Category Archives: WordPress Plugins

Articles on what Plugins are, how to use them, and other useful tips regarding WP Plugins.

Facebook Like Box WordPress Plugin

The Facebook Like Box WordPress Plugin by WPdevart and smplug-in helps you promote pages and post, same as you normally do on the Facebook site itself.

There are many WordPress Plugins for adding Facebook like boxes to a WordPress site. This one is different as it adds more than just a like box. A Facebook Like Box allows visitors to “like” your post or Page content and connect it by sharing on their Facebook site. This Plugin adds a WordPress Widget, a shortcode for embedding in the site’s content, and the ability to actually create popups for Likes and Facebook sharing.

The Plugin is also highly customizable, allowing height and width to be set, languages, and colors. You can also set it as a Sticky box, and show or hide Friend Faces, and other visual elements. Continue reading Facebook Like Box WordPress Plugin

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Plugin: Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Google Analytics Dashboard is a WordPress Plugin that connects the power of Google’s analytical software with the far-reaching spread of WordPress sites. While I wasn’t able to actually test the Plugin, since I had to install it on an offline version of my site and Google couldn’t pull data from a site that wasn’t connected to them, I was able to mess with their interface to get a better idea about what is possible with the software.

A New Way to Track

After activating the Plugin (which had an error because of the type of page I was using) I was able to check out some of the ways that I could track data through the Plugin. I was able to mask IP addresses while I track data, to keep any personal user data private, in consideration for my users. And I was also able to enable demographics and interest reports from Google’s targeted ad system. I could track by all outbound data, like outbound links and downloads, or I could track identifiers like hashmarks (#).

Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress

Organize Data

I was also able to sort custom tracking definitions, like being able to create different tracking data files for authors of the site, or maybe a specific category. And if I find that I’m starting to have a bunch of useless data, I have the ability to exclude certain users from the tracking process. For example, if I start to notice that the data from my staff is throwing off my early morning number, I can exclude the admins, editors, authors and contributors from tracking for a set period of time. I can even link the analytics software to my AdSense account, to ensure that I’m getting the most out of my Google AdSense advertising. If you’re interested in the Plugin, check out the first link in the Additional Resources section, and you’ll be well on your way to having a better understanding of your users.

Additional Resources

WordPress Plugins: Soliloquy Lite

The Soliloquy Lite Responsive Slider plugin allows you to create  sliders with both images and videos. The plugin is quick and super easy to use and showcases a code to put on any post or page.

Soliloquy's logo.

This is what your posts section looks before the Plugin was installed:

A screenshot of the add new post panel.After the plugin is activated, an Add Slider button will show up next to the Add Media button on the Posts and Pages sections.

A add slider button next to the add media button.

An example of the the Add New Soliloquy Slider is shown below.  In context area you can upload images and set the configurations of how you want your slider to look:

The new slider post area.

Once finished with setting up your slider, go to Add Post and click the Add Slider button choose the slider you just made and then publish it.

A sample slider post.

On the site, you should see something like the screenshot below:

A sample slider of Soliloquy Lite.

For More Information:

WordPress Plugin Review: Random Backgrounds

Are you needing to revamp your WordPress site? Are you not the most tech savvy? I have found the perfect Plugin for you: Random Backgrounds. With this easy-to-use Plugin, your WordPress site will automatically change the background image each time your blog visitor clicks on a new Page or post. This can be used by just about anybody wanting to freshen up their site; whether it be Molly’s personal blog or Miss Fashionista’s Handbag website.

Here’s How it Works:

  • Search for Random Backgrounds in the Plugin Repository, download it, then activate it.

Screen shot of Random Backgrounds Plugin download page.

  • On your WordPress site, hover over “Appearance,” and click on “Random Backgrounds.” You’ll then see this page, where you can upload your own images, using the WordPress Media Uploader. The defaulted images are purposely unattractive, as to inspire a need to customize your own backgrounds.

Screen shot of uploading images.

  • Once you’ve uploaded your backgrounds, you can set them to either tile or stretch across the background. Click “Save Changes,” and take a look at your new changing backgrounds.

A Sample of my Random Backgrounds:

 

Screenshot of background #1Screenshot of background #2.Screenshot of background #3Screenshot of background #4.

Random Backgrounds is very simple to install and use on your WordPress site. It enhances the professionalism of your site, which positively catches the attention of your visitors.

For More Information

 

 

WordPress Plugin: MetaSlider

Meta Slider is an easy to use WordPress slider plugin made by Matcha Labs. As the most popular WordPress slider plugin, with over 600,000+ active installs, it allows you to create SEO optimized responsive slideshows with Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider and Responsive Slides.

There are a variety of slider options with this WordPress Plugin.

  • Flex Slider 2 – Responsive, 2 transition effects, carousel mode
  • Nivo Slider – Responsive, 16 transition effects, 4 themes
  • Responsive Slides – Responsive & incredibly light weight
  • Coin Slider – 4 transition effects

Continue reading WordPress Plugin: MetaSlider

WordPress Plugin Review: EverKinetic

Everkinetic was created by Greg Priday. This WordPress Plugin provides users with over 289 specific images of exercises to insert into posts and/or pages. If you a have fitness blog, this Plugin has a library of images that can be downloaded with a push of a button. A shortcode is added to the content area with the image(s) the user selects.

Screen Shot of EverKinetic barbell iconWhen you click on the EverKinetic icon (Barbell) that’s located in the Content Editor Bar, EverKinetic is activated and opens up. Please note that the icon will only appear when in the “Visual” view and not in “Text” view. I couldn’t find anywhere on this subject to see if this is normal functionality or not.

Screen shot of types of exercise images from EverKineticEverKinetic Plugin categorizes its images in several ways, making it easier to locate specific images. The menu located across the top main menu in this Plugin lists all the features the user can search with. Here is a list of those features:

Specific Image Categories:

  • Isolations
  • Compounds
  • Isometrics
  • Primary Muscules
  • Secondary Muscules
  • Equipment

The only downfall to this Plugin is when selecting the exercise, the Plugin provides written steps on how to complete the exercise, these steps do not download with the image. The screen shots below show an example of what you see on the user end and what you see at pageview end.

everkinetic stepspageview

There is not a lot of information available on this Plugin. There are 60+ active installers and the Plugin does require WordPress Version 3.5 or higher.

For More Information

WordPress Plugin: Nomad World Map

Before the world went digital, vacation stories were associated with whining projectors,  jammed carousels, and reversed slides.

Fortunately today, Nomad World Map WordPress Plugin automates the story of the annual vacation with descriptions, dates and images. These self guided tours are a wonderful way to share travel experiences and adventures.

The Input

Here is how it works. After the Plugin is installed, the user interface provides fields to add unique information about that specific location.

User Interface for Nomad World Maps
Each location can be set by moving a marker from a scaled map to the location, typing in the city/country names, or added in a landmark.

Custom content can be added to the location or it can be linked from a post.

For information about the site, a URL can be added.

The arrival and departure dates build a timeline to journey.

Thumbnail images help identify the location or the people there.

Once the journey is completed, the short code [nwm_map] is available for present the trip.

The Output

All the input data is assigned to the specific location. By advancing the arrows on the map output, a step by step journey is presented. Shortcuts are available by just clicking the location point.
Red lines indicate the travels between locations on a map.

Document travels, adventures and vacations with Nomad World Map WordPress Plugin. Whether across town or around the world, present the story so everyone can enjoy it.

Other travel Plugins include:

WordPress News: How to use GIT for WordPress Development

Do you like Time Travel? Do you also like saving your work files? Well now you can do both at the same time by using Git to save your files while keeping track of each change, to each file along the way. Once you’ve saved (committed) a file in the project, the old version is saved forever allowing you to travel back through time to make changes or revert back to old files when needed.

Imagine your just uploaded your beautiful new custom theme to your WordPress site and you realize that you forgot to save your old CSS file and you’ve just overwritten the old one on your web server. You now have no way to revert back to your latest version of the old layout in case you have problems with browser compatibility in the new layout.

Git is a very powerful version control system that allows you to keep track of all your files during a project so losing file version along the way will never happen. This requires a few extra steps during your saving process, but it has saved the skins of many programmers from all over the world every day. Now, we should all try to save backups of our projects and files to protect from data loss and keeping old versions. Git takes that idea but saves each version of that file since it was created. It also protects someone from editing a file at the same time someone else is, preventing overwriting of each others new version.

Let’s take a look at the Git structure to get a clear picture of how the system checks out and references each file.

Git file reference structure
Git file reference structure

This table shows us how Git associates each file to the master project. Each time a change is made, a “snapshot” of the entire file structure is made. This allows us to see our project in front of us, while old versions are saved and hidden from view unless we physically use our time travel capability to revert. Additionally, if no changes were made to a file in a new commit, the old version will automatically be referenced instead of uploading the unchanged file into the project commit. These basic features are why Git is so powerful and efficient, that might explain why 42.9% of professional software developers reporting that they use Git as their primary content version control system.

To learn more about Git the features and the benefits, please refer to these links from which this article was sourced.

WordPress News: Using MainWP to Manage Multiple WordPress Sites

If you are a WordPress website developer, then one of the tasks that must be accomplished is managing the websites of your clients. This usually entails logging-in to all of them, one at a time, if you need to publish posts, edit pages, or even do a periodic back-up. If you have ever encountered this problem, a self-hosted, open-source utility named MainWP can help.

MainWP is a back-end manager that blends seamlessly with WordPress allowing management of multiple sites from one back-end.

Setting-up MainWP

  1. Set-up a fresh install of WordPress on your preferred host (recommended).
  2. Keep the install fresh from outside plugins.
  3. Install MainWP Dashboard plugin.
  4. Install MainWP Child plugin on every site that you want to manage through MainWP.
  5. Add the URL, site name, user admin name, and any groups you want to assign it to.

The following video explains the process:

Beyond the Basics

MainWP is full featured allowing for the use of WordPress themes and plugins through the “Trusted” options. By default, none of your themes or plugins will be automatically updated unless you select the trusted option. If you do, then whenever it has an update available, it will automatically install. Another useful tool available from MainWP is the ability to do back-ups of all of you managed sites in one step. These back-ups can be scheduled on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and allow the choice of doing a full back-up or a database only back-up.

For more information on using MainWP

WordPress News: Custom Post Types for No Ordinary Website

By default, WordPress Themes provide a variety of post types. They always include Post, Page, Attachment, Revision and Nav Menus. Depending on a website design objectives, themes may also include the more specialized Portfolio, Testimonials and Products post types. In Adelina Tuca’s post on September 15, 2015 on Tesla Themes, she reminds us to consider the flexibility available in using Custom Post Types.

Custom post types are awesome. Because they let you add amazing things on your website, things that, in most cases, make the difference between an ordinary website and a well crafted one.

Being a skilled web developer is not necessarily required. While Adelina confirms the coding to create a Custom Post Type can be very challenging, WordPress Plugins are available to simplify the process.

When considering unique design objectives,  get out of the box and  use Custom Post Types to build extraordinary websites.

For more information:

WordPress Engine Disallowed Plugins & Alternatives

With over 36,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin repository, we only forbid a relative handful. There are pretty good odds that if you want to use a plugin on our infrastructure, you should feel free to use it! It’s your blog after all.
WP Engine Support Garage – Disallowed Plugins

Those listed as “forbidden” are as follows:

Caching Plugins

Caching Plugins aren’t needed since WordPress already has a built-in caching system to increase speed called EverCache.

These caching Plugins below clash with WordPress’ own caching system and will be removed automatically:

  • WP Super Cache
  • WP File Cache
  • WP Rocket
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WordFence

Batcache and other similar Plugins aren’t banned, but they also will not work with WordPress.

Backup Plugins

Backup Plugins simply aren’t needed, as WordPress performs automated backups on an efficient nightly basis, and is available to each user as a download (if they wish).  Backup Plugins are very much discouraged because they duplicate WordPress’ already functioning backup methods, they have been known to store large files insecurely, and run backups at very inconvenient times, causing significant delays on the server.

These Backup Plugins are not allowed on WordPress sites:

  • WP DB Backup
  • WP DB Manager
  • BackupWordPress
  • VisionPress

Though, if you must, WordPress permits VaultPress as the best backup Plugin option. However, VaultPress is not free. You may also use InfiniteWP and Dropbox in congruence with each other to effectively serve the same purpose for free.

Server & MySQL Plugins

These types of Plugins have been known to overload WordPress servers or send an alarming amount of MySQL queries, while interfering with other built-in WordPress systems.

This banned list includes:

  • Broken Link Checker
  • MyReviewPlugin
  • LinkMan
  • Fuzzy SEO Booster
  • WP PostViews
  • Tweet Blender

To check your site for broken links, you can either visit Online Broken Link Checker, or download Link Checker onto your computer.

Screen shot from brokenlinkchecker.comWordPress suggests the Jetpack Plugin or Google Analytics as safe alternatives to track website traffic.

Plugins That Duplicates WordPress’ Functionality

WordPress already has built-in systems that behave exactly like these Plugins, so not only are these non needed, but they’re also banned to allow better server flow:

  • No Revisions
  • Force Strong Passwords
  • WordFence
  • Bad Behavior

Email Plugins

While sending emails in WordPress is encouraged, email Plugins aren’t a great solution because they don’t offer the best service that WordPress strives for. This email Plugin used for email blasts has been added to the “bad” list:

  • WP Mailing List

Third-party services, such as MailChimpConstant Contact, and AWeber are excellent alternatives. For further information on how to conduct an email blast in WordPress, be sure to check out WP Engine’s Q & A emailing article.

Other Disallowed Plugins

  • Hello Dolly!
  • WP phpMyAdmin
  • Sweet Captcha
  • EWWW Image Optimizer

For Further Information

 

 

 

WordPress Plugin: Express It

Express It WordPress Plugin adds like/dislike button to your post. It lets your reader like/dislike your post, to let you know how they feel about your post and it will save the ratings to the database. When the plugin is activated, a like and dislike button appears under each post and also shows the number of each rating.

Image of Express It WorPress plugin

A picture of the plugin installed.

The Express It WordPress Plugin goes beyond the typical social media “like” to allow voting up and down of site content, giving your readers a wider range of opinion. For a site that thrives on community-building and social emphasis, this would be an interesting WordPress Plugin to choose.

WordPress Plugins: NextGEN Gallery

Logo for NextGen Gallery.The NextGEN Gallery Plugin is the most popular gallery plugin in WordPress. Its a powerful engine for uploading and managing galleries of images, as well as batch upload, import meta data, add/delete, rearrange, and sort images.. you can edit thumbnails and group galleries into albums

This is what our Gallery page looks like before the WordPress Plugin.

Before NextGen Gallery WordPress Plugin installed.

After activating the WordPress Plugin, the gallery button is added on posts and Pages. Click it to add images from the gallery Plugin.

Screenshot after next gen gallery WordPress Plugin installed

Click to add files then drag and highlight all the images you want to put into the gallery, then click upload.

Screenshot of upload gallery

After you have uploaded the images for the gallery there are many other options for managing your galleries and your albums that can be found in 3 places shown in the images below.

Uploading and arranging images using the NextGen Gallery WordPress Plugin screenshot.

finished gallery using the WordPress Plugin

Nomad World Map: Blog Your Travels

Create your own custom travel map. Link locations on the map to blog posts and share your travel plans. WordPress.org Plugins

Nomad World Map plugin in use on a WordPress site. From wordpress.org/plugins/nomad-world-map/
A screenshot of Nomad World Map plugin in use on a WordPress site. Retrieved from wordpress.org on June 13th, 2015

Would you like to…

  • Blog about travel
  • Review locations or destinations
  • Share trip plans with routs
  • Link to almost anything related to specific spot?

Nomad World Map is a plugin that lets you go beyond simpler map hacks to do all that in style. Continue reading Nomad World Map: Blog Your Travels