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 #541 here.
It’s Episode 541 and we have plugins for Shopping Carts, Dark Mode, Child Themes, Free Downloads, Page Links, No Nonsense… and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: Alright, first off, we have some ClassicPress stuff. According to this, we are happy to announce the first public release candidate for ClassicPress 1.4 is out. It’s the release candidate two, which means they’re getting closer and closer to their Beta and a full-blown release, so…
Amber: That’s exciting.
John: That is exciting for ClassicPress to be doing and that they’re finally moving ahead with something new. It’s been very quiet over there for quite some time, so that’ll be kind of neat if that comes out and gathers some ground or some esteem, I’d have to go read through what it is, and there it is, now it’s loaded up. Yeah, new features, plugin theme updates, ID columns, direct plugins, DashCons, PHP8 compatibility. Wow, they’re moving towards PHP8 compatibility already. I’m not even sure WordPress is moving there.
Amber: That’s pretty awesome, though.
John: Yeah, well, let’s see what we got, that’ll be interesting, so more power to them. Alright, so go check it out, go poke your nose at ClassicPress and see how they’re doing. If you happen to be a ClassicPress user listening to this show, send us some information, send us some updates, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get them included in the show.
Okay, off we go into the WordPress plugins this week, and the first one I’ve got for you here was submitted by the marketing department of the developer. I forgot to put their names into the show notes, but it came from tribe interactive. It’s called Caddy – Smart Side Cart for WooCommerce, and they had originally sent me just the free version, and I checked it out. I liked a lot, sent them back an email and said, yeah, it’ll be limited on the review because it is the free version, you got a premium version, so then they promptly sent me back a premium version to test out.
Amber: Oh, nice.
John: Which is kind of cool, and I did check it out, and it is a very nice plugin add-on for your WooCommerce store. It gives one of those really nice pop-out sidebars for your WooCommerce store. But not only that, it has spots in there that it will help you choose some products to automatically recommend when somebody adds a cart into or adds a product into the cart underneath and say hey, we might recommend this for you, can also put discount codes, they can set up a save for later buttons. It gives you like I said, the upsell recommendations, a free shipping meter, if you’ve got free shipping, you offer free shipping if they spend 50 bucks or something, there’s a little meter in the shopping cart that goes off to show them how close they are to the 50 bucks, maybe they got 40 bucks, and they go oh, I want free shipping, I got to go back and order something else, so it’s another way to increase your sales, so it’s a very useful one I like it, it seems to be smooth in its operation. Really good one, you know, you got to get the premium version for all the benefits of all these other notices and things in there. The free version gives you a very nice looking shopping cart and something better than most of them, but the free version gives you all the advantages of it, and I don’t remember what their costs are for the premium version, but it’s right up there with everyone else’s reasonable prices somewhere between 20 and 60 bucks. I don’t recall it exactly, but it is worthwhile. Go check it out. It’s called Caddy – Side Cart Plugin for WooCommerce, and I give it a five dragon rating.
Amber: That sounds really cool.
John: Yeah, you can see it in action over at the Rogues Tavern.
Amber: Just so, you know, I can’t hear the dragon more today, so if I end up talking through it, sorry.
John: Yeah. Okay, I don’t know why. Can you hear any of the other jingles?
Amber: No, I can hear that one but most of them I’m not hearing very well. That’s one of those days.
John: Alright, tune your ears in.
Amber: And the first one I have today is called DarkLooks – Dark Mode Switcher For WordPress. Now I honestly think this is the coolest dark mode I’ve ever seen for the front end. It makes the writing white, the links and titles read automatically, but you can choose your own color palette, which is just cool. It is only for the front end, though not for the dark end, and it doesn’t seem to play nice with the back end Dark Mode plugins like different ones.
Amber: So that’s a bit of a downside if you are looking for something to make both the back end the front end darker, but if you just want the front end dark, this is a great one. It actually throws on a switch onto the front end for your users that they can choose it. It also offers the option to set a timer so that automatically goes into dark mode and then goes out of dark mode at a certain time. It’s just really cool. It’s a completely free brand new plugin definitely worth checking out, and I rate it at five dragons.
John: I’m not in the dark modes; they seem to hurt my eyes for some reason.
Amber: I’m the opposite. I need everything dimmed down, and I can’t use bright bulbs in the house. It’s just I am very light-sensitive, but yeah, it’s interesting how that works for some people and not for others.
John: Yeah, I have to flip on every light in the house, run my hydro up just so I can see everything. Alright, next one I have for you here is called Child Theme Wizard. Now, if you’re having to create a child theme for a theme you’ve got, maybe you’ve got a theme that doesn’t come with a child theme. Well, child themes are easy enough to write. They’re pretty straightforward. Its three basic files, a CSS file, a blank functions file, and a picture that’s your whole theme. That’s your basic theme folder files, but if you’re feeling kind of lazy, and you don’t want to actually sit down and write that code out, which probably takes, you know, 10-15 minutes, you’re going to solve this plugin, click a button, type in a couple of things, you can have it done in under five minutes, so you know, being a lazy bum I am finding the easiest way I can, I had to do this recently, and I just went yeah, well just there’s a plugin for that, you know, back to the old day from the old Apple thing for a long time it was WordPress, there’s a plugin for that. There’s still a plugin for it in WordPress. Installed this plugin typed in what was needed. The only drawback I found, it says it creates an image for you. Well, it does create an image, but it’s a really bland blah image. You don’t get an opportunity to upload your own image to use, so you have to go replace it afterward but not that hard of a thing to do. Anyway really great plugin, pretty straightforward, works very well, it is free, so I have to give this one a five dragon rating. Go check it out; it’s the Child Theme Wizard.
Amber: Next one I have up for you is called No Nonsense. This plugin was designed with developers in mind. With this, when you’re setting up a new site, you can do preset in the option, so all those pesky default content bits are removed for you. I can see it’s been very helpful. I could also see it being kind of tedious because you have to go through the process of getting it in layer, then setting it up, and then letting it run. So it deletes everything for you, but also the things that it will remove things from for you are kind of all over the place. So yeah, I can see it being very useful for someone who’s setting something new up.
John: Yeah, it is very useful.
John: Go ahead. I’m just commenting.
Amber: I rate it at five dragons.
John: Okay. It does look like it’s very useful, and it reminds me of another one, WP Cleanup or something else, a plugin that’s not really available anymore, but I still have a copy of it when I put a fresh install of WordPress it’s the first thing I run. It just cleans up all the crap that is installed on default for WordPress.
Amber: Yeah, this one that’s exactly what this does. It seems pretty useful.
John: Combine this one with the other one, and you remove all the crap, so there are some new settings here that aren’t included in the other one. Alright, the final one I have for you today is called Page Links. To know this one’s an older plugin, but it’s still very useful. They’ve sort of kept it up-to-date, you know, they all updated about a year ago, but it’s a really great tool for when you’re creating an unusually laid out website, or you’ve got extra posts and pages that, and this is specifically for pages I believe. If you got pages, you want linking somewhere else besides in your WordPress site, or maybe you need them linking to a specific spot in your WordPress site if they land on that page. You can use this for creating specific menu link items and other stuff, and all it does is you create the page out, and at the bottom of the page, you can set a custom URL that when someone clicks on the link to this page, that’s where they’re redirected to, very useful tool. I found it to work very well for the specific application I needed it for. Go check this one out. It’s called Page Links To, and I give it a five dragon rating.
Amber: That does sound pretty useful. We had a complete five day today.
John: Oh, yeah.
Amber: It doesn’t happen often.
John: We haven’t heard your last one. How do we know it’s a five?
Amber: Last one I have is Free Download Manager. This new plugin is geared — I think it’s specifically geared towards podcasters, so I can see it being used for all kinds of media. What it does is it is a essentially a tracker for your digital downloads. You can even edit your downloads with this. It’s very useful. The options in this plugin are pretty awesome. It has category tags reports, and the settings offer a theme code for you to add it to your site if you need it. Very nice plugin works great for newbies, and I’m pretty sure old hands would appreciate it too; totally free, and I rate it at five dragons.
John: Might have been targeted towards podcasters. I don’t see the use in podcasting because it can create you grief there, but I can see a really great use for it in marketing. If you’re giving out a free PDF book or something when they sign up for your email, they download it, and then after they download it, use it to redirect them to another page to upsell them something else, you know, or if you’ve got other downloads on your site, you know, this could be very useful in the form of marketing to improve the sales or improve the number of things that people do on your site to increase your income.
Amber: I was thinking more along the lines of like keeping track of how many downloads and figuring out which of your shows or which of your music if you’re selling music, what is downloaded more? What’s liked more? What’s disliked all that kind of stuff?
John: Oh, yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, we are in some listener feedback zone. I was told there was a listener question; I don’t see it in the notes.
Amber: Oh, there is. Okay, so it’s under listener questions.
John: There’s nothing there blank. It just says, oh, there it is. Oh, it’s in black. It’s all in the headline, so it doesn’t look like the question. Go ahead.
Amber: With the new release for ClassicPress, I want to try it out is a Sandbox page the best way and then temporary really turn it live to see it and play with it and then while retaining my WordPress site to revert back to like, do you understand the question?
John: Yeah, I sort of understand it’s a bit of a convoluted question. It’s like they’re talking about a new release for ClassicPress; yeah, they want to try out the ClassicPress, and they’re asking is the Sandbox page. Yeah, Sandbox page is absolutely the best way, but you don’t need to turn it temporary live. You’re creating a Sandbox page. You’re creating it separate and apart from your primary WordPress site; create it as a subdomain because don’t try to convert your WordPress site and then convert back because that can create grief for you. I’ve already been down that path of converting the site to ClassicPress and then reconverting back to WordPress, and as they get further and further along, they’re falling further and further apart from where they split two years ago. So you don’t want to be converting a WordPress site to ClassicPress unless you’re worthy to do that. Basically, if you want to do something like that to convert your WordPress site to ClassicPress, create a Dev site out of it and then convert it to a ClassicPress, see how it works, and then you’ll know if you can if you want to go that route or not and then you haven’t damaged your live site. Never mess with your live site. Never experiment on your live site if you’re making a major experiment, don’t do that because you will regret it, you’ll think, oh, I can do this right now, it’s two weeks before my Christmas sales start, and boom, you’ve just created misery for yourself for two weeks, so don’t do that. Always go into a Dev site and always use a Sandbox when you’re experimenting with something new. Sandbox is a Dev site, basically. Alright, it is time for us to…
Absolutely, it’s contest time, and we do have a contest as we said in the beginning it has been extended out a week, it was supposed to only go till next week on the 23rd or 22nd, so we can announce it on 23rd because we’re doing a pre-recorded show, the contest is pushed out until the 26th of December and what are we giving away, we are giving away a one-year hosting package from johnoverall.com hosting, its valued at 350 dollars and it is a small boutique hosting service which provides you with everything you need for running your WordPress website without any surprise or upsells to suddenly you need a bigger package and blah, blah, blah what everyone else out there does, you know, most of my clients have been with me for more than 15 years, you know, so this is discerning user hosting I don’t take just anyone who requests to sign up for hosting with me I’m very choosy about the clients I put on my servers because I want clients that take care of their websites and they don’t ignore their websites because ignored websites are just as bad as websites that use too many resources because that’s usually what they end up, so we’re getting down to the wire now. It’s coming to the time where you want to enter this contest, and once you win, hey, you can use that hosting for yourself, use it for your client whatever way you want to go find out how good the hosting is over at johnoverall.com hosting, check it out. Alright, got to wrap up a couple of things before we move in to the Q&A segment with Amber. I think I already mentioned it. This is where I was going to try and put the information for, no, never mind. We talked about buying swag from us. Alright, going to cover up the plugins we covered, and this week here I covered up the following plugins Caddi – Smart Side Cart for WooCommerce, which I rated with a five dragon rating, Child Theme Wizard, which I rated with a five dragon rating, Page Links To which I rated which I rated with five dragons.
Amber: And I covered DarkLooks – Dark Mode Switcher For WordPress, which I rated at five, No-Nonsense, which I rated at five, and Free Download Manager, which I rated at five. Very much a five-day today.
John: Yes, it was very much — this is — we don’t do have very many days where every plugin comes as a five, must be in the Christmas spirit or something.
Amber: I don’t know that, or people are just coming out with really awesome plugins for us to check out right now.
John: And we’re just happy to trip across them too. Alright, a couple of quick reminders, meet up. There will be a meet-up in the New Year not sure when yet, but it is coming, so I will let folks know as soon as it happens. If you’d like to be interviewed on the WP Plugins interview show, just simply reach out to me at wppluginsatoz.com/interview, and if you have any suggestions for plugins, just go submit into wppluginsatoz.com submit plugin review, and it is time for us to move along to…
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: First of all, if anyone out there has any questions they’d like to have asked on the show, send them in to me at email@example.com, and I will get them up on here and let’s see if we can stop my dad, yeah but the first question I have is what is a robots.txt file?
John: It’s the file you feed into your AI robots that are going to take over and do your kitchen and cooking and cleaning for you. No, that’s not it; it is sort of what it says. It is a file for robots, and it’s a file for the robots that come hit your website on a continuous minute-by-minute, day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis. The robots are hitting your website at the rate of thousands per minute sometimes and what this file is for is to give them directions on where they’re supposed to go, where they’re not supposed to go, what they’re supposed to do, the things they’re supposed to ignore. Now the thing about the robot text file is it’s an optional thing for the robots that come visit your websites. They don’t have to acknowledge it or pay attention to it. The robots that come from Google, Bing, and everyone else they obey the robots text file, you know, those are your important robots anyway, but the worst robots out there they just ignore it, but it goes in, and it tells them, you know, what files to index, what files to ignore, what folders they’re not allowed – they’re not supposed to go in and look at, it’s kind of like giving rules to your kids is basically the best way I can describe it. You give rules to your kids and say you can go in the kitchen, you can grab the bananas, but you can’t have the cookies.
Amber: I see.
John: Okay, so robots will see the cookies, but they’re not supposed to touch them or look at them, they’re supposed to look at other stuff, and it’s like your kids are going to go in there and sometimes the kids are going to obey that and not touch the cookies, well robots are going to do the same thing. They’re going to sometimes go in, and they’re going to go. I think I want the cookies today anyway. I don’t care what you say, so that’s basically what a robots text file is, and I just answered your second question in the same vein.
Amber: Yeah, because I was going to ask what is robots text file used for? Okay, well, let me rephrase that how can you robots text file for yourself? What can you do to make it more useful for you?
John: I don’t have all the code in my head. I have to look it up, but you can use it for when Google indexes your site to tell it to do certain things or Bing, you can use it to direct the actions of the well-behaved robots and —
John: It’ll help them speed up the indexing of your site and other things. There are a lot of codes that can be put into a robots text file, so you have to look it up. I can never remember it all, and I don’t edit them so often that I would remember it, but when I do need to edit one, I have to go look up the stuff to put in there.
John: So, it is a great tool, and it is a useful tool, but like I said, the bad robots they just ignore it.
Amber: Like they’re not jumping on the .
John: Yes, like not jumping on .
Amber: All right, my last question is when speaking about WordPress site, I’ve heard the word heartbeat referenced; what does that refer to?
John: Okay, well, that’s an interesting question. What we will do is we will close out the show for those listening on the podcast, and when we come back, we will answer that question, so make sure those of you on the podcast go check out the YouTube version. Let my girl take us on out of here, and I will enjoy a bit of a shot.
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