The Plague of Spam Comments on WordPress Websites
As all WordPress website owners know, spam comments are a nightmare. They can cause all sorts of problems, from taking up your precious time to ruining your reputation and even harming your search engine rankings. But fear not, for there are plenty of ways to fight back against this scourge of the internet.
Why Spam Comments are Such a Big Deal
Spammers and their bots don’t discriminate. They’ll target any website they can find, regardless of the content. But WordPress websites that have commenting enabled are particularly vulnerable to spam comments. These comments are often packed with irrelevant links to low-quality or malicious websites, or just annoying sales pitches.
The consequences of spam comments can be devastating:
- Affected website SEO rankings
- Can dissuade visitors from engaging with content
- Can damage website reputation
- Wasting time filtering through comments – trying to find the “real” ones
It’s clear that spam comments are a real problem. But what can you do about them?
Combatting Spam on WordPress Websites
There are several ways to stop spam comments on WordPress. The most effective strategies are:
1. Disabling Comments
If you don’t really need comments enabled, the easiest way to stop spamming is to disable them altogether. This is a simple option available on the WordPress dashboard, under “Settings” and then “Discussion.”
The downfall of this method is it doesn’t prevent spam comments from other commenting systems or bots.
2. Implementing a Comment Moderation Queue
A more proactive approach is to moderate the comments, only allowing real ones. To do this, you can set up a comment moderation queue. It’s an effective method to combat spam comments, as you can review and approve the comments before they appear on the website. To set it up, go to “Settings,” then “Discussion” and act upon the choices given below. Remember that each new comment comes with an email notification.
3. Using Anti-spam Plugins:
WordPress has a myriad of plugins to protect your website from spam comments. These plugins are easy to install and can make your life exponentially easier. Akismet is one of the best anti-spam plugins that WordPress offers, and it’s pre-installed to filter spam comments out-of-the-box.
4. CAPTCHA Challenges:
To stop spam comments most effectively, CAPTCHA challenges are an easy solution. When users have to perform an additional task such as a quick math problem to add a comment, it’s difficult for bots to complete it – which means that humans win. Multiple plugins are available to offer this feature on your WordPress site, including Really Simple CAPTCHA, Google ReCAPTCHA, and Gravity Forms CAPTCHA.
5. Limiting the Number of Links in Comments:
Comments with multiple links are a red flag for spamming. WordPress provides an option personalizes the number of links that any user can include in their comments. By going to “Settings” -> “Discussion”, you’ll find the “Comment Moderation” section, where you can decide on the maximum number of links allowed in each comment you want to permit.
6. Blacklisting Spam Comments:
Apart from these above-highlighted methods, WordPress provides another option: setting up filters of common spam terms which will mark the comment as spam, making your life easier. Blacklisting be done by going to the “Settings” -> “Discussion,” adding the most common spam-related keywords to the blacklist. Words like “loan,” “sale,” and “weight-loss” are just the tip of the iceberg.
All website owners would love to get rid of spam comments once and for all. It’s not just a nuisance, but it’s extremely harmful to your website’s SEO, visibility, and engagement metrics. You need to take action and fast. With the above strategies, you’re more than capable of fighting the spam comments, so they no longer clog up your moderation queue or take up your time.