WP-Optimize And Responsive Voice Plugins

I’m going to start off talking about a plugin called WP-Touch. It basically does one job for your blog; it makes it mobile friendly in a very easy way so that you don’t have to re-code your entire blog (which I had to do years ago for my regular websites. It worked “almost” immediately, because I had to go back and remove certain code that I’d put into my blogs while trying to make them user friendly on my own.

What it looks like on mobile

So, it was mobile friendly, which was nice; it was also broken in a few ways. Once you’ve added the plugin, you go to Appearance on your internal sidebar, then select Customize. That’s where you get to make certain changes in how you want your mobile page to look. You only get one theme unless you pay for the Pro version, which I decided I didn’t need. I got to change the colors, determine how many articles I wanted to share initially, etc. There’s lots of choices one can make, and since I was going to do the same for every blog I have and manage, I didn’t want to overdo it.

You see above how it looks, right? Well… it didn’t always look that way. For a few years, I had problems getting it to work properly with every blog I was responsible for. Sometimes the background was white; sometimes it wouldn’t show the format you see above, instead defaulting to the desktop view.

I saw that as problematic and looked unprofessional, like I was some kind of hack. I did what I could with the limited time I had. I found something on the WP-Touch page that talked about problems one might have, but it was geared towards the Pro version, and it didn’t offer enough information for me to figure it out. Talk about frustration; ugh! However, I knew I couldn’t contact them to ask for more information, not being a pro version owner.

If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s my tenacity to do due diligence when it comes to researching how to address issues in my life. So, about 3 weeks ago on a Saturday or Sunday, I decided it was time to search as much as possible to find something that would help me out. I scoured the WordPress.org site looking for assistance, but all I saw were the same types of complaints I had without any solutions.

Finally… I found a link on, of all places, WordPress.com, titled Incompatible Plugins. It never occurred to me that I’d find answers there, but it turned out to be epically helpful.

This page actually lists all the plugins that it’s found to potentially be incompatible with WordPress software. It breaks them up into plugin categories: Caching, Backup, SQL Heavy, Database / File System Altering, Email, Automated Content, and Miscellaneous. Some, like Email, only mentions a few plugins. Others list a lot, all in alphabetical order (thanks y’all!).

Sometimes we can be “plugin heavy”, as in using way too many plugins and having more than one plugin that actually handles the same thing. The list is comprehensive, but luckily I don’t have “that” many plugins, so I knew everything it listed wasn’t going to be on my blogs.

I decided that I would see which plugins I had that were on the list, then deactivate them in order to see which, if any, could be the source of the problem. I also decided that anything the list mentioned that I had a different plugin doing the same type of thing that wasn’t on the list was going to be deleted; that’s the smart thing to do, because duplication is overkill.

I started out with the caching plugins, which is the topic of the first list. I had two running: Comet Cache and WP Fastest Cache. I removed each separately, checked this blog on mobile, and nothing changed. However, I also have a plugin called Autoptimize, which basically does that, though it’s not a caching plugin, and many other things. I didn’t need 3 plugins addressing that, and Autoptimize wasn’t on the list, so the other two had to go.

The next topic was backup plugins. I have Backup For WP, which wasn’t on their list, so I was good there.Next was SQL plugins, and I have one of those, Broken Link Checker, which I’ve used for years. However, I don’t always have it activated, only using it here and there to do a quick check since this blog’s pretty old, and it was already deactivated so I knew it wasn’t the problem. After that was database plugins, which I didn’t specifically have since I use Backup For WP to handle that, so once again I was good.

Email and automated content were next on the list; I don’t use either of those types of services, so I got to skip those lists. That means what was left was Miscellaneous.

Of course it’s the longest list, and I worked my way down the list, making sure I wasn’t missing anything. I got to the bottom of the list and there it was; WP-Optimize. The thing is, the list doesn’t have the dash between the two words, and it mentions being from xTraffic, whereas mine lists a different name. Still, it’s a plugin that basically runs most of the time, even when you’re not doing anything on your blog, and I already have Autoptimize doing the same thing.

When I deactivated it… it worked on mobile! I deactivated it on all the other blogs I run; it worked everywhere! Just to be sure I did some Google research on it, and it seems there’s about 15 to 20% of users who complained that it did nefarious things concerning their blogs.

I decided not to over-think things; it needed to go, along with the other two mentioned earlier. Just so you know, certain plugins won’t work well without a caching program, but in general all should be good.

highlighted content to be “read”

Next, let’s talk about Responsive Voice. This will only work on your desktop, but it’s a cute little plugin… sort of.

I came across it accidentally on Holly Jahangiri’s blog A More Positive Perspective when I highlighted something I wanted to see better once I increased the font, and it started talking to me. I was shocked, so I asked her how it was working and she referred me to the Responsive Voice plugin.

You won’t find the plugin through your blog; you have to go to the Responsive Voice website if you want to download the plugin to your computer, then upload the app. You also have the option to add code to your header (header.php) to bypass the plugin.

I went the plugin route first, but the program was wonky. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time it didn’t. I changed to the code and it works, but it’s a bit temperamental. lol In other words, it’s not the smoothest thing in the world, but at least it works. Also, sometimes it only works if you copy the text upwards. You can make changes to the code, which the webpage tells you about and how to change things. The one thing I’ve yet to do is add a button to tell people they can listen to it. However, if you want to test it yourself, highlight a couple of paragraphs and take a listen for yourself.

That’s all I’ve got; a two-for-one update on plugins that might help you to enhance your blog, both on mobile and desktop, though it’s possible that once I add the notification button it might read the entire article; if that happens I’ll update this article. 😉

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18 thoughts on “WP-Optimize And Responsive Voice Plugins”

  1. You may want to consider some of the DLXPlugins, too, Mitch. I’ve known the developer, Ron Huereca, for years, and he really does put a lot of care and testing into them. (I found a bug, he fixed it within minutes, and I got to name the release! LOL You’re welcome, Plot Bunny!) Anyway, in one of those odd twists of fat that you and I are known for, YOU are responsible for me installing ONE of his plugins without my even realizing it WAS one of his – Comment Edit Lite. I’d used Highlight and Share for YEARS (LOVE IT) and helped to test and give feedback on QuotesDLX. But they’re all solid and either free or fairly priced in my opinion.

    Look for them at dlxplugins.com

    Yeah, bet you had to fish that comment out of the moat, didn’t you? Worth it. Trust me.

    1. First, yes, I did have to pull this comment out of the moat; that’s the curse of using gmail lol I’ll take a look at the page you shared to see if there’s something there that might work well for me. I’ve been trying to reduce the number of plugins I think I need; at one point I was close to 40 plugins, which is ridiculous. It’s cool seeing how, in our own way, we’ve given each other influence on some of the plugins we’ve tried out and liked. 🙂

      1. I mean, I COULD use my own domain email – I just check it so rarely. So I delight in playing “Go fish!”

        Do check out Ron’s plugins. They may not be for you, but I love them. I don’t even use half the cool options he’s added, recently, though I’ve helped to test some of them.

        When people talk of “moving in the same circles” I wonder if they had us in mind. I think it’s funny how sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing it! (Like with Rasheed. Or the comments plug-in.)

  2. I’m very happy with both of these plugins and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance and accessibility of their WordPress site.

  3. I need to go through my blogs and deactivate and remove more plugins, but I just haven’t put the time into it, though I should.

    I used to be far more diligent about making sure the code worked as it should and that users had a great experience. I really ought to do that again.

    1. I’m the same way Josh. Other things have been a bit more important, but certain things happen with my blog and such that I’m compelled to figure out what’s going on. I’ve come up with a solution to one issue. It’s not the best option in general terms, but it’s the best option I have for now.

  4. Hey Mitch,

    The WP-Optimize plugin sounds like a great tool for streamlining website performance and improving page load times. I appreciate how it can automatically clean up database tables and remove unnecessary data, which can have a significant impact on website speed and overall user experience.

    1. Ramya, the problem wasn’t what the plugin could do; the problem is it broke WP Touch, which I needed more than WP Optimize. Even though it’s not totally the same, I’m good with using Autoptimize, as it doesn’t create conflicts.

  5. I’m happy WP Touch worked for you! I ran it for years but there was one thing it couldn’t handle: italicized text, which I occasionally used in the headlines. Every time I put in the codes, which most other services could cope with (i.e. the text would either be italicized or the codes ignored), WP Touch would actually show them (<em&rt; and </em&rt;)!

    As a result, we fully redeveloped my entire site over the last few days, and I subsequently blogged how happy I was to see the end of WP Touch. It was during my testing of the blogroll, etc. that I revisited your site and thought, ‘What a weird coincidence, Mitch blogged about it, too!’

    We also ran WP Touch on the Lucire website but at some point, a few years back, it just stopped functioning. I had no idea why. In 2021 we redeveloped that site, so we didn’t need WP Touch any more.

    1. Hey Jack, glad to see you here! Your italic comment regarding WP Touch made me search for an article where I use it. Mine doesn’t look like it does on a website, but it does look different than the rest of the printed page. I can live with that, as it still highlights the look of the phrasing I’m trying to indirectly separate from the rest of the paragraph. Then again, I did go into the child theme I’m using along with the WordPress theme and did a modification so I could get italic content to look different than the rest, so maybe that helped some.

      Thanks for bring it up; I wonder if anyone else is having the same problem you had.

      1. That must have been it, Mitch—that modification probably allowed those italic codes to operate properly. I never touched the theme beyond the customization allowed through its interface. I’m OK with editing the CSS and even the PHP sometimes, but as someone who barely uses cellphones (compared to most) I didn’t really want to fiddle around with WP Touch!

      2. First, I’m glad we got things working properly again!

        Second, I never think about “em” coding. I know it’s listed as a choice when I’m writing content, but I always code it on my own; habits, you know. lol At least we both came up with our own solutions, right?

  6. Exactly! I chose to use <i> for years because I figured it’s better to save one byte. I knew it was being deprecated but as it still worked, I didn’t really mind. I only went to <em> after I learned that there is a new usage for <i>! I prefer coding my own as well—especially with Wordpress and others trying to second-guess what we actually want!

  7. Hey Mitch! I just read your post about the WP-Optimize and Responsive Voice plugins, and I have to say, it was really informative!

    As someone who’s used WordPress for a while now, I’m always on the lookout for new plugins that can help optimize my site’s performance and functionality. WP-Optimize sounds like a great plugin for cleaning up my database and improving site speed. I also appreciate that it offers a range of customization options so I can control exactly what gets cleaned up and when.

    1. Hey Mozie; I’m glad WP Optimize works wonders, and that it wasn’t on the “bad” list. lol It allowed me to remove a couple of add-ons that were bothersome for different reasons.

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