The second plugin in our weekly plugin review series is not a one that helps you win over a few visitors who arrive from search engines and other sites.
What is Referrer Detector?
Referrer Detector is a WordPress Plugin that displays a greeting message to visitors that come from different urls (known as referrers).
For example, you may want to welcome Diggers with a message that reminds them to digg your story, or you may want to ask Del.icio.us users to bookmark your post, and so on.
- A pure AJAXed admin interface with elements tidily divided into tabs. Entries can be added/modified/(de)activated/deleted without the need to reload the entire page, or even with just one click.
- The greet box position can be set to before or after the post. A [custom tag] can also be used in case you don’t want to show greetings on every post.
- Users can also put a tag (
<?php if (function_exists('referrer_detector')) referrer_detector(); ?>) into the template to show the greet box anywhere of choice.
- Excluded URLs can be specified in order to hide the greet box from specific users (like ones from Google Reader).
- Ability to include WordPress attributes like url, title, author, category etc. into the greetings.
- A STAT panel to get data reporting about the visitor statistic.
- Many installed-by-default entries (which can be restored anytime with one click). Upon installing, you will have these entries available:
- 9 rules
- Del.icio.us and Delicious.com
- Google Search
- Live Search
- Yahoo Search
The real way to test this plugin is to go to Google or Yahoo and then search for “phoenixheart.net” [Yahoo! Search Results] Click on the link to the site and check out the cool greeting image.
I performed a Yahoo! Search and got this cool greeting box.
Google Search worked only when the referrer was Google.com and not Google.co.in which is default since I am from India.
The plugin is easy to use and install. It comes with out-of-the-box support for 14 sites which should cover a good portion of the traffic that you would receive.
This makes it a install and forget plugin unless you really want to bother about customizing it.
The plugin release post is well detailed, complete with examples on how to go about configuring / editing the welcome messages.
Adding a new entry is extremely easy. You need to enter details of the site where you are entering traffic from. The site has to be entered without the http or www e.g. digg.com or google.com.
The AJAX interface makes it easy to add / edit referrers. I was able to Edit and Add at the same time without visiting a new page. My detailed testing did raise a few points, which I have listed under improvements below.
Each tab has a small help section, so you’re not left clueless if you get stuck somewhere. The option for Excluded URLs is good since you can exclude those who are subscribed to online feed readers.
Now, this is the important part, or I hope to think so! Some improvements I felt this plugin could use:
- You can choose to deactivate certain referrers. Would be good if there was a checkbox for bulk actions, something like we now have in WordPress 2.7 management of posts, pages, comments, plugins etc.
- Like I mentioned above Google.com worked but not Google.co.in. Google Search is such that it automatically changes the default search engine domain based on your location. The plugin should take care of this automatically. It’s a humongous task to add all the individual domains. One possible solution could be a wildcard entry i.e. google.* or *.yahoo.com
- Default Message for domains not in the list of referrers. I believe the author plans on updating this in a future version.
- Lastly, not an important point but it would be great to see the plugin have its own page instead of post. I’m not a big fan of posts being the default location for a plugin or theme since your plugin/theme is permanent and so needs a permanent location on your site. It also helps in standardization when you release more than one plugin. E.g. in my case I have all plugins on separate pages on my blog. Again, this is a matter of preference.
And, now it’s your turn. Have you been using this plugin? What has been your experience with it? Do you have any feature requests?
The plugin author is reading…