Your website is your open door. Through it you can speak to your colleagues, your friends, the public at large. What a wonderful opportunity for two-way communication. One of the great joys of the Internet is engaging in conversations with people you’d typically never meet. Distance, circles of acquaintance are much less relevant.
Unfortunately, this open door is often spotted by the opportunitists. The self-seekers who have no interest in meaningful contact and may even be malicious. I’m talking here about comment spam.
It’s ubiquitous and it will always be with us, like mosquitos, rats, and cockroaches.
In the WordPress environment, like most of my more recent clients utilize, there are several options. I’ll mention just a couple here, and save more for a later post.
WordPress itself has settings under the Settings > Discussion area of the Dashboard that allow for limiting a comment free-for-all. Most checkboxes are self-explanatory, so see what you think. I do recommend you close comments on articles after a week or two, most certainly.
Every install comes with a Plugin called Akismet. This is not free (though the price is reasonable) so it probably wasn’t activated during your project. Instead, I very likely installed BadBehavior which is “donation-ware” and does a quite nice job of catching suspicious comments.
That still leaves you the job of sifting through these pending comments as they sit in limbo. What sort of things are the hallmarks of disingenuous communication? (Be sure and look in the text of their return email and any link text as well as their “message.”)
- Any mention of celebrity/popular clothing designers
- Any mention of “cheap” or “bargain” anything
- Any mention of cigarettes, prescription medication, or other drugs
- Magic SEO. (I’ll get you listed at the top of Google.)
- Nonsense alphabetic strings in text or email address or URLs (web links)
- Non sequiturs. You’re writing about apples and their comment discusses oranges.
Recognize that most text will be generic congratulatory fluff. I pity the poor sods grinding away, working for the spammers, that have to sit and type all this garbage for hours. But don’t let them ruin your website.
Let me know if you have any questions. I welcome your (genuine!) comments :)