Having a comments section on your site is great, you can get feedback on your work and start conversations. However comment spam isn’t fun, and it looks unprofessional, no-one wants to buy the fake Armani handbags these guys are selling, especially if they came to your site to look for photography work. Thankfully, all is not lost! Blocking those spam bots can be done with a few simple steps. The following article covers 10 things you should do to prevent those pesky spammers.
Askimet comes as standard with your WordPress installation. It’s possible you already have it installed, but never activated it on your site. It’s created by Automattic, the founders of WordPress, and it works! In short, it checks your comments using the Askimet web service, if anything looks like spam, it marks it as spam, if all is clear – it posts the comments. Install the plugin (check out the first video on how to install plugins), activate it, and then go to Askimet via the settings tab (Settings > Askimet). If your in the plugins section, hover over Askimet and you’ll see the option for settings.
Click “Get your API Key” and follow the steps to sign up for an account:
Once you have the key, you’re good to go! I would suggest that you review your spam comments once a week just to make sure no comments are missing.
Another great solution is a plugin called Antispam Bee, it’s a great alternative to Askimet, and it doesn’t require any sign up. You simply install and activate it, and it works straight away. It’s a very smart plugin, using public anti spam data bases to check comments. It also verifies the timing of comments, if someone comments immediately it’s likely to be spam. It will allow approved senders to post automatically so you won’t even have to review comments.
Adding Captcha (reCaptcha) Verification
Using a plugin such as Google Captcha (reCapthca) will add a captcha to your contact, comments, registration and login forms. Users are required to confirm they are not a robot before they can continue. To get it working, simply install and activate the plugin. Then go to BWS Panel > Google Captcha. Then you’ll need to authenticate your form, click on the register here link:
You’ll then add a label, it can be your site name, and then add your site link, you’ll want to remove https:// from the start of the link. Once it’s added, copy and paste the Site and Secret Keys into the section in your WordPress backend, save the changes and you’re done. You can test the verification to make sure it’s working. I’d also suggest logging out and trying to submit a comment to make sure it’s loading on your comment form.
Nofollow Comment Links
If you’re using any plugins that are removing the nofollow link from comments with the hope to get more comments, I’d suggest removing them. You’ll only end up with lots of spammy and low quality comments on your site, with little to no link juice for SEO purposes. This will detract from your work and even possibly get you penalized by Google.
Trackbacks were popular several years ago. It effectively allowed blog owners to communicate to each other, saying “hey I like your content, maybe you’d like mine”. However its widely been abused in recent years and its a large portion of spam on users sites. We recommend disabling trackbacks, and thankfully it’s super easy to do.
Go to Settings > Discussion, and under “Default Article Settings” de-select the option for “Allow Link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)” and you’re done.
You can also do this manually per post, if you want to be notified about particular posts. To do so, go to any post, scroll to the bottom, to the “Discussion” tab, and there will be the option to enable comments and pingbacks on any post:
If you do not see a discussion tab, scroll to the very top of the page, look at the top right. There should be a small tab “Screen Options” drop this menu down, then you can check the box for “Discussions”.
Turn off Comments on old posts
If you’ve got lots of old comments, or spam on older posts you can turn off comments on older posts. To do this, you’ll want to set a time to automatically close comments on articles, go to Settings > Discussion, under “other comment settings” you’ll see the option “automatically close comments on articles older than”. Check the box, then set a number of days you want comments to be shown on your post. After this time, all comments are turned off.
Turn off comments completely
If you want to remove comments completely, you’ll want to go to Settings > Discussion and in “Default Article Settings” de-select the option “Allow people to post comments on new articles “. This will remove all comments on your new posts.
With a combination of a few plugins and adjustments to some WordPress settings you can effectively stop comment spam on your site! Got a suggestion on useful plugins or methods to reduce comment spam, drop us a comment below, we’d love to hear how you’ve combated comment spam!
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