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 and Amber’s discussion of this weeks plugins that have been reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #473 here.
It’s Episode 473 with plugins for AutoBlogging, SEO for the insane, Custom URL shortener, Session limitations, Google Photos, GuestBooks and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right. So off we go into the meat potatoes of this show. First off, ClassicPress options. Again, this week nothing, I haven’t had time for ClassicPress at all. It’s been several weeks since I’ve been able to do anything with ClassicPress. I’ve just had project after project after project in WordPress. So ClassicPress is off to the side right now. I’m not going to force ClassicPress into my clients, and it’s such just a long, another bit of a learning curve and changing out a fair number of plugins I’m not ready to do just yet.
So I still have some of the information on — a lot of the information basically on ClassicPress; the Club, the forums, CodePotent’s website and more. Just go check out the Show Notes for all those links. If you are a ClassicPress listener, please provide me some content that I can use in this segment of the show. I will happily fill this segment out and make it more worthy of you. So please help us all out.
Okay. WordPress plugins. First one, I’ve got here right off the gate for you is WP Pocket URLs. Now this is a brand new plugin. All the plugins I’ve got for you today are brand new plugins, hot off the presses over at wordpress.org/plugin/browse/new. Link is in the Show Notes for that. This is where the only place you can find out what are the most recently released plugins on the wordpress.org website in the plugin repository. These plugins are usually less than a month old, usually less than having 10 downloads and installs on them. And you might want to check them out. You can often find some really beautiful gems here, some great plugins.
This one here is one of those. It is WP Pocket URLs. And what it is basically is it’s a URL shortener. And it’s similar in vein to Pretty Links Pro in that it creates a URL shortener based upon your website URL. So what they are pushing it as is a way to shorten up your links for – affiliate links to make them look like your own URL and their affiliates links. I use Pretty Links for that because I bought a license for that years ago, but this is a really great looking one.
It’s a free plugin with a pro version that can help you out. And it’s got lots of useful options in here to set up your URLs for shortening up. And you can use it for more than just your links for affiliates. You can use it for other links to other websites, or maybe you have created a page or a post that has a ridiculously long link in it and you need to shorten it down to something simple such as wppluginsatoz.com/donate, whereas the actual URL is a little different than that. But you want to shorten these things down. So that’s how this one can help you out. Really great plugin, something useful. Go check it out. I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Amber: And the first one I’ve got is Squirrly SEO 2020. I honestly – I looked at this one specifically because of the name. Between the Dog on Up on No Agenda Squirrel clip, anything with the word ‘squirrel’ just kind of catches me now.
Amber: So this is an SEO tools plugin that’s open sourced, AI-based and SEO enhancer. Its goal is to get into the top 10 listings of Google. It’s a premium version though it’s really close to what you get for the paid SEO version from what I could tell. It’s designed for people like me who are kind of really overwhelmed by all the jargon at first glance. So it’s very simple, very easy to put it in.
Like when I first plugged it in, as soon as you activate, it takes you to its own page. It’s got a lot of different sections in its own page. It’s really cool. And it immediately gives you goals. I decided to go through and actually finish some of these goals.
I initially had five tasks. And as soon as I start going through them, it not only tells you what the goal is; like goal one for me was add a focus page. I didn’t really know what a focus page was. I clicked on the Show Me button and it actually tells you what the focus page is, why you need it, how to use it. And it gives you quite a few focus page options like, well, you choose from all the posts and pages and everything on your page and you get to choose what you want your site to be focused on.
There is also a research page which is really cool. It tells you about the different things you can do and why you should do them, how they help and how they wouldn’t help if you chose not to do them.
The only drawback I could really find on it was that I couldn’t really tell what more they offer in the paid SEO version versus the free version. It just kept repeating, like, do you get the free version on WordPress? So I’m not really sure what the difference is. The SEO version seems like it has a lot of good things to it. It’s about 20 bucks. But the free version, I think it has the same SEO. I don’t know. I couldn’t really tell.
I do rate it 5 because as much as I used it for that little bit, it seems really awesome. I have to check back in a few months on this because I don’t know, it depends on how it goes through at the time. But for now, it’s 5 dragons. We’ll see in a few months.
Oh my god that is amazing!
John: Just had to do that.
Amber: Thanks, dad.
John: Okay. So the next one I’ve got for you here is called CWO Photo. This is a plugin that will help you if you are a Google Photo user. I’m sorry first off, but if you are a Google Photo user and you are letting them control your data, well, this is a way to maybe pull some of that data back into your website. And what this plugin does for you is you go create your Google credentials, set them up in the plugin, and it allows you to pull over your photos from Google photos.
I remember they used to have a great photo program once upon a time. I don’t remember what it was called now. But it was fantastic, and they bought it from somebody who built the most amazing tool that Google bought it and killed it. It really pissed me off. I used it for years until it was destroyed sometime in mid-2000s.
At any rate, sidetrack – this one here, it looks like it will do a great job for those of you using Google photos. It’ll allow you to display the photos on your website using shortcodes in either a carousel format or in a grid format. But a great way if you are using Google photos to bring them over to your website in one smooth section. And, of course, you know, a plugin that’s this useful, well, I guess I got to give it a 4-dragon rating. Go check it out. It’s CWO Photo, and of course, as I said, it is a brand new plugin hot off the presses. So their instructions are a little vague at the moment, but they do have a website set up with all the information that really helps you out with setting it up. So go check it out, CWO Photo, and I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Amber: Next one I have is RSS Aggregator by Feedzy – Powerful WP Autoblogging and News Aggregator.
John: That’s a mouthful.
Amber: Yeah. So this plugin is all about RSS feeds. It helps you to grab up the RSS of blogs, content, news, everything under the sun it seems, and it chucks it up on your site for you automatically. This claims to help your SEO ratings and offers you an unlimited number of RSS feeds to choose from and publishes it all within minutes of grabbing it. So it seems pretty nifty, if that’s the kind of thing that you need up on your site.
I plugged it in, and funny enough, it automatically brought me to its support page where it tries to upsell you. Guess it means they are not shy about trying to upsell their own business. It makes them good salesmen, I guess.
John: Yeah, good salesmen.
Amber: The settings are very few, but they make sense. And it’s easy enough to add the feeds. I mean, even I understand what it means when it says, “Add URL’s here.” So I added them in. It does give a warning about when there’re a lot of feeds mashed together. They may not work quite as expected, which it kind of makes sense to me. It seems all right, like, I tried putting in one of my favorite sites, mysteriouspackage.com because they are always coming out with different ads and offers and things, but I couldn’t preview it. I don’t know if that’s normal for this kind of plugin.
And I don’t know maybe I’m just missing something, but I couldn’t figure out how to preview, which means I don’t really know what it looks like, I don’t really know if it’s working, which is kind of irritating. I mean, what if you are working on a site that’s not supposed to go live for another month or so? How are you supposed to know if this is actually working the way it’s supposed to? But — because I couldn’t view or anything like that, I just rated it 3 Dragons.
John: Ah, well that’s a drag. But anyway, it’s RSS feeds. This sounds like to me just the RSS aggregators oldtime, if you’ve been around for any length of time like some of us have in the Internet. RSS feeds were a big major thing for many years until they worked hard to kill them. But in case you are an RSS feed user, then you already know that every WordPress site has RSS feed for every segment of the WordPress website. All you got to do is add RSS after the URL to anything to get the feed. So it can be useful. This could be a useful tool.
I used something like this years ago to help build up my business and promote other people’s content in the process. It does sound like something that might be checkoutable, but from the problems that it does have, yeah, you may think twice about it.
Okay, the next one I have for you here is called Limit Login Session. This is another brand new, hot off the presses plugin. And initially, I was caught up in the idea of it because it’s a really great idea of a plugin. I used something similar on a membership site I had built out for a client. And what this one does, this limits the number of sessions someone can log in to their account on your website.
And the number of sessions is meant by — if you don’t understand the sessions, what the sessions are is if say you are on your one computer and you log in with Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, that’s three different sessions because each browser creates a session to the site, or if they have multiple devices meaning their computer, their laptop, their phone, their work computer, whatever, that’s another session.
Well, where this plugin I thought would come in real handy is that if you’re running a membership site and you want to limit them handing out the credentials to their buddies, maybe you have got a training session site or a training site with lots of specialized training stuff on it, and every time they log in, that’s a session. But if their buddies are somewhere out there, they want to give their key out, they want to login, they could end up with another one. That’s another session. Well, this one here could limit the number of sessions from one to however many you want, limiting the number of devices that can be logged in at the same time. That’s the key, is logging at the same time.
The problem I found is that it tells people you’ve reached your limit of sessions, but it doesn’t give a way to eliminate all the sessions that are already there, meaning there’re a lot of people out there that login to websites. They’ll log in from their computer, a public computer, their buddy’s computer, their mom’s computers, all these computers, but they will forget to log out. And WordPress sets a session key that lasts for two weeks. So it takes two weeks for that session key to expire. So what it would need is some way to say, oh, I’ve hit my sessions, and I’m nowhere near another computer. I can clear my sessions or log out. They should have a way to dump all the sessions is what would be a really good news for featuring this.
Other than that, it does look like it has a lot of promise for the future. But as it is, a brand new plugin, that’s always a kind of nice thing to see. So go check this one out. It could be something you could use. And if you’re good into code writing, maybe you could add to it and make it do what you want it to do. It’s called Limit Login Session, and in its current state, I give it a 3-dragon rating.
Amber: This seems like it could be a really useful one.
John: Yeah, it could be very useful. It just doesn’t quite have all the necessary bells and whistles in it yet.
Amber: So the last one I’ve got is a guestbook. It’s called Gwolle Guestbook. I think Gwolle, it looks like Gwolle.
John: Well, just get rid of the G, and it’s called Wolle.
Amber: So this one is actually quite beautiful. I tested it out. It shows up as a widget once you plug it in and activate it. It’s really actually a neat idea. I’ve never seen a virtual guestbook before. I love guestbooks. Every time I go to any kind of function where there is a guestbook, I always leave a funny little statement.
Their saying is “Don’t use your comment section the wrong way. Install Gwolle Guestbook and have a real guestbook,” which got me thinking. I wonder how many people use their comment section as a guestbook or how many people use the comment section as a guestbook for the site. So it would be kind of irritating in the long run, really.
So for this, once I plugged it in, I went into its settings. I noticed it still has a lot of protection against spammers, which is bloody brilliant, I think. I remember that the news things that we went over last week or the week before was about one of the plugins that hadn’t had enough spam protection. There’re hackers who are like putting a picture with stuff in it. Because of the protections on this, people can’t do that. It’s very well-made, actually.
They do have — oh, sorry, I’m getting lost on my own notes here. They do pre-fill certain things for you, like, how the creator has a right to go over every comment and decide whether or not to publish. It’s very professional but they do give you the option to change it up a wee bit. I had fun tweaking those.
You can set it up to get notifications via email, set up your users to have particular functions, and there is even a debugger page on this. Also, something I’ve never seen before, there is an Uninstall option on the settings page. It warns you that by uninstalling, you will lose every entry ever made and that it can never be undone, that you should make a backup first. I always just figured the only way to uninstall a plugin was to simply go to plugins and delete it. That’s a neat function I’ve never seen before. It seems kind of thoughtful and rather polite of them.
They also offer a blocklist and a custom anti-spam question, if you so desire. It seems like a lot of thought went into making this. And it seems like they’ve really worked hard to make it so that people can’t just hack in there and you don’t end up with just spammers all the time. I really like this. I definitely recommend it if you have a site where a guestbook could be useful. And one of the best things about it, it’s totally free. You get what you see with this. I rate it 5.
John: That sounds like a pretty interesting plugin. Thinking of that one thing of the uninstall button or click or box in there, you will see it as you get exposed to more and more plugins. It’s in a lot of plugins.
John: It’s considered proper protocol when you create a plugin to have an uninstall function that removes all the data the plugin creates. So for those that install something and play with it and go okay, this is not for me and they want it removed, they don’t want a bunch of junk left behind. But about 70% of the plugins leave behind a bunch of junk that impacts your database and slows down your database over time. So it’s good that they are following the proper protocols.
Amber: That’s interesting. I know I’ve looked at least 100 plugins minimum at this point and that’s the first time I’ve seen that.
John: Yeah, some do, some don’t. It’s a hit-and-miss kind of thing. I find that about 10% to 20% of plugins have the checkbox or some such feature that you can uninstall from within the plugin. Most of them just have the uninstall feature from the plugins page. And about half of those ones that uninstall that way remove all their data, the other half leave behind all the crap they added.
All right. Well, this show currently brought to you by…
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All right. We don’t have any listener feedback this week although I would love some. It would be nice to see some emails and stuff. Hey, it’s going to be two weeks before we’re back, plenty of time for you to get those emails into us or send in other stuff to make sure that we’re up-to-date with what’s happening in your lives. Let us know what you think and feel; the good, the bad, the ugly, we take it all and we will more than happily publish it all. We might comment on it. So be prepared for that if it’s really bad, especially if it’s bad. Because I’ve got some bad stuff going back years and it was really entertaining to comment on it. Anyway, we got no other feedback for you. No questions, nothing.
So we’re going to dive to the next item, which is a contest. Our contests are powered by the Simple Giveaways plugin. These guys were kind enough to provide us with the premium version of their plugin to run our contest. I’ve been using this plugin since it was brand new about four years ago, give or take. And it has done nothing but get better over the years. So go check them out, Simple Giveaways.
We are giving away a subscription right now for ShoutWorks. You want to find out a bit more about ShoutWorks? Listen to the interview with Christian Petroske to find out what they have to say and what ShoutWorks does for you. It creates an app for you that runs on the Alexa machine that allows your website and other bits and pieces to be turned into an Alexa skill. In other words, people can holler out Alexa keywords and get your actions on your website. Great for those that are running e-commerce stores and more.
We are giving away a free-for-life ShoutWorks standard account. This is probably worth a lot of money. I don’t have a value on it here written down, but I imagine it’s quite valuable. So go check it out. It’s a free-for-life standard account. Everything you need. All right. So go check it out. Simply go to wppluginsatoz.com/contests to sign up for the contest. And the contest is running now through till the end of August. And we’ll let you know the final date next week because for some reason it’s not in my notes. And I’ll have to make sure that gets there.
All right. That’s pretty much it. Closing out this episode, I covered up the following plugins; the WP Pocket URLs, which I gave a 4 to, the CWO Photo, which I gave a 4 to, and the Limit Login Sessions, which I gave a 3 to.
Amber: And I covered the Squirrly SEO 2020. I gave that a 5. The RSS Aggregator by Feedzy – Powerful WP Autoblogging and News Aggregator. I’m impressed I can say it without tripping off my tongue. I gave that one a 3. And the Gwolle Guestbook, which I also gave a 5 to.
John: All right. Here are a couple of quick reminders. Remember, send some stuff over. Let us know how Amber is doing. I haven’t seen any emails yet. Maybe you guys haven’t even noticed she is here, and you just think that’s me changing and throwing my voice. I don’t know.
Amber: It could be.
John: It could be.
Amber: You still talk the most, so.
John: Yeah, well, so I don’t know how to shut up. All right. Well, looks like the meetup in August has been cancelled. That’s for sure. It’s not going to happen. We’re going to be looking at one for September. I will apprise you all as soon as it’s going to happen. It will be a very nice, wonderful meetup. So look forward to that.
And as mentioned, there is the interview out with Christian from ShoutWorks. Go check that interview out. The link is in the Show Notes or just go to wppluginsatoz.com and click the link on the front page.
If you want to be interviewed, simply go to wppluginsatoz.com/interview to be interviewed on the show. And finally, don’t forget you can go check out all that I’m doing over at TheRougesTavern.com, your oasis in the desert.
That’s pretty much all we got for you here. So let’s dive into, it is tequila. Oh, I’ve got to have the hat. I need the hat for the tequila. There you go. Tequila time. Going to take the hat off, have a tequila shot, and let my girl take us on out of here.
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John can also 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.