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 #546 here.
It’s Episode 546 and we have plugins for Removing Shortcodes, Custom Cursor, Easy Walls, Alternate Maps, Geo Maps, Library of Bugs, … and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: And this is where we have the horrible jingle, but —
Amber: Fortunately, no jingle today.
John: No jingle today. Yes, it’s one of those days, it is what it is we just do what we do and move along the best we can. Alright, ClassicPress, we don’t have any new ClassicPress information for you today, so go check out what we do have in the show notes. If you do use ClassicPress reach out to us and let us know what’s up with it.
As far as plugins go, we do have those for WordPress and the first one I have for you here today is called Shortcode Remover and this is a new plugin and it is another way for those of you out there like me who have used Shortcodes for various things in your site and then either the plugin quits working and gets abandoned or you change focus and you need to yank that plugin out. Well, what do you do if that crapload of Shortcodes that you’ve got floating through your website? Well, in this case here, this is a nice simple straightforward one that you plugin, turn on, Activate, and it removes the Shortcodes for you that aren’t being used. I doubt it actually removes them. None of the plugins I’ve reviewed that remove Shortcodes actually go in and remove the code from the site. What it does is it looks through your site as it loads and if a shortcode goes to load, and there’s no program for it to load, what happens is that shortcode appears in your text. Well, most of these plugins, they realize that a shortcode doesn’t and they hide that text from appearing in your site and that’s what this one appears to do, very nice one, very straightforward. It’s a brand new one. Go check it out, it’s called Shortcode Remover, and I give it a four dragon rating.
Amber: Yeah, that sounds pretty awesome.
John: Yeah, the Shortcode Remover’s I’ve used a few of them in the past, when I needed to clean up a site after I’ve removed some plugin that had a shitload of shortcuts or what’s even worse is if you’ve had a theme that use Shortcodes for displaying everything. I’ve done that one because they used to build themes; the themes had tons of Shortcodes in them.
Amber: That sounds terrible.
John: Yeah, well, it’s the way things worked, and then you didn’t realize it until down the road, what the problems would be.
Amber: Okay, first one I have up is Map Plugin alternative to Google Maps using MapQuest, with directions. This plugin, it seems to work very well for replacing Google Maps. There has been an issue with Google Maps charging and charging more to use their maps on sites for a bit now. If people are unsure where to go for free map, MapQuest has this option. It’s free up to 15,000 maps in transactions per month, generally pretty sufficient for most businesses. This plugin works in tandem with MapQuest using an API key to bring up the map you need for your business. With this, you will get the following features for free, show or hide router actionability, set initial zoom level, decide on full map controls or minimal, set the map height, developer friendly template layouts for shortcode/widget allowing overriding, so that is what you get in the free version. In the Pro version you get a lot more. If you have more than 15,000 map transactions a month then you’ll want to look at Pro but it’s still not expensive as Google Maps.
Amber: I rate this at four dragons.
John: Very cool. Alright, the next one I have for you here is Custom Cursor for WordPress. What this allows you to do is go in there and make your cursor look pretty or just annoy your users who are used to that little arrow and you can go change the cursor for your website as they go through it. Kind of a cool one in aspect of, you know, you can give it lots of different cursor choices based upon what is that again the Dashicons icons, creators, lots of really cool things you can do with your cursor for different reasons, but you got to remember, it sometimes annoys people. I thought it was a cool sort of feature that can be used to highlight things. I’m not sure if it can be used on a per page basis, which would be kind of cool if you use on a per page basis to be able to change the cursor on a specific page for a specific reason. At any rate, go check this one out. It’s Custom Cursor for WordPress, and I give it a four dragon rating.
Amber: And it reminds me of when I found the fishtail cursor thing. Fishtail one is still pretty cool but this is actually pretty good idea like I know on some sites, it makes more sense to have a hand to move around maps and stuff.
Amber: That’s pretty awesome. Next one I have is Interactive Geo Maps. This map plugin links with Google API and is designed to create interactive maps. This was specifically designed for travelers to show where they have been, though I can see a lot of uses for this plugin for businesses and personal sites alike. The settings in the free version are actually pretty awesome. I like the way that they take the various countries and you can set it up, so each one is a different color. You can choose your own colors, you can also make it so that the map is showing your country only if you’re only wanting to show your country, it’s very cool. You also get to create as many maps as you want. You can add round colored markers to show either where you’ve been or if your business is in multiple locations, show multiple locations, what have you. You can select which regions to display in the map and you can display HTML tooltips on hover-Zoom controls and Pan, there’s so much like that’s just the free version. The Pro version offers that many options plus five more. It’s insane, the amount of things you can do with this one plugin, so if a map is an important item that you need for your site, I definitely recommend that you check out the Interactive Geo Maps, I rate this at four dragons.
John: Very cool. I like map plugins. There are lots of cool ones out there. Alright, the final one I have for you is a Gutenberg block and this is Simple Facebook Wall and it’s a simple way to display your Facebook wall, your public Facebook wall, you can’t use it for private walls or anything but display your public Facebook wall from your business or whatever on to your website using a Gutenberg block. Once you get it installed, activated, you go in and set the path for the Facebook wall and then you use the shortcode to display it on in a Gutenberg block and it’s pretty straightforward and easy to use and not much more to it besides that I thought it was pretty decent. Go check it out, I give it a four dragon rating.
Amber: Looks like a really decent little plugin. Next I have is Bug Library. Now this is a really cool plugin that I really like. Essentially, you create a library of bugs in your website so that if you have like open source or if you’re working with a with a group of people, you can put up this library of bugs, people can add to the bug, people can change or can add, for some reason, I can’t remember the word of when you fix it. Fixes they can have fixes to the bug, they can add all kinds of things, but it’s not just anyone who can add to this, you have to give them permission and, you know, with the shortcode you put up debug library on whichever page you want, and people can interact with it. Although there is a Captcha and approval mechanism that’ll help keep the spam away. You have control over how many submissions are allowed. What role of user can add to the bug list and see the bug list, so I really do think that this is a fantastic thing for people who do Open Source, who develop, who worked with the group, I could see it being very useful. I rate this at five Dragon’s.
John: That’s the best I can do for you, folks. We don’t have the Dragon Roar for it today. Alright, does sound interesting and it could be useful when you’re working with multiple people on the same project to list out what’s happening what needs to be done, and so other people can see it.
Amber: Kind of made me think of a small version of GitHub, honestly.
John: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Alright and we have, let’s see what we got here today. I was told we had a listener question, so let’s wander into listener questions here.
Amber: Oh, there it is.
John: Alright, question is, is there a quick and easy way to test out several plugins with the same purpose? If I want to compare them to each other at the same time, should I make different sandbox sites using each one or any other suggestions looking for a shortcut? There is no shortcut. I’m sorry. There’s not. You can build multiple websites to compare them and see them if you’ve got the extra domains, or you want to build a bunch of sub domains in your Sandbox area, I usually just put them all in one, light up one, test it, turn it off, light up the other, test it, turn it off, and I sort of compare them back and forth that way, when I’m comparing multiple other plugins of the same purpose to see which one has the most amount of stuff I want or need or everything else, so there is no shortcut. There isn’t. I wish there was but there isn’t. I’ve tried. I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve not found a shortcut to compare multiple plugins, all you can do is just keep loading them up, load them up until you’ve overloaded your sandbox.
Amber: Reading on, want to compare them to each other at the same time, should I make different sandbox sites using each one?
John: Oh, that’s the only way you can.
Amber: That’s actually a really good idea that I’ve never thought of making different sandbox, I like comparing each one that’s similar.
John: Yeah. Now, just make sure that each sandbox site has the exact same theme and if you have any other plugins, after all, has exactly the same theme, plugins, and everything else and that it is all on the same server because every server is different. Even servers that are set up exactly the same it’s like computers, it’s like if you have more than one computer in your house, your desktop, and your laptop, even though they’ll have all the same programs, you’ll find one runs better than the other, sometimes for no apparent reason than they just do. So yeah, you’d have to set them up in separate sites, if you want to compare them at the exact same time.
Amber: That’s a pretty good question.
John: Alright, contests and we do have a contest that starts this week and our contests are powered by the simple giveaways plugin, we’d like to give them an acknowledgement from time to time because they have provided us with the Pro version of their plugin to run our contest. Though I did pay for it for a couple of years, they decided to sponsor us a bit by giving us the Pro version, I no longer have to pay for it, so thanks a lot to you guys. This is a really great plugin I’ve been using it since it was brand new which is probably four maybe is five years now I don’t remember and it’s grown up quite nicely. It is an excellent plugin for running your contest on your websites. So this week here, we are giving away a single domain Pro license of The Events Calendar formerly known as Modern Tribes Event Calendar, they were bought out recently by god I can’t remember who it was, you’ll have to listen to the interview I interviewed someone from the events calendar and that interview will be up next week and you’ll hear all kinds of great information about the events calendar. Now I’ve been using this plugin personally for going on seven or eight years now maybe nine years since pretty much when it was brand new and I tried to leave it a few times and go with someone else but every time I ended up back at the events calendar because it is the best events calendar plugin out there and it’s well worth the money. I’ve done several reviews on it over the years, just go search for The Events Calendar at WP plugins to see the previous reviews. At any rate, the single domain Pro license is valued at $99 and it’s well worthwhile. If you like it after the year, hey upgrade whatever you want, but this is so worth it. You can go to wppluginsatoz.com to enter the contest to win this license. Alright, cover up a few things before we dive into the Q&A segment with Amber. Plugins I covered this episode is the Shortcode Remover which I gave a four to, the Custom Cursor for WordPress, which I gave a four to, and the Simple Wall which I gave a four to.
Amber: And I covered Map Plugins alternative to Google Maps using the MapQuest with directions, which I rated at four, Interactive Geo Maps which I rated at four, and Bug Library, which I rated at five.
John: Very cool. Alright, meetups, there will be a meetup come early summertime, it’ll probably be up at the oasis, so more information on that will be coming soon. If you are a plugin developer or a marketer for a plugin team or anything like that, or you know people that are marketers for plugin team or a plugin developer and you want to get some more coverage for your plugin, reach out to me at wppluginsatoz.com/interview and schedule an interview time for the show and we will play that as a separate episode and of course, like I said, there’s an interview coming with the events calendar coming out next week. Alright, that’s it, this is where we dive in for the Q&A segment with Amber which was just normally a really cool jingle but hey, we’ll just dive right in. What do you got for us this week?
Amber: First off, if anyone out there has any questions 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 we’ll see if we can stump my dad. First question I have is while working with different builders like Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, etc. I’ve noticed that some run much slower than others. Do you know what causes that?
Amber: Yeah, I’ve actually stopped and taking a look at it, it’s quite impressive.
John: Yeah. The builders have been quite impressive as they’ve evolved over the last several years and some have done better than others. I do like builders, you know and but of course, now that Gutenberg is maturing, and I’ve finally admitted that I have to learn it, you know, that may end up being my builder choice instead of having to do two different things.
Amber: Makes sense?
Amber: Next question I have is when choosing a builder to go with, what do you look for when making the decision?
John: Well, when I was originally choosing the builders, I tried all the different builders to see which one. What I use to make the decision was which one was intuitive to my brain, because every code writer has a different way to get the same result and that’s what all the builders do. They all produce pretty pages, but each one does it in a different way. Beaver Builder and Elementor did it very similar to each other. Divi and WPBakery decided they would go out there and reinvent the wheel and just go crazy and I’ve used WPBakery, Divi, Beaver Builder, and Elementor, and you know, Beaver Builder was going to be my plugin of choice — my builder of choice, but the problem was their licensing fee was way too much. I couldn’t handle the licensing fee and so I went with Elementor because of their licensing fee in the end, which Elementor and Beaver Builder are very similar in how they go about doing it, so it basically boiled down to in the end my final end of the decision was the amount of money I had to spend every year on the license, but other than that, it’s just a matter of you try them. You try their free versions and see how intuitive it is for your brain and whether your brain can grasp the way they’re doing it.
Amber: Alright, okay, my last question I’ll read this off, then we can throw on the thing.
John: Go ahead.
Amber: An older site if you, we can’t , can we?
John: No we can’t, but I’ll find. We’ll just close it out at that point there. Read this off and we’ll close it out at that point there for those that are listening to the podcast.
Amber: Okay, on an older site if you keep it updated and well maintained sometimes the site still starts to run much slower. What are the main culprits to look for when this happens?
John: Okay, that is a very excellent one. Well what we’ll do is we’re going to close out the show right here. We don’t have our lovely jingle or girl to take us out today but for those of you listening on the podcast you want to hear the answer to that question you’re gonna to have to slide on over to YouTube to grab the answer to that question. Alright, that’s all we’ve got for you there.