WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #316 here.
It’s Episode 316 and we’ve got plugins for Customer Reviews, Cron Management, Weather, Editing the TinyMCE Editor, Push Notifications and a new Chatbot exclusively for WooCommerce. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, first off this week I have a plugin that was sent in to us by Jakub Mikita and it’s the Advanced Cron Manager Debug & Control. Now, this now a freemium plugin. This plugin was originally reviewed by Marcus back in Episode 161. There’s a link in the show notes if you want to go back and see that. It was brought to our attention by the developer recently and he wanted to see if we would re-review it, you know, take a look at it since he released Version 2 of it and released a premium version of it. So I did take a look at it and what it is, it’s a cron job manager plugin and it’s always had the ability to create and edit cron jobs and to manually fire cron jobs.
Now, one of the things he’s added to it in his premium stuff here is he’s added it to allow you to get in there and look at reports of things that are occurring, find out what is happening, how long a cron job execution time is happening, it’s catching errors in the cron job – these are in the pro version – is giving you performance stats. And if you’ve ever had troubles on your WordPress website with load issues and if you’ve been on poor performing servers, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But a lot of times those load issues are caused by cron jobs and this allows you to get in there and debug and find out some of the problems that are occurring, so it’s a really great tool.
I didn’t fully implement the pro version yet because I’m going to play with it as soon as I get the new WP Plugins site built to see what’s happening with our cron jobs there. But at any rate, it’s looking a lot better than it was. Marcus gave it a 3 way back when and currently, I’m going to give it a 4 with all of the improvements in it, so go check it out: the Advanced Cron Manager Debug & Control.
Marcus: Cron job management plugins are more important than ever and even in that timeframe of three years ago when I first reviewed that, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because now you’re getting a lot of like managed WordPress hosting companies and things like that coming down the pipe.
Marcus: And they don’t allow you to have a C-panel where you can manage your cron jobs, so it’s more important than ever to get a handle on that stuff.
John: Yeah, you can’t create the actual real cron jobs, can you?
Marcus: No, nope. All right, so the first plugin I’ve got today is called 5 Star Google Reviews. This is a very intriguing kind of a plugin. So it’s really lightweight and it displays a review form on your website. Now if the user leaves a five-star review, they then get forwarded to your Google Business page, your Facebook page, or your Yelp page where they can continue to leave that review.
If a review is four stars or less, it actually says, “Hey, sorry we couldn’t hit it out of the park for you. What can we do better to help you?” And this is a perfect way to get feedback from your customers without getting complains that go straight to your Google Business page, Yelp page, Facebook, or something like that, so it’s kind of a cool screen, I guess, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: Yeah, that’s kind of cool. That can be useful – help you avoid some of the grief with down the review areas.
Marcus: Yeah, so it’s just kind of a shield, so it will forward the person appropriately to leave those reviews on those external services or give them an opportunity to express their displeasure.
John: All right, well next up here I have another plugin. It’s called OneSingle Sender. It’s a third-party service; currently, it’s free. It was sent in to us by Marc Bou Sleiman and what it is is it’s one of those notification plugins sending the site notifications out. Currently I can’t remember the one we’re using at the moment.
Marcus: It’s a push notification.
John: Push notifications – that’s what I’m looking for. Thank you.
John: Push notifications – and it allows you to send the notifications from the back end of your WordPress website, not having to go to the dashboard of the third-party service to create the push notification. This works through an API. You go in, you set it up, get your API key, and then you can one-click away and send those push notifications while you’re within the backend of your WordPress dashboard.
What I kind of like to see with something like this is that they integrate it into a post or something so you can create the push notification right in the posts. That would be kind of a cool thing to have. Other than that, it seems to be a good average plugin. It’s about the same as every other push notification system I’ve tried, so give it a good checkout. It’s called OneSignal Sender and I gave it a 3-Dragon rating.
Marcus: All right. Well, the next one I’ve got is an editor for editing the editor. It’s called Managed Tiny MCE Editor and it allows you to add buttons to the WordPress default Tiny MCE Editor and using this plugin, you can add buttons like cut, copy, paste, source code, font family selector, font size selector, style selector, the background color (that’s one I’ve always wanted).
Marcus: MC the documents, superscripts, subscript, all of the rest of them, and I think it gives you a few customized options too. So if you’re looking to spruce up that Tiny MCE Editor, maybe take some things away, put some things back in there, I know probably the strike-through is not a very used feature in the Tiny MCE, nor is a couple of other things. So if you want to tweak that around, put your own stuff in there – maybe there’s some shortcodes or plugins or things like that that you want to add to your editor and you can’t do it presently, this plugin will let you do it. It’s called Manage Tiny MCE Editor and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice! About the best thing I’m always wanting to put back in my Tiny MCE Editor is the anchor tag.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s true.
John: Creating the anchor tags – I use those a lot and it’s so irritating when they yanked it out of the core of MCE Editor.
Marcus: Yep, now you need HTML.
John: Yep. All right, next up I have here – I have another plugin sent in to us. This was sent in to us by Alexa D. It’s called the Weather Atlas Widget and it’s a simple plugin for adding weather from virtually everywhere on the globe. Every city I looked for, even a few really sort of obscure cities here in Canada, they had listed in there, so I thought that was pretty cool. It was pretty efficient. It allows you to go in and create a widget.
You can change the background colors, modify it up a bit to match into your theming system – whatever your WordPress website is. It allows you to also use shortcodes, so you can display multiple cities on a page or a post in different blocks and that’s kind of nice, or you can have multiple blocks stacked on each other, put them into different formats.
It turned out to be a really great weather plugin and it gave accurate weather data for even the city I live here in Victoria, which was kind of cool. I compared it to a couple of the other weather places I use and the weather data was right on point. So having something that good and something really nice, the graphics are really in a modernized flat graphic so they fit into the current developing themes of today. So check it out, it’s called Weather Atlas Widget and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Awesome. Well, John, you know that I’ve been into this kind of chatbot kick lately, of learning about chatbots and things like that.
Marcus: And now I’ve actually found one specifically designed for WooCommerce. It’s called WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot, and it is a WooCommerce Chatbot. And what it is, it’s a standalone plugin, not much configuration or bot training required. It’s totally plug-n-play, does not require any kind of third-party service integration, like Facebook, Octane, or any of those other chatbot servers. Basically, it takes the metadata from your products and it helps shoppers find products they’re looking for easily and can help increase sales.
So it’s the first of its kind, WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot, and it helps to obviously increase sales. What it does is it actually has a little floater down at the right bottom corner of the website and it offers users the chance to help find the right product through like kind of a live assistant type of a thing. It’s really cool and worth checking out, but make sure you test it first before you just install it and go, “Hey, well how come my robot’s not selling things?”
Marcus: You know, look at your metadata, look at how it actually navigates and negotiates some of the text and data, and I think you’ll have yourself a winner here. So it’s called WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot and I gave it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s kind of cool. Yeah, especially if you get lots and lots of products in your store and this could direct people directly where they need to go.
Marcus: That’s right. Shoot them the link.
John: All right, well and I covered up in this episode the Advance Cron Manager Debug & Control tool, which I gave a 4 to; the OneSignal Sender, which I gave a 3 to; and then the Weather Atlas Widget, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And fours across the board for me: 5 Star Google Reviews gets a 4, Mange Tiny MCE Editor gets a 4, and WooWBot WooCommerce Chatbot gets a 4 out of 5.