Because of WordPress’s roots as a blogging platform, it is perfect for interacting with visitors through blog comments. Every blog post should have comments enabled to facilitate networking and sharing ideas, news, opinion, and information with visitors.
However, the WordPress comment system that comes with the basic installation will be problematic. Without taking a few easy steps you can quickly end up spending much of your day deleting WordPress comment spam and notification emails.
What is comment spam?
Spam comments are generally easy to spot often containing generic or off-topic text, multiple links or code. Spammers leave comments hoping to gain backlinks and improve their (or their clients) Google ranking, and direct traffic to their websites.
Spam can be manually entered by someone, but is most often created by programs, called spambots, that automatically attempt to post spam across the internet.
As soon as a WordPress blog is picked up by Google, spambots can find it by searching for WordPress comment footprints like “leave a comment <keyword>”.
Because running spambots has virtually no cost, these guys are prolific, and WordPress comment notifications can quickly have your email inbox out of control!
How to stop WordPress spam comments
The two WordPress anti-spam plugins we use won’t impact your readers like difficult and annoying captcha forms. We’ve found this combination stops the majority of comment spam without “false positives”, or real comments being identified as spam.
Akismet is the first and it comes pre-installed with WordPress, but is not activated by default. This spam filtering plugin is by Auttomatic a company founded by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.
Akismet will monitor every comment made on your blog posts and run them through their anti-spam algorithm and filters. Spam comments don’t make it through, so you don’t need to waste time with them. Akismet monitors millions of WordPress websites, watching the methods and tricks used by spammers in real time, making it a powerful and dynamic anti-spam plugin.
Akismet’s most recent spam fighting statistics paint a concerning picture of the scale of comment spam, having filtered 121 billion spam comments at the time of writing.
Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (GASP) is an extremely simple WordPress anti-spam plugin, that has a massive impact on automated spam comments.
This plug-in adds a checkbox to the WordPress comment form labeled “Confirm you are NOT a spammer”. Automated spam will skip over the checkbox leaving it blank, and the comment is automatically blocked with a popup message. A genuine commenter simply ticks the box (although manual spammers will too).
A tip here is to change the default checkbox label text, to avoid spammers searching the “Confirm you are NOT a spammer” footprint.
Each of these plugins individually will help to reduce comment spam, but together will virtually eliminate WordPress comment spam altogether. Take five minutes to install them now and avoid comment spam becoming a major time sap and frustration.
Have you taken action against WordPress comment spam? Let us know in the comments below.