Anyone familiar with WordPress knows that combating spam comments is a daily chore. This seemingly endless battle continuously gets tougher and tougher every day as spammers are using more clever methods. Although this battle is far from over, there are many ways we can at least attempt to limit the amount of spam our websites receive.
Here are 3 options you should utilize to avoid those useless comments on your blog or website:
1. Adjust your current settings
Many of us simply put comments in moderation and when we find a minute of free time we’ll review them little by little. While there is nothing wrong with this method, spam will still find its way to slip on through not to mention the large amount of time you will spend reading and moderating dozens and maybe hundreds of comments.
Users who leave real comments are far less likely to return just to throw spam on your site. Of course, this assumption may change as the spammer’s mindset evolves. But at the moment this seems to be true. With this in mind, we would be much better off checking the “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” option under Settings -> Discussion.
Enabling this simple option alone will save you a lot of time.
2. Use a plugin or two
The plugin Akismet is a major time-saver. Akismet filters out spam comments, and for the most part it does its job very well. However, sometimes it will mark a legit comment as spam. Fortunately, you can review all of the comments marked as spam and publish the good from the bad.
While Akismet is continuously filtering spam comments, the addition of SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam makes it nearly impossible for those sneaky little bots to add spam to your comments section. I personally hate CAPTCHAs, so much so that I often won’t bother even commenting if I am required to enter one. But I am not everyone and while I may not like CAPTCHAs, there’s no doubt that it works. So the preference is ultimately yours.
3. Use a search engine
Sometimes you may receive a comment that sounds relevant and even sincere. Maybe something like, “I love this article … yada yada yada!” Comments like these give us a quick sense of gratitude and almost make us approve it without thinking twice about it.
But … before you press APPROVE do a quick search for the phrase or another section within the comment and see if anything pops up. Copy a portion of the comment that doesn’t contain generic words and wrap it in quotes when searching. Sadly, more times than not you’ll see the same exact comment pop up on another blog or website, those are spam and should be rejected. If nothing comes back from your search, you know that it’s real and you should gladly hit approve.
Spammers have learned that their previously approved comments tricked the first guy so now they’ll re-use them in the hopes that they’ll trick you too. What they didn’t realize is that you read this article first and their dirty little trick isn’t fooling anyone.
Utilizing these three easy steps will not only save yourself a lot of time and hassle but your readers will benefit from it as well.