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WordPress Weekly Round Up – 21 April 2013

A lot of plugins are released each week. It would be impossible for me to check them all out. What I do, is let you know about the ones that I’ve seen that would be useful to an internet marketer and that I like.

Why am I reminding you of this?

During the week I had an unhappy plugin developer contact me via google plus, twitter and email 🙂 He had a beef with me. I didn’t talk about his wizz bang plugin. First of all, I didn’t think his plugin was wizz bang – it’s actually yawnsville. Secondly, just because you created it, doesn’t mean I think that it is useful. At the end of the day, it’s the plugins that I like and think will be useful to visitors that make it here – no matter how much you hassle me doesn’t mean you’ll get an add. End of rant.

I’ve seen in a few forums lately people asking how to create a website and show information about movies. If that’s relevant to you then checking this plugin out may save you a lot of time.

IMDB Info Box
by Sunny Verma

This plugin helps to add movie information (from IMDB) in wordpress post using shortcode [imdb id=”imdbmovieid”].
IMDB Info Box is using omdbapi.com API which provides information from Imdb.

Read more how this plugin works Get movie information with php

Note

This plugin is not endorsed by or affiliated with IMDb.com

Stats:

  • Current version: 2.0
  • Rating: 96(4 ratings)
  • Downloaded 13,430 times

What if it’s not movies you are interested in but books! Then the Totally Booked plugin allows you to add books to your site for sale.

Totally Booked
by Ben Casey

So you’ve got an amazing book, and you want an easy way to market it on your web site? Now you can! The TotallyBooked plugin helps you present your books to readers in a classy, appealing way, while also supporting the book buyers and local bookstores who carry your book.

HOW IT WORKS:

Add your books to the TotallyBooked plugin, then organize them by genre, series, or even by author (if you have a co-writer).

Find the direct links to your book for eleven major online booksellers (Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Christianbook, Google Play, Indiebound, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, and Sony Reader Store) and paste them in our link boxes.

Wondering why we’ve included all these sellers rather than just an Amazon button? Because book buyers at some of these sellers will refuse to stock your books, if you don’t have a link to their site included on yours. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

Have an affiliate account at one or more of these sites? No problem. Build your affiliate link in the bookseller’s system first, then paste it into the applicable box in our system, and start earning affiliate credit immediately.

Once you’re done, our plugin generates a gorgeous Buy this Book section, with all your bookseller links displayed.

And that’s not all. We’ve heard first-hand stories from authors about local bookstores refusing to host book-signing events, because that author only included links to online retailers on their site. To protect you from that, our system also generates a local bookstore search, connected directly to Google maps. This shows your support for local bookstores, and helps readers find a nearby store where they can buy or request your title.

Last, our system automatically generates a page for each of your books, plus a page for each series, and page for each genre.

WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE BOOKS PAGES ON MY SITE?

Many authors have already created pages on their web site for their books. We know you’ve worked hard to build your existing pages, and we don’t think you should have to delete them all, just to use our system. Plus, deleting your existing pages will break any inbound links to those pages from reviewers, book bloggers, etc, and generate 404 page errors for the search engines. THAT is never a good thing.

Besides the auto-generated pages the plugin creates, our system also allows you to embed your books via shortcode, on your existing pages. You can embed your books by series, by genre, or book by book, on any of your existing pages or in a blog post.

Ready to get started? Click the download button now. Have comments or feature requests? We’d love to hear from you. Oh, and our premium version of this plugin is releasing soon. Watch this space for details.

Shortcodes

You can use the following shortcodes to display your books on your site.

You can also display a gallery of a genre with the shortcode (You can grab this directly from the genre list page)
[tb_genre_gallery slug=”the-genre-slug”]

Or a series with the shortcode (You can grab this directly from the series list page)
[tb_series_gallery slug=”the-series-slug”]

You can display a book anywhere on your site like this (You can grab this directly from the book edit page)
[tb_book id=”ID”]

Advanced Usage

We have developed Totally Booked from the ground up to be friendly and easy to use for both developers (Or your web guy) and authors who have better things to do (like writing the next national bestseller!) than to mess with plugins and settings on their website for hours or days on end.

Out of the box it just works (If it doesn’t, please Let Us Know) but if you want to change things, you can by taking advantage of the following advanced functionality.

Templating

Advanced users or WordPress programmers can completely template the entire frontend output of the plugin.

Simply create the following directory in your current theme: THEME_PATH/plugins/totally-booked/

Into that, copy the file you need to modify into the above directory from the totally-booked/templates directory in the plugin directory, ensuring you keep the directory structure in the plugin.

EG: Say you wanted to modify the gallery.php file, you would need to copy that file to THEME_PATH/plugins/totally-booked/loops/gallery.php.

Ensuring that you never modify the plugins files will make sure that your changes are not lost when you need to upgrade the plugin.

Stats:

  • Current version: 0.6
  • Rating: 92(16 ratings)
  • Downloaded 8,998 times

Smart App Banners

smart-app-banners-wordpress

If you want to promote a website app you have made for your blog (or perhaps another app) then this plugin allows you to  add a link to your app and the icon image as a banner ad on each page of your site.  Your visitors when viewing your site on their mobile will see your little app ad and hopefully click and download it straight to their mobile device.

Hint make sure your website is mobile friendly before running this plugin 🙂

Smart App Banners
by Justin Saad

Automatically implement Safari’s new Smart App Banner feature on your WordPress site. The banner provides a standardized method of promoting apps on the App Store from any website. The banner by default will appear on all pages. In order for this to work you have to enter your app id in Settings > Smart App Banners > Your App ID.

New Features

  • Localization
  • Added the ability to disable site-wide smart app banner and assign banners to specific posts and pages.
  • Added “Download on the App Store” and “Download for Android” badges. You can add the badges:
  • as widgets Settings->Widgets-> Motech Download on the App Store and Motech Download for Android
  • anywhere using shortcodes [app-store-download id=yourid] and [android-download id=yourid]

Localization

If you have translated into your language, please let me know.

Stats:

  • Current version: 1.2
  • Rating: 50(2 ratings)
  • Downloaded 5,816 times

Read It Later

read it later wordpress pluginSometimes your visitors might get half way through your article and want to read it later (maybe on the way to work on their Kindle). With this handy read later plugin your visitors can read your content later on the device of their choice.

Read Later Buttons
by Dave Ross

Read Later Buttons provides a widget and a shortcode for displaying “read later” buttons for the popular apps Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability. It can also display a Send to Kindle button if that plugin is installed, letting your users send your content to their e-reader to enoy when they have the time.

This plugin is designed to function well and look good without much fuss, but it also provides a shortcode and filters so you can control how the buttons look & work.

Shortcode

Use the [read_later_buttons] shortcode to render buttons for every one of the supported services. You can also include the names of one or more services (i.e. [read_later_buttons instapaper pocket]) to just get those buttons. Valid service names are kindle, instapaper, pocket, and readlater.

The shortcode can also display an estimated reading time if you include the “time” parameter ([read_later_buttons time]). The reading time can be combined with service names ([read_later_buttons time instapaper]) and the time will render above the buttons. When including the time estimate, the plugin won’t display all the buttons by default. You need to include the “all” parameter (i.e. [read_later_buttons time all]) in that case. Also, the shortcode has to be used inside “the loop” in order to calculate a time — in other words in a page, post, or the appropriate parts of your theme template.

Filters

  1. read_later_buttons_do_css: return false to prevent loading the default CSS (doesn’t affect the Kindle plugin)
  2. read_later_buttons_instapaper: alter the HTML generated for the Instapaper button
  3. read_later_buttons_pocket: alter the HTML generated for the Pocket button
  4. read_later_buttons_readability: alter the HTML generated for the Readability button
  5. read_later_buttons_reading_time: alter the HTML generated for the reading time estimate
  6. read_later_buttons_link: alter or replace the link passed to the read later services (doesn’t affect the Kindle plugin)

Stats:

  • Current version: 1.2
  • Rating: 100(1 ratings)
  • Downloaded 5,563 times

WP Design Awards

Have you ever wanted to run a wordpress design contest on your site?

Well if you have then this plugin will allow you (and visitors) to upload designs and rate them.

design awards plugin

WP Design Awards
by Konstantinos Tsatsarounos

This is the the free version of wordpress plugin, WP Design Awards. Creates the functionality for a web design contest.

Adds two shortcodes:

The css_gallery shortcode for displaying the sites gallery!
[css_gallery category_slug= sites_per_page=9 no_pagination=false]

And the nominee_form for the users to submit their own creations.
[nominee_form]

Demos:

Demo 1
Demo 2

Features:

  • Adds a sites gallery shortcode with the capability to rate the displayed sites!
  • Adds a submission form for visitors and users to submit their own creations
  • Adds a custom post type for the sites
  • The custom post type has its own template, in which users can rate also!
  • Adds a custom taxonomy
  • Generates an easy to understand settings page.
  • Provides control of the dimensions of accepted featured image
  • Provides control of the type of accepted featured image
  • Calculates the thumbnail based on a percentage of featured image provided by the admin!
  • Provides the choice of default category, if there is one!
  • Provides an extra category tag for the users to choose and display to the post page!

Premium version

For more info and support visit: http://www.e-xtnd.it/wp-design-awards/

Stats:

  • Current version: 1
  • Rating: 100(1 ratings)
  • Downloaded 1,450 times

Although it is designed for sites, I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t use it for other graphical based contests – logos for example. There is also a premium version of this plugin

Sweepstakes App

This plugin uses the Wishpond app to run sweepstake giveways. You can run competitions and use social media like Facebook and twitter to spread the word about your giveaway.

sweepstakes plugin

Sweepstakes app
by Wishpond

This plugin was replaced by our better and more recent Social Contests plugin.

Use Wishpond’s Sweepstakes App to get users to enter & share a giveaway on your wordpress site. Users enter using Facebook, Twitter or Email.

Start your 14-day free trial.

Why use Wishpond’s Sweepstakes app?

  • Collect email addresses and new “Likes” and “Followers”
  • Create your first sweepstakes in minutes.
  • Run the Sweepstakes app on your WordPress site, Facebook Page, Twitter Profile Page and on Mobile
  • Built-in Facebook and Twitter sharing on every contest entry and vote drives sharing and traffic back to your WordPress site

Highlighted Features Included with Sweepstakes app

Mobile-Compatible: We provide a link that directs users to optimized entry pages for both desktop and mobile users.

Sweepstakes App for Facebook Pages: Our Sweepstakes is built to run in a tab on your Facebook Page. Users enter and share directly on your Facebook Page.

Sweepstakes App for Twitter Profile Pages: Our Sweepstakes is built to run from your Twitter Profile Page. Users enter and share directly via Twitter.

Sweepstakes App work with email only: Our Sweepstakes is built to run using their email only..

Embed on Websites: Each app can also be embedded into your WordPress website.

Collect Email Addresses: Download all entrants’ email addresses. You own them. We never email your entrants.

Collect Entrants’ Data: Download entrants’ name, age, gender, location & Likes automatically via our integration with Facebook’s Opengraph.

Real-Time Tracking: Track campaign metrics in real-time.

Auto-Sharing by Entrants: Entrant’s auto-share an invite with their friends on their Facebook Wall or Twitter Profile and in friends’ News Feeds.

Satisfy Facebookand Twitter Policies: Sweepstakes App is built within all requirements in Twitter/Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines.

Built-in Voting: Each app has built-in voting buttons and counters to maximize sharing and engagement.

Start your 14-day free trial.

Customization Included with Each App

Custom Form Fields: Need to collect more info from entrants than email address? Add any fields you like and download in an excel file.

Customizable CSS: Change every aspect of each app’s CSS stylesheet to fit your brand.

Translated in 35 Languages: Each app has been translated into 35 languages, including all user-facing text and share messages.

Like-to-Participate Option: You can require that users “Like” your Facebook Page before they can enter your sweepstakes.

Follow-to-Participate Option: You can require that users “Follow” your Twitter account before they can enter your sweepstakes.

Custom Header Banner: Upload a custom banner image to fit your brand.

Choose Multiple Winners: Each app is built to allow you to have one or multiple winners of your sweepstakes.

WP e-Commerce Integration
If you use WP eCommerce, this integration will work well with it. A ‘Promotions’ menu will be added under ‘Products’ menu for WP e-Commerce

Start your 14-day free trial.

Wishpond Social Sweepstakes includes more social campaigns, like:

Sweepstakes
Run a Sweepstakes on your website and/or Facebook Page that gives away a free item or gift card. Sweepstakes are an easy way to engage fans of your brand and get new leads with a very low barrier to entry.

Photo Contest
Engage users to upload photos of themselves and invite their friends to vote for them to win. Photo Contests are perfect for getting new user-generated content and having users engage with each other.

Pinterest Contest
Engage your community to create boards on Pinterest and vote for their favorites
Users create a board on Pinterest, where it is shared with other Pinterest users. Then they enter it in your Pinterest Contest (on your Facebook Page or website) where the community can vote on it. Have users create boards of your products to introduce them to their friends and other users on Pinterest and Facebook.

Vote Contest
Engage your community to vote on their favourite photos/candidates entered by you
A Vote Contest engages users and teams to go head-to-head to get votes from their friends and family for their choice. It can be used to have users vote on which products should go on sale or will be in your new product line or which team will win a grand prize.

Photo Caption Contest
Use Wishpond’s Photo Caption Contest App to entice users to share and vote on written captions (titles) for a brand’s photo to win.

Video Contest
Engage users to upload videos of themselves and invite their friends to vote for them to win. Videos make for a higher barrier to entry, but give you great user-generated content for your brand.

Essay Contest
Engage users to write about an experience they’ve had or how they would use your products and invite their friends to vote for them to win. Essay Contests have a low barrier to entry and propel users to get creative and give you great, quotable content.

Group Offers
Create a store-wide or item discount coupon or a group-buy offer. Social Offers is integrated directly with PayPal for automated payment. Use custom coupon codes for unique coupon redemption.

Start your 14-day free trial.

Stats:

  • Current version: 1.0
  • Downloaded 1,807 times

There is a 14 day free trial.

Premium WordPress Themes

A nice looking theme created by Felix Andrian was released this week called WP Abra

wp abra theme

It would be suitable for consultants, offliners and professional based sites.

It is also responsive.

It also comes with some bonus graphics for creating business cards, letter head templates, presentation templates. Simple styles that are quite elegant. They may be useful if you are short on graphics for offline (generally I prefer to have these custom designed and printed).

The grey discoloration on the right hand side of the featured image in the screenshot is not a problem with the WP Abra theme.   That’s just me taking a screen grab while the slider was in animated slideshow mode 🙂

It has a widgetized footer as well as maps integration and the usual array of social media icons.

I like WP Abra because it has a clean interace with a number of options for people to use.    The theme is user friendly to use and consists of mainly a point and click options based interface.

Premium WordPress Plugins

With the recent media chit chat about WordPress brute force attacks it was to be expected that there would be products released this week addressing these issues. I am NOT going to review any of these.

Rank Tracker Plugin – This plugin tracks your rank for keywords people are using to find your site in yahoo, bing and google. It also tracks your alexa rank and your social signals. Of course, you can do this all manually for free or by using monthly services.

rank tracker wordpress plugin

I haven’t tested the plugin personally and at the time of writing there were very few meaningful reviews of it.

I already have a similar plugin so I won’t be buying this one (I’m trying to wean myself off plugins!)

If you have purchased the plugin I would love to hear about your experiences with it in the comments below.

At the time of writing, the plugin was at a discounted price.

It could be a very useful plugin to save you time with data analysis and tracking your performance of  your website.

About Leanne

My name is Leanne King and I'm an Australian internet marketer and WordPress fanatic. I share my knowledge of WordPress here on my blog, through my products, private coaching and in private forums. In my spare time I like to develop products for WordPress users that are easy to use. Find me on Google+