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 #485 here.
It’s Episode 485 with plugins for Checking Out, Reordering, Going Dark, Alerts, Recovering the Abandoned, Products Feeds, and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: It is time when we dive into the depths of plugin depravity. Off we go. Okay, the first one I’ve got, I do have some ClassicPress stuff this week. A couple of quick items, and ClassicPress, of course, is the offshoot of WordPress. This started out almost two just over two years ago now when WordPress went down the Gutenberg path. And ClassicPress is quite good. I do use it on a couple of sites. It’s just not my primary business at the moment.
So a bit of news, the first thing we’ve got here for ClassicPress is how to configure ClassicPress using VestaCP. I’m not sure what VestaCP is. So, at any rate, this is a really interesting article to go check out if you’re doing ClassicPress. It’ll help you configure up ClassicPress with VestaCP, whatever that might be. And I do have a ClassicPress plugin this week. This is one from azurecurve, and it’s called Taxonomy Order. And there’s not a lot of write-up on it. Most of azurecurve’s plugins don’t have a lot of writeups and they are specifically written for ClassicPress. And they do work in WordPress sometimes or most of the time, but ClassicPress is diverging from WordPress as I predicted two years ago. They would end up going down their own two separate paths. So we will see how well ClassicPress grows over the next few years.
At any rate, that’s what I have for ClassicPress, the usual other resources in ClassicPress, although the ClassicPress Club website seems to be gone or down, so I don’t know too much about that one right now. And you can find a listing of ClassicPress plugins and other information. Go check out the ClassicPress forums. There’s a lot of information there that will help you.
And we had a quick question here before we move on from Hemdian as a non-developer site owner, “Is there any way to know when it’s safe to upgrade PHP?” Yeah, roll the dice. Basically, what you do there, Hemdian, not roll the dice, that was a joke. I do it myself. It’s you – you get on a good hosting provider that allows you to switch PHP versions with the click of a mouse, switch your PHP version, see if your website still loads, you’re good. If it doesn’t load, you back it back down to the previous PHP version that worked, and then, you start figuring out what’s wrong with your site or hire a developer to figure out what’s wrong with your site.
Okay, WordPress plugins, this is where the fun begins. And the first one I have for you out the gate is called Checkout Field Editor (Checkout Manager) for WooCommerce. This is a plugin I started to use last week while working on a WooCommerce project that I’m currently bringing to a close finally, and I needed to make some changes on their checkout feed — their checkout forms. And the Checkout Field Editor, meaning when you’re collecting their name, address, phone number, all of that information, their billing address, et cetera.
This is a really great simple plugin. The free version allows you to get in there and change out things, such as the input text names, the display order, you can remove fields, enable and disable fields, et cetera. It was kind of useful. It didn’t quite do what I needed it to do, so I had to pull it out, but I did like what it offered, and I thought it could be useful for some folks. If you’re looking to need those changes, that’s what you want to check out this plugin. It’s not too bad of a plugin, and it does have a premium version, and with that, it gets a 4-Dragon rating from me. So go check it out. Checkout Field Editor (Checkout Manager) for WooCommerce.
Amber: And the first one I’ve got for you —
John: Oh, you’re not going to let anyone comment on it, nobody wants to comment?
Amber: I’m sorry.
Sultan: No, actually — you know, I actually checked this plugin out a few weeks back, and I thought it’s pretty neat. I mean, it’s not that complex, and for a person who’s not, you know, a developer, they can still use this for their site. So I thought it’s pretty useful.
John: All right. Off you go, kiddo.
Amber: All right. The first one I’ve got is Emergency Alerts. This plugin was designed with Rona in mind, but it actually moved into a fairly useful direction. The idea is to have the ability to place an important message directly on your site. You can customize it to an extent, choose a place, or choose where to place it on your site, and like whether it’s at the top, bottom, or side, whether or not it’ll be fixed. You can add media. There’re a few things you can do. It can be useful for putting up things such as closed for holidays, or new hours, anything that you need.
It’s easy to install, easy to use, and what I liked about it also is that when it’s up there, the person viewing it, they can press on the little X to close it when they’re done reading it, and it doesn’t come back until next time they sign on. The only drawback is that the creators say that if you want it to do more than just the absolute basic or just have a basic picture on there, you’re going to have to add some custom CSS in order to really make it work and more interactive. It has the ability to do that but doesn’t work too well unless you add the CSS.
So if you want something simple for your site, this will be a great plugin to grab, but if you don’t really know how to or if you don’t feel like adding CSS, then this may not be the plugin for you if you’re looking for something more interactive. I rate this at 4 Dragons.
John: Very useful. It could be a useful plugin for adding different types of pop-ups. I noticed it sets itself up with a lightbox setting on your page, so it puts an overlay on your page when it loads them, does it?
Amber: It was looking off for a while. I think they fixed that issue from what I read.
Sultan: Well, it is basically a simpler version of a notification bar, I guess.
John: Yeah, that’s what it said. That’s what it sounds like. Okay. Well, next you’re up, Sultan.
Sultan: Okay, so first let me talk about Cart Lift, which is basically one of RexTheme’s plugins. This is a plugin with intention to recover abandoned carts. You know, people who have a WooCommerce website, they face this issue called abandoned carts where – can you give me a moment? Just one second?
John: Yeah, not a problem. It sounds like the dogs went crazy.
Sultan: Yeah, yeah, sorry about that. Yeah, so as I was saying, Cart Lift basically is an abandoned cart recovery plugin. What we did was, we did some research on WooCommerce and also on our own website, people face actually over 70% abandoned carts. So, you know, every customer that comes in, 70% of them will leave by adding products to the cart. So this plugin is genuinely created so that you can actually track those customers and send them a reminder via email that you forgot about your cart, maybe you can come back and complete the purchase.
And amazingly this simple reminder can actually get a lot of them to come back and make the purchase. So with that in mind, this plugin was created. And eventually, what we focused on was making it really simple. So if you were to install the plugin, you’ll see that everything is set up in – step by step. It allows you to create email templates on your own, your own design, and you can schedule the times how long after an abandoned cart will the email to be sent out. It’s automated, right? And that’s the main idea. You can actually get back your customers that leave the website. So, yeah, that’s just about it.
John: Excellent. So did you have a rating for this plugin? I know it’s your own plugin, so you know, feel free to max it out.
Sultan: I don’t know how large I should go, but this is an essential plugin for anyone who owns online stores. So you know, if you need to give me a rating out of 10, I would go for 8.
John: Well, we don’t do 10. We do five, we got up to the max of five here.
Sultan: Yes, I would go 4 Dragons because this is mainly for businesses that are pretty large, a WooCommerce business that is pretty large. They face a lot of people leaving without completing the purchase, so this actually lets them bring in some extra revenue, so it is a pretty essential plugin.
Amber: I know I’m guilty of doing that, leaving stuff in my cart, and then, completely forgetting that I even started a cart. If I had a reminder every once in a while, that probably helped me, but not my wallet.
John: I’ve had a few websites, I’ve done that, they send me a cart reminder, and I go oh, yeah, I think I might actually still want to buy that so – because I live by the axiom of, you know, don’t buy it on impulse, you know, maybe look at it, think it over, okay, I’ll come back to it, but sometimes you forget, but if they remind me, it’s like, oh, yeah, I still actually kind of want that. It’s no longer an impulse buy.
All right. Well, the next plugin I’ve got on the list here is Simple Custom Post Order. Now, this plugin here, and I’ve reviewed similar plugins to this in the past and other ones. This one came across from a project I picked up. It was already installed on the site, and it looked kind of interesting. I liked what was being done with it, and basically, it’s a very simple plugin, you install, activate it, and then, you go into your post types and your post and rearrange them in whatever order you want by dragging and dropping them. And this also reflects itself on the front pages for lists on the pages — the user views.
Now, this plugin also handles not only your standard posts but also custom post types, which is a very useful item if you’ve got a site with lots of custom post types and you’re doing things like I need to organize this specific custom post type, and I don’t want to go through and change all the dates to get them in proper order, and you can just drag and drop them to get them to where you want. A really great little plugin, I do like the way it works, and it’s simple enough. And go check it out if you’re in need to reorganize all of your post’s layout inside your website and what is displayed to your client for whatever layout you have on your front pages. So I give this one a 4-Dragon rating.
Amber: That sounds like it could be really useful.
John: It is at times, and it’s been particularly useful on the project you’ve been working on to help reorganize the posts and changing the dates. All right, kidlet, you’re up.
Amber: All right. So, the next one is Dark Mode for WP Dashboard. I really like this one. I don’t know about people out there, but I have major light sensitivity. My glasses themselves are tinted because I’m spending so much time looking at screens these days. And I try – anytime I get the option to, I will turn whatever website I’m on dark, like my email or whatever I’m watching or whatever I’m researching.
Another interesting fact actually is that if you have any kind of dyslexia, white writing on black will help with your dyslexia. This one here, what it does is it actually takes your WordPress dashboard and it turns it all dark for you. I’ve been using it for a bit on our sandbox page, and it has made life so much easier for me. I can spend longer on there and it doesn’t change any of the pictures, odd colors, like the other one that I found, but I would highly recommend this especially for anyone if they have that light sensitivity thing going on. I rate this at 5 Dragons.
John: Excellent. Well, one of the beautiful things there you’ve got also, and I should let you know is that if you get a separate login, every administrator can set up their dashboard for themselves.
Amber: Oh, cool.
John: They’re not shared across different administrators. So if you’re working on a client site and you have a separate login from your client, you can set up a dark dashboard for you to work on and your client will still see the bright dashboard that they like.
John: So, just one of the little tidbits. Okay, Sultan yours is up next.
Sultan: Okay. So, next I’ll talk about one of our free old plugins, that’s WooCommerce Product Feed Manager. Now, this is basically one of the most successful plugins because it’s a plugin that almost every WooCommerce shop owners require. I think you know about this, that the norm that when you have a WooCommerce store, you obviously promote them at marketplaces such as, you know, Google Shopping or Facebook or eBay.
So what this plugin does is this plugin lets you generate a product feed in the correct format for those marketplaces so that, you know, you don’t have to manually create a product list to upload to those marketplaces. You can just use this product, and in a few minutes, you can generate thousands of products in one single file and upload it to the marketplaces. So that’s the main purpose of the plugin. But over the years, we have developed it in a way so that now it is supportive of over 170 marketplaces, and it’s accurate; that’s the main point. We have many other plugins that do the same thing, but what our one stands out on is that we make sure the feed comes out accurate and really fast. So that’s one of the strong points.
The plugin has a free version for people to test it out, and once they test it out, if they see they’re satisfied with what they see, then they can move on to the pro version, which doesn’t really add some — doesn’t really have the change in the basic features. The change in the pro is that they get some extra things such as adding custom fields, which WooCommerce does not provide, right? And the plugin also has one pro feature, which is fixing the JSON structured data in the backend. WooCommerce has this variable product crisis, which confuses marketplaces to understand which should be the actual price, so the plugin can fix that for the shop owner.
So, all in all, the main thing is that this plugin will save a lot of time to shop owners, and they don’t need to do much research on the marketplaces. They can just use the templates in the plugin, download and upload it there. And we also provide, you know, personalized support to people because shopping, and you know, marketing, it’s pretty complicated to a lot of people. So even if you’re an amateur, we try to help them out. So that’s what this plugin is for helping WooCommerce shops promote their products.
John: Excellent. So where’s the rating on this one you’re going to give her?
Sultan: Well, I’ll give it 5 Dragons because so far anybody who used the plugin, they were actually satisfied. They’re very few who might have said, okay, I cannot use this – because we made it so simple.
John: Sorry, it fired off too soon. Excellent. Well, it does sound like an excellent plugin, and it’s one that I think I’ll test out in my new store that I’m building from my own pet project at The Rogues Tavern because I’m going to be launching an e-commerce store for The Rogues Tavern in January.
Amber: I was just thinking about this being useful in my own pet project too.
John: You have your own pet project WooCommerce store too?
Amber: I do.
John: Yes, yes, you’re boxed in art. You need to start promoting that one.
Amber: I will as soon as I actually have the product ready to — the problem is it’s a site with no product right now.
John: Well, you got products. You just got to get photos up and get them up.
Amber: Not too. Well, yeah — well, the problem is half the time he makes a product, it’s already gone before we can put it on the website.
John: This is definitely an excellent one. That way you can promote to the different marketplaces, and that’s one thing I want to do. So yeah, thanks a lot, Sultan. I greatly appreciate you bringing that one to the table for us.
Amber: Exciting prospect.
Sultan: Hopefully, people have tried out and they’ll see how useful this is.
John: Absolutely. All right. Well, this show here currently brought to you by…
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Okay, and we are now at a point – this is where we have listener feedback when we have it. Currently none. Come on folks, kick us some listener feedback, we’d greatly appreciate it. But we do have contests. You know, our contests are powered by the Simple Giveaways plugin. The Simple Giveaways plugin, they were kind enough to provide us with the premium version for running our plugins. It is a fantastic plugin. I’ve been using it since it was introduced at about – I think it was about two weeks old when I discovered it. So it’s a couple of three years old; it’s matured quite nicely. When you do run a contest, you get to collect names, emails, stick them into MailChimp or other places, and then, you use them for your marketing. Of course, your email list is the best thing you’ll ever have.
So what do we got for you this week? We are still giving away the FluentCRM, which is a self-hosted email marketing automation plugin for WordPress. I’m sorry, not fluent, that was the last contest. I’m reading from the wrong lines here. Let me get this straight. We are giving away the WP Admin Pages Pro. The FluentCRM, that was our last contest, and John Kirkpatrick won that. So congratulations, John. We’re still waiting to hear from you. So if you are listening, John, make sure you respond in another week or so, and I’m going to recycle that license and start a new contest.
Okay, the Custom Admin Pages, I did an interview with the developer for that last week. It should be going up this week here and getting up and online. It’s a great interview, a really great plugin. It allows you to go in and customize your WordPress admin pages using your own page builder, Beaver Builder, Elementor, Brizy, oxygen, and more. It’s a lifetime license that we’re giving away, an unlimited lifetime license valued at $149, so well worthwhile to go check this one out. Check out the interview and go enter and win the contest. Now, did I mess that right up so utterly bad today?
All right. And that’s really all we got here. A couple of quick reminders before we start to move into the Q&A segment of the site. There is no meetup right now. I’ve not planned any meetups for a little while. We were having meetups quite regularly, but right now they’ve been put on hold. If you’re a developer listening, you want to be in an interview, go check out wppluginsatoz.com/interview. I don’t have the link in the Show Notes for anyone who wants to be a guest host; you can be like Sultan and join us, you know, half-an-hour to 45 minutes of pure entertainment and fun.
Want to find out a bit more about me? Go check it out, theroguestavern.com, and that’s where my adventures are happening and where I’m planning my exit from the Internet world. If you have suggestions or would like to have other plugins reviewed, just go submit them to wppluginsatoz.com/submit. So let’s move along to the Q&A segment of the show. And remember folks, we split this for those of you listening to the podcast. We split this about midway through it, and the rest of it is on the YouTube channel, so you’ll have to go there to listen to it. So first off, take it away, Amber, with your first question.
Amber: Do we have a jingle for this now?
John: Oh, we do have a jingle, where’d it go? Oh, there it is.
Amber: There we go.
John: I do have a jingle, I forgot. It’s not ingrained into my habit yet.
Amber: Oh, my first question is, CSS besides being a form of HTML, what is it and how do you use it?
John: You want to take that one Sultan? I’ll let you dive into it.
Sultan: HTML and CSS are not really the same thing. HTML is basically , and CSS is what colors it. So, what you do is, you know, you write basic HTML to create a basic structure, and then, you modify it into something great by developing it or designing it, resizing it, shaping it using CSS. So that’s how it works.
John: Another simpler way to sort of put it with HTML is kind of like the wiring and stuff in your walls, and the CSS is the paint and the plaster and the shapes, or HTML could be the wall itself and the CSS could be the way you paint your walls with stripes, or you know, lines or color, you know, or boxes.
John: CSS is the look and feel, and the HTML is the underlying structure. CSS is still a code. It’s still a code. It has to be written and you have to figure out exactly where each item goes sometimes, which can be hard, you know, but yeah, it’s how you use —
Sultan: They’re called frontend codes because it’s only for the outlook. It doesn’t affect the backend.
John: And how you use it is basically, there’s a special file in your system called .CSS, which has the hundreds or thousands of lines of code of CSS telling your website how it’s supposed to look at any given point in time.
Amber: I’ve been learning a little bit about it. Everything I’ve read says it’s just a form of HTML, which is why I figured I’d ask.
John: No, it’s not a form of HTML. It’s what tells the HTML how to act.
Amber: Okay. So you can only use it in programs like WordPress, or when you’re actually developing things?
John: Oh, no, no, CSS, the stuff you see on your website or on your computer screen sometimes has underlying CSS. Web pages have CSS.
Amber: Okay. So like, when I turned to dark theme on my computer, I’m using CSS?
John: You changed the CSS file, is exactly what you’ve done.
John: The CSS file said, yeah, well, okay, we’re not going to use that. We’re going to make everything dark.
John: It’s the CSS file that does all that.
Sultan: It’s actually pretty easy. I mean, CSS is not that difficult. If you take some time, maybe a week or two, and it’s pretty easy to learn.
John: Yeah, the hardest thing I had to learn about CSS was understanding the hierarchy of CSS.
John: That was the hardest thing I had to wrap my head around was the hierarchy of it all because you can have an item that’s got a CSS applied to it, but it’s also got another one applied, and another one applied, and another one applied. And sometimes, you know, five levels back on that one item, they could have the important tag on it. You can’t figure out why you can’t change it.
Amber: Or as I learned working on a site the other day, they can have the word span, and in a weird spot, so you have to figure out how to break that.
John: Yes, yeah.
John: I had one on my own website for some reason. I don’t know what changed it, but suddenly, I was only showing 75% of my stuff, and I was like, what? And I dug down and I must have added something which overwrote everything and caused it to only allow it to go to 70% width.
Sultan: Well, you probably added an extra tag at the end before the line ended, so they all got messed.
John: Okay. Well, once I found it and fixed it, but it was a real pain. So yeah, so that’s where you got with that?
Amber: Is it just words for CSS or is it —
John: It’s mostly plain English for the most part. It’s just got a specific format it has to be written in.
Amber: Which is confusing, but — it’s like confusing and straightforward, both at once.
John: Very good.
Amber: All right.
John: Well, let’s take your next question, at least get partway through it.
Amber: Okay. It’s a bit of background on why this question came to mind. I’ve been watching a show called Mr. Robot. There is a scene where the hackers are watching some movie about hacking, and they start talking about how unrealistic the movies are, how some writer out there is likely making a lot of money, making a whole lot around things up for the next hacker movie. So I’m wondering, do you know whether or not on shows like Mr. Robot or even on the Matrix, is hacking or computer work at all realistic?
John: All right. We’ll hold there before we get into answering this one. We’re going to take it into just the YouTube version of it. So real briefly, we’re going to play the extro credits to make it easier for me to find the bits and pieces and produce the show for the podcast. For you podcast listeners, y’all have to come to the YouTube channel to catch the answer to this one. So everyone, hold that thought, and we’re going to let my girl take us out of here. And this is also the point where I get to enjoy my tequila shot.
Amber: Hey, you’re finally remembering.
John: Oh, I’m slowly getting things integrated into it, man. So let’s let my girl take us on out of here and we’ll be back.
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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.