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I'm Launching My First Free WordPress Plugin!

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By Jon Waraas - First Published: June 11th, 2024

From My Desk to Yours.. Once It's Approved :/

Long story short, I took the "Googlebot Tracker 4200" tool that I developed on this blog, and turned it into a free WordPress plugin.

However.. I just recently submitted the plugin for review to the WordPress team a week ago, so it won't be publicly available on the WordPress plugin pages until it's approved, which may take a few more weeks.

If you are interested in trying out my free plugin, you may download it here (I will update the link to the WordPress plugin page once it is approved).

So, how much time did I spend on this?

My best guess is that I probably spent roughly 15 hours to develop the initial Googlebot Tracker 4200 (on this blog). I spent most of that time fiddling with all the small updates to make the tool work better.

A photo of good vs bad bots
^ Above: Adding 3-5 photos per blog post will help my chances of ranking better on This is the first photo :) It's suppose to be "Good vs Bad Bots".

I then spent probably another 40 hours to develop the WordPress plugin. Most of that time was spent on the actual "core" part of the plugin, such as the install/uninstall process, and the options page, etc.

So far, I have spent at least 55 hours of my life to develop this free plugin.

So why did I spend all that time on this plugin?

I kind of went down a rabbit hole with this project. Initially, I simply wanted to track Googlebots easily to ensure my own websites were functioning properly for them.

Once I set up the initial tool on this blog, I soon realized that I waste so much server resources on all of these stupid bots.

The Googlebots and the spam bots are basically the same thing, just that the Googlebots are "good" bots that will just crawl your website, but wont spam you.

However, when I say "crawl", what I mean is "scrape".

Many of those "good" bots, including Googlebot, actually scrape your website. Googlebot, for example, accesses and copies the pages it visits, storing them on Google's servers in a process they call "caching".

The Google algorithm ( works by "searching" its "database" of scrapped websites. If the user clicks on the search results, Google will send the user to the live version of the website.

Good vs bag bots with a watch tower in the middle to symbolize the Botch Watch WordPress plugin.
^ Above: Here is another "filler image" for Google. It's a "Good vs Bad Bot" depiction, but with a watch tower to symbolize the "Bot Watch" plugin.

Note that there are lots and lots of other "good" bots, and they all require server resources just like a normal human. Which will slow the website down, if there are enough of them.

Then there are the "bad" bots, which are pretty self explanatory. They will scrape your website, or spam you, or both. Most of the "bad" bots are set up to hack your website (find weak spots), or just spam your website.

Most people don't realize how many "bad" bots there are out there, and the amount of server resources they are consuming.

I def didn't realize how much harm they were doing to my own websites, until I started in on this rabbit hole.

All of these bad (and bad) bots are slowing down my websites!! Possibly hurting sales..

So I build a WordPress Plugin

In my last 20 years of web development, I have build lots and lots of WordPress plugins.. but I've never launched one publicly. Most of the plugins that I have built are API's or for clients.

I want to use this plugin on all of my own websites.

Since I will be using this plugin myself on multiple websites, I wanted the plugin to be easily updatable. So I decided that a public plugin would work best for this.

Additionally, based on the feedback I've received about the plugin, users are interested in a feature to ban AI bots as well. This feature will be included in the next 'bot ban' update.

The Future Of This Plugin

Right now the plugin only has the bot "watch" feature, but I hope to code in the bot "ban" feature before the plugin is approved in a couple of weeks.

Once the "ban" feature is online, and it's approved, I will probably start marketing the plugin.

A police bot on the patrol.
^ Above: Here is one last filler image. This shows a couple of "police" bots on the patrol.

If the plugin is a small success, and people like using it, I will offer a "paid" aspect of the plugin, and then set up a sale funnel.

I plan on launching this software (Bot Watch) "publicly" along with Sgt Surge this year. Both will be SaaS.

What's The Next Project?

I have already started it, but here on this blog I hope to launch another "tool" that will try to defeat form spam.

I want to use the same functions that I developed with the "Googlebot Tracker 4200", and apply them to a form captcha to prevent spam.

The contact form thing will just be a fun side project for now.

I am hoping to use the functions that analyze the header data, and then combined with other aspects to create a tool that will defeat form spam without manual captchas.

We'll see how it goes? It could be just another one of my many failures.

Either way, I'll blog about it here :) Thank you for reading!


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This totally free tool will ping your website to Google, Bing & others to give it a little extra boost.
(Results will be emailed after completion.)

Ever since building my first website in 2002, I've been hooked on web development. I now manage my own network of eCommerce/content websites full-time. I'm also building a cabin inside a old ghost town. This is my personal blog, where I discuss web development, SEO, eCommerce, cabin building, and other personal musings.

Recent Comments:

Brett : Very cool to get the back story and will be neat to watch the progress. Hoping eventually to so do something the similar on the west coast of Canada somewhere. Amazing that in 2006 I first found your site for it's myspace page information and how to build PHP site header/footers for resale. How times change hah. Anyways, keep up the great posts, looking forward to the updates.

Posted on: April 11, 2024

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