All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. This is complete verbatim of John’s discussion on the weekly plugins that have been reviewed.
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 #547 here.
It’s Episode 547 and we have plugins for Verifying Users, Checking Links, Dates Dash Widget, Logging Runs, Tripping Blurb, Collecting Maps… and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Transcript for Episode #547
John: All right, ClassicPress options, we’re still holding on to this section of the show, it’ll always be here. Eventually we’ll have more ClassicPress stuff who knows I may decide to get bored and go build a new site in ClassicPress just to see how its functioning and but anyone out there using ClassicPress, if you’ve got stuff for us, please submit it to us and we will stick it into this section of the show. This is going to be pretty much a user or listener driven section of the show.
But on to WordPress plugins, what do I got? The first one I have for you this week is WordPress Plugin is User Verification. This is one I recently added to my own site at roguestavern.com and simply because I seem to have suddenly been discovered by the spammers and so of course, the spammers promptly sign up and register for dozens, I think they registered 175 accounts over the course of 12 hours on my site.
Amber: Wow, that’s kind of impressive.
John: You know that’s a little minor amount, I’ve seen them register upwards of 1000, over 24 hours, you get to, they can be insane the spammers and basically, they’re looking for, as we discussed in the news earlier, about a subscriber being able to use the flaws in a plugin to escalate on your site. That’s what they’re looking for, so they come in and register on your site and of course, you can’t stop registrations because you’re running an ecommerce store, you need people to register to place their orders, etc, so this plugin here helps eliminate that problem by forcing an email verification before the account become active.
Amber: That’s useful.
John: And it’s fully free plugin that does it. I saw it first expected to be third party but it turns out, it’s all in the plugin. It’s email verification, you can block certain types of usernames from being used, you can block out an entire domain for emails to come from because sometimes the spammers use email@example.com and they just make a whole bunch of emails @something.org you should just block that whole domain so nobody from that domain could ever register on your site. It also puts reCAPTCHA on your forms and it works with WooCommerce and paid membership Pro plugin, which are the exact two plugins I use on my site, so it was exactly what I needed to help solve the problem. As soon as I put that in there, the number of spam registrations dropped off to nil. Very excellent plugin, one I highly recommend if you’re running a WooCommerce site or a membership site with paid membership Pro recommend, go check out this plugin it works very very well and of course I give it a five dragon rating.
Amber: Did you played the dragon sound?
John: Yes, I did.
Amber: Okay, I didn’t hear it. Good to know that I won’t hear the dragon sound.
John: You’re not hearing any sounds really, so…
Amber: I hear some sounds.
John: Yeah, I’m gonna have to tear all my wiring apart and rewire my whole soundboard system.
Amber: That sounds like fun.
Amber: Okay, so the first one I have today is Run Log. This one is for all the runners out there who like to log their runs and share their activity, share their success and everything. This is a totally free plugin and it comes with a bunch of options for personalizing your posts. You can log the distance duration, elevations, calorie burn, pace, speed. You can even choose lighter, dark style to go with your theme, add a map to show your route, and even add in other gear options like tracking by shoes, which I don’t fully understand that one, but I’ve heard about it before.
John: I’ll tell you all about it when you’re done.
Amber: If you’re a runner that likes to share all this stuff, then this is a great plugin for you. There’s the translation option of English in Hebrew. No others I can tell but still seems like a pretty good plugin for runners. I rate it at five dragons.
John: Well, the interesting thing is only works with your Strava or your Garmin Connect okay which is unfortunate because not everyone uses that. I’m a runner, I use my what’s my run app again, holy crap, I can’t remember the name of my run app, Runkeeper I use Runkeeper. There used to be a really great plugin for Runkeeper to connect to your site. I used it for several years before the developer abandoned it and Runkeeper changed their system, but the one thing that you should never do is you should never put maps up on your public website, you know, unless of course you run it well even then you might want to reconsider your maps, you should keep your maps private because you put your public maps up and if you run the same time well that sets you up for stalking doesn’t matter where you run, it sets you up for stalking, especially, you know, if you’re a good looking girl or a good looking guy who are more likely to be stalked than the average people like me, you know, could be that but other than that and then of course as you said, place it up as you know track your runs by shoes. Well most runners do that because it seems once you become a runner, you tend to collect you know several different types of shoes, and they’re for different types of running and the average mileage of a shoe before you can no longer really run in it. I mean the shoes not worn out, but you’ve bashed the soul so bad that it no longer supports you. They only average about 500 kilometers for a shoe and so you want to know how much miles is left in your shoes. So I track all my runs by shoes. So I know how long I’ve got left in my shoes before I have to buy new ones. And, of course, at 170 bucks a pair of shoes, you want to get the best you can out of your shoes. Alright, well, more information than people needs to know on that one.
Alright, the next plugin I’ve got for you discovered this one while doing some research on a prospective new client site, it’s called Broken Link Checker and at first I saw Broken Link Checker, really, people are still using those and I looked this one while this one’s still being kept up-to-date, because most of them haven’t been kept up- to-date ad a Broken Link Checker plugin is useful for your site. You shouldn’t install it, set it up and let it go automatic. This plugin here gives you the option to set it up and have it automatically scan your site on a regular basis and give you a report. This is something you should do manually, preferably at a time when your site is getting the least amount of traffic because I still think that probably has the problem of slowing down websites because a Broken Link Checker goes through every post on your website, comparing every URL and then sending out a ping on that URL to see if that’s a live website still, or live link still and it can help you clean up junk on your sites and the older your website is, the more you’d really want to do this, just to clean it up because of course people drop domains, they change their URLs for articles.
All kinds of things have happened across the web since the internet began when I first started in this business right around 1995-96 and when it went full-blown public in 1998-99, so you know, anyone who’s been building like if you have a WordPress website, like johnoverall.com is, has been there now for going on 14 years. So for 14 years, I’ve had a site and I’ve got tons of articles and links and, you know, hundreds of hundreds of that. We’ve got, you know, hundreds of podcasts with links going out, so it’s like I’m sure I have a shitload of broken links and every once in a while I get an email from someone says, hey, this link leaving my thing would you mind changing it? It is no longer there, it’s here. It’s like okay, so at any rate a really great plugin one, you might want to check out help clean up your site. It is the broken Link Checker, and I give it a four dragon rating.
Amber: That sounds awesome. Hemdian said he uses this plugin?
John: Yep, it’s a great plugin.
Amber: Next one I have is WP Trip Summary. So this is a pretty nifty plugin for those who are always going on bike trips, hiking trips, or train rides, and enjoy sharing their adventures. I thought when I first saw it that it would be more the ability to jot down like a road trip that you take in your own car, like say you travel all across your country, and you wanted to make your own summary of it but it’s not quite like that. It’s only for those three items, the biking, hiking, or train riding but within those three categories; they have some pretty awesome options. They have you can add in distance, elevation, difficulty, and a map option, that’s the same throughout all of them and one of the cool things about their difficulty levels, they even have a medieval torture, difficulty level.
Amber: That sounds about right for some hikes and rounds I’ve gone on. There’s also a map option for each topic and like you can take it or leave it, like if you’re gonna do a cross country thing I could see you putting down a map but…
John: Map is fine if it’s a one off trip, map is fine.
Amber: Yeah, but one of the aspects that can be either a drawback or positive I noticed when I was playing around with it is in the option to the plugin itself under viewer settings, you can write out a top and a bottom teaser text and every single post you make will have this exact top and bottom teaser text which can be very useful if it’s kind of the same thing every time but it can also be a little irritating if you want to have the top and bottom teaser but having individual for each one, so they have the option to have it on or off, they also have the option of just not filling it out and leaving it blank, but if you want to have it for one thing and one thing only, it’s not an option. It goes to every single post you make. Lastly, the only drawback I really saw but it’s pretty minor drawback in my opinion, I still rate it at five dragons.
John: Cool. Alright, the final one I have for you today is called Important Dates Dashboard Widget. This is nothing of a special plugin in any real stretch of imagination, I thought it might be more than what it is but it is kind of a cool one, can be very useful. It’s useful for yourself, if you’re the sole administrator of the site, you’ve got important dates of things that are coming up on the website or maybe you want to remember some stuff, if you log into your website on a daily basis doing stuff, you know, you can put important dates like such and such as due on this date. So the moment you hit the dashboard, this widget is right there front and center tells you it, you could use it to remember people’s birthdays, if you have multiple admins, every admin will see it, and you could use it to communicate some information across to the other admins that come into the site, so there are a lot of good uses for it but that’s really all it does for you, it doesn’t do that, and you have to manually enter the dates in there, you know, just put the important date name, the important date that it is, and then that’s what shows up on the dashboard. Nothing overly special with it but it does look kind of cool, it probably has lots of promise, it is a brand new plugin and who knows, it could evolve into something more than what it is, you might want to check it out, could be useful for you, go check it out it is the Important Dates Dashboard Widget and I give it a four dragon rating.
Amber: Nice. Yeah, I can see this growing up into pretty awesome plugin. I just wanted to mention Hemdian said that he finds it really useful and he actually gets alerts like he got an alert when an obscure site went down, was able to alert the owner he hadn’t noticed, so that’s actually pretty cool. I didn’t know it alerted you as well.
John: Well, that’s cool.
Amber: Last one I have for today is OSMaps. So I was really excited when I saw this plugin, because maps are something that are kind of an irritating thing to try to find and what this is supposed to do, is it supposed to take map tiles from either Open Street Map, which does not require an access key or from Map box, which does require an access key. You’re supposed to take these map tiles and then you put in the coordinates on the site that they give you a link for, you put those coordinates into the plugin options when you’re creating a new map, and then it gives you a shortcode and then you take that shortcode and you put in your post and you’re supposed to have that map show up on your post. You only have one map showing on post at a time, which is a drawback but they do mention one map at a time, that’s all it can handle, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to work at all. The demo map worked perfectly but even when I use the link that they give you, I help you find the coordinates and everything and I went to OpenStreetMap and I tried and it just didn’t work. I was so sad because it’s such a cool looking thing. I wasn’t able to reach out to them either to let them know that it’s not working.
John: Yeah. No, that’s too bad.
Amber: Yeah, so it’s really awesome idea, it didn’t work. I rate it two dragons.
John: Maybe they’ll get back to you and give you the opportunity to re-review it.
Amber: That’d be cool because I would love to see this one actually working because if you could like go and get a bunch of trail maps for when you want to go camping or hiking and habits that your hiking and camping buddies can also grab that map, that’d be awesome.
John: That would be cool.
Amber: Be good for scouts too.
John: All right, well, let’s go talk about our contest.
We do have a new contest this week. And, of course, every once a while I like to acknowledge the Simple Giveaways which provides the plugin for us, The Simple Giveaways Plugin. It’s a really great plugin if you’re looking to run any contests on your website. I’ve been using this plugin since it was literally brand new and it has grown up to be such a beautiful plugin for managing your contests on your website collecting email addresses and all kinds of great stuff, so go check this plugin out they do have a free version and a premium version of the plugin available. Alright contest we have for you this week; we are giving away an Events Calendar Pro Single Domain License valued at 99 bucks. The Events Calendar is the premier WordPress Events Calendar for your website. There’s so many things you can do with it, you know, they have the free version which comes with the events tickets on it and that allows you to set it up and do the free version. One of the drawbacks and difference between the free and the Pro version is that in the free version, if you have multiple events happening on the same day, you got to do them all manually. The Pro version allows you to do them all automatically and so much more, I can’t even remember what it is. We just recently did an interview that was posted up with I can’t remember his name now, James Welbes from the Events Calendar, that interview is now live up on our website too, so go check that interview out and the Events Calendar, great plugin, highly valuable, you want yourself a one year Pro license, go enter the contest at wppluginsatoz.com/contests and if you’re interested more they have more stuff available, go check them out at the eventscalendar.com.
Amber: I’ve checked out this plugin it’s pretty cool.
John: Well it’s installed on wppluginsatoz.
Amber: Yeah, like I said I’ve checked it out enough to have looked at it and everything, it’s pretty cool.
John: We use it there and I think I’ve got one of my other copies, I pay for a three site license, so I’ve got it also on the Rogues Tavern and then I’ve got it on a client site, so at any rate, well worthwhile. Alright, we need to cover up a few things here before we dive into the Q&A segment with Amber. First off, plugins I covered this week User Verification which I gave a five to, The Broken Link Checker which I gave a four to, and the Important Dates Dashboard Widget which I gave a four to.
Amber: And I covered Run Log, which I rated at five, WP Trip Summary, which I rated at five, that one always trips me up when I’m trying to say the name and OSMaps which I rated at an unfortunate two.
John: Alright and a few reminders and promotion bits there is a meetup that is going to be coming this summer and it’s going to be held at the Oasis as soon as I get my deck inspected and passed I’ll be I’ll be holding it at the oasis. I’ll let people know in the date so they can RSVP and find out how to get to the oasis. If you’d like to be interviewed for an interview show, simply connect up with me at wppluginsatoz.com/interview and book your interview time slots. I have specific time set aside just for doing interviews and that time is pretty much always available if nobody books it. I do something else at that time, not a big deal but there are times that I know I can be available to do an interview and I set them aside and they are available at this link here where people can book the interviews for an interview show, which are separate and apart from this regular podcast and it gives people a chance to promote their plugins. Talk about the good things, bad things about them, all that good stuff, so if you’re interested, check it out, reach out to me. Alright, it is time for…
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: You know his voice comes through really well for the sounds.
John: I’m gonna have to rip all my cables apart, my sound board apart, go through. I’m gonna have to remove all my sound drivers, reinstall my sound drivers and reset it all up. I’m about three or four hours of time that I have to carve out to do that. So one thing I hate about computers, you get everything working perfectly and then something changes for no apparent reason and you have to redo all that work again. I used to enjoy that but not so much anymore.
Amber: Well diving into the spaghetti mess is always kind of irritating at first.
Amber: So before I get started with the questions, if anyone out there has any questions they’d like to have asked on the show send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get them into the show. We’ll see if we can stump my dad, so my first question is, SEO is a commonly tossed around need for sites or at least that’s what you read everywhere, though not many people really understand it too well, even after years of dealing with it. Can you explain a little in layman’s terms what a SEO is and why you might need it?
John: Yes, SEO is tossed around a lot. Alright, in layman’s terms, you know, when the internet was first created and directories were first created, the directories were where you had to go, get your site approved by the directories and they would put it in there with the description and that would be it and they’d look them up and the original directories for the internet were basically like phone books. You put in a name of something or a product or something you look for, you type it in, it’d give you a list of what it thought you were looking for. Sort of okay, seemed to be working alright. Then what happened was Google came along and Google invented the links and what they called PageRank and PageRank was, you know, if everybody points to this link on the internet for specific words or phrases, that link must be very important. Well, it wasn’t very long after Google took charge of everything and they started to dominate everything that the black hatters or the scammers realized, you know, I can make idiot, be point to Justin Trudeau’s website, you know, by having hundreds of people on their websites, hyperlink the word idiot to Justin Trudeau ‘s website, and that will come up as number one in the search rankings. Google bombing used to be a thing. It was really quite entertaining. They used it a lot to target, politicians and others that it’s like, oh, this guy’s an idiot, type idiot into Google, it brings up Justin Trudeau or whoever it was, that’s what I got at the moment. But anyway, so SEO it was easy at the time but now it’s a little more complex because people don’t search for a single word, like when you go to Google, and you want to know something about cooking pizza, you just look up pizza?
Amber: No, you put in pizza recipe.
John: Yeah, pizza recipe and but what happens oh, I want a specific type of pizza. You’ll expand it out Pizza artichoke recipe or pizza, something, you’ll expand it out, you’ll get longer and longer phrases, you put an entire phrase and sometimes you have to put an entire phrase in to get very specific. Even in DuckDuckGo and everybody, they’re all the same now and the thing happens and so SEO is learning how to write getting the content on your site, so in the search engine index your site and read all your content, and people look for it, they look for a pizza recipe and they look oh, look over here at the Rogues Tavern recipes, they’ve got a recipe for pizza, you know, and they go and that’s what they bring up in the search engine. Now the problem is you’re competing with other people, you need the links back from other websites that refer to you, it’s a complex thing, it just goes on and on and nowadays, like I can’t do SEO anymore. I used to be able to do it once upon a time but now, to do the SEO, you have to make that your entire career. You can’t do anything else but SEO because you got to understand the changes in the algorithms, changes in the keywords, how this one reacts to that, how this does that, I can’t remember the schema markup text and everything else, there’s so much there. So all I can do now is basic SEO, you install a basic SEO plugin on your website and it gives you a good basic start from there and from that point there, you got to spend tons of time hours refining stuff. Although in my experience over the years I’ve been doing this, the best thing you can do is write your content for a human to read without trying to stuff keywords in and you will find you get ranked very well for this. I mean, I used to be the number one ranking for emergency WordPress support and that happened by accident. I wasn’t even trying for it. I had written several articles on emergency WordPress support and I had links to contact me if their WordPress website broke, you know, things of that nature and that skyrocketed me to the top. I was number one for like five years up until about a year ago, I was number one in that key phrase, so
Amber: So Hemdian has a couple of things SEO, the internet’s deepest rabbit hole and he said SEO is how to optimize your site so it is seen favorably by search engine algorithm but it’s different for different search engines and search engines keep tweaking their algorithms, so you have to keep redoing the SEO it’s a moving target.
John: Yeah, it is and he explained it more succinctly than I did, much more succinctly than I did, and it is a moving target and the best thing to do is don’t even try to hit the target anymore, just just write your contents like I still get decent hits on my articles that I wrote eight years ago, I haven’t written articles now for about five years, I used to write a lot of articles and I haven’t written it for about five years, but all my old stuff still gets a lot of traffic on it, although, it’s out of date. Basically the best thing to do is be writing content that is current up-to-date and regularly submitting that content, regularly publishing the content, and that’s the other thing that is advantageous. If you’re regularly submitting content in a specific field you’re not too scattered on your site, you’re focused on what you’re doing that also increases your website. The other thing that helps is by doing internal linking, linking to all the pages within your website, it’s like if you mentioned, well, I have an article here, you link back to the article in your own website, you link back in there and that helps too, so
Amber: Hemdian also added having lots of links to your site from others that are reputable use to help a lot too?
John: Yeah, I don’t know if that does help as much anymore. It used to be a big thing. I remember trading links with lots of big time sites back in the day, back in the mid-2000s, you know, in the mid-2000s to about 20. I think I quit really paying attention around 2013 was when I really just said To hell with this. I just don’t have time for this shit anymore. Yeah, so
Amber: My next question, you’ve kind of already sort of answered, which is what would one need to learn about SEO in order to use it themselves on their own site? And how would they know if it made a difference?
John: Well, we can answer the second part, the first part is we did cover what you need to learn on your own site, there’s so much you can do, but how do you know if it made a difference, you get an increase in traffic to your website, and not just the bot traffic, but you get an increase in people to your website and if you’ve got Google Analytics or other analytics software on your site, it shows how long people spend on your website, or on a page., and if people are hitting your webpage, and they’re staying there longer than 10 seconds, longer than 30 seconds longer than a minute, that means they’re reading your content because bots, they hit your site and they’re gone within 10 seconds, they don’t stay, they hit it, they’re gone. They hit it, they’re gone, but if someone’s interested in your content, they hit it and in the first 10 seconds, they’re scanning the headlines to see if it’s interesting. If the headlines don’t catch them, they’re gone. If it goes from 10 to 30 seconds, that means you caught them with the headlines and maybe the first paragraph or two of text, if they’re there longer than 30 seconds, upwards of five minutes depends on how long it takes to read that content, you know, you caught him. The other is if you get an increase in the number of people signing up for your email list, or you get an increase in the amount of sales you’re making. All of those things tell you if your SEO is working.
Amber: Hemdian wanted to add any SEO technique that gets gained subsequently gets downgraded by Google?
John: Which is every SEO technique, every SEO technique eventually gets gamed, every single one since the day this started. I remember when Google went live in 1998, I think it was 98, and we all quit using _____ 00:47:43 remember the Alta Taro or I can’t remember the name of the old directories, the directories that never returned any useful information and then Google came out and all of a sudden, I could find what I’m looking for on the fucking internet, oh my God, there’s so much information here. It was amazing time. That was the golden era of the internet from about the 1998-99 when Google first hit until they removed the don’t be evil from their title, somewhere around 2009, so we had a 10 year Golden Era age was really nice and then it’s just gone downhill from there and they’ve just gotten more evil since, so yeah.
Amber: My last question for you. I’ll read out, learning about cybersecurity I can’t help but wonder, is it possible that the main reason for more cyber-attacks recently is due to the lack of cybersecurity workers. It seems as though not nearly enough people are going into cybersecurity, but are instead going into web development. What are your thoughts on this?
John: That is an interesting question. We will talk about that one after the break and for those of you on the podcast you want to hear about this one, you’re gonna have to come to YouTube. Alright, I’m gonna let my girl take us on out of here and we will return.
Reminders for the show: All the show notes can be found at wppluginsatoz.com, and while you’re there, subscribe to the newsletter for more useful information directly to your inbox. WP Plugins A-Z is a show that offers honest and unbiased reviews of plugins created by developers because you support the show. Help keep the show honest and unbiased by going to wppluginsatoz.com/donate and set the donation level that fits your budget.
Help us make the show better for you by subscribing and reviewing to the show at Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and in the iTunes Store. You can also leave us a review on our Facebook page using wppluginsatoz.com/facebook. You can also watch the show live on YouTube, check out the screencasts and training videos, and remember to subscribe and hit the bell to get notifications of all new videos. Follow the show on Twitter @wppluginsatoz.
John can be reached at his website, JohnOverall.com, or email him directly at email@example.com. 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.