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 #474 here.
It’s Episode 474 with plugins for Sliders, Shortcodes, and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right. So first off, we usually talk about ClassicPress Options. I still don’t have anything for ClassicPress. I have just not made the time to go hunt down stuff for ClassicPress.
No new plugins. I’m sure there is new stuff in ClassicPress, but I need someone to help me out and present me with the information. I’m not working in ClassicPress right now. I’m working in WordPress where all my clients happen to be except for one or two. But the one or two don’t need any work, so I’m kind of stuck. Most of the plugins I do come from what I’m working on.
So if you want to help us out, please submit some information about ClassicPress and keep it alive. I do have the usual links; the ClassicPress Club, the forums, the CodePotent’s directory and more. So go check that stuff out in the Show Notes.
Okay, so off into the WordPress plugins. If you are looking for great newly released plugins, check out the link in the Show Notes for the browse new area. These are the latest and greatest in plugins that had memory least to the WordPress repository. There’re over 50 pages of plugins in here. And they are always like within the last couple of days, sometimes hours, going back for the last few weeks. They are almost always plugins that have less than 10 installations. So if you’re looking for something new and different, go check this out.
Okay, so what have I got for you here? The first one I have for you out the gate is called Slider – Ultimate Responsive Image Slider. That’s a mouthful.
Amber: What is up with the long names?
John: I don’t know. They need to check out the WP Plugins consultation service for plugin naming where we can name the plugins much better than they did. I mean, this would have just been simply put the UT Slider will be much better.
Amber: Or even, you know, SURIS.
Amber: SURIS, S-U-R-I-S.
John: S-U-R-I, I don’t get it.
Amber: Slider – Ultimate Responsive Image Slider.
John: Oh, yes, see that’s the problem, it doesn’t work. You need simple brains like mine. You got to really grab them. Okay. So what have we got here? What this plugin does for you is if you are looking for a very simple image slider plugin to put on your site that allows you to create multiple sliders full of images, you can place across your website really simply and easily with just a shortcode, this one works for you.
It has lots of settings in it to allow you to customize the slider height, width, how big it is, how many images, whether it’s got the bar across the bottom or moving automatically. It’s got a lot of really cool tools, and it just works. The best part about it is it’s actually free, which many of them they give you three-quarters of the stuff. And then, the parts you really need they charge you for it. I needed a free one for a client that I was working on. This one fit the bill. Checked out really well and installed it. The client was extremely happy with it. And, of course, because it’s a complete freebie, it gets itself a 5-Dragon rating.
John: Go check it out, the Slider – Ultimate Responsive Image Slider.
Amber: Well, you know, the way you say it, it actually doesn’t sound too bad being long.
John: That’s because you know I stretch it and make it sound cool. All right. So that’s what I got for you.
Amber: And the first one I have was actually suggested to us from a listener. It’s called Easy Testimonial Slider and Form. So I’m going to read the note that we were sent in. It came from a fellow named Graham.
Hi John, I was investigating Amber’s guestbook plugin and realized what I really needed was a testimonial plugin, one that enabled customers to add their own from the front-end. After a lot of searching, I found Easy Testimonial Slider and Form, which does just that. Even the free version enables that function, something most others don’t. I was so impressed, I bought the paid version straightaway to get extra features such as Star Ratings.
The cost is a one-off $15, which is a lot less than most, most of which charge ongoing fees. It has been regularly updated, but not many people seem to be downloading it. It’s one of those gems you stumble across if you search long enough, which is what your podcasts are about. It works fine on ClassicPress too. Thought you might like to review it. I would give it a 5-Dragon rating, but it does have the paid version, albeit very cheap.
So, of course, I had to check out this apparent gem of a plugin. And I found I actually quite liked this. I always enjoy having the option to completely personalize my plugins, and this offers you the opportunity to customize every one of your messages and labels. I had a lot of fun with that.
You also get to decide what the failure messages say. There’s so few to do that. The adding of the actual testimonials is pretty simple. And if you are like me and decide to change everything you could in the label section, you also get to find out what you changed didn’t actually make sense to change when you go to test that bit out.
And something that’s really uncommon, like that I was just saying, usually, plugins, when they have a paid version, they give you like three-quarters of what you need, and then you have to pay to get what you really need. This one gives you everything you actually need in the free version. So you can get this with just the free version and it’s everything you need.
The paid version really just makes it fancier and allows you to use more than one on your site at a time, which is actually great. I honestly do agree with Graham. It is definitely a gem, and it’s really quite cheap if you want to go ahead and get the paid version. So I rate this at 5 Dragons, even though it has a paid version.
John: All right. Yeah, it does sound like a cool plugin. And stretching it a little bit and the paid version, well if the free version gives you almost everything, but the paid, well maybe we can stretch a 5 out of it. What the heck.
Amber: Really it just gets fancier with the paid version. I was really impressed by that.
John: It’s cool. Well, make sure you check that one out, folks, if you are looking for a testimonials plugin.
Okay, the next one I have up for you here is called Remove Orphan Shortcodes. Now this is one that I believe I reviewed before maybe 30, 50, 60 episodes back. I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t go look. But I just recall doing it once before. But I’m bringing it back forward because it’s back in front of me again for a project I’ve just started working on. That we are doing a facelift for the website, and it’s got a lot of shortcodes that have to be removed from the system because of the theme that was used previously. It used shortcodes to display stuff on the page. And that can be a problem when you go to move themes. You’re still stuck with those shortcodes and you have to manually remove them, which can be a real pain when there is well over a thousand posts to clean up.
What this plugin does for you very simply and easily, once you turn it on, it goes through and any shortcodes that are not actively being used by your theme or your plugins on your site are hidden. Now they are not deleted, but they are hidden, so they don’t display to the people who view your website. So what it does is it buys you time to make the facelift, clean it up, and then, slowly over time you manually remove them. But the display for people is not impaired and they only see your fancy new design, paint job you’ve done on your site.
Really cool plugin, really useful when you’re yanking old plugins or old themes that used shortcodes throughout the site and you got to get rid of them all. And this saves you hours of time out the gate and you can just clean it up as time goes by. Useful plugin, go check it out. It’s called Remove Orphan Shortcodes, and I give it a 5-Dragon rating.
Amber: Lots of 5s today.
John: Yeah, it’s one of those days.
Amber: Next one I got is Categories Images. First of all, I’d like to mention how very much the search operation on this plugin site sucks. I’m a pretty good speller, but sometimes I don’t get it totally right, like, with this one I put an ‘a’ twice in the word ‘categories’.
John: Maybe you might want to clarify on this site what you are referring to you is WordPress.org search function.
Amber: Okay sorry, okay, so WordPress.org search function, apologies.
John: That’s all right. Just to clarify.
Amber: Well, with the one letter wrong, I couldn’t find it for the life of me. I ended up going through dozens of plugins before my dad pointed out that I had misspelled the bloody word, and I finally was able to pull it up.
This plugin itself is used to add a picture into the category or taxonomy of your site. There aren’t really many that do just that. I found maybe two others, one of which hadn’t been kept up and they didn’t work nearly as smoothly or as well as this one. So this one is pretty well the top dog.
The way it works is you plug it in and let it go. It has a settings page where you can choose specific taxonomies for the plugins to avoid, so it doesn’t interfere with anything like WooCommerce. And what happens when you turn it on is it adds a little extra bar at the bottom of the Add New Category page for your categories and you just upload an image there.
It’s really quite easy and very useful. I liked it a lot. They keep it well updated, and I think it’s definitely worth checking out if you need some pictures. I give it a 5.
John: Yeah, a very useful plugin. Again, something we needed for a new project we’re working on. So great little plugin. Unfortunately, you would think this would be a default piece of information inside WordPress Core, but for some reason they have never put this into the core.
Next up, I have for you, Say what? Yeah, Say What. That’s the name of the plugin. It’s Say What. And what this one is, this one is just a cool, fun plugin. And it could also be something useful to professionalize up your website or irritate those on your internal network if you want to do that with a plugin.
What it does is it goes in there and allows you to search for the strings inside your WordPress website. And this is for your menus and other things, everything that’s translatable. And there is a lot of stuff in WordPress that has translatable words. And what in particular this can do, you can go change the name of your menu items. Such as Tools, you can change it to Stuff in That, or Settings, you can go to Con Fig and Drag-ins. (So I really like that term.) You know, Users, you can change that to Other People or My Personal Slaves or whatever you want to call it. There’re all kinds of cool things you can do with this thing.
And it does have a pro version. And the pro version allows you to do an automatic search for all the strings that are editable in your website and thereby go through and change them.
Now, if you want to do it manually, you’ll have to hunt through the code, or you guess to see which ones are translatable and which ones you can change. I was playing with it bit this morning, playing inside my site and started changing up some stuff just for fun. But it’s a really cool tool and it can be very useful.
In particular, we could use it for — if you’re building out a client website, you could change some of the lesser known items such as Dashboard to say, yes, this is the Dashboard or Tools, or you know, Useful Things To Help Your Site Work Better. You know, just clean it up and make it more understandable for your clients. Pick words and phrases that will work.
Really cool plugin. The premium version is about $39 and it can save you a lot of time searching through the strings. Great tool, something that might be useful for you. Go get out there, and Say What? I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Amber: So this is only for the Dashboard or?
John: Oh no, it’s for lots for other things in there too. I’m just not – the Dashboard is the key area I focused on.
Amber: So if you plugged in, you can change the front of your site with it too?
John: Yeah, wildcard string replacements.
Amber: Oh, okay, cool.
John: Multilingual support, yeah, blah, blah, blah. Lots of things it can do.
Amber: That’s funny that you found it’s called Say What. Because my last one is called SayIt! So this one, I actually found this a while back, but I was really unnerved by the need for coding in order to make it work. It gave you a cheat sheet, but it still made me kind of nervy at first. I decided to try my hand on it, and it was actually a lot of fun.
What this plugin does is it makes words or sentences, or even entire paragraphs spoken out loud for you. The voices are a little robotic, but you do get to choose which voice you use, so that’s pretty cool. Just go to choose, you just got to put in the right code.
This plugin is totally free although the creator, David Manson does state in his FAQ, “If you use the Google TTS, you’ll need to give your banking information to Google and you can be charged if you use it a lot. However, SayIt! is using a smart caching system, so it requests Google only for new voice generation.” I think that means that there is a workaround when using SayIt a lot while using Google TTS. I’m not really sure. I don’t really know much about Google TTS. But I want to mention this if anyone out there is using Google TTS.
John: Text to Type.
Amber: Text to Type, okay.
John: Text to Type script.
Amber: Okay. Now, on to the plugin itself. You need to be willing to write out the code around whatever it is that you want to be read out loud. But you can get a cheat sheet, like I mentioned. And what I learned is you absolutely have to write it into the text area, otherwise it breaks kind of funny.
There is a settings page and you can change up the mode from HTML 5 to Google TTS or Amazon Polly, or you can even just disable it. You can set the language and the speed that the speaker talks as well. You can also change up the skin theme for the buttons showing up on the word. It’s kind of cool.
There are some options for Google TTS, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Polly in the settings as well. And generally, you just wrap around the code – wrap around the words you want to speak, and that’s it.
It seems like it could be really useful, especially for strange words like Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. Yeah, that word means fear of long words. But with a word like that, one must listen to it many times before you can be able to say it right. As a coder plugin, this is pretty awesome. From what I understand, you can put in a lot of different codes and make it work, just so long as you wrap it between the words, SayIt.
I know that this is probably pretty basic for a lot of people who are listening, but not everyone who listens. And for people like me, it’s still kind of really overwhelming when you first try to figure it out. Because of its kind of higher difficulty level, I’m rating it at 4.
John: Excellent. Sounds like a fun toy to play with on your website. All right. Well, this show currently brought to you by…
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Okay. Listener Questions. We do have one this week, and I’ll address this one out, and I’ll make sure I get an email off to Angel. This is from Angel and it starts out:
I’m working on a university professor website with an alumni section. All we need is to show a photo, and the name of the plugin — the plugin that will sort it automatically by last name. I have spent a bunch of time looking for a plugin that will sort the names. And it’s not that I mind paying for it, but some plugins are just way overkill and some look like they would do the job, but most of them are from Envato. And I dislike the Envato store because if you buy something and it does not do what you want it to, good luck in getting a refund. I’ve been looking for a team faculty. And I thought to ask you maybe there is some other function or another plugin to sort through data that may not be teams or faculty plugin, some trick you know maybe?
All right. So well, Angel, it’s been a long time since I’ve done what you’re looking for and specifically. But I used to do it a few years ago with a plugin called Connections. The Connections plugin, while it looks a little overwhelming, it’s actually pretty simple for the most part. And the free version of it usually does most of what you need. You don’t have to go into the premium version to get a lot of things you need with it. It’s a great plugin. It works. They’ve kept it up to date. It’s been around for about five or six years now. I’ve used it like three or four years ago was the last time I used it.
I was going to recommend something else, but I realized you’re not looking for a membership plugin. Like, I have a membership plugin that does something similar, but it does put everyone into your website as a member and not just a list that’s managed by a plugin.
This one here is a list that’s just managed by your plugin, and it’s a really great tool. And it allows you, if at a future point in time they want to expand this out and make it more of a directory and database that can be used, it can be expanded out in that way and even then, tied into a membership plugin if you wanted. So there is a lot it can do for future growth, if the future growth is thought of. And if not, it can still stay quite basic. So go check this one out, Angel. I’ll get you an email in the mail and send you the link when I’ve got it. So thanks a lot, Angel. I appreciate the question.
Okay, the contest. We did have a contest that ran and ended a couple of days ago for the Shoutworks subscription to it. A big congratulation goes out to Charlie, who is the winner of it.
And he has already responded back to us and we will get that key code to you as soon as possible, Charlie. So thanks a lot.
And one quick last shout out to Shoutworks. It’s a one-click way to engage and grow your audience by getting your WordPress website talking on over 200 million Amazon Alexa voice devices and 4 billion Alexa-ready devices worldwide. The user-friendly Shoutworks WordPress plugin allows anyone to create a voice app or a skill for Alexa from their WordPress site in less than five minutes. A really cool tool. I learned quite a bit about how this works in the interview I did with Christian Petroske. Go check out the interview. Link is in the Show Notes. Go check out Shoutworks.
And for everyone who entered the contest, thank you very much. It was greatly appreciated to see such enthusiasm and everyone signing up for the contest. And congratulations again out to you, Charlie. I greatly appreciate that and congratulations to you. So I’ll have that to you as soon as possible.
Okay, for all you developers out there that want to support the show, you can donate a premium license to be used in the future. Please go to wppluginsatoz.com/plugincontest.
Closing out this episode, the plugins I covered are Slider – Ultimate Responsive Image Slider, which I really liked the idea of the UR Slider, which I gave a 5 to. The Remove Orphan Shortcodes, which I gave a 5 to, and the Say What, which I gave a 4 to.
Amber: And the ones I covered were Easy Testimonial Slider and Form, which I gave a
5, Categories Images, which I gave a 5, and SayIt, which I gave a 4.
John: SayIt, Say it again.
Amber: Wow, we were really in sync to it without meaning to be.
John: That happens, man. That’s why you don’t talk to each other about the plugins you are bringing forward until show day just to see how it works.
All right, so a couple of quick reminders. Remember to make Amber feel welcome. Send some emails, some cheer, some feelgood stuff, you know all that. Send her some email. Her contact email is in the Show Notes.
It does look like to me — well, we had a meetup in August, it doesn’t going to happen. September, I’m still debating September’s meetup right now. I’ve got to figure that one out. There may be a meetup in September. I will know for sure next week we will announce that, because we are at the end of August now. So next week, listen for whether there is going to be a meetup.
There is the interview that’s out there with Christian from Shoutworks. Go check that one out. And if you want to find out more about me and my insanity, go check out therougestavern.com.
Now this one last piece here, this is something I’ve never really been overly good at asking people for help and asking for the money and everything. It’s always kind of hard for me to do it. I mean, I make it sound like I do it a lot, but no, not really. But what I’m doing right now is I’m asking you, the Producers out there to help support the show. And this is a very specific thing I’m looking for.
Now, what I’m looking for is the contest. You noticed that for a while there last year, a year-and-a-half ago when I had an office assistant here, and she was managing all these things for me. Our contests were consistent. They were done quickly. Everything was up. The keys were sent out regularly. And there wasn’t no lapse in contests. Well, unfortunately, that changed when I had to do it all myself because I have to manage the show, manage my life, manage my work, manage everything else. And there are certain things that just take a back door, back seat to everything that I start doing. And the contests, for one, it was very low on my important radar.
But what I’m asking for is one of you Producers out there who has a little bit of time and would like to help this show out in a very specific manner. What I’m looking for is you would contact the developers or the plugin authors we’ve covered that have premium plugins, see if they would like to donate a license to the show for a contest. Then you would have to create the contest up on the website. I would show you how that works. Create the contest, run the contest. I would make sure it ends on time. Select the winner. The winner will get an email.
They have to respond back to that email to verify who they are. And then, you would then send that contest winner the key and the software if need be for that. It’s a very simple thing to do. And I know it seems like I should be able to get it into my schedule, but I just can’t sometimes. It just gets forgotten and lost through the cracks.
So if you’re one of the listeners out there that would like to support the show in this little manner, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you all set up. And we’ll get you in contact with the people we talk to and you can collect those keys and get that information. Who knows? If you make enough friends and that, you could end up with some free software along the way. You never know. I mean, to most of these developers, a free key just means publicity for them. It doesn’t cost them any real actual money, just time and lots of free publicity. So check it out and give me a ring, send me an email email@example.com.
Okay. And that’s all we’ve got for you. So it is time for the little tequila hat and to let my girl take us on out of here. Off we go.
Amber: I should get you a little mini banjo to go with that.
John: That would be cool. And then, we’ll get a man to sit on that cup, too. It’s not banjo. What are those little things they play, it’s a specialized guitar. It’s got a big fat bottom.
Amber: I thought that was a banjo.
John: No, it’s not a banjo. Banjo is a southern thing. It’s more of a southern boy thing. I should be drinking White Lightning if it’s banjo.
Amber: Oh okay.
John: We’re talking tequila. Tequila comes from Mexico. You know, a big sombrero hat – and I can’t remember what those guys are called. Anyway, off we go. I’ll let my girl take us on out of here.
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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.