WordPress plugin: What Would Seth Godin Do

Seth Godin advocates using cookies to distinguish between new and returning visitors to your site:

One opportunity that’s underused is the idea of using cookies to treat returning visitors differently than newbies. It’s more work at first, but it can offer two experiences to two different sorts of people. (Source: In the Middle, Starting)

I built this WordPress plugin to implement Seth Godin’s idea. For WordPress users it reduces the “work at first” to almost nothing. Installation is simple:

  1. Download the WWSGD WordPress plugin and unzip it.
  2. Copy the what-would-seth_godin-do folder to your WordPress plugins folder.
  3. Activate the plugin in the Plugins panel.
  4. Customize settings in the Settings panel.

By default, new visitors to your blog will see a small box above each post containing the words “If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!” After 5 visits the message disappears. You can customize this message, its lifespan, and its location. Your visitor must have cookies enabled.

New visitors will appreciate some context and background information about your site. This is your chance to offer them a special welcome and invite them to become permanent subscribers!

DOWNLOAD the What Would Seth Godin Do WordPress plugin

I can be reached at richard AT richardkmiller DOT com. I appreciate comments and suggestions.

(I have not tested these.)

375 replies on “WordPress plugin: What Would Seth Godin Do”

No, the 404 error is not resolved yet. Do we need any htaccess setting for this to work?
I set the .htaccess file as

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /blog/
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /blog/index.php [L]

Still it does not work.


Thanks for taking the time to review my problem, Richard. I really appreciate this. Good to know that at least it seems to work for all the rest of the website’s visitors. Problem might be (my) Firefox then.

Hopefully, the Googlebot is also able to store cookies (?), so the message won’t be displayed after the first 3 times it crawls the site’s content.

Celebrienne: I visited your site in Firefox and the message disappeared as expected. I don’t know a way of excluding the plugin content from search enigne indexes (though I could see the value in a tag like this.)

satest: The 404 error above seemed to be resolved in the following comment. Any luck with your site?

I get a 404, page not found error on the feed link, after activating the WWSGD plugin. A similar problem is quoted above, but the solution is not specified..

Any body please help..

Thanks in advance..

Forgot something… Is it possible to prevent bots (like the Googlebot) from indexing the welcome message without changing the message position? I just noticed that Google indexed the message on some of my pages.
Richard, thanks a bunch for this plugin. It’s a great and useful plugin. I use it on my celebrity blog and display a modified message. The message displays 3 times to new visitors at the top of the page.

The plugin works great on IE 7 (couldn’t test it under IE6), but under Firefox the welcome message is always getting displayed. It just won’t go away though cookies are turned on. When I took a look at the FF cookies for my blog I couldn’t find “wwsgd_visits” there.

Any suggestions? Does this only happen to me or is this a known bug/issue? Maybe it’s my fault, but I just can’t figure out where I could have gone wrong… :-/

Hey thanks, for the great plugin! I’ve got it installed and it’s working great. I did edit the default text somewhat to try and increase comments also, you can see it at

Out of curiosity, who has the best custom message that has increased RSS subs and comments?


A Grandiose Blog – Cocktails, Gadgets & More …


I installed your plugin and everything works fine except one thing. The link for the rss feed gives a 404 ‘not found’ error.

The rss link from the built in cutline chicklet works fine, it links to “”

I went in and edited the plugin so that the line in the href that read “.get_option(‘home’).”/index.php/feed/ ” was replaced with the above hard coded link directly to my feed.

This unfortunately did not work. Even though I edited the plugin, the link still shows up without the “index.php” bit between the “/blog/” and “/feed/” in the path.

This makes no sense to me since I changed the path. Yet it still shows the old path and still gives me the 404.

I hope this isn’t too confusing. Any help would be appreciated.

Ken Steen

I’d like to hear what people think about hiding/showing ads based on visits. For instance, one the first couple visits to a site, it might be good to hide google ads so that the visitor is shown a more content-focused blog or page. More inviting. True this mean less overall click conversions, but I wonder if that is a price one might be willing to pay while their blog or site gets off the ground. Gathering an endearing audience from the start might be better than an influx of quick but non-regular reader base. Thoughts?
I’ll see what I can do about limiting the notice to one post only. That will be in the next version.

@Ben Klinger
Thanks. I don’t think the WordPress API offers a way to put the notice above the title. The notice gets lumped in with the content, either before or after it.

Hmm, I’d like to install this, but not if it’s going to be at the top of every post on the home page. Otherwise, I love the idea. Is there some mailing list or something I could subscribe to, in case you ever design a second version?
I would definitely want to install this, but not if it appears on every post on the home page, which looks rather like overkill.

IMHO, it would make more sense to have it appear (1) on individual post pages when people open them (which means they have sufficient interest to justify sending them the incitement to subscribe) and possibly also (2) at the top of the home page (but once only).

Hey Richard,
I didn’t read all the comments, but what about if the newcomer lands on an individual post, say from a Google search?
Is there any way to show the caption there also?
@Bes Z
Thanks for your comment. The problem may be extra blank lines in the plugin outside of the < ?php ?> tags. I don’t think the plugin has any extra blank lines but they may have been inadvertently inserted when you put the plugin on your site. You can open the plugin file with a text editor and make sure there are no blank lines at the beginning of the file before “< ?php" or at the end of the file after the "?>“.
Hi Richard,

Thank you for such a wonderful plugin. I tried it with WP 2.1 and it worked on most pages.

On pages that use the Comment Analysis plugin:

I see the following error message at the top [I have removed the path urls]:

Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent in what_would_seth_godin_do.php on line 86

The page does load, but with the above message at the very top. I am not sure if this issue is because of a conflict with the Comment Analysis plugin or with WP 2.1 itself. Just wanted to let you know.

Thanks again for releasing this plugin.

Modulus, does IE7 let you see your cookies? If so, you should see one called “wwsgd_visits” and it contains the number of visits to the site, and it should increment each time you visit. Is that part working?
Odd… I love the idea but something seems to be off. I set up my browser (IE7) to accept all cookies and yet, after 4 page loads, I still see the message inviting people to join my RSS feed. Any idea what’s going on?
It seems to me that it would be a good idea not to show the message at all to clients that doesn’t allow setting cookies, thus making the site look normal to people who generally block cookies, and to search engines and such.

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