Spam is pretty much the worst thing that has come out of the digital age. Honestly, it’s terrible. Luckily we’re here to help you learn how to avoid web spam in 6 easy steps with WordPress.
Online discussions are usually fun and insightful, especially when commenters adhere to social etiquette and use the comment section of your blog for its intended purpose. However, sometimes internet trolls hijack your comments, or spammers post promotional comments. Automated comment spam is probably the worst, as it floods your comment section with offers of branded accessories and all kinds of body enhancement pills and procedures.
WordPress does not offer an out-of-the-box solution to the comment spam problem, but there are many ways in which you can manage it.
Top 6 WordPress Comment Spam Tips
Use these methods to stop comment spam in its tracks on your WordPress site.
- Moderate Those Pesky Comments
You can enable comment moderation to hold all comments until you have time to approve them.
From the WordPress Dashboard, go to Settings -> Discussion. Next to Before a comment appears, check Comment must be manually approved.
- Turn Off Comments on Old Posts
Automated spam bots usually scour the web looking for pages that contain WordPress comment boxes. By turning off comments on old posts, your posts will be found less often.
From the WordPress Dashboard, go to Settings -> Discussion. Next to Other comment settings, check Automatically close comments on articles older than X days. You can select the amount of days after which you want to close comments. Most people select 15-30 days, or if you post news or time-critical posts, 3-7 days.
- Activate Akismet
Akismet is a lovely little plugin that was created by the same company that created WordPress. In essence, it is a spam prevention plugin that catches spam comments before they even reach your site.
TIP: This plugin comes pre-installed with WordPress. DON’T REMOVE IT!
Visit your plugins page, navigate to Akismet, and click on Activate. Click on the button to activate your Akismet account, and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the account setup.
- Install Image Verification Tools
While the three methods above should provide some relief, you can further reduce comment spam with CAPTCHA and image verification to block automated spam by ensuring that your commenters are human. The quizzes will ask simple word-verification or mathematical questions on the comment form.
- No Follow Comment Links
A few years back, online marketers encouraged their blog readers to remove the no follow attribute from their comment author links in order to encourage more comments. However, this only served to encourage more spam comments, whereby the authors were more interested in the backlink than the discussion. If you use a plugin that shares link juice via blog comments, install it immediately.
- Disable HTML in Comments
Install Peter’s Literal Comments plugin, which will disable HTML in comments, and thereby discourage links in comments. This plugin will parse any HTML through the WordPress filters, which will convert symbols into HTML entities.
Comments provide a great opportunity to open up discussion with your audience and the to and fro comments can be a fantastic way to engage them and educate them on your products and services. However, spam comments that make it to your live comment feed can put off your sincere commenters from commenting on your blog posts.
Use the above tips to stop spammers from polluting your WordPress blog comments section with spam.