WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #311 here.
It’s Episode 311 and we’ve got plugins for Managing Popups, Hiding Notifications, Locking Down BuddyPress, Global Search and a New Look for your Old Admin Dashboard. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: This week here I’ve got three great plugins, the first of which I may have reviewed in the distant past. But since I had to use it again, I thought I would bring it back to the forefront. This is for those of you who are tired of Contact Form 7 and want to move to Gravity Forms, and one of the biggest problems that occurs is when you go from Contact Form 7 to Gravity Forms, you have to redo all your forms manually – not with this plugin here. Contact Form 7 Gravity Forms Importer – you set this up and what it does with a click of a button, it imports your Contact Form 7 forms and turns them into Gravity Forms.
Now, there are a couple of caveats here; it’s not 100% perfect based solely on the way Contact Form 7 designs its forms, as far as I can tell. But it does a really good job and most of the time, it gets about 90% or more of the Contact Form 7 correct into Gravity Forms and you’ve got to go correct a couple of issues here and there. Now, you also have to when you’re done go in and set up the new notifications to the user and the administrator and then the notification that says they sent the form, you have to redo those in it.
It doesn’t take all that long but it’s a very quick move, especially if you’ve got complex forms. It’s a really quick move to go from Contact Form 7 into Gravity Forms and start moving forward with the Gravity Forms. At any rate, a really great plugin. Check it out. I give it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Decent. You know what? It’s funny, because I reviewed one that went the other way —
Marcus: — Gravity Forms to Contact Form 7.
John: Well, you know, people are always going backwards and forwards, depending on what they like and not like.
Marcus: That’s right. All right, I am going to talk about something that I rarely talk about, actually. I did a string of it a while back, maybe about a year ago, but I’m gonna bring it back. BuddyPress is something that’s often overlooked in WordPress, and that’s because it kind of sucks. It’s not really that great of an add-on, but it’s the only thing that we’ve got for a social component that works well.
So this plugin is called WordPress Lock for BuddyPress and what it does is this allows a site owner to lock different components on the site for non-logged in users, different things like custom post types, different WordPress pages, various BuddyPress components – those kinds of things. Now, a site owner can actually allow pages to be visible for non-logged in users or you can have it to where a locked message will be displayed on the page and that forces them to actually register.
Marcus: So it’s a very handy way that’s not built into BuddyPress natively to kind of lock down specific pages so you have to be logged in to see it, and I rated this one a 4 out of 5.
John: It sounds like it could be very useful if you’re using BuddyPress.
Marcus: Yeah, if you’re using BuddyPress, this is a must.
John: All right then, next up I have a plugin that can really save you developers grief from your clients. It’s called Hide All Notices. Now, one of the things that is so irritating with WordPress at times is that you will get these notifications of updates due or this is due, or please buy this plugin, or you didn’t enter your license – blah, blah, blah – all these things when you’re doing the sites. And those notifications can get quite annoying in the dashboard and sometimes you’ll get clients that’ll email you, call you, whatever, asking, “Hey, I got these notifications. What do they mean?” It’s like, “They’re okay. Don’t worry about it.”
What this plugin does for you is it hides all those notifications from the WordPress dashboard so that you don’t see them, your client doesn’t see them. It doesn’t remove them; it just uses CSS to hide them and keep them out of view. Now, it does get almost all of the notifications, especially if the plugin authors are using standard classes. But some plugin developers use nonstandard classes and the author of the plugin is made mention that they’re working on adding those as they’re discovered to the plugin.
Anyway, a great plugin. It worked very well, it was very smooth; I set it up and I just loved it because it removed a piece of grief from my life. So check it out: Hide All Notices. I gave it a 5-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Nice. I’d like to have an optional add-on to that: you can add your own custom notification in place of those that says, “Hey, everything’s running great.”
John: Yeah, there you go. There’s a feature for the developer.
Marcus: Wishful thinking. Okay, John, anybody who runs a WordPress site needs this next plugin. It’s called Admin Global Search, and this is one of the best plugins that I’ve come across in a long, long, time. It does exactly what it says: you can search the entire site in a master global search queue for anything and it will tell you exactly where it is – and I don’t care if it’s a post, page, custom post type, tag, category – anything. If you’ve got that word on your site, this plugin will uncover it for you. Previously, you’d have to search your entire SQL database in order to find specific words or phrases or things like that.
Marcus: It even gets down to peoples’ bios within their user profile and such. So if there was something that you didn’t know about or wanted to search and you really don’t want to having to go piece by piece to find specific things, or maybe you’ve got an old shortcode somewhere or something like that and you want to find out where they are within the whole structure or everything, this is your tool. It is called Admin Global Search and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That will be added to our site.
John: I’m constantly searching for stuff and it’s such a pain in the neck.
Marcus: Yeah, right now – pause the show and go add it.
John: Not right now. No, we’ll wait until the show is done and then we’ll dive into that. All right, well yeah, I’m looking forward to using that plugin.
John: Finally, what I’ve got up here today is called Popup Manager, and this is a plugin sent in to us by Janis Sprincus. And just for you developers out there, we have a feedback forum. If you’ve got a plugin you want promoted, send it in to us and submit it and it’ll get stuck in the queue for review.
At any rate, Popup Manager is a freemium plugin starting at about $35 per quarter, or every four months. Now, this is another plugin with this new type of pricing model that I’m beginning to see on more and more freemium/premium plugins, and where they charge more often than once a year for the license. They charge you monthly or they charge you quarterly or whatever plan they’re putting together, so it looks to be a new trend in licensing for WordPress plugins. So keep an eye out for that as you’re going around there.
At any rate, I tested out the free version of the plugin. It’s a very nice popup plugin for WordPress and the free version gives you four templates to choose from: one image type template, one text type template, three email templates. You can integrate it into MailChimp and a couple of other areas. You get more templates and other functionality by buying the premium version. They sell a lot of their templates on a piecemeal basis or you can subscribe to it. It starts at about $19 and goes up from there.
Setting this plugin up, it was pretty easy and pretty straightforward. It walks you through all the setup process — very little problems with it. I found it functional and I found it useful. I did find though that in the end, once I’d set up a popup that the only way to insert it into the site is via shortcode.
Now, sometimes when you’ve got a popup creation for your site, it’s nice to use it via shortcode or on a per-page basis, but it’s also nice to have one overall for the entire site – one spot, everything and done with it, so this didn’t seem to have that functionality. I did look for it, so maybe I missed it. But all in all, not a bad popup manager plugin. Popup Manager, check it out. I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Very nice, very nice. Okay, last but not least, this is something that’s only for the admin dashboard. This is called Flat Panel Admin Theme, and just as it says, it’s a theme just for the admin panel, and this is really nice. It basically gives that same WordPress dashboard that we all know and love a boost, a big splash of color, and a more refined flat panel design. You can easily change the colors, the look and feel, to reflect whatever best suits you and your website.
And a special hint to you designers out there and developers that create sites for clients, make an admin theme that matches the colors of the company of your client. Why not brand it a little bit? It’s an amazing kind of way to think about things in terms of a plugin giving you a whole theme, but this is exactly what it does and I rated it a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: Very nice. That can be quite useful, especially if you’re trying to impress your client with a little bit of over-the-top stuff.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah – absolutely. Give it a little flare.
John: Yeah. All right, well that covers up this week. I covered Contact Form 7 to Gravity Forms Importer and I gave it a 4; and then Hide All Notices, which I gave a 5 to; and then Popup Manager, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about WordPress Lock for BuddyPress, which gets a 4 out of 5; Admin Global Search – my new go-to plugin – gets a 5 out of 5; and we just talked about Flat Panel Admin Theme, which gets a 5 out of 5.