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 #456 here.
It’s Episode 456 with plugins for Migration & Searching, Emailing & Posts Queries, SEO, Tracking the Virus, and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, so first off what I’ve got for you is the ClassicPress Options. This week here, really light on ClassicPress still. ClassicPress has been quiet the last couple of months. I noticed last year about this time it got really quiet, so maybe it’s just a quiet time. Everybody’s working hard and they’re about to introduce a bunch of stuff.
But I do have a new plugin specifically built for ClassicPress. It is called the ZP Remove Customizer. This is a plugin if you’re using ClassicPress and you don’t like the customizer that’s there, this plugin here removes the entire customizer from ClassicPress. It probably will speed up your site, but we require you to do your work in other ways if you’ve been depending on the customizer to do all your customizations in the header and stuff. It looks like a very interesting plugin. I have not had an opportunity to test it out, so I don’t have a rating for it this week. But it is an interesting plugin to check out. Go check it out, it’s from ZigPress and it is ZP Remove Customizer.
Now we do also have the usual stuff, the ClassicPress resource list to let you know though. Also, it seems there are two new plugins in the ClassicPress-specific plugins list over at classicpress.net. This is a list maintained by CodePotent and it’s gone from 50 to 52 plugins, so there’s two new plugins in this list. The Customizer was the one I noticed that was new. I’m not sure what the other one is. I’ve got to look through the list to figure that one out. So go check it out, go check out this list over at classicpress.net.
And that’s really all I’ve got for you there, so let’s dive into what we have for WordPress. And first I’ll let Brian – since I’ve been doing all the talking, let’s get Brian talking it up a bit. He’s got some plugins for us today, so the first one here, what have you got for us, Brian?
Brian: Well, the first one I’m bringing in is called Post SMTP, and what this plugin does is it allows you to replace the default WordPress mail engine in your WordPress. So if you’re experiencing issues where a lot of your emails are hitting spam or if for some reason, you’re on a server like Digital Ocean where email isn’t enabled on the server by default, you can completely bypass that because this will send emails through HTTPS or SMTP isn’t available, to use HTTPS. You can link it up to your Gmail or GSuite account or you can use an email API, like SendGrid, Mandle, or MailGun.
So SendGrid has an excellent free level program, so what I’ll do is when I set up a new site, I’ll set up a SendGrid account for them and it includes something like 100 emails a month or 1,000 emails a month or something like that, which generally for most of the businesses at least that I work with, it’s perfectly fine. That’s more than enough; they’re just receiving Contact Forms submissions and stuff like that, and it works flawlessly.
So if you’re experiencing any issues, then definitely one to look at. Oh, and it’s completely free as well.
John: Oh, you’ve got to love free.
Brian: Available in the Repo – yeah, yeah. So for that I’m giving this one a 5-Dragon.
John: Excellent! So yeah, that’s a pretty useful thing. A lot of servers aren’t able to provide the email and you’re also looking at the problem of some servers, while they might provide email, they don’t guarantee the cleanness of their IP address from their servers.
Brian: Yeah, if you’re on a shared hosting environment, then most of the time your emails are going to be hitting somebody’s spam folder, and this is an excellent way to bypass that and send it through a very clean IP address.
John: Yeah, because sometimes you need those emails to arrive.
Brian: Yes, yeah.
John: All right.
Brian: Yeah, you don’t want to miss a Contact Forms submission that could lead to a sale, that’s for sure.
John: Absolutely, you definitely want those to arrive in. Okay, so what I’ve got for you here is called WP Migrate DB Pro. Now, I may or may not have covered this one in the past. I probably have. I’ve been using the plugin for a couple of years now – actually, three years. I noticed yesterday when I had to use it that I’ve been paying for the license for three years, so I’m in my third year of using it.
This is an excellent plugin for migrating your WordPress website in multiple ways. One of the first things it does for you is it allows you to migrate a database from one WordPress website to another. The best uses I’ve found for this is when you’re doing local development, you can set up a local site all nice and clean, connect it to your live site, and download your entire live site to your local environment. And it not only downloads the database, it grabs your themes, your plugins – everything to go with it: all the images, graphics, the entire thing, in one smooth move.
Then you can do all your changes and then when you push that data back up to your live site, it’ll push up whatever components it needs. It’ll doublecheck to see if you’ve got new images and it uploads them. If they’re all matched, it doesn’t upload them. It does a great job on that. My favorite thing to use it for is when I have to work on WordPress MU sites, the multiple user sites or the WordPress MultiSites, where you have one site in multiple domains.
And I had to use it again this week to migrate a multiuser site. The site I needed off of it was migrating to a new domain. But we needed the site that wasn’t the primary site on this multiuser site. It was like it was one of the subsites in there, but we needed to get this subsite over to the primary site. And this site allows you to migrate out of a multiuser site – one single subsite – you can migrate just that one single subsite out to another WordPress setup, which is quite the achievement in that aspect, and it gets it nice and cleanly. So I used that to migrate the site and it saved me tons of time and tons of effort to get this done and then it allowed me to take this new site which was being turned into an MU site, just turned that end to an MU site, and now I migrate out all the other sites one at a time.
So it’s a fantastic plugin. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny you pay. I think it costs $199 a year or something like that. But once you use it to save yourself 10 hours of time, you’ve paid for it 10 times over. So go check this out.
It’s WP Migrate DB Pro and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Brian: Yeah, that’s a nice one. I haven’t heard of that one.
John: Yeah, I’ve been using it for a couple, three years now and I’d heard it a couple of times, but I couldn’t justify the cost for the longest time, and then I got a project that was big enough to justify the cost and I’ve just kept paying for it. Because sometimes I’ll go for months and not use it and then all of a sudden I just need it, need it, need it for migrating stuff.
All right, so what do you got for us next, Brian?
Brian: All right, well the next plugin that I have brought to the table here is called Advanced Post Queries. This is available in the Repo and this works with Elementor Pro, so Elementor Pro is a very popular page builder and it has a widget called the Post Widget. So the Post Widget allows you to basically display a list of your posts and there’s different ways to format it. You can have a list of different columns, different styles, and then you can get other plugins to style it. But they have very limited options when it comes to querying the posts. You can usually query it by post type and by a certain author or by a certain taxonomy.
But what Advanced Post Queries does is it allows you to further the query right there within the post object and then the widget object. So for instance if you have a website and you’re trying to build like a frontend where somebody could log in and manage guest posts that they’ve made for you –
Brian: Then you can set this post query up to only query and show posts that are related to the logged-in user, for instance. So I found this because I was actually redesigning the website for my local chamber of commerce and we were basically making just this massive website that had, you know, directory and job postings and everything, and I was trying to build out a frontend so that the businesses that logged in could only see the posts that they posted, and this was absolutely the plugin to do it, and it is totally free as well. So that one gets a 5-Dragon rating from me.
John: I like that. I’ve never heard of it, so I’m going to have to investigate it because I have a membership site that it might work very well on.
Brian: Oh, and it’s not just post queries by user, but you can post query by date, by terms – just about anything. It’s a really cool plugin.
John: I like it. That’s – and yeah, one I’ve never heard of, so I’m actually gonna have to check into that.
Okay, so next up what I have for you is called Better Search and Replace. Now, this plugin is made by the same guys that makes the WP DB Migrate, which is Delicious Brains. I just the love the name of their company. And what this one does for you, this is a freebie from them, and once you install it, it allows you to go into your site and search for anything in the database and replace it with anything.
Now, my main use for this – and I’ve been using this one for quite a few years now, just about the time that we first started moving from HTTP to HTTPS – and one of the biggest problems you have to do is go through the database and fix all the URLs that are in the database that are wrong. And this plugin here allows you to go through and do that from the backend of WordPress without having to mess with PHP, MyAdmin, and SQL queries. Nice and simple and easy to use.
Now, it can be a deadly danger if you make a typo. You can break your entire site, so be very careful with it. Make sure you’ve made a database backup before you start messing with a tool like this so that you can restore back to where you were before you made a mistake. Excellent tool; I have been using it for quite a while. It always does the job, has not made a mistake once, and we’ll tap on wood just to make sure of that, but a great tool. Go check it out, Better Search and Replace, and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Brian: Yeah, those kinds of tools are excellent, and that might be a good one to use with your first plugin choice there. You know, maybe download it into a local environment to test that out and play with it –
Brian: — before you do anything about it.
John: This plugin here will allow you to download the database, too.
John: You know, it’s got a lot of nice tools that are just free with it. It’s basically from what I can tell, it’s a simple version of their WP DB Migrate tool.
John: So it’s a –
Brian: I had a website. I did a company intranet for somebody and I had this WooCommerce and I was trying to rename the coupon codes to be something else. They wanted to call them Safety Bucks and it was very difficult to go and find every reference to the word coupon.
Brian: I had to rename it.
John: Yeah, where this tool – I’ve used this tool for that sort of thing, too. My biggest one is when I get a website that’s still running on HTTP and I’ve got to convert it to HTTPS –
John: — plus a website where they might have started with www and they dropped the www, so now they have mixed URLs throughout their site.
John: So that’s one of the biggest things I do there. Okay, so what you got for us next?
Brian: Well, the next plugin I’m brining is one called SEO Ultimate. So in the WordPress Repo there is a never-ending stream of different SEO plugins and everybody has their preference, and this used to be my preference many years ago. This does everything that just about every other SEO plugin does. It gives you the ability to kind of control all of your metadata that goes into the page and had this excellent feature that was called the Deep Link Juggernaut.
And what you could do is it would take any kind of text that you wanted on your site – so let’s say you wanted to link the text home office – something that’s relevant for right now right, and link it to let’s say an affiliate link or link it to another post or another page on your site. You can just say link any reference to the word home office to this URL and it would just go through and do it.
But the problem is that this plugin has not been updated now in over three years, which is disappointing because this is a feature that I absolutely loved of this plugin. But it’s just super important to make sure that when you’re looking at plugins to always thoroughly vet the plugin. Don’t just look at the reviews, make sure you check the comments, the support requests, and make sure that, you know, the developers are responsive, and that the thing is constantly updated. You know, these plugins are the most vulnerable for different types of malicious attacks. So for that reason and because it’s still in the Repo, we even know it’s been long since abandoned, I’m giving this one a 2-Dragon rating.
John: Oooooh… that one there?
Brian: And it’s dropping.
John: There you go.
John: God, I haven’t used that in a long time!
John: Yeah well, looking at it too, it’s sad because it’s got over 100,000-plus active installs and, you know, it sounds like it’s time for someone to grab that plugin, fork it, and improve it. Because you have –
Brian: Yeah, definitely.
John: — got a decent built-in audience. All you’ve got to do is get news to all the audience and say, “Hey, look! I’ve cleaned this up, forked it, and improved it, man. Time to switch!”
John: Make it easy for people to switch. All right – yeah, after you mentioned it and I looked at it it’s like yeah, I sort of remember. I think I might have used it back in my first couple of years of working with WordPress.
John: And then I moved on to starting to use Yoast, and now I’m using something Math – Rank Math. Rank Math is what I’m using.
John: Because Rank Math is really, really nice and I don’t think it does what you were talking about that would link it for the keyword, but –
Brian: It was an excellent feature and it was pretty sophisticated, too. You could have it say only do it this many times per page or, you know, it automatically dampened the number of times it links over time, and it was an awesome feature. I wish more of them had that.
John: Yeah, that sounds like a really great feature to have.
All right, well the final one I’ve got for you here, this is for the joys we’re having with the Wuhan Flu, and this is a Covid-19 Live Tracking plugin. Of course, I just love capitalism, man. It works so well, and this plugin here is what I thought was a bit of a freebie at first. You know, I figured it was just somebody who threw something together for tracking maps and stuff. It turns out they’re trying to sell it but these guys here are a little slow in figuring out how capitalism really works in that while you’re trying to sell something and you’ve made it 50% off, you should really make it so they could actually buy it. When I clicked on their links to buy it to find out a little bit of information, they go nowhere. So I don’t know what these guys are up to.
At any rate, it is an interesting plugin in the aspect of that it does give you a map of the world to see where Covid or Wuhan Flu or the Chinese Virus or whatever you want to call it is floating at across the globe and what they are. It also shows up the places where they have none, such as Libya. They have nothing. The Democratic Republic of Congo and – I can’t get it. It’s fallen off the thing, so they’ve got some issues with it, man. It jumps right off the page where you can’t read it.
So at any rate, it’s an interesting plugin unto itself. But just due to the fails they’ve got there, I ended up taking this one too and giving it a 2-Dragon rating.
John: On top of the 2-Dragon rating for that reason, I almost forgot to mention I’ve been testing – any plugins I test lately, I test on my ClassicPress dev site and if they don’t work there, I pretty much avoid them and this one will only work on WordPress 5 or better. So that sort of puts it right down at the bottom of the list.
Brian: Yeah, it’s funny. I’ve seen a couple of those types of plugins pop up on Code Canyon, too.
Brian: And it’s like anything to make a buck.
John: Anything! I love capitalism, man. Anything to make a buck.
Brain: Yeah, it’s great.
John: You get the information free everywhere else in the world but hey, take my plugin here, whatever we’re going to charge you for it.
All right, well that pretty much wraps this up and covers us what we covered up in this set of plugins here. Oh, we’re not done there. We’ve got of course the commercial! This show currently brought to you by…
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John: Absolutely. CMS Commander is great and if you do sign up for it, please use the links off of the website or in the Show Notes, because it is an affiliate link. They don’t pay me for that ad, but I’d be really happy if someone wants to pay me for that ad space. I’ll create the ad for you and get it up and running.
All right, one quick thing. Hemdien made a note in the chat for it that he gives a thumbs-up for the Better Search and Replace. He uses it all the time, so thanks again, Hemdien. I really appreciate your feedback.
Okay, and listener feedback. Well, that’s a good listener feedback there. We don’t really have any, but it would be really great for all you folks out there – and I know there’s thousands of you downloading the show. At least that’s the appearance in my downloads is that it gets downloaded thousands of times a week. Somebody out there has to have a couple of minutes right now while they’re sitting in their home, avoiding all their work, where they can, you know, send me a short note. Email email@example.com, hit the Contact forms on the website, or even hit the SpeakPipe and leave me a voice message that I can play on the show. Any of that stuff there, I would love to get it into the show.
Okay, and the contest – we do have a contest running, and this is the last week for your chance to win.
Child: Are you still working?
John: What was that?
Brian: I’m sorry, yeah.
John: Oh God, for a second, I thought that was one of my kids!
Brian: Nope, nope. It was mine. He’s been shunned away.
John: Love – that’s the one joy right now. Both my kids – I’m sure it came through on the thing when my kids hit me on the walkie-talkie. They were out playing, and I’ve got them with walkie-talkies so I can get a hold of them if I need them.
Brian: Ha, right.
John: So at any rate, back to the contest. One week left for the contest, when we are giving away a license for Event Espresso. This is a $300 value, folks. You know, it’s the full-blown license, the Event Espresso Everything License or the Event Espresso Developer License, whichever one suits your needs. And of course I think I’ve talked about Event Espresso a few time, a really great plugin. I used it years ago when they were brand new. I interviewed Seth Schultz when he was brand new with this. This is like going back six or seven years when the show first started and then I interviewed him not too long ago, and the link to the interview with Seth is in the Show Notes.
And it’s dramatic how this plugin has improved over the years. It got to the point where I wouldn’t use it because it was too much of a headache and then I had to use it last year for a client to build out a conference website, and their choice was Event Espresso. Once I went through setting it up, it turned out that they have made it very, very usable and user-friendly now. And it’s not only good for in-person stuff, but it’s good for virtual stuff, and a great way to collect fees for your conferences, so go check it out. Sign up for the contest. Maybe you’ll win that full-blown license and save yourself $300 for your first year of using it.
At any rate, go check it out and that’s all we’ve really got for you right now. And if you are a developer who would like to support the show and you want to donate to the show, donate a premium license to the show and we’ll create a contest around your plugin and showcase it for a week or two – maybe even a month. It depends on how long we need to run a contest for it.
Okay, and closing out this episode, the plugins we covered were WP Migrate DB Pro, which got a 5; Post SMTP, which got a 5; Better Search and Replace, which got a 5; Advance Post Queries, which got a 5; and the Covid-19 Live Tracking which got a 2; and the SEO Ultimate, which got a 2, and then the ZP Remove Customizer, which is unranked at the moment.
And a couple of quick reminders… The next WordPress Meetup for Victoria will be April 28th, 2020. It’s not looking like we’re going to be able to have an in-person meetup because I don’t think BC is going to lift the restrictions for that. But I will be doing this live from the Brewery Overlook and I will stream it live of what I’m going to do and what I’m going to be talking about is migrating your website from WordPress.org or any other web host out there to a new web host, and what kind of problems will you encounter and how you can avoid the problems that you’ll be looking at when it’s time to do your migrations from one web host to another.
Some are easy, some not so easy. It all depends on where you’re going and who is handling that job for you. So this will be an interesting one for those that have gotten fed up with their current host or outgrown their host, and they’re looking to move to a better place. So make sure you tune in for that. It’ll be on April 28th and it’ll still be at 6:30 p.m., broadcast live from the Brewery Overlook.
I do have a new interview show out right now. It is with Keven Brent from WP DataSync and we’re talking about his new plugin. So if you haven’t checked out that interview show, go check it out. It is now available up on WP Plugins A-Z, along with the Show Notes and links for it.
If you want to learn a little bit more about me, feel free to go check out theroguestavern.com. Check out my adventures into the wild, searching for gold, hiking, camping, out on the range, and a new segment is coming to that where I am turning a backyard from a wasteland into an urban edible forest. And I’ve just started editing the videos on it, so it’s going to take a while to get stuff up on that.
That’s pretty much I’ve got. Anything you want to toss in here Brian before we close out the show?
Brian: Yeah, I think I’m good.
John: Okay. Well then, I’m gonna let my girl take us out of here. Don’t run off on me yet, Brian, no?
Brian: Yep, you’ve got it.
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John can be reached at his website, JohnOverall.com, or email him directly at 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.