So this plugin here, it works fairly well. I liked it. The designs were kind of meh.
Initially when you set it up, this one here is a freemium model, actually. You set it up, you gotta click a button to say “Download 50 Template Designs.” You download your 50 template designs. Now, you go to their website. You can sign up for their newsletter where you can get an additional 50 – and I don’t remember the price on it now, but if you want even more, they’ve got thousands of other designs, they say, and you can download the other thousands of other designs by paying their annual subscription fee for it. So this is something you may want to look at especially if you’re getting heavily into Gutenberg.
So all in all, a pretty average plugin – nothing super special about it. It did do what it’s supposed to do. I give it a 3-Dragon rating. Go check it out. It’s the Gutenberg Design Library.
And finally as promised, each and every episode now has ClassicPress options, and this is a segment that will stay for a while I think because I have to live in the ClassicPress world, too. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I have a client who requires ClassicPress based upon what Gutenberg has done and it just won’t work – Gutenberg will not work with their site. We’ve already tried; we can’t get 5.0 to work with the customizations we have and it’s too expensive of a website to completely rebuild at this point in time, so we’re gonna be going to ClassicPress. So I’m testing out plugins to make sure and I’m going to be testing the plugins used on that site.
And this one here is a staple, one that I use across many sites also. This is the Events Calendar from Modern Tribe and it is a really excellent events calendar. It wasn’t my favorite for a long time. I mean for like two or three years I didn’t like it and I used another events calendar. But that other events calendar went down some really odd paths for their calendar and destroyed what was a perfectly functioning better than the Events Calendar and they just killed themselves by trying to get too fancy. The Evens Calendar stayed simple; they’ve gotten better. Their design has gotten better and their usability has gotten better, so I’ve been using it for the last couple, three years.
Excellent plugin; it works well in ClassicPress. The particular theme I’m working with, I had run into some CSS issues with it. It’s just breaking a few things. I wasn’t sure if it was the theme, ClassicPress, or the calendar yet. We just hadn’t gotten into figuring it out, but the calendar works and it works well the way it’s supposed to. So go check it out if you’re going to ClassicPress. The Events Calendar is going to work there for you, plus there’s also a link that’ll take you off to ClassicPress where they have the listing of all the plugins there (and currently virtually every plugin will work, but it’s good to test them).
Anyway, go check this out. It’s the Events Calendar and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
All right, well that closes out the plugins I’ve got for today and I covered up Groundhogg, which I gave a 4 to; the MalCare Security Solutions, which I gave a 3 to; and the WP Time Capsule, which I gave a 4 to; the Gutenberg Design Library, which I gave a 3 to; and then the ClassicPress option which is the Events Calendar, which I gave a 5 to. Just stumbling all over everything here today.
All right, and a reminder about the meetups. We do have another meetup. If you missed the January 22nd meetup which was a couple of days ago, you can catch the stream recording on our YouTube channel where we recorded the event where I gave my thoughts about Gutenberg and the future of WordPress and Jacob Buurma came in and he spoke about life as a WordPress freelancer – a couple of very great presentations. They were lots of fun and it was well attended. We had a lot of – probably about 20 people there, which was really quite nice. So come check it out. Come check out our next one which is in February and you can sign up for it on our Meetup page. Just go to wppluginsatoz.com/meetup and it’ll take you directly there to our Meetup page and February 20th is the next meetup and the presentations have yet to be set.
Okay, and be sure to check out and subscribe to this channel. We’d greatly appreciate it. And one more reminder to developers: if you would like to support the show, offer up a premium license to give away for contests, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugin-contest to submit all the details for that. And if you want to suggest a plugin for review, just go to Plugin Review and we will take ‘em all.
That’s pretty much everything I’ve got for you, so we’ll let my girl take us out of here.
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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.
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