This is part two of Plugin Week. Today, we're going to talk about essential plugins that just about every website needs. And then next episode will be a lesson on a bunch of other cool things we call them like bougie or boutique plugins that do all kinds of cool stuff.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 625
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[01:54] Tom's introduction to Plugin Week Part 2 [03:20] Making sure your websites are secure [05:32] Taking backups of your websites and data [07:56] A “security guard” for your websites [09:28] Using an anti-spam plugin to keep out bad comments [10:43] Scanning for broken links and how to fix them [11:41] Seeing your website files from your WordPress Dashboard [13:00] Using a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugin [14:29] Converting your links to be easy on the eyes [16:32] Allow your visitors to leave you a voice message [17:18] Using a page builder to make your sites look professional [19:37] Analytics for your websites to know who's visiting [20:42] How to display your podcast on your website [23:18] How to lockdown your website login process
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Screw The Commute Podcast App – https://screwthecommute.com/app/
College Ripoff Quiz – https://imtcva.org/quiz
Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there! – https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Program – https://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/
KickStartCart – http://www.kickstartcart.com/
Copywriting901 – https://copywriting901.com/
Disabilities Page – https://imtcva.org/disabilities/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Email Tom: Tom@ScrewTheCommute.com
Thrive Architect link – http://bit.ly/1ufcPlw
Plugin Week Part 1 – https://screwthecommute.com/624/
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Episode 625 – Plugin Week Part 2
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with Episode 625 of Screw the Commute podcast. This is part two of Plugin Week. Today, we're going to talk about essential plugins that just about every website needs. And then next episode will be a lesson on a bunch of other cool things we call them like bougie or boutique plugins that do all kinds of cool stuff. So Monday was episode 624. You don't want to miss that. So if you're plugging in right now in session two here, you've got to go back and listen to 624. So screwthecommute.com/624 which gives you the big picture of all the stuff and the reasons and what's plug ins are and widgets and all this stuff. So you don't want to miss that. And so you go screwthecommute.com/624 for that. All right, pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app. It can put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road. And we got all kinds of cool training for it because a lot of people give you an app and then you have no idea what to do it. You got to kind of figure it out. But we have screen capture videos and screen captures to show you all the cool features that it has.
[00:01:37] And then also pick up a copy of our automation e-book. It's screwthecommute.com/automatefree. This will save you hundreds of hours into the future if you just do a portion of what's in this book that we sell for 27 bucks off our website. But it's yours free for listening to the show.
[00:01:55] All right. We're going to get right to it today. We're back with Larry Guerrera. He's our special guest for these three episodes. He's a graduate of my school and he's been freelancing for me now for five years. And and he's responsible for the back end of this plug, this podcast, which we made jokes about yesterday. But he's really seen a lot of horror stories of things going on behind the scenes of these websites that we work with, with our mentees and people that asked us to critique their website. They always think, Oh, I'm going to critique it only from the front end where everybody sees, No, that's only part of the deal. You got to know what's going on behind the scenes. Or I'll tell you what, we've seen so many good people get screwed over because they're web people that were clueless about the behind the scenes part. So that's what we're going to talk about today. So, Larry, bring it on and tell us about essential plug ins.
[00:02:51] All right. And just to add on to your the statement of Clueless, this is how websites and businesses and anything online gets into big trouble. So what we're going to talk about today are those essential WordPress press plug ins that really help to keep your website running, keep it in tip top shape. And also and just as important, if not maybe more so, keeps you the website owner informed as to what's going on.
[00:03:21] So let's start with the very, very top. Every single website has this doesn't matter if it's WordPress or not, but in this case it happens to be about a WordPress plug in. So I'm going to start with this. Every time anyone goes to your particular website, there should be a little lock next to the address of your website in their browser. That lock indicates that your website is secure and that anything that's being sent to and from the website is encrypted. So the first plugin I'm going to talk about is one called Really Simple Sstl. Now the SSTL stands for secure socket layer. You don't need to know all that mumbo jumbo oil. All you need to know is that when you see sstl, that means that it will maintain a secure connection with your website. Really simple sstl makes this so drop dead easy. There's no excuse for any website not to be using this or an equivalent plug in that you might find. But it's.
[00:04:22] Not true. We have one website we've been fighting with.
[00:04:28] Oh, okay.
[00:04:29] Because somebody else is controlling the home page.
[00:04:33] We've got pulling teeth to get them to do anything. But the rest of the site is secure, but the home page isn't.
[00:04:40] And so I didn't want to I don't want to besmirch them. But you're absolutely right. This is the one that causes people to pull their hair out. Okay. But under normal circumstances, right. You want to be able to secure your website and make sure that lock shows up. So the plug in really simple SSL makes this really simple. Not only will it secure your website like on your home page, but it secures everything else about your website, your images, your links, any other pieces of code that's in there that points to other areas of the Internet? It makes sure all of them are secure. And just to make absolutely sure you understand this, every every plug in I'm about to talk about is free. So there there's no. Well, with one exception. And I'll get to that exception later. But there's no excuse not to have these. So really simple SSL keeps your website secure. All right.
[00:05:32] What's next?
[00:05:33] The next one. Having keep having kept your website secure, you need to be able to make sure you can restore your website if something goes completely. And that's where you use a backup plugin. I talked a little bit about that in episode 624, but let me get into a little bit more detail here so you know exactly what this is all about. So your hosting company most likely is backing up your website. If you don't know if they are, this is the time to give them a phone call, get them on, chat, something however you communicate with them and ask them how many times you back up my website and how do I restore it if something goes wrong? Believe it or not, 99 times out of 100. When I ask that question to a website owner, they have absolutely no clue. And that's a very, very bad position to be in if something goes wrong. So this particular plug ins called Updraft Plus, it is a backup plug in that will take everything on your website, your images code, the pages, your database, the whole what we call shooting match and back it up to a place that you choose. You can pick Google Drive if you have a Gmail address comes with 15 gigabytes of free space, plenty of space to back up your website multiple times so you can set a daily backup that allows you to back up to to Google Drive and puts all the files there in case you need them to restore it. You can also use Dropbox. You can use Amazon as three, which I highly recommend you look into because the cost of using S3 is so dirt cheap that sometimes Tom, who has a gazillion gigabytes up there, doesn't get a bill. That's how cheap Amazon has three can be. It's also incredibly reliable and it is available all across the globe, which actually makes your websites seem faster because it's able to grab all these assets and resources from their servers wherever they're located.
[00:07:35] So we got.
[00:07:36] Back. All right. Yeah. So the back guy, just let me I just want to add one thing about the backup plug in any of the names that I give you. There probably are equivalents that will do the same thing, but these are the ones that we view we use. And that's only because we've tested all the other ones. And these are the ones that come out come out the best. So backup plug in, always, always think backup. If my website crashes, how do I get it back? So after that, and once your website is all nice and stable and stuff, you need to secure it and protect it from those nasty people out there called hackers that want to break into your website and heaven knows what they want to do with it. Sometimes they just want to cause trouble. To cause trouble. Sometimes they want what you have on your website that you're not giving away for free. For example, let's say you have a membership site or you're selling high end stuff. They want to be able to get access to that, or they want to use your website as a jumping off point to do other things. So there is a plugin we use called Word Fence. Word fence security is the full name of it. What that does is provide malware protection, antivirus protection, firewall protection and all sorts of stuff for your website.
[00:08:50] There are others in that space. There's another one called Security that does something very, very similar. But word fence, in my opinion, and I've got years of experience with this, is the easiest to use and the easiest to set up. And what that does is that's the security guard standing in front of your website making sure nobody gets in there that doesn't belong there. Very easy to set up, very easy to install. It gives you daily reports on what's going on, keeps you up to date. And it's very, very well worth it. This is the first three that I've given. You are pretty much mandatory plug ins and word fence for sure is definitely one of those. You need to protect your website and that's how you do it. Okay. Next one on the list. If you have a blog. Or you are soliciting comments or allowing comments to be placed on your website. You need what's called an anti spam plugin. This is a plug in that will identify spam, that will quarantine the spam and make sure you never you and anybody else that looks at your website ever sees this stuff goes into a black hole and it's gone. The one we use and the one we trust is called a kismet. That's A.I. s m e t a kismet anti spam. It is the £800 gorilla in the spam space. It's an excellent plug in, uses very little in terms of resources, but it is 99.999999% accurate when it comes to identifying spam.
[00:10:23] And many of Tom's websites get these type of spam postings every single day, not only every day, probably every hour for all we know. But for the most part we never get to see these y because a kismet takes them out of the picture, gets rid of them, and we never have to even look at them. All right. So that's so that's a kismet antispam. All right. The next one. Most of our websites have got URLs, links that other people can click on and go to other sections of our site or to other websites. So in order to make sure that those URLs or those links remain valid, you need something to check on them periodically. Sometimes websites go down, sometimes websites disappear, sometimes the link changes. So we use what's called the broken link checker. That is its actual name. It's a very lightweight plug in and it does a very simple job. It scans your entire website for links, make sure that valid and lets you know if they're not. And it can also give you suggestions about what links you could use instead. If for some reason a website has just disappeared and gone off to website Heaven in the Sky. So it's called Broken Link Checker. All right. The next point.
[00:11:35] Anyhow, and in the background, it's not me.
[00:11:39] It's not me either.
[00:11:39] I have a rescue dog here. All right. Go ahead, Larry. What's next?
[00:11:42] Okay. For those of you that want convenience when it comes to looking at your files in the background, so the way this works is you have a website that connects to your hosting company. Your hosting company has all of the files and everything else that make up your website. So if you wanted to see those, you would normally have to log into your hosting company as a separate log in, go track down that file manager and all sorts of other stuff in order to look at the files that you have on there in case you need to. There is a plugin that we use called WP for WordPress File Manager. This actually can substitute for you having to log into your hosting company in the event you run into a problem or you want to see where a particular file is located and that kind of thing. You can actually see all of your files within the dashboard of your website. Very, very easy to use, gives you full capability to do edits, uploads, downloads. You can copy and paste file in folders. It's a terrific tool and it makes it so much easier, especially if you can't log into your hosting company for whatever reason, you should be able to, as I mentioned in the last episode. But in case you can't, the WP file manager gives you the ability to look and see what your files are. So that's WP File Manager.
[00:13:02] Now, once your website is up and running and everything's looking great and there's no problems and it's nice and smooth, what you want to do is make sure it's easy and easy as possible for search engines to find all the information that they need to find on you. Because if you don't show up in any search engine results, most likely nobody's ever going to come visit your website. So we use an SEO plugin that stands for search engine optimization. The best one we have found and there are others, but this is the one we use because we've had multi year experience with this is called Yost. That's why OST. So it's Yost SEO. This provides you with all the optimizations you need on your website for your blog posts, your pages, your normal posts or anything within your website so that the search engine spiders, when they go crawling all over the place, will find your data easily. We'll know exactly how to categorize it, and we'll make it easier to find you in any search engine results. It's not just Google. Remember, we have Bing. There's a whole bunch of other search engines out there and they all use pretty much a similar process. So search engine optimization is a very important part of having your website being found and Yost SEO is the one we use. And again, it's free, just like all the other ones I'm mentioning. And it does provide a very valuable service for minimal effort to get it working.
[00:14:27] All right. So that's your SEO along with that. Is a plugin called Pretty Lynx. Now, by the description, you might be able to figure out what that is. But let me tell you let me give you a description. Many links that we use on a regular basis are kind of, let's say, ugly. I'll give you an example. Anything that you get out of Amazon, for example, if you want to send somebody a link to a book that maybe you publish to somebody else published. If you just go to the page on Amazon for that particular book, there's going to be a link in the address book, which is probably a mile long. It's got all sorts of codes and all sorts of other things that that you could not make sense no matter what. The other the other thing is if you if you have other types of links that are affiliate links, a lot of affiliate links look like gibberish and it's gibberish to us, but it's not gibberish to the computers that are talking to each other. But it is gibberish to us, and it does cause people to stop and pause before clicking on that link. And in many cases you don't want that. You want them to click on that link. So the plug in pretty links will actually take those really long, ugly links and turn them into something which is easy to read and also easy to understand.
[00:15:44] So for example, on the Screw the Commute website, if we had a link that said screwthecommute.com/ blah, blah, blah, xy7 underscore hyphen this, that and the other thing that's going to look absolutely terrible and you won't know what that is, but we can use the pretty links plug in to say, all right, I want you to change that and I want it to be screwthecommute.com/podcast episode or something similar to that. Now that's in pure, plain English. Everybody can understand what that means and it will take you to the exact same page as that other much longer and kind of ugly link would have taken you. So that's called pretty links and we use that extensively on a couple of our websites and it works. It works fabulously because it just makes it so much easier to remember where these pages are. So that's pretty links. Now, the next one is one we also have unscrew the commute. It's called speak pipe. Now, this isn't exactly a plug in. It's kind of a hybrid between a plug in and a widget. But it allows you to leave a voice message for Tom. You click on the button, it pulls up a little widget in the middle of the screen and you click on the button to start recording and just talking to your microphone.
[00:16:59] Now, if you have a desktop, it's a 5050 shot, you're going to have a microphone available. But on a laptop or on your mobile device, the microphone is built in, so you can easily click on that. Leave Tom a voice message and he'll get that. And he can respond to respond to that as he sees fit. That's called speak pipe. All right. The next one, this one is the one that's not free. But if you are building a website or maintaining a website or one to enhance your website, this is one that we promote a lot because it just works and it works great. It's called Thrive Architect. Now, what is Thrive Architect? Thrive Architect is is a piece of software that's known as a page builder. There are many of these types of page builders available for you to purchase in the market. We use Thrive Architect exclusively because it is probably, if not the best page builder or website builder now than all the other ones. And I say now because they've recently upgraded the Thrive suite of products to include a complete website builder. But the the core of this is called architect. And just about all of Tom's websites are built with thrive architects. So any time you see any of the pages on there, those are all pages that were built using the Thrive Architect plugins.
[00:18:23] Now again, it's newer sites and some of the older sites still are just straight HTML. But also we're an affiliate for this too. So but we have all our students use it because it's not only is it the highest quality, it's easy. And we give we give training on how to use it, too.
[00:18:42] Yep, we have all of that and it really is easy to use. It's almost it really is very, very close to being completely intuitive. Now, does that mean you don't have to watch any videos or read up on it to really get the most out of it? No. You do have to do that. But this gives you the most flexibility on how you want to build your pages, how you want them to look, where you want the video to be, where do you want the images to be and all that stuff? And it works terrific. And as Tom said, we do have other we have we do have some sites that are pure HTML. But even within some of those sites, we use Thrive architect for very specific things and it works very, very well for that. But it really is a terrific product and it makes your website look so much better and very, very professional, which is really what you want. So that's called Thrive Architect. And for any of these things, if you do a Google search or any search engine search on any of these names, they'll pull up the link where you can get more information. All right. The next one, analytics, and specifically Google Analytics. This is the plug in that allows you to see who's coming to your website. How long do they stay? Where did they go when they went to your website and all sorts of great information that you would not be able to get unless you had some kind of an analytic plug in or somebody doing analysis in the background.
[00:20:04] And this is another one of these very simple plug ins made by Google, who handles pretty much most of the traffic out there for search engines and everything else. And it will tell you time of day how many people, what country they're coming from, all sorts of terrific statistics that you can use to custom make products or direct advertising towards and so on and so on and so on. It's a really, really good analytics plug in, very, very lightweight, meaning it doesn't take many resources on your website or on your website's host to be able to generate all this stuff. So that's Google Analytics. Okay. The next two have to do with podcasting. And this is these two are the ones we use on screw the commute. One is called Simple Podcast Press. Which integrates with our content distribution network called Listen to Create podcast episode posts. So what does that mean for every single episode of the Screw the Commute podcast, for example, we have a separate post on the Screw the Commute website for each and every podcast episode. So you can drill into each one of those episodes and see show notes. You can get transcripts and all sorts of links and stuff that will enhance your understanding of that particular episode and give you more information. So simple podcast press as the plug in helps us to do that and integrates all that stuff to make it look really nice and neat.
[00:21:37] This one is not free. Yes, these are the ones I'm mentioning now are the ones that are not free. But the cost involved in this is so small that if you're into podcasting at all, it is worth every single penny. Now we happen to use Lipson as a podcast distribution network, otherwise known as a RN. But there are others out there like Stitcher and Spotify and all the rest of them. And Simple Podcast Press integrates with all of these, but we prefer Lipson because it is the £800 gorilla and it has never done us wrong in all these episodes, so it's worth looking into that as well. The second one, along with that, again, not free but definitely worth looking into, is called the Smart Podcast Player. So this is the player that we have on the Screw the Commute website that takes the podcast episode and allows you to play it directly through the website. And it has all sorts of features like Speed Control, being able to jump back and forth and all over the place during the episode volume. You can download the episode, you can actually send the link to somebody else to pick up that particular episode and so on and so on. And that player is what you see at the top of the page for every single podcast episode that we produce. And it's a very simple it's a very simple plug in which generates this widget, which looks like a player. This works both on desktop, laptop and your mobile device, so it's completely functional across any platform you want to use.
[00:23:05] And it really works. Terrific. We have I don't know, I don't remember if we had any problems with this thing since the beginning. So it's well, well worth it. And again, it's not free. But when you take a look at what it does, it's definitely worth the price. All right. And the last one that I have on my essentials list is called Lockdown WP Admin. So let me break that down for you. When you log into your website. You can either be an administrator or you can be an editor, you can be a subscriber. There's a whole bunch of of ways that WordPress tags people that logs into your website. There are going to be plenty of other people that are going to try and log into your website that don't belong there. So a plugin like Lock down WP for WordPress admin secures the WordPress login process and make sure people that people don't go in that really don't belong there. Now there's one caveat about this. This particular plugin has not been updated in a while and it's flagged like that on in the WordPress directory that lists plugins. However, we have continued to use this. It is definitely worth looking into if you really want to harden and lock down your website. And again, this one is free, but some people are a little leery of it because it hasn't been updated in a while, but it still works fine even with the latest version of WordPress.
[00:24:30] So that's something you could consider. However, what I definitely would suggest you do is use the one that I mentioned earlier called Word Fence that also provides the ability to do lockdowns as well. So it's a combination of those two. You can use one or the other word fence is more comprehensive. The other one just does one particular thing and that's locked lock down your your particular WordPress site. So what it does is instead of you going to website log in, it gives you the ability to give it a different name that most people wouldn't be able to guess. So it would mean much, much harder for them to try and log into a website than if they didn't know that particular special word that you put in there worth looking into. All of these essential plugins are worth looking into. And again, like I said, just about all of them are free. They're worth trying. If you find that they don't work for what you need, you can just uninstall them and look for something equivalent that somebody else produces that might work better for you. These are the ones that we use on a regular basis, so we've vetted them out and in our experience, these are the top of the line when it comes to those particular ones for backing up security and so on and so on.
[00:25:42] All right, folks. So, yeah, you've got to combine this episode with 624. So screwthecommute.com/624, it gives you the whole overview of the things you should know about your site. And if you listen to 624 and take it to heart, you'll know more than 90% of the back end of a website. Then I'd say 90% of the web designers out there, because, you know, the old saying is you can swing a dead cat and run into a social media expert or a web designer. All right. So so we don't want that to happen to you. Now, next episode, we're going to get into those boutique or boujee plug ins that'll do all kinds of stuff like memberships and all kinds of cool stuff. So that'll be episode 626. And of course, if you want help with all of this stuff by somebody that actually cares and, and I'm sorry about the dog in the background. There's a thunderstorm coming up and she's getting upset. Get in our mentor program. You have access to me and Larry and Travis and Mark and Jennifer and the whole crew here one on one. So that you're you've always got somebody that cares about your success as part of your team. And that's the way we don't get our big money here unless you make big money. So that's the way we've structured the thing. So, check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com and make sure you go back and listen to episode 624 and we will catch you on 626 in a day or so. All right. See you on the next episode.