Thursday 6 February 2014

Introducing a new version of Strictly AutoTags 2.9.1

Introducing a new version of Strictly AutoTags 2.9.1

As you should know by now I don't really like open source development.

When you have put literally hundreds of hours into a plugin such as I have with Strictly AutoTags it is a bit dismaying when you visit the Wordpress site and see that you have 180,000+ downloads (not millions but more than a few thousand), pretty good ratings, good reviews on SEO sites and other places Google returns from a search on the plugins name. Yet hardly anyone has bothered donating me any money. Just imagine if everyone of them had donated me a single £1 for my hard work?

Believe it or not it takes a lot of my spare time to keep a plugin like this maintained and working.

Having to keep it up to date with changes Wordpress make to their core code as well as adding new features that often involve complex regular expressions and logic to get right.

Is £1 a lot to ask from someone who finds a plugin such as Strictly AutoTags useful?

I mean I find it very useful on my own sites.

Not only does it automatically add relevant tags to news stories but it does so without having to rely on 3rd party API's that contain lookup databases of possible tags.

If a news story about me came out tomorrow and I was mentioned a few times in the article the plugin would pick my name up and add it to the sites list of tags without having to wait for someone else to decide I am important enough to be worthy of such a tag.

I have a couple of systems that automatically import news feeds into the site and then tweet out the contents to various Twitter accounts using another one of my plugins Strictly TweetBot.

It analyses the content of the article and can change the format of the tweet or the account it sends it to depending on what it finds. Having Strictly AutoTags sit in the middle of this process not only ensures I don't have to manually edit each article to find relevant tags but it also provides them to Strictly TweetBot be used as #HashTags when I tweet about the news story.

Also being able to set the plugin up to discover certain words and then tag the article with a totally different word is very useful for news based sites.

If I have a news story about Edward Snowden or the NSA Prism program I want to tag the article with the word "Privacy" or "Whistle-blower". The paid for version of the plugin allows such logic.

So because of the lack of enthusiastic donations I have split my code in two and kept a paid for only version of my plugin for those people who actually find tools like this useful.

I don't really like the idea of having to keep two lots of code up to date but if a £1 donation is too much from everyone of the 150,000 people who have used it then I have to sell the better version to get some sort of recompense. Otherwise I might as well stop putting the code online and just use it on my own sites.

Latest Features of 2.9.1 Include:

  • The ability to remove basic formatting from the post. Ideal for auto-bloggers who import from feeds containing , , , tags that could cause formatting issues on your site.
  • Better regular expressions, more checks and the ability to bulk re-tag and link with all key attributes (alt,title,src,href,data-blah) including shortcodes [youtube url] saved before re-formatting to keep the original HTML in tact.
  • New functions to find tricky words like al-Nusra Front, World War II or 2,000 Guineas.
  • Bulk update to remove all HTML the plugin adds.
  • Option to turn the plugin into Clean Edit Mode so you can edit individual articles to remove any HTML you don't like.
  • New functions to turn text like and into clickable links e.g
  • Set a minimum length of characters for a tag to be used.
  • Set the maximum number of words allowed in a tag.
  • Set equivalent words for tags e.g search for Edward Snowden, NSA or PRISM and use the tag Internet Privacy.
  • Bold and deeplink common used tags to create great SEO for Googlebot and BING to crawl.
  • Set the minimum number of tags that must be stored against articles before they can be used in any deep linking.
  • Set the maximum number of tags in an article to deeplink.
  • Set the maximum number of tags to place against an article.
  • Create a list of case sensitive and case insensitive "noise" words to ignore and never use as tags.
  • Use the new finished_doing_tagging hook which is available for other plugin authors to use so that actions only occur after tagging is done on a post. For example my other plugin Strictly Tweetbot uses this hook so that tags are available to be used as #hashtags in tweets.
  • All content already inside special HTML tags title, src, href, alt and new data-blah or data-blah-blah attributes and Wordpress shortcodes e.g [youtube url] are stored in memory to prevent bolding or deeplinking within other tags or attributes.

You can buy the latest edition of the plugin OR download the latest free version from my own webpage at

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