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”

Hi Richard! I activated the plugin and adjusted the settings to what I desired and it is not working on my site. My site’s theme is thesis. Does this plugin work with thesis?
Hi Richard,
The plugin is not performing properly for me and I wish to see if this is due to my error or did something went wrong in updating the plugin.
I use thesis 1.85, disabled all the other plugins I had on the blog, but still, I have the frame appear only on the home page, and not on posts.
I see the same effect on your blog as well – on the inner posts it won’t show (and they are the posts visitors are coming to from the search engines)
I have tried playing with before and after post options, posts and pages etc – nothing seems to be helping…
Anyone else has this issue?
Thanks for a quick response.
Hi Richard!

I’ve been testing the plugin and really like it! Version 2.0 is not being indexed… is there any way to make turn that off, or modify the code so it IS being indexed?

Hi Howard, did you ever get to add the code to the comment?? The plugin is not working for me either, and I’ve tried adding the code that’s mentioned in the plugin config page, to no avail.
Anyone else had a non-appearing message?


Hi Richard, love the concept of the plugin, but I can not get it to show up on my site? I have two messages for new visitors and return visitors, but neither show up? Is here the right place to post support questions? Should it work on any theme? Is there a trouble-shooting process to follow? I tried resetting, but still didn’t work. WP 3.3.1 using the Magazinum theme from WPZoom. Thanks.
I haven’t check that. I ended up adding the following code to the single.php file just below the author meta:

Then added some css to style the div. Works like a treat and I can now style it as I wish! Thanks. 😉

Hey Richard, I love the WWSGD plugin. THANK YOU! Can you help me with one thing I want to do differently? I’d like the WWSGD box to only show below a full post entry and not on my /blog (teaser entries) page. Can that be done? Thanks for your time/help!
Hey Richard, great plugin. I just added it into my site and although it appears, I’m getting an error message in the settings section:

Fatal error: Call to undefined function esc_textarea() in /home/ryan/public_html/wp-content/plugins/what-would-seth-godin-do/what_would_seth_godin_do.php on line 81


I like the idea of this plug-in and use it but an editor caught a missing word for returning visitors: (copied from my site) note “here” is missing:

Since you have been before you might want to subscribe to my mailing list so we can keep in touch. Thanks for visiting!

I looked for it in the html editor but could not determine where to add the missing “here”? Please advise, thanks, Lawrey


Anyway to get this feature on selected pages only? Its appearing all over my site and I had to remove it. I’d like it only to appear on certain pages. Also, if I decide to use it again I need to change the URL for the feed. Can you tell me how to do this? Right now it says home then /feed and I use Feedburner.


I like WWSGD a lot. Thanks
I’m validating my code at and am getting this warning:
Line 509, Column 20: character “<" is the first character of a delimiter but occurred as data
if ( count <= 5 ) {

That code is in the following WWSGD-related lines:
else {
count = parseInt(jQuery.cookie('wwsgd_visits'), 10) + 1;
jQuery.cookie('wwsgd_visits', count, { expires: 365, path: "/" });
if ( count <= 5 ) {

Is there a coding change that needs to be made? If so, where would I make the edit?
Thanks, Ed

I too would like to at the very least be able to limit this so that it only appears on the entry page and not during the entire visit. At least for the return message as the first visit one is limited anyways. Any ideas?
I see everyone can’t get the newer version of the plugin to work. I don’t know what was updated or changed in the new version but I do know that version 2.7 works just fine. I have tried to update to the newer version and it hasn’t worked and that’s why I reverted back to the older version. Maybe knowing this will help a few people keep things going until the new version of the plugin can be corrected.
Hi, sorry it appears that in my previous message the code segment didn’t show. Anyway in the source, it appears that my custom message was wrapped in a div like, <div style=”display:none”&rt;

Thanks in advance for your help.


Strangely the plugin doesn’t work, even after I logged out of admin and even when I put the in my template. When I view the source, it appears the code was hidden with css:

My custom message etc

Any idea what’s happening here? Thanks.

For various reasons I intend to blog in my native language (Italian).
My question:

is the “sethgodin” plug in available in Italian?


Great concept and plugin. Only issue i’ve had is that when my site is googled, or certain articles of it are googled, the blurb in google shows up as my wwsgd come sign up text – rather than the meta description or snippet of the article…. i’ve since switched to placing the wwsgd bit below the post content, but i’d rather have it on top for first time visitors.
Hi Richard,

I goofed! I tried to alter your php file and now I cann fix it nor no matter how many times I delete and add the plugin bck, WP (or the plugin?? not sure) still says there is an error. Can you please help and tell me how to totally clear this error and get a fresh install of the plugin?

Thanks Richard,

Here is the error message (sorry I did not include this at first):

br />
Fatal error: Call to undefined function esc_textarea() in /home/tina2010/public_html/wp-content/plugins/what-would-seth-godin-do/what_would_seth_godin_do.php on line 81

And I have deleted it via the admin panel and ftp and still get the same thing.

Any help is appreciated! I was trying to style it if possible too.



I have a dumb newbie question. This plug in sounds terrific, but when I activate it, it doesn’t offer an settings option, and I’d really like to add a bit about email alerts, and maybe have it run at the bottom. Am I doing something wrong?

I just recently upgraded to the latest WP version and I really would like to use your plugin but it isn’t showing up on my existing blog posts. I have a bunch of plug-ins installed but I do not see any of them interfering with yours.

Can you have a look and see what the problem is? I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling it but to no avail, and I’ve used the most recent version of WWSGD.

Thank you!

Hi Richard,

I see you’re pretty good about responding to people here, which is pretty incredible given how popular this plugin is.

I’m having trouble implementing it on my site ( It’s properly installed, as far as I can tell, but I can’t get the message to appear.

Here are some details:
– I have Super Cache, and I’ve tried it with and with out caching activated.
– I’ve tried on a few computers.
– I’ve tried putting it before, after, and only where I have the code inserted, but none of the options work for me.

If you have any suggestions for me, I’d be quite grateful!

Hi Richard! my website is and yes, the plugin is currently active on posts only. however i should mention that since i last posted, i reinstalled the theme i am using on wordpress entirely and rebuilt my site. when it was freshly installed, and not a single plugin activated, i was still getting the ORIGINAL text that i had written into the plugin ages ago coming up any time i try to post a link to my site. very very frustrating! it’s stuck in the system somewhere. i only just re-added the WWSGD plugin this morning, and i’m still having the exact same problem. i thought maybe reactivating it in my fresh site would bump out the old text, but no dice. please help!! where can i go to delete this? i need my meta description representing my site!

thanks a million (in advance) ~ H

Two WP updates ago it seemed to stop working in Firefox but still worked in IE and Chrome. Now with the last update I notice it has stopped working in those two as well. 🙁
Thanks. I just checked the Write Prompts link and it is not working. I did the update. I did the “reset” that I found in the settings and still doesn’t appear to work. I viewed it in firefox, ie, and chrome.
I also did the updates and checks on the plusshe blog too and it is still not working.
It is so weird. They were working fine for the longest time.
Today I thought maybe it is another plugin interfering so I deactivate all the plugins except WWSGD and it still didn’t work.
My next thought would be something in the theme but they are different themes for each blog so that seems unlikely.
hey richard,

love the plugin but it seems that the text from the widget has overriden my meta-description. so when i go to post a link to my site on FB for example, the description next to my thumbnail is the text from the WWSGD widget. NOT GOOD. this is confusing for people! i tried a number of things, and then eventually just deactivated the widget entirely. i also emptied my cache and history, but this same WWSGD text STILL shows up any time i try to post a link to my site anywhere. HELP! this is causing massive problems. someone said i’d need to go into the source code to figure out where the problem was, but i’m not sure where to look. i have a site. any help would be extremely appreciated, as i DO want to use this widget eventually ~ harmoniously…! thanks.

Hi Paul, if you have WordPress installed in a separate location from your site, WWSGD may have been broken because of that. I just checked in WWSGD 2.0.2 which fixes this. Look for it shortly in your plugin updates. If that doesn’t fix it for you, let me know.
Hello I Just upgraded to 2.0.1, pasted in my welcome message and links and now the whole welcome box has disappeared. It’s like the plugin isn’t even there. I tried uninstalling and re installing the plugin, still nothing is showing up. Did I break it? Any idea why this might be? Thanks! D
Dustin, I just completed WWSGD 2.0.2 which fixes an issue with non-standard WordPress installations (users who keep a separate site address and WordPress address.) You should see this appear in your plugin updates in the next few hours. Let me know if it still doesn’t work afterwards.
I came across a post of yours in the Warrior Forum today when I was looking for some WordPress information. I got here by following one of the links in that post (actually I created a PDF of that post since it seems that one of your other posts has gone MIA on the warrior forum. I PMd Chris for a copy of the PDF in hopes that he still has it. You give some fabulous tips for using WordPress as a “squeeze machine”. I have had several visitors to my site, but only one left a comment and no one has signed up to my list. I am going to take the approach you suggested – leave a comment and get your free copy of .
Love your plugin but have one question about the option to exclude certain pages/posts. What format do I need to enter for it to work? I’ve tried post title, direct url and slug but no luck.

Any tips would be much appreciated!

I do not understand what the reason is, but this is not working for me.
In the settings area, I have it so the message locations is placed only where I use the template tag.
The Show Message on Pages? On Posts and Pages
Posts/Pages to Exclude and then I include the numbers.
It’s not working.
Am I doing something wrong that is not obvious to an amateur?


I’m having trouble too. I created a landing page that I don’t want the message to show up on. It’s the only ID in the exclusion list. When checking it in Safari and Firefox on a Mac, I still see the message. I’m using WP 3.2.1 with v2.0.3 of the plugin.

Any ideas?

Thanks! Great plugin.

Two questions for you:

First, I noticed that two people had problems with WP Super Cache activated. Are there issues for sites using Super Cache, or have they been resolved?

Secondly, can you code it so that it cancels further new visitor messages when a new visitor clicks on the RSS feed link in the plugin display box? That way when readers take the action that you want them to take, they are no longer asked to do so. The limit of how many times the box is shown should only be applied to those that have not yet signed up. I think it is a nuisance to readers that do sign up, to still see the new visitor message perhaps 3 times again.

I think this plugin is extremely useful; I have installed it, and I thank you for developing it. A few tweaks here and there as time allows, and it can be great 🙂


Hey John, I’m working on WWSGD 2.0 which will work with Super Cache and will also give you the option to cancel the message as soon as the visitor visits a certain page. Should be done in a couple of weeks.
Actually, couldn’t we just deliver the message by default, though make it hidden, then using javascript, check the cookie on the client side to see whether to show the message or not? That might work.
Richard, I coded it up. Here’s the updated code

I also added the ability for the user to “hide” the intro message before the number of repetitions expire. You can see this at work in the default message. Right now, when you set the plugin to check the cookie on the browser, the Message to Return Visitors doesn’t work so I’ve commented that out for now. I don’t use it on my installations. I have this live right now on Note that I had to add the jquery.cookie.js file to the plugin.

Let me know if you want all of this in a different form. Maybe I’ll write up a short blog post about it on my blog.

Wow, thanks for doing this Chris. I’ll be glad to roll it back into the code. I haven’t even looked at it yet. I’m moving to Boulder, CO in 10 days so I’m busy with those preparations, but as soon as I get a free moment I’ll get this tested and integrated, with kudos to you. Thanks for doing that.
Chris, I’ve incorporated your patch into the plugin, available in trunk though not yet formally released. I took out the option to choose between server-side cookies and client-side cookies and just went with client-side cookies. Feel free to test it out here:

I’m going to add a couple more things and then release this as WWSGD 2.0. I’ll include a shoutout to you in the release notes. Thanks again for the code.

Hey Richard,
This is probably a newby question, but how do you add a hyperlink in the feed?
The code on install is
If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!”,
Was just hoping you could give an example on how to add a link to another page in place of the rss feed.
Hi Richard,

I’ve installed your plugin on my blog and now I am wondering if the caching plugin I use does interfere with WWSGD ? At least the box does not disappear after 5 visits of the page. It seems like the cached results depend on the users who went there in the first place: either the WWSGD box is cached or not depending on there status of being newbies or returning visitors. DO you have any idea to work around this issue?


Richard –

Great plugin, I’m finding that for some reason it is displaying the text of my message properly to new and returning visitors on all my posts.

However, on the *first* post of my homepage (my homepage has the first 10 posts, shortened with “continue” button) it has the text of my WWSGD plugin as part of the excerpt.

I did some searching, and saw some people are having the same problem on the WordPress support forums but I can’t find a response.

Do I just have the settings wrong somehow? Thanks!

Hey John, unfortunately that’s the current behavior of the plugin. It shows the message on the first available “content”, which happens to be the first of your 10 posts for you. What WWSGD needs is the option to place the message at an arbitrary location, a feature planned for future development.
Ah, gotcha. Well at least it doesn’t show up in the RSS feed.

Still looks a little weird in the excerpt on the homepage, the only real fear is that it may affect clickthrough.

Perhaps a quicker feature to implement might be an option to turn it off on the homepage or in excerpts.

Anyway thanks for the response. It is still a highly useful plugin.

I have a frame on my bloggsite with this text:If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! So far so good. But when people clik on the link RSS feed this message pops up:
“This page contains the following errors:

error on line 3 at column 486: Extra content at the end of the document
Below is a rendering of the page up to the first error.”

I have installed your plugin sucessfully so….do you have any ide what I have done wrong and where I can do changes?

@Kristinoy, what browser are you using? It sounds like the error may not be related to the plugin but related to clicking on an RSS link. If your browser isn’t setup to handle RSS feeds, it may return an error like that.

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