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”

Great plugin! I just need to get it in the sidebar instead… A suggestion that’d be great is to be able to use another call thing such as a line of php to call it instead. With that I mean put the line of php anywhere and get the message there.

I’ve been trying to get a hold of Tucker but I can’t find an email or another way to contact him on his site. 🙁

Anyone else (or Tucker if you read this) that could tell me what to do in order to do what Tucker did? I’m not a php coder but my copy/paste skills are excellent!

Great plugin, but I have 1 problem, maybe you can help me solve it?
So, in original “blog-type” themes plugin works perfectly. But in “magazine-style” (custom home.php) this small box not shows. What code I must put in my home.php to show small box in custom place on the page?
Update to my comment above:

I deleted my cookies in IE, and started all over, and voila — it worked exactly as expected!

So, no worries. Nothing wrong with your plugin at all. It was an IE problem… isn’t it always?

My current blurb includes a parenthetical stating that the welcome message should disappear after 4 page views. I think I’ll turn that into a link, to a page which will inform readers that if it doesn’t go away, they should delete their cookies.

Thanks for the great plugin! You can see it at work at

Hi there,

I love your WWSGD? plugin, but I’ve come across an issue I can’t figure out.

I remember when I first downloaded the plugin (I don’t think it was from this site, but from a WP plugin site that listed it), there were comments asking if it could be used outside of posts. The response was that it couldn’t.

Well, I found a way to. I inserted a line of PHP code in the index.php file of my template that did several things all in one line:

1. It included an If statement to check the number of visits — the same statement from the plugin.
2. It used an echo statement to create a named div.
3. It used the echo statement to append the function $wwsgd_settings[‘new_visitor_message’] (taken from the plugin).
4. And it then appended the div close tag to the end of the echo statement.

And it worked. The rest of the plugin functioned normally. I just called the output function from a different location.

I commented out the add_filter function in the plugin, since I was calling the output from a different location.

However, it doesn’t appear to work in IE6. I’ve set my “repetition” to 4 visits. But even after twenty page views, the message still appears. Meanwhile, it works like a charm in Firefox.

Thinking that it might be because IE didn’t recognize my PHP workaround in the index file, I removed the comment brackets from the plugin file, so that the message would reappear within the individual posts.

In Firefox, it worked normally. The message showed up in the posts, then disappeared on the 5th visit. However, in IE6, nothing changed. Even with the plugin functioning normally (i.e., without my hack), the message shows up in the post and never leaves.

So I’m wondering if there could be some incompatibility between WWSGD? and IE6? And if so, have you already seen this, and do you have a solution?

I’d appreciate your help. I’m a big fan of the plugin, and want to make it work as advertised for all of my readers.


I have problems with this plugin some times. It seems as if it conflicts with other plugins in certain circumstances (for instance dagon site map generator).

“Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /path_to_plugins/dd-sitemap-gen/lang/Swedish.php:1) in /path_to_plugins/what_would_seth_godin_do.php on line 91”

It’s always line 91 in what_would_seth_godin_do.php that is mentioned. This is a really, really annoying problem and really causes some serious problems.

Any proposal to a solution? I’ve already removed any extra line breaks after the php tags in the plugins.

What a creative plug-in. I want to use it at the top of the post, but somehow it grabs the first URL that is contained in the post and overwrites the feed URL in the pop-up.

Very weird. It does not do that on the bottom of the post.

Any thoughts?

Let me second Ed’s comment. Every time I send a trackback to another blog, the WWSGD verbiage shows up there, making me look like a very confused spammer. Any chance that while you’re planning a new version that avoids SE robots you could look into avoiding other sorts of non-humans, specifically trackback grabbing non-humans?
Hi Richard,

Great plugin, have been using it for a while now! Was wondering though if there was a way to make it invisible to the search engine robots? When I look at my site’s cached pages, I noticed that it’s on all of them. Any way to stop that???



I like the idea but I am having trouble stopping Seth doing his thing. I have kept the default setting to 3 but it keeps popping up for me every time. I have checked the cookie and it shows 8 – and adds one every visit.

Could it be because it is my own blog? Or will everyone see the message every time?



Worked like a charm! Thank you so much.

The problem was that there were invalid characters in the database row because I copied and pasted my message. MySQL obviously doesn’t know how to handle this. Tut, tut.

You might want to include a note to this effect in your Installation Notes. You might also want to ‘SEO’ your plugin name for the search term ‘first time visitor’.

A brilliant, brilliant plugin. Thank you so much for providing it, and for your support in answering my question. Much appreciated.

Be well, be bad, stay sane.
Maybe I shouldn’t say that… after reading your beliefs 🙂

Dave Bradley: Fantastic idea. Perhaps looking for search engine referrers ought to be an option for this plugin.

Michael (#66): Sorry to hear of your troubles with the plugin. The plugin stores the message and number of times to display the message using the WordPress get_option() and update_option() functions. In the database, they’re stored in the “wp_options” table in the “wwsgd_settings” row. Perhaps by deleting that row (and only that row) you can reset the plugin to work properly. (Please don’t attempt if you’re not comfortable with that.) If that doesn’t work, please email me at richard AT this domain.

I guess I should mention that I am using WordPress 2.3, in case that makes a difference.

Also relevant is that after Deactivating, deleting the plugin file and re-uploading the original file, then Activating, the original message is not re-instated. The only message that appears is the previously entered number of occurrences.

All very strange.

Hi Richard,

Could you please help?
I’m having the same problem as Comment 57 from Lisa in that whatever I do to edit the message, when I update it, the message is cleared and the number of Occurrences appears where the message should be. I cannot find a solution in the comments.

I have Deactivated, reinstalled, cleared cookies and tried whatever I can think of – no joy.

Question – where is the text stored? Perhaps I can update it manually.

Many thanks

A rather different approach I use on is to check a visitor’s referrers, if they came from a search engine, then the site displays a little blurb along the lines you suggest, adds a selection of posts related to their search term and below that displays the most likely post.

Obviously, it does nothing for people who hit the site direct or who come from a link on another site, but I figured that organic SE traffic is the most transient so catching the attention of those visitors probably works best. had 2745 RSS subscribers and 1000 Yahoo Group members last time I checked my stats, so something must be working.


I have an idea for this awesome plugin, there is a problem when a spider-bot surfs my blog. When it arrives on my blog your plugin does the job and display the sentence I set, but in this way the bot save the sentence and displays it on the relative search engine.
I think you could modify the plugin putting conditional tags if the surfer is human or a bot. If it is a bot the plugin doesn’t show the sentence otherwise it shows.
Hi. I installed the plugin and when I went to options to edit the message content and saved it – I lost the entire message and now when I try to type it in again and save it – it will not save.

The number of times I want it to show to visitors (example #3) will show up in the message box and that’s it. No message.

Perhaps I did something to the code. I even tried deleting it and re-installing it. But the same thing. I’m on wordpress 2.2.1, using the firefox browser.

Thanks so much – I can’t wait to get it to work!

FatMan: Does the 404 error occur only when the WWSGD plugin is enabled? Is it fixed by changing your permalinks structure, as “satest” mentioned?

Tal: How does the plugin misbehave when enabled on your blog? I’d like to ensure it works for R-to-L languages too, so I appreciate your feedback.

I got the cause of my problem. The problem was with permalinks.
I was using the year/month/day type permalink.

I just switched the permalink structure to the default one and now, it works fine with
/blog/?feed=rss2 link

But, the mystery is that it worked earlier for me even with the latter permalink structure.

I have added some themes and plugins newly. I doubt that some files in root and wp-includes folder is created by the plugins and may be creating some problems.

I have the same 404 error problem here is the actual response to clicking oon the RSS feed. I am using wordpress 2.2.1. Can you solve this mystery?



Not Found
The requested URL /fmblog/feed/ was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Apache/1.3.37 Server at Port 80

When deleting the htaccess file, when I click on the feed link a popup is generated..

which is a: application/x-httpd-php
from: http://

What would firefox do with this file?
save to disk

Many thanks for your valuable response..

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