So this past week, I have been receiving A LOT of comments on my blog which is great. In particular, the comments were on this post: Night Time Skincare Routine Winter 2020. I love hearing from you guys.
Except it wasn’t you guys. The comments were weird and from weird email addresses and websites. In this post, I’ll be talking to you about spam comments on your blog, why they exist and what we can do to prevent them.
What is a Spam Comment?
Spam comments are (usually automatic) random comments that are left on web-based forms such as blogs, Youtube, Instagram, pretty much any social media you can think of. They are usually unsolicited and unwanted and really just annoying.
Why do People Leave Spam Comments and How to Spot Them?
There could be a number of reasons why someone has decided to spam. It could be malicious intention and clicking on the link can result in the user revealing personal information.
However, the main reason is for people to direct traffic to THEIR own websites by creating hyperlinks to a link. If a comment has multiple links, it’s usually a very good indication it’s spam. By creating links to their site, it generates more traffic and puts them on top of web results.
Another way to determine if it’s spam (if you’re a WordPress user) is if the email or website they use for commenting looks really weird. Use your gut instinct for this because I assure you, it’s right most of the time.
Another good way to realise if it’s spam if it isn’t already obvious is that the comments are very broad and generic like if they didn’t even read your blog. Broken English is also a good giveaway.
Here are some terrible examples. Bear in mind these are all spam comments to my post- Night Time Skincare Routine Winter 2020.
Note: Please don’t try to test any of the links out.
What Can we Do to Stop Spam?
We need to stop spam. It’s terrible and leaves a really bad impression on your blog. It looks super unprofessional and just yuck.
Your readers don’t want to be subjected to spam or even click on a link that may be malicious or dangerous. There are a few ways that can help eliminate spam as much as possible. Unfortunately, we can never completely defeat the spammers.
WordPress is excellent because you can put your comments on moderation.
You can go in Settings –> Discussion —> Before a comment appears
Check the box for ‘Comment must be manually approved’ and/or ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment‘.
This means that the comments have to be approved by you before being shown on your website. I actually like the latter option because it rewards loyalty. Alternatively, you can disable comments altogether but I personally don’t like this because this hinders you from your actual community from commenting and sharing.
You can also disable pingbacks and trackbacks. Trackbacks are essentially posting an external link onto your blog and many if not all spammers do this. After all, they must all have a motive for spamming right?
You can do this by going to the right-hand side column when you are writing a post on Document —> Discussion —> Untick Allow pingbacks & trackbacks
The reason i haven’t done this is because many bloggers (including myself guilty as charged) leave our link when we comment. In a way, it’s self-promotion but I love exploring new blogs. Trackbacks are also really good for SEO and whilst we all want to boost our SEO and traffic visibility, there are genuine people like you and I who aren’t abusing the system.
However, what is useful is restricting the privilege of posting to registered users only. Anyone can post a comment on a blog and spammers do this to target as many blogs as possible and probably aren’t WordPress users.
You can go to Settings —> Discussion —> Other Comment Settings —> Users must be registered and logged in to comment
A negative I can see for this is not all your readers will own a blog/Wordpress account and that may discourage them from interacting.
Spam comments also sound really similar and if you aware of certain words or phrases commonly used by spammers, you can create a black list that automatically flags comments using certain words sending them to the trash.
Go to Settings —> Discussion —> Comment Blacklist
However, I don’t recommend this as it can filter out comments that are actually genuine. Be careful!
Lastly, get some anti-spam plugin! I use Akismet and can’t recommend it enough. If you haven’t already:
Go to Plugins —> Add New —> Search ‘Akismet’ —> Activate
Since downloading Akismet, I am seeing a dramatic drop in the number of spam comments I receive. The plugin is completely free so why not download an anti-spam plugin that is known to do the job!
Much like spam emails (don’t even get me started), the best thing to do is ignore. Don’t respond and don’t approve.
Despite following all of these tips, I am still getting spam comments from time to time but not in large quantities as I did before. When I do receive spam, it’s simply just promoting the spammer’s website (trackbacks) and I miss the bad English and sentence structure because it was so humorous and outrageous.
Now all my spam comments were on my newest post: Why I No Longer Watch the Youtube Beauty Community (great read btw if i say so myself).
In my opinion, the best solution to beat the spammers is to simply prevent anyone from commenting but I think that defeats the purpose of the blogging community. I genuinely like hearing what you have to say and I think blocking comments defeats this purpose.
Does anyone get spam comments like this? It does my absolute head in! I’ll love to know what you do about it.
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