Spam hurts. And if you have been on the blogging turf from quite a while, you probably have been stung by it already. While webmasters hardly used to bother about the spam comments and approved them at will a few years back, it is the repercussions of this ignorance that made them sit up and take notice (for few, it was a case of "little too late").
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Google, for one, has an absolute no tolerance for websites with a lot of spammy links in their comment boxes. If your visitors are being directed to questionable websites by clicking on the URLs posted under your posts, Google is most likely going to penalize you. Unarguably, a Google penalty is not something any website can afford. And thus, combating spam becomes all the more important.
Undeniably, WordPress is the content management system a majority of the websites on the Internet are built on. And this post serves as a guide for the folks who have been fighting spam on their WordPress blog, but without a lot of success. Ensuring no or little spam is a matter of more than one measures, and they are as follows:
1. Configure the Comment Moderation Settings Appropriately
Moderation is the most obvious and the most reliable way of combating spam. No automated software can be as efficient as you when it comes to determining if a particular comment is genuine, or it just wants to masquerade as a genuine comment, the real purpose being posting its URL on your site.
Now, you might find a number of visitors who have turned into your site's followers, and they also happen to be fond of commenting their views on certain posts. Certainly, all their comments going into the moderation queue only adds to your workload. So, configure the comment settings in a way that once you approve the first comment from a particular user, the subsequent comments do not add to the moderation queue and are rather published automatically.
2. Go the Akismet Way
If you didn't have your ears and eyes to the ground, you have probably heard of Akismet. It is a Wordpress plugin that also happens to be the most reliably excellent tool for handling over the spam-fighting responsibility to an automated system so that you can focus on other core aspects of your blog. It is not a flawless spam detecting system, but it does the job in a far too effective manner than any other system.
3. Close Comments on Individual Posts After a Specific Period Of Time
When you are running a website that is frequently updated with new posts, keeping up with the comments becomes is a far-fetched accomplishment. So, what would serve you well if you start closing comments on older posts so that you are are not pulled in all directions while checking for the spam comments.
4. Blacklist the Repeat Offenders
No matter how many times you disapprove their comments, they keep coming back. There are spammers who keep persisting in their endeavor to post illegitimate links on your website and these are the folks you need to blacklist so that they are no longer able to post comments from the particular account.
5. Use Captcha - If You aren't Already Using It
Now, this one has to be more than obvious. Captcha has been THE tool for bloggers to keep spammers at bay. While it doesn't work unfailingly, it still manages to keep their population under check. Use Captcha or Recaptcha tools that have more complicated mathematical equations or language problems for the commenters to solve before they can get their comment published. But don't make it too unwieldy for the genuine commenters.
6. Disable Comment on Pages
Making your website spam-free is also a step towards enhancing user experience as spam comments only add clutter to the respective posts and may redirect your visitors to the sites that contain malicious codes. Don't make thempay the price of visiting your site.