It’s pretty much a question that really shouldn’t worry you too much – why do I get so many spam comments on WordPress?
Well it shouldn’t worry you as it happens to ALL users of WordPress from time to time…it also means that your website/blog is starting to stand out in various search engines!
I admit it’s bloody annoying but why would comment spammers target a low ranking blog…they wouldn’t!
There is nothing worse than getting up on a Monday morning and feeling that lift of popularity – I’ve got loads of comments! Yippee!
You put down your cup of coffee and move hastily to reply to the first comment…hang on a minute? This comment is all about penis enlargement pills? What the #### is going on here???
You then proceed through the remaining 20 odd comments to discover that only 3 of them are legit – the rest are covering Facebook Escort Services, the new range of Nike Shoes and some dodgy weight loss s##t!
The comments are not from excited, engaged readers who enjoy your writing and want to join the discussion on your site…they are from the scum known as spammers!
The mad thing is that the more your website grows the more and more spam you will receive – you should be taking it as a compliment but it’s so bloody irritating it can’t ever be taken that way!
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Prevent Spam Comments – Who’s Behind it?
Well, the people behind these comments are extremely untalented ( and lazy ) webmasters who are looking for a quick backlink AND traffic from your website.
Instead of being rewarded a link for creating valuable responses and asking you to link to it, the spammer just leaves a comment containing a link to whatever they want to promote ( crap usually! ).
The Damage Done…
I have come across numerous blogs that seem to have given up the ghost on removing spam comments – it seems as though they’ve tired of the fight!
But most of these blogs are posting new content – why won’t they remove the spam crap from their comment section?
Here are a few reasons to take on these spam comments as quickly as possible…
- Comment spam makes you look like a lazy homeowner. Leaving comment spam all over your online real estate is like leaving dirty socks in every room of your home – you end up looking like you don’t give a damn! Frequent comment spam discourages your readers from leaving legitimate comments and leaves you looking like a complete amateur.
- Do you think Google appreciates this comment spam? Google is a clever old beast, and it’s only getting more intelligent by the day. One dodgy link from your site to seedy destination is all it takes – they will want no more to do with you!
- How safe do your readers feel? A lot of these spam comments link to sites that use rather shitty advertising networks ( we ARE NOT talking about Google Adsense here! ). These networks display malware infested ads that can quickly eat into your version of Windows. Your readers need to feel your site is a safe place to be – not a place to come for a new kind of virus!
A little bit worrying really isn’t it? Let’s take a quick look at how you can recognize this type of spam…
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Spam in Hiding
The majority of spammers you get on your website will be well tutored in the dark arts – they make their comments look as genuine as possible!
They want the comments to get through whatever moderation you have in place and stick!
Here are the three main comment efforts I have handled over the years…
- The downright idiotic and blatant spam that points to a porn site or other undesirable content. These links are left by people who have monkey’s juggling knives in their heads – they have no hope in the online business world and I don’t see their chances improving much in the ‘real’ world either!
- The careful and intelligent website visitor who has put a lot of effort into their comment AND has taken the time to read the article it is placed on.
- Then there’s the silent but deadly type of comment – the comment that appears as if it was left by one of your regulars…but something ain’t quite right! They seem nice enough and they are full of praise for your site…
I would advise you to always trust in your gut instinct for each comment you come across – take no more than 30 seconds to decide whether it’s a time bomb or not!
Before passing judgement quickly ask yourself these three questions:
- Does the comment author sound like he/she has read the post?
- Does the email address and website of the comment look legitimate?
- Does the comment read like keyword-stuffed SEO content?
Sounds simple enough right…but how much time is this going to take out of your busy day?
Let’s face it – being a successful webmaster is hard work and there are never enough hours in the day…
Dealing with this type of comment crap is only going to eat into more of your work time!
Let’s take a look at how we can slap it before it gets anywhere near our beautifully published pages…
Stop Spam Comments For WordPress
The first port of call is always going to be WordPress itself – have you told the platform how YOU want it to handle comments?
If you want it to – WordPress will hold comments for you until you have passed judgement on them. It’s called moderation…
- Settings > Discussion in your WordPress dashboard.
- Check the boxes next to “Anyone posts a comment” and “A comment is held for moderation” under “E-mail me whenever….”.
- Then check “Comment must be manually approved” in the section called “Before a comment appears.”
This basically means that WordPress will hold onto your new comments until you’ve found the time to approve ( or reject ) them!
I’m fully aware that legit comment authors like to see their comments show up straight away – but is it worth the risk?
At the end of the day, if they really have time and respect for your content they shouldn’t really mind waiting for their opinion to go through moderation, right?
Akismet – The Spam Buster!
The beauty of WordPress is the amount of free third party plugins they offer – there’s always an answer for a website problem.
Akismet is a free plugin I have used since the very first site I set up – it’s not foolproof…but it catches out the spammers about 99% of the time!
I would always advise you to quickly check through the comments Akismet has caught over the process of a day – sometimes a legit comment will trigger a spam alert.
Simply click on the spam folder in your comment section every now and again and see what’s in there – the legit comments are easy to spot ( if there are any in there! ).
Any legitimate comment can be marked “not spam” and returned to the comment thread so people can then see/reply to it.
One important point to remember is that spam comments can really mess up your backup process. When WordPress backs up your data it collects all of the comments as well – spam comments that are published will only add to this workload!