The longer you’ve had your WordPress website and the more traffic it receives, the greater the chance that it will contain spam as well. Spam is often entered through your forms or in the comment section. It may seem harmless, but it does disrupt your site. Especially in comments under a blog, it can come across as unreliable and it will also be bad for your SEO. Fortunately, there is an option to filter this and also avoid it. Read here what you can do about it.
Spam through the forms
Do you receive a lot of spam through the forms you have on your website? Then it is good to check whether you have any protection. Honeypot is a common way, but I prefer Google ReCaptcha. You know this one, it asks if you are a robot or not.
The principle is also quite simple. You add an extra verification to your form to ask whether the visitor is human or not. There are different types of Captcha plugins, but Google’s is by far the tightest and most user-friendly on the market. You don’t need to recognize weird numbers or letters, just check a box that lets you know you’re not a robot.
Setting Up Google ReCaptcha
When you have registered for the Google ReCaptcha API, you will receive a ‘site key’ and ‘secret key’. Copy and paste this into the plugin on your WordPress website. You can then indicate the forms in the ‘enable recaptcha’ section. Click on ‘Save changes’ and you will see a checkbox next to your forms.
Please note that if you use Google ReCaptcha, you must adjust your cookie notification. Do you want to know how? Feel free to send me an email!
Spam in your comments
Are you getting spam in your comments? For example, on blogs on your website? Then there are other ways to deal with this.
The first way is quite hard, but effective. You just turn off your comments in your settings. This, of course, varies from company to company. Some blogs get a lot of reactions from followers and readers, so it is less interesting to disable this option. But on websites where comments are not necessary, this is a good option.
To disable the feature, go to your Settings and then Discussion. Here you can tick a checkbox where you no longer allow people to respond to new posts.
Is it not an option for your website to turn off the comments? Then it might be a good idea to moderate them. By turning on this function, you will receive an email every time a comment is left. You then manually determine which reaction you allow and which you do not.
You can also find this setting at Settings > Discussion.
Comments from logged in users
Do you have a website with a community that leaves a lot of comments? It’s too much work to moderate them all. Here it may be an option to only allow comments from logged in users. This reduces the chance of spam being left behind.
You can also adjust this at Settings > Discussion > Other comment settings.
Block certain words or links
If you want to allow all comments, but avoid certain topics, you can create a “blacklist” in WordPress of words that should not appear in the comments. Spammers usually have very specific language in which they refer to their own website or want to sell something. Words related to this can easily be added to the prohibited list. You can find it at Settings > Discussion > Comment Blacklist.
In addition to words, this list can also include email addresses, URLs, and even IP addresses. There are already ready-made lists online with words and URLs that you would prefer to put on your banned list, but before using such a list, it is best to check it. Make sure there are no words in it that have to do with your products and/or services.
Extra protection via plugin
Of course, there is a plugin for everything. I recommend Antispam Bee for comment spam. The plugin blocks the spam for free, without sending your data to an external website.
As soon as your Antispam Bee has been installed and activated, you can adjust in the settings what it does and does not block. This of course depends on your own preference. Sometimes it happens that ‘real’ comments are also blocked, since the algorithm can also make mistakes. It is therefore advisable to check the spam list from time to time.
Spam directly in your mailbox
In addition to all other types of spam on your website, which we can check fairly easily, it is also possible that you receive spam in your mailbox. Does this bother you? Then it is advisable to send me an email. We can certainly avoid this, but it is a somewhat more elaborate process and more difficult to explain in a blog. I would be happy to look into the problem with you and try to solve it as best as possible.
Do you have any other questions about spam, or do you need help with your website? Feel free to contact me!