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 #412 here.
It’s Episode 412 and I’ve got plugins for Appointment Bookings, File Uploads, Bulk Managing Sites, and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: It’s Episode 412 and I’ve got plugins for Appointment Bookings, File Uploads, Bulk Managing Sites, and ClassicPress News, all coming up on WordPress Plugins from 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: 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. And I have the usual great show for you here today, but of course right off the top, you can get all the Show Notes over at wppluginsatoz.com. And if you’ve got a couple of minutes, I greatly appreciate your time over at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes store, subscribing to the show and leaving reviews.
You can also catch the show live every Thursday on YouTube, where you can subscribe to the show, check out our training videos, screencasts, and extra stuff as it appears there. Take a few minutes, follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz. You can also join me on my Facebook page at wppluginsatoz.com/facebook. And of course, for even more stuff, go subscribe to our Newsletter. It’s a real simple thing to do. Just go to the website and enter your name and email address and boom, you are subscribed.
All right, well this is 412, so we are eight episodes away now from Episode 420 – I’m still trying to figure out what to do for that, but of course 420 has lots of special meaning, especially to Canadians. I’m going to have some fun with it. I’m not sure what, but we’ll have some fun with it.
All right, with all of that stuff being said, let’s get out of this and dive right into the meat and potatoes of the show.
[Plugins lead-in rock music]
All right, I do have a great set of plugins for you today and to start off, I do have a plugin that I have yet to use, so this one here I think I will actually use. And I do think that it’s something that you would want to know about. It’s a great looking plugin, and I get lots of these referrals in from people. They recommend plugins for me to check out. I don’t always get a chance to check them out, but I do want to bring them to you, so you know these things exist. The ratings given are based upon my review of the stuff on their website, a demo version if they have it, and if I have time, I will give it a full-blown testing.
So at any rate, we’ll start off. I’ve got a plugin here that was sent in by Zharfan Mazli and it is called AppointFox Booking Plugin. This is a freemium plugin and as far as I can tell, they’ve got a freemium version. It looks like a pretty decent premium plugin to go check out. What this is is this is an appointment booking plugin and let me first read off what they have to say about it. It integrates with Google Calendar, it’s got multi-language support, you can accept group bookings, the ability to handle local and PayPal payments, the customer only pays a single price for all the premium features, so I guess it is a premium plugin alone.
At any rate, I’m checking this plugin out and they do have a very nice demo version of it set up on their website, and this is always – I love when someone has a demo version, especially a demo version that has an administrative dashboard you can then log into, and their administrative dashboard on here allows you to get in there and take a look at all of the settings, all the functionality, all the connectability for it. This one here is really quite good from what I can see. I haven’t tested it on my own site, but from what I can tell it’s quite comparable to the appointment plugin that I currently pay $10/month for to book all of my appointments for interviews, client books, etc. This looks like it does a lot of the same stuff.
It goes together in that it’s – duh, brain – it integrates with Google Calendar, it goes both ways in Google Calendar, so that if you change Google Calendar, it changes it on your website. It allows you to have different types of books that are available for it. It looks like a really complete system, and it looks really nice. What is the pricing on that? I didn’t quite catch that. Let’s take a quick look and see what that pricing was on it. Features, demo, news, home – yeah, there we go. There we go, so it’s $39 off of CodeCanyon, so $39 bucks for this plugin looks like quite the deal for it. You know, I’m gonna get to test it out.
They sent me a copy to test, so I’m gonna actually give this one a good one, because it could end up saving me a fair chunk of money throughout the course of a year if it does all of the exact same things that my current one does. So you may hear back from me on this one to see what it is but just based upon everything I can see right here, currently this plugin is worthy of a 4-Dragon rating. Go check it out: AppointFox Booking Plugin – a very nice plugin to set up for all of your appointment bookings you might need.
All right, WordPress news – we’ve got a little bit of that this week and first up we’ve got an article here that is “New WordPress WordProof Plugin Time Stamps for WordPress Content on the Blockchain.” Now, I do have another interview coming up with someone I talked to about blockchain stuff, and this is one here that will stick your content into timestamping on the blockchain. It’s a free plugin, works through a blockchain system, and what it does is it helps you check out and know who puts content out first and to verify the content, because once it’s in the blockchain, it becomes unchangeable. So this is something – and a really interesting article to go check out and read if you want to know a little bit more about timestamps of your content in and on the blockchain itself.
And just to prove that WordPress.com is not everything it says it’s going to be – oop, get out of there, bloody advertisement. There we go. There was a widespread WordPress outage. It took down Quartz, TechCrunch, Rolling Stone, and others. These were all companies that were using WordPress.com VIP system and for some reason they were all rolled back to a default theme, so they had a big, major error going on. I’m sure they’ve solved this by now, but it’s always interesting when I see this happen. I especially like to let, you know, clients know. It’s like, “Hey, even the big boys have problems from time to time.” It’s not the end of the world; people sort out the problems. Sometimes you’re down for a few hours but eventually it gets sorted. A really interesting, fun article. Go check it out – a little bit of widespread WordPress outage news.
All right, and a final little article for you today. This one here is “23 Simple WordPress Security Tips to Keep Your Website Safe in 2019.” This is a really nice article to go through for setting up and locking down your WordPress website. It does have a fair number of plugins in it, some information on how you can change out things such as your login URL, adjusting your passwords, automatically locking out idle users – just a whole bunch of different tips and tricks to lock down your WordPress website. And if you have never locked down your WordPress website, this is something you do want to do.
Periodically, you’ve got to go through and doublecheck it because rules change, people change, lots of things change, and you need to play catchup and just keep it up to date. You can’t just lock it down once and think, “Oh, I’m good,” because code changes, updates change, holes open up, holes that have always been there and nobody knew about are suddenly discovered. Lots of things to worry about there, so this is what you’ll want to do is you want to make sure it’s done. And if you ever have troubles with it, hey, feel free to give me a call. I can go through, secure up your website, and check it all out for you.
Okay, this show here brought to you by…
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And the contests – our contests are powered by Simple Giveaways plugin, who kindly provides us with the premium version for our contests. The winner of the last contest for the Discount Suite for WP was Gary, and congratulations out to him. And we do have another contest coming up soon. I will announce it as soon as we have it all prepared. It’s amazing how much time can – how time gets past you sometimes. Anyway, to keep up with it, just go to wppluginsatoz.com/contests to see what our latest and greatest contests are. Or, tune in to the show or the Newsletter. They do get announced out there, sometimes before the show.
All right, next up I have for you – this is not a plugin in its own right, but this is a premium addon plugin. This is the Gravity Forms Dropbox Add-on plugin. Now, to get to this you do have to have Gravity Forms installed, and if you’ve been listening to my show for any length of time, you know I am a Gravity Forms user and I do believe that it is the best form plugin out there. It’s a fantastic plugin and the addons that go with it are fantastic.
So the reason for this one here, the Dropbox plugin, is as you know, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been talking about the art submission section of the website for asking people to submit art that’s going to be used in the show and I needed to build something. But I’m looking for the simplest thing possible that provides the least amount of work for me after it’s already up. This provides that. With Gravity Forms, you can build a form that allows you to upload files to your website. Well, I didn’t want to just upload it to the website because then I had to go get them from the website. I needed them right there on my computer, so I didn’t have to look very far for them, and of course they have a Dropbox addon.
So when you build the form, you can have it upload the file directly to your Dropbox, so it’s right there in your Dropbox folder on your computer. It works very, very well. I’ve already had this tested out and some great art submissions, we’ll be talking about them later. It’s set up beautifully, connected to Dropbox with no effort. The biggest problem I had was I had to figure out exactly what folder it was putting it into. It seems it creates a special folder in Dropbox for you and it doesn’t give you all that information; you’ve just got to go look for it. Once you know where it’s at, you can bookmark it and you’re good to go.
This addon is great, it works wonderful, set up beautifully – just a fantastic addon for Gravity Forms. And if you’ve got Gravity Forms and you’re paying for the premium license, make sure you use this if you want to be able to allow people to upload files to your website or you could even use it in your own right. But at any rate, go check it out: the Gravity Forms Dropbox Add-on, and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Okay, listener feedback – and I do love listener feedback. You can get back to me on the Contact page, SpeakPipe, or email me directly. Always looking for stuff – I’m more than happy to read it out, answer questions – whatever you’d like.
Now, this show is also a value-for-value model, meaning if you get any value out of it, please give some value back by becoming a Producer of the show and helping the show out. You can do that by donating money to help the show or submitting artwork at the WP Plugins Art Generator, submit articles, news, and information that article tips, news, information – that would be great. All of that can be done through the Contact form or you can submit plugin suggestions for reviews through the plugin submission form, you know, or anything else that I might not have thought of that you could think might help improve the show and bring more people to it. I’m open to suggestions. Please send them my way.
And I like to acknowledge the Producers who have helped support the show in various ways. I want to thank our new Producers for donating time and artwork. This week’s cover art for the show comes from Angel Lemus of koadigital.com. He has some great art and digital designs on his website, so go give him some love. The link is in the show notes for it, but I like to thank Angel for his submissions of his artwork and helping me test out the system that I put in place, so thank you very much, Angel. You can see the artwork as it appears in the iTunes store and everywhere else, and it’s going to be the artwork that is used for the show going forward, so go check it out. If you want to submit artwork, you can go to wppluginsatoz.com/artwork to submit your artwork.
Donations $50 or over are credited with a Producer credit going forward and in the Show Notes their note will be read out on the show. For all those who come in below $50, they’ll remain anonymous and I thank you very much. This week I’d like to thank all those small donations out there who have supported the show. You’re very much appreciated. Your moneys don’t make it into my pocket – at least not as of yet. They help pay for all of the little incidentals of the show: transcripts which are fantastic and all of the other things such as bandwidth and other little, miscellaneous things, so thank you very much to those that support the show. So this show is listener supported and we can use more than just your money to help the show grow. Go check it out.
The next thing I’ve got up for you here is an oldie but a goodie plugin. I thought it was time to bring this one back. This is CMS Commander. It’s been a while since I’ve talked about this plugin and the reason I brought it back again is I’ve had inquiries in the last couple of months from different people about site manager plugins. Which ones are the best? Which ones do I suggest? You know, there’s Manage WMP, there’s the plugin from WPMU Dev. There are all kinds of them out there and I have tested them on and off over the years. But I keep coming back to CMS Commander.
It turns out I’ve been using CMS Commander for seven years. I didn’t even realize I’ve had it that long until I was looking up stuff on it and I went “Holy cow! Really, seven years?” so I’ve been very happy with it. It’s very excellent; it works very well. At one point in time I had as many as 75 websites in there for management. Currently, I’ve got about 50 in there I’m managing and it’s great. It’s excellent for performance – I love its performance. The link of course in the Show Notes is an affiliate link, one of the few affiliate links I still actually use.
So what do you do with it? Well, it allows you to monitor as many sites as you need in one place. You can do bulk updates with it, you can check on backlinks, it shows you site speed, it shows you uptime stats, it shows you other statistics. You can set up a default site and then you can use that as a cloning site for deployment, so you can then deploy to a new website.
Like say you have a standard WordPress build for every new website your build with a set of plugins and themes, etc. You can build that up on a dev domain that you never do anything with. Set that in your WPMU Dev. Now you need a new site, you go in, you set up the new site, install the CMS Commander, then you just clone one site to the other. Simple. It works very, very well. It does do backups.
There’s a lot that this plugin does, and they’ve improved it dramatically over the years and they haven’t done a whole lot of “let me improve your user experience” by screwing up the dashboard on a continuous basis, either. I really like them for that. There’s also the ability in this plugin to bulk produce content that you can – say you run five website that have a similar type of content and you want to put an article into all of them. You can do all of that from CMS Commander. There’s a lot that this plugin does.
So go check this plugin out: CMS Commander. If you’re looking for something to manage your websites in one place, this may be a plugin for you. Of course, I give this a 5-Dragon rating.
On delay – check it out: CMS Commander.
All right, ClassicPress Options. Well, ClassicPress Options right now, I’m still hunting for more ClassicPress plugins, aside from really simple plugins. I’ll start bringing in the simple plugins next week. I’ve been looking for some better ones but, you know, I’ve covered all the really good ClassicPress plugins so far that I could find that are pure ClassicPress. If you’re a ClassicPress user or you know some ClassicPress users, developers, anything – you want your plugins reviewed? Send them to me. There’s no central place really to find a lot of ClassicPress stuff, so please just send it my way. I’ll be happy to help you out and get it sorted for you.
So at any rate, right now I’ve got one piece of news here for you. It’s “Why Choose ClassicPress for Your Business and Professional Website?” This is an article of course from ClassicPress Forums, classicpress.net, and this talks about the reasons why you would want to choose ClassicPress over say, WordPress, if you’re just choosing. Or, if you’re looking at why you’d want to switch, there’s a lot of really good information in here to help you with that decision, so go check that article out. It’s a very useful one.
And we’ll talk a little about just real briefly here, just some ClassicPress resources. There is the ClassicPress Club. ClassicPress Club – wow, say that five times fast. It’s a really great alternative area to go discuss ClassicPress information and what’s happening in the ClassicPress world. There’s the must-have plugin list for ClassicPress. This is an ongoing list and I noticed it’s getting updated from time to time. It’s one that’s determining whether or not a ClassicPress version of specific type of plugin has been found yet. You know, such as a security plugin, they have one. E-commerce, mm, they’re working on the ClassicCommerce, a fork of WooCommerce. You know, a contact form plugin, cookie notice, etc., so it’s a list to go see what they have for the mainstay plugins that are needed on websites.
There is also a list of ClassicPress-specific plugins. This one here is a list; currently it’s only 37 plugins, which – hence my dilemma. Some of them are basic, simple, but others are more in-depth and fantastic, and I’ll be picking out the ones that I haven’t covered yet to play with.
And that’s pretty much it for that at the moment. So ClassicPress is of course an up-and-comer. I do believe it’s going to make a dent in the CMS world in the coming years. It’s going to stick around; it’s not gone anywhere. They’ve got a large contingent of people working on and working towards making it quite good.
All right, well that closes out this episode. I covered up AppointFox Bookings Plugin, which I gave a 4 to. It could end up a 5 when I do my own. The Gravity Forms Dropbox Add-on plugin, which I gave a 5 to; and then the CMS Commander for managing all of your WordPress websites in one place, which I gave a 5 to.
A couple of reminders… There is a new interview out right now. I interviewed Martin Gibson from Northern Beaches website. It’s a really great interview and you can go check it out on the website or if you get the podcast feed, you can get that one. There is also a previous interview with Seth Schultz from Event Espresso, and a note that I appeared on the Be Busy podcast. If you haven’t listened to that podcast, go check him out. It’s a really great podcast, it’s a really great show – a really long interview. He was really a great host, so go check that out there, the Be Busy podcast. The link is in the Show Notes for it.
And of course, the next WordPress Meetup in Victoria will be June 23rd at Boston Pizza in Victoria, and it will not be broadcast. This is just a social event where we’re all gonna get together on a Sunday afternoon, have pizza and beer, and chat about WordPress, ClassicPress, or whatever comes to mind. Come on and join us, especially if you’re in the Victoria area. All right – and all the links to that are in the Show Notes. You can get to it by going to wppluginsatoz.com/meetup to take you to all the Meetup information for the Victoria area.
Be sure to check out and subscribe to the YouTube channel. Just hit the bell, hit the notification bell, hit it again so you get notifications and for new videos or for when we go live. And just take the time out to, you know, leave comments, say hello – always up for that.
Remember, if you have suggestions on plugins you would like to have reviewed, please submit them on the website at wppluginsatoz.com/submit-plugin-review. That will get it there for you.
And if you’re a developer and you want to support the show and you can donate a premium license to be used in a future contest, please go to wppluginsatoz.com/contest to support the show.
That’s pretty much everything I’ve got for you, so don’t go away if you want to chat. I will be around after the credits for a couple of minutes, so I’ll let my girl take us on out of here.
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 created by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and set the donation level that fits your budget.
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John can be reached at his website at JohnOverall.com or send him an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for joining us 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.
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