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 #530 here.
It’s Episode 530 – We have plugins for Saints, Page Builders, Admin Tours, Landing Pages, Donations…and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, first off, ClassicPress options. We don’t really have anything this week, nothing that I was made aware of anyways. So, just to let you know, we’re still trying to pay attention to ClassicPress when I get a chance to work on it again. I will and will bring more stuff to the table. I know it’s slowly moving forward again, which is nice. But as far as WordPress plugins, I do have a couple of them here today. The first one I’ve got for you is Saint of the Day. This is an interesting plugin. If you’re Catholic or you like all the different saints out there, this is a plugin that displays a saint for whatever day of the year it is using the US Catholic version of the saints. You just install the plugin, activate it, dump in a shortcode, and then it comes up with a description of the saint, and a whole bunch of other information. If you use their additional plugin, their Liturgical Day of the Week plugin, it’ll also add some colors to it for you, for whatever color of the day it is dependent upon the Catholic calendar. So it’s kind of a neat tool. If you’re building out a website where that’s something useful, you got a church website or a Catholic website, I just thought it was a cool, interesting little plugin that could make, you know, a little bit of added interest to your site by bringing in different saints. There’s a lot of Catholic saints out there. So if you might want to go check this one out, it’s called Saint of the Day, and I give it a four-dragon rating.
Amber: I like that idea. It’s pretty cool. First, one I’ve got is Landing Page Builder – Free Landing Page Template. And this one just I didn’t like it. It was not cool. It’s supposed to make building a landing page way easier and — I mean, you can build a landing page, no problem. It’s a little odd. You have to use one of their templates. You cannot create your own. And then you can’t keep anything where you are wanting on the page except for whatever styling you got going in your header and footer. So, happens is you upload the template, and it doesn’t actually take on any attributes of your site when you tell it to take on the attributes. It doesn’t keep your font. It doesn’t keep anything really except for your header and footer. It gives you mixed signals there. And then you only get to choose from two options in the free version for the templates, which they’re both the same except one has a larger background picture for your header. And then when you go to use a landing page, it goes up as you made it, but there’s no sidebars allowed, no additions allowed. You can’t customize it in any way. You have to use whatever they give you, like, what they do is they give you sections that you fill out, and you get to choose from basic colors and the font is whatever the font is. It’s really not cool. And something that was really interesting is, if you set it as your homepage, even if your page is under construction or is blocked to the wide world like my sandbox one is, anyone can find you once you set as your homepage. I was able to have my mom in the USA visit and view the homepage that’s created in this. So long as it was a homepage, even though nobody supposed to be able to get to that unless they sign in. But then as soon as I took it down, she had blocked access again. So that was a weird one. I don’t know if the Pro version is any better, but — I mean, at least go check it out before you spend any money. I really didn’t like this. It also really slows down your browser when you’re trying to set everything up, had to reset my modem to get things moving at a normal pace again. I rate this at two dragons.
John: It sounds like that one earned it.
John: All right. Well, the next one I’ve got here for you is called Admin Tour. Now, if you’ve been building websites for any length of time you build them for clients and whatnot, and you turn over to them, they start asking you questions, “Well, how does this work in the backend?” “How does that work in the backend?” Well, you can eliminate that problem with this plugin. Now, granted, this plugin is going to take you a little bit of work to get it all fully set up. It comes with a default tour, which is very simple and straightforward, but you can go in and customize a tour with all the different things you want. You just have to actually go in and write a filter code for it, to tell it what the different steps are for the tour to go through, and you can explain all the different items in there for your customers, your users, or whoever wants to see the administration area of the website. Although, you know, for some people, this would be a really great tool to help them out when they build out even one slightly complicated website just to point out the things to their clients so that they don’t have to. Now, the other nice thing is even after the tour runs, they can restart that tour anytime they want manually. So it is a very useful item, and it’s a really good tool to add when you’re developing sites for others, and you just want to turn it over to them and not have to answer a lot of questions over and over again. You can just put it all in and be done with it — have it done once. At any rate, I thought it was a great tool, something that everyone could use, and not everyone, but developers could use. And it is free. You just got to do some work. So go check it out. I give it a five-dragon rating. It’s called the Admin Tour.
Amber: That’s a very brilliant plugin. The next one I have up is a very long name one, Landing Page Builder – Lead Page – Optin Page – Squeeze Page – WordPress Landing Page. So this is another landing page plugin, and it reminds me a lot of Divi editing. They tell you that you have the option to edit the page within their own editors, like say you have a page or a post that you want to turn into your landing page. So you press edit, but then when you try to do — as I said, when you try to press edit, what happens is it seems to simply delete whatever you’ve already put down into this page or post, and you have to start it from scratch. So it doesn’t actually do what it suggests it does, which kind of bugged me. As I said, it’s a lot like Divi the way that it’s set up, the way that things work, the layout, and everything. And I don’t like Divi very much, but it doesn’t have the same kind of glitches as Divi. It’s just the same kind of idea layout setup usage. The free version gives you a load of templates to choose from, as well as a blank page, which I like that a lot. You also have access to loads of easy-to-use widgets for their editor area. So now like this one. It’s fairly easy to use, simple to figure out. Their free version is pretty awesome, so I would assume the Pro version is pretty nifty as well. I rate it at four dragons.
John: Very cool, all right. Well, check that one out. All right, the final one I’ve got for you here, this is just a nice simple straightforward plugin figured since it’s a brand new plugin. Yeah, maybe we’ll give them a little bit of a plug. It is another plugin to help you collect donations on your website. So if you’re working on a website and you’re doing things where you’re working on a value model, you want people to donate to you, you know, support your show, you’re looking for a simple way to do it, that’s what this plugin will do. It’s nice and simple, straightforward. You install it, you activate it, it creates a little link for you, a shortcode that you drop into a page, and people can donate to your show via whatever payment gateway you’ve chosen that they have available. Now they’ve got quite a few available at the moment, payment methods they accept. They’re dealing with PayPal standard, you know, Paystack, Glad pay, Flutterwave, and they got more, you know, such as Stripe and G-Pay, etc coming along the line soon. So, PayPal is a pretty common one for many people. So anyway, it’s just a nice, simple, straightforward donation plugin to add a quick donation link to your website that people just click the button, go to PayPal and pay. Go check this one out. It’s called Donate to Website, and I give it a four-dragon rating.
Amber: Nice, always good to have simple things like that.
John: Wow, that was interesting. Hang on a second. Talk for a second. There’s a sudden spike in the volume.
Amber: Oh, weird. I wonder why. Maybe it has to do with my voice?
John: No, no. Okay, I was just making sure that the computer didn’t pick up your spike in volume in the recording. No, it’s just my headphones or something. I don’t know what it is. All right, go ahead.
Amber: The last one I’ve got is Nimble Page Builder. So this is also a landing page builder, but I really like this one, and it’s very interesting. You go into your theme settings with this plugin. So when you go to Builder, it takes you directly to your theme, and you create your landing page right there. You can choose any page to create your landing page with Nimble, and the free version gives you a few templates to work off of as well. And they’re not all identical. They’re actually different and nice. And really the way that this one is set up reminds me a lot of Elementor, the way that it’s laid out and the way that it works. You have to shuffle between quite a few menu options on the left-hand side before you actually get to where you want to be, but then once you’re in there, all you have to do is click on the different sections or on a widget, and it’ll automatically flip them any for you. So you don’t have to do it manually once you get going. You can add sections by pressing the little plus button or by actually using the widget that it gives you. It’s really cool, and you can also — when it like say you built something and you don’t like it or you’re just testing it out. If you go into the options under the general settings of this plugin, you have the option to remove all Nimble data. It double-checks to make sure you want to remove everything, but it actually removes everything for you, so it all goes back to the way it was, which I really liked that because I was just testing it. And this way, you don’t actually have to go in and delete the page manually. It just deletes everything that you do with Nimble automatically for you. I also really liked this one because when I check out their Pro, they actually have lifetime licenses too, either for a single site or unlimited sites, which I thought was really cool.
John: That’s very nice.
Amber: And even though this one has a Pro version, I’m still giving it five dragons. It was just that cool.
John: Alrighty, then. Too cool. Well, I have to check that one out for what we’re doing. All right, well, this is the point in the show where we often will wander into if we’ve got listener feedback or other things, but we don’t have listener feedback or questions, but we do still have a contest.
John: All right. And we do have a contest here. We do have entries for this contest, which is good, but we’re running this until next Wednesday. The contest will run through till next Wednesday, and then for next Thursday’s show, we will have a winner for the contest that is the never-ending contest. Anyway, our contests are powered by the Simple Giveaways plugin — since we haven’t mentioned them in a while. And this is a plugin which runs our contests, and they were kind enough to provide us with this plugin. It’s a very nice plugin. I’ve been using it since it was first introduced. I discovered it brand new and newly released, and it was perfect for the contest, and they’ve been improving this plugin ever since making it better and better. So if you need a plugin to run contests on your website, I highly recommend Simple Giveaways plugin.
So, anyway, back to our contest for today is with the Codeixer Deposits for WooCommerce, and it is a Single Domain Lifetime License. And this is a plugin that will allow you, if you’re running a WooCommerce site, to take deposits on products or sales. And this is great for people who have someone orders something that has to be built, or they order something and you’re letting them pay part of it up front and then pay the part of it later once everything’s assembled, whatever method needed. But whatever reason you have for making deposits, this is a plugin to allow you to take those deposits nice and easy. Hold that invoice open, show that the deposits been made, making it easier on your dealing with the bookkeeping of the stuff. So, a really great plugin, well-worth the money, especially if you win it here, and allow you to get things done. So go check it out. It’s really great. If you haven’t entered a contest, go enter the contest. Even if you don’t think you’re going to use it now, maybe you might need it later down the road. Whatever reason, just enter the contest, folks. We don’t send you a bunch of spam when we collect your email address. We’re lucky lately if we get you out the once-a-week newsletter. So hey, it’s all good. At any rate, check out the contest for us.
All right. So we want to close out a couple of things here before we move on to Q&A segment. I covered up the following plugins of this show, Donate to Website, which I rated at a four, the Admin Tour, which I rated at a five, and the Saint of the Day, which obviously, I’m a saint of the day, which I gave a four.
Amber: And I covered Landing Page Builder – Free Landing Page Templates, which I rated at two, Landing Page Builder – Lead Page – Optin Page – Squeeze Page – WordPress Landing Page, which I rated at four, and Nimble Page Builder, which I gave a five.
John: All right, a couple of quick reminders. Hey, if you’re not getting enough of Amber and I, you can come join us for our live stream at the Rogues Tavern, and it’s every Tuesday evening at eight. The link is in the show notes to go find it. All right, this is where we move on to the entertainment.
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: So if anyone out there has any questions that they’d like to have asked on the show, send them in to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get them up here and answer to the best of mine and my dad’s ability. First, so I just want to say something about — Hemdian was saying that his WordPress site has had a flurry of fake users sign up recently, even though I don’t have signup visible and had anyone can register toggled off. I’ve had to (A) move the login page using WPS Hide Login. (B) Require admin approval via new user approve, and (C) Took full back up on my site. Also check the new user default role was set to subscriber, not administrator.
John: Oh, yeah, absolutely. That does happen in our scripts. And yes, they found a flaw in there, you know, double-check that you don’t have another plugin that allows sign up somewhere. I can’t remember it, but I have seen that happen to sites, suddenly, a whole pile of new users sign up, and you think everything’s turned off, and it’s like it’s a real pain in the neck? Yeah, there is a code way if I can remember correctly. There’s a code where you can drop it into your config file to prevent any kind of user signup period. I don’t know the code. You’d have to dig it up. I remember seeing it years ago. So it does exist somewhere. But that’s no good if you’re going to run a membership site, but yeah, that’s always a drag. But hey, those are a couple of nice plugins that we should check out while the WPS Hide are covered way in the past. The required admin approval, I’ve never seen that plugin before. And, of course, taking a backup of your site actually be done regularly anyway. All right, so you’ve got a couple of quick questions here. What do we got today?
Amber: My first question is, how do search engines work?
John: Magic. Is there any other answer to know? I honestly — I have a vague notion of it. This has been about 10 years ago. I started to write my own search bot, and then I got sidetracked, and I never got back to it. So, it’s basically — search engines work as to my knowledge — and I’m sure that a lot of people are going to correct me because I’m going to get this all so bloody wrong — but what it is, is they start out looking for — you send them to one website, and it goes okay, find all the links on this website, and just follow them wherever they go. And on every website after that, keep following the links. I mean, the original Google was like that. And it determined the page ranking depended upon how many links pointed back to a website. It’s like if you were going to, say, website, A, B, and C. And you started at A and it pointed you to B and not C, and you’d go to C or B, and then B would point back to A, but B also pointed to C, and then C pointed back to A, that means A was the most popular site. So basically, they go out and they follow all the links on the web, everywhere they go.
The problem is the web has become so polluted now that a lot of links are poisonous links. It’s like trying to cross through a swamp that the oil companies have been dumping their slag into. There are still going to be some clean pools, but there’s going to be small for filthy pools too. So it’s like — they just go from place to place to place searching out the links. And I don’t know how their algorithms work anymore, but we’ll get to that. You’ve got that one there. So, yeah, that’s the basics of a search engine is they just follow from link to link to link, and when you do a search, they look at keywords, the keywords that are attached to links. Well, that’s what it used to be. Anyway, the keyword is attached to the links. And it says if you were searching for houses, and there were 100 links that pointed to houses, then 100 links that all pointed to one site that the link had a house in it that was what it was, you know, that’s the simplified version of it. It goes much more complex than that, yeah. That’s basically what my knowledge of it. I’m sure there’s a dozen people out there that can correct me.
Amber: My next question is cookie, remember where you have been? Do they track you or do they just leave bookmarks for your computer to open up on the net, like you go back to that site, you don’t have to re-sign in or something like a bookmark on a site.
John: It’s kind of like a bookmark. Cookies remember where you’ve been, but they do track you because there are cookies written to track you. It’s like, if you looked up the number of cookies delivered to your browser from any given website, you’d find that most websites, even my website kicks out a dozen cookies when somebody hits the website. And the cookies do different things. Each cookie does different things. One cookie goes, hey, computer, tell me what you are? What kind of computer you are or what browser you are, or what screen size you’re using? And they give you, like okay, I don’t care. That’s one cookie. The other cookie is your session cookie, which when you sign in to your WordPress website, that session is saved as an encryption piece as a cookie. And when you hit that website again, it looks in your browser stories and says, hey, we got a cookie here that says we’ve already been signed in, we don’t have to sign in again until the cookie expires. And WordPress cookies for browser sessions expire about every two weeks they expire, give or take. So, yeah, and they do track you. They leave bookmarks. They ask for information. They get personalized or semi-personalized information from your computer. In some aspects, some of them may be able to get personalized information depending on the security settings of your computer. I mean, cookies are both good and evil. It depends on how they’re used. They used to be interesting, and they used to be useful. And you can read them if you go into your storage — there’s a spot where the cookies are stored — you can go in and read what those cookies are doing. Sometimes it’s plain text, other times it’s just encrypted text.
Amber: Every time I think of cookies, I still remember this thing that I used to have on your computer. You had to feed the cookies.
John: The cookie virus.
Amber: Yes, the cookie virus, and the chocolate chip cookies ?
John: Yes. I remember the cookie virus. That was back when viruses were written to be fun and not to damage the whole world. That was back in the old days of the Internet.
John: I said that was back in the days of the good old Internet
Amber: Hemdian said remember to edit robots.txt to disallow all, but the main search box and increase the crawl delay.
John: Yep. That helps too. That helps slow down the bots.
Amber: So I have one more question here. I’ll read out then we can closeout.
Amber: How are algorithms built and what do they link to?
John: Okay, well, we’ll come back to that one in a moment. Let my girl take us on out of here.
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