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4 Ways To Reduce Spam On Your Blog

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014

Most of the time I talk about spam it’s commentary more than anything else. In one post back in September, I told you how to identify spam on your blog.

SPAM!
Luc De Leeuw via Compfight

This time I’m going to give you some actionable steps to reducing spam, or at least have it going into the spam filter so it’s not showing up in your comments area.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done to eliminate spam totally. You can moderate your blog, but anyone who reads this blog knows how much I hate that (and yet so many of you still do it purposely; oh well…). You also know that sometimes there’s false spam, such as when I talked about certain browsers sending comments into the spam filter for some goofy reason.

So, we’re going to take on the next big thing, which is reducing it. Based on settings, you can probably reduce it more than mine, or you might decide you don’t want to go as far as me. I give you the steps; the settings are all yours. Here we go.

1. If you’re using a WordPress blog, in your Admin area go to Settings, then down to Other Settings. The 3rd item down says “Automatically close comments on articles older than”, and there’s a box next to it. You can check the box on the left, then put a number of days in the box and at that point in history comments will turn off.

The beauty of this is the majority of spam that comes in goes after older posts that you’ve pretty much moved on from and this takes care of that issue. The negative of this is people might read some of your older posts, especially if you link to them like I did above, but they can’t comment on it. You get to decide which of these is more important to you but truthfully, you’re always going to have more activity on your newer posts unless you’ve posted something very constructive that people can use… like this post. 🙂

By the way, though I mentioned the biggie, there are plenty of other things here that you can alter that will help block some spam. I have anything that has links in a post go to the spam filter, and I also use the comment blacklist option to block certain words and sometimes certain IP addresses, which is shown to you next to all comments, blocked or not.

2. Turn off comments on select posts. Most people won’t like this for their WordPress blogs but sometimes you might have a post that’s more of an announcement or maybe a sales post or, I’ve noticed from some bloggers, a post that’s so personal you can’t bear someone intruding their own thoughts into it.

In this case, instead of limiting it for every post, when you’re writing your post there’s something at the very bottom of the page where you’re writing your post under Discussion that’s automatically checked saying Allow Comments. If you uncheck it then that post won’t get any comments at all.

This can also be used if you decide not to use what I gave you in #1 because you want some of your posts to always be live. This way, you can pick and choose; that’s pretty neat.

3. Add images to your blog a different way. I’ve also noticed that much of the spam that seems to make its way through does so through the image area, which is really weird. I mean, what program is it that’s addressing the image on a blog post instead of the post itself?

This can be defeated in two ways. One, you can decide to upload an image you want to use to your server, then when it’s time to add an image add it via a link instead of uploading it from your computer. I picked up on that trick on a fluke and it works pretty well. The downside to that might be if you don’t have unlimited storage or little storage via your hosting company. Overall that shouldn’t be an issue.

No SPAM
K. Latham via Compfight

Something else you can do is add a plugin that’s connected to a website that supplies images. I heard of one the other day called, I believe, Pix 500, but I use one called Compfight. It’s tied into Flickr’s Creative Commons images, which means it’s done the work to determine which images bloggers are allowed to use ahead of time, thus no copyright issues. It has its own settings that you can alter within the Admin panel so that if you like a certain size of images each time you can make it so. Ah, I love when my inner Captain Picard comes out. 🙂

4. Use the GASP plug-in. By now, if you haven’t heard of this plugin you’re years out of the loop. It not only helps reduce spam to the point that you can alter settings to block certain types of spam from ever getting to your blog in the first place, but you have multiple selections you can make such as determining whether someone has to stay on your post for a certain length, determine if they have to write so many words, or even verify trackback links to see if those sites are legitimate.

I’m not going to get too deep into the settings on this one because there’s a ton. Instead, I will say there are good and bad things about this one as well. The good is obviously eliminating as much spam as you want to from ever getting onto your blog, which means you don’t have to moderate anything… well, almost.

That’s part of the bad. Sometimes it’s so strong that it starts blocking people who’ve come to your blog for years, who you sometimes give a free pass to a short comment or maybe they’re responding to your response to their comment. Sometimes having these things go to your spam filter isn’t a bad thing at all. After all, blogs are supposed to be about engagement, so there should be some allowances here and there; don’t you agree?

I think this has gotten long enough so I’m going to stop there. These tips should drastically reduce your spam on their own, and if you tweak some of the other settings you can reduce it even further. Good luck with it all and let me know how it works for you.
 

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42 Comments »

I have several readers who told me they’ve been commenting on my blog yet the comment does not appear on the page. If they try reposting the comment, they will get an error message that they have already said the same thing. When I checked my spam folder, all their comments are there! Have you encountered this problem as well? I wonder why their comments are being detected as such.
Dylann Andre recently posted…How to be PunctualMy Profile

June 12th, 2014 | 4:16 AM

I have read about that happening but never seen it. I’m betting there’s an easy fix posted somewhere.

June 12th, 2014 | 2:46 PM

Thanks for this post. I’m always looking to curb spam and there’s a couple of things I can refine now. Also liked the the Compfight tip.
Cairn Rodrigues recently posted…EvergreenMy Profile

June 13th, 2014 | 12:32 AM

Glad to help Cairn. That Compfight thing has been a life and time saver.

June 13th, 2014 | 9:34 AM
Muriel:

Thanks for this. I ended up moderating comments for older posts. It is the only way to decrease spam. That said, it never stops!

June 13th, 2014 | 10:29 AM

You’re right Muriel, it never stops, but we can reduce some of it and find other ways to get around a lot of it. I just won’t do moderation.

June 14th, 2014 | 2:09 AM

What? No Akismet! Akismet is the forefront of my spam protection. It even helps to stop human spam. When I check the spam Akismet picks up I have to shake my head at some of the comments people leave.
Peter recently posted…How Much To Bet On A Sports BetMy Profile

June 13th, 2014 | 11:14 PM

I use Akismet as well as personally approving all comments. I understand as I grow in popularity I will most likely have to abandon that.
Also, thank you Mitch for introducing me to CompFight. I post daily and have 2-3 pics per post and now I use CompFight exclusively.
Troy recently posted…#929 An awesome parking spotMy Profile

June 14th, 2014 | 1:30 AM

I’m glad you like the Compfight recommendation thing Troy. I hate moderation with a passion, and I do know you use it. I’ve never intentionally moderated comments but, as you know, your browser sends all your comments to spam for some reason. One of these days when my consulting gig is finally over I’m going to get to the bottom of that.

June 14th, 2014 | 2:12 AM

Still it sends to your spam? That is odd and no good.
Also I do moderate for a couple of reasons… One is my comment levels are currently such that I can afford to. I would LOVE more comments on my blog but for now… And very occasionally Akismet will not catch some comment like “Simply want to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your publish is just nice and that i can think you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to clutch your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the enjoyable work.” Oh nice words true but, yeah, I bet he says that to ALL the boys. And finally, I would love to be able to auto approve comments from folks like you and Peter and Barb and Adrienne but I simply do not know how on WordPress. I will be getting CommentLuv Premium today so maybe with that.
Troy recently posted…#927 Replacing an old light bulb with a new CFL bulbMy Profile

June 14th, 2014 | 2:32 PM

Troy, CommentLuv won’t help you with that issue; that’s not its purpose. As far as I know there are no programs that allow what you want. I do know that CommentLuv can be set up so that you can set so many comments a person has to have before they’re not moderated anymore, or before they get the Luv part, but that it.

As far as those comments that get on that aren’t good… I get to them pretty quickly so I’m not worried about them either. I’m more interested in keeping the people who seem to want to comment on my blog happy than worrying about those folks who, truthfully, are posting once and never coming back, if they were there in the first place.

June 15th, 2014 | 1:30 AM

“you can set so many comments a person has to have before they’re not moderated anymore,” Yes that is what I need for you cool kids. Will look for that setting today. Thank you
Troy recently posted…#927 Replacing an old light bulb with a new CFL bulbMy Profile

June 15th, 2014 | 1:57 PM

Hey Troy,

in your dashboard/settings/discussion why don’t you check the ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment’ box. That will catch out most of the wankers. One would assume that once you have approved one comment the rest will be OK. Just a thought.
Peter recently posted…How Much To Bet On A Sports BetMy Profile

June 15th, 2014 | 2:14 AM

Thank you Peter. I have set that up on my persoanl blog and 1KSmiles and will test it out and see what happens. I unchecked “Comment must be manually approved” and checked “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” and we shall see what happens. LOL Thanks for your advice.
Troy recently posted…Interesting stuff people buy on Amazon part 4My Profile

June 15th, 2014 | 2:00 PM

Peter, I didn’t mention Akismet because it’s already on the blog when people create them and I assume anyone who’s blogged for more than 3 months knows it already. However, this other stuff is something that people who’ve blogged for years have no idea of, which made them all better choices. You’re right though, using Akismet with GASP can do a lot of good for everyone.

June 14th, 2014 | 2:11 AM

Thanx for these tips. I normally find spam in the comment section of my post. Is there an option to close comments for a particular post in blogger blog.
Prerna recently posted…Patanjali Products Review for Skin & HairMy Profile

June 14th, 2014 | 4:04 PM

Prerna, I know nothing about Blogger blogs, only WordPress, but from what I understand you’re limited in what you can do.

June 15th, 2014 | 1:31 AM

Hi Mitch

Thanks for sharing this tips with us on spam comment reduction. Spam comment can be very frustrating and thanks for sharing this wonderful 4 tips with us but one simple ways i do use to reduce is through the installation of DISQUS.

DISQUS is the of the finest and simplest commenting system online, it comes with inbuilt spam filter, with DISQUS you have nothing to worry about spam comment.

Newbies that do not want to go though this steps you explained here should just option for DISQUS.

Thanks for sharing this with us and have a nice weekend
Olamosh recently posted…Interview with Atish Ranjan – A Pro Blogger & Internet EntrepreneurMy Profile

June 14th, 2014 | 7:13 PM

I hate Disqus with a passion. Yes, it stops spam, but it also reduces engagement and commentary because of its requirements. No way, never, not me. lol

June 14th, 2014 | 8:07 PM

I’m with Mitch on this one. I refuse to comment on blows that use Disqus. Usually before reading a post I will scroll down just to see what comment system the blogger is using.
Peter recently posted…Golf Joke Of The WeekMy Profile

June 15th, 2014 | 12:33 AM

I do the same Peter, only on blogs instead of blows. lol And usually I refer to the survey you did years ago, but it seems there are newer surveys that say the same thing.

June 15th, 2014 | 1:32 AM

I was just gonna type “Agreed.” but seems like just typing one one gets kicked out. LOL
Say Mitch, what do you think we can do about me getting kicked into your spam folder every time. That sucks. I am def. not a spammer.
Troy recently posted…1K SmilesMy Profile

June 15th, 2014 | 2:04 PM

Troy, are you using Chrome to comment? My blog seems to not like that for some reason. Try commenting via a different browser, or even your smartphone, and let’s see if it goes through unimpeded.

June 15th, 2014 | 2:20 PM

Yeah, these methods will definitely reduce spam to minimum or at least filters will catch more spam. Though to elimite the spam completely, the best idea is to completely wipe all footprints that WordPress is leaving behind. It is advanced strategy that will require web developer to do it, but it is simply the best.
Though manual spam is very tough to catch.
Kaloyan Banev recently posted…Evergreen Niche? Best Money Making NicheMy Profile

June 15th, 2014 | 3:23 AM

As you said Carl, most of us don’t know how to do any of that stuff lol

June 15th, 2014 | 2:19 PM

Turning off the comments on selected post is one smart idea that I will surly use soon. It is one of the simplest things I think useful to diminish spam comments on a blog. I know comment spam remains a problem for all WordPress users.

Mitch, thanks for the idea. It will check mine. These are helpful ways to reduce spams. Deleting each spam comments manually takes time and is not recommended, as it will increase database size and the resource loading time.

I use Akismet, this plugin checks each comment, pingbacks and trackbacks submitted in your blog.

metz recently posted…Inspirational Quote of the Day by Ryan Biddulph: June 16 2014My Profile

June 16th, 2014 | 4:19 AM

Metz, some of what you said is true, some not. Text messages barely increase the size of a database so that should never be a consideration. They do take time to remove and they’re irritating as anything.

June 18th, 2014 | 12:47 AM

Spam reduces the quality of your blog.

I think you can identify the spam in your blog through the commenting section. Sometimes your blog receives comments that are just one-liner and it never adds value to your post. Well, that might be a spam. Also, there are people who will just leave unrelated links in the comment box.

The tips shared above will surely help you reduce spam in your blog.

The first tip is a good and practical idea, while I couldn’t totally agree with the second tip. I believe that successful bloggers always ask for feedbacks, and that’s mostly through commenting. Aside from this, comments are traffic. So closing comments box might decrease the amount of your blog’s traffic.

Thanks for the shared knowledge! 🙂

Best,
Ann07

June 17th, 2014 | 11:58 AM

Ann, the thing about #2 is that it serves a couple of purposes. One, sometimes a person wants to write something personal and not deal with comments of any type. Two, sometimes a post might be an advertisement for something that has a short time period and then makes no sense going forward. Both of those are posts you can close comments on because there’s no reason for a comment to be made on them, and if comments are closed, spammers can’t bother you on them.

June 18th, 2014 | 1:01 AM
Marion Patrick:

Thanks for all the great tips, here. Both in the original blog, and the comments. it’s very helpful. While I use Askimet, it’s always good to have more choices in SPAM stoppage!

June 17th, 2014 | 1:45 PM

We do what we can Marion; hope it helps.

June 18th, 2014 | 1:02 AM

Mitch, even the post frequency seems to have a direct correlation with spam. Ever since, my post frequency went down, my blog is targeted by automated commenters/tools working for their clients. Akismet silently passes all these spam on to me for moderation! I have to look for another solution – other than ‘confirming that the commenter is not a spammer’ or captcha.
Ajith Edassery recently posted…DigitalOcean SSD Cloud VPS Review and Setup Tips for WordPressMy Profile

June 18th, 2014 | 2:29 PM

Ajith, that’s because when there’s fewer posts, the bots think the blogs are being abandoned, especially if they have some rank. Truthfully, I don’t mind stuff going to the spam filter; that’s what it’s for I figure. I just won’t want a lot of it showing up on the blog as legit that I have to remove.

June 18th, 2014 | 11:01 PM

You must be right on them reading it as abandoned blog. But akismet doesn’t seem to do a good job 🙁

June 19th, 2014 | 9:11 AM

Ajith, you said Akismet moves all that stuff to your spam filter; that’s what it’s supposed to do. Or are you saying that more spam is ending up going live than ending in the spam filter? Are you also running GASP?

June 19th, 2014 | 9:52 PM

No Mitch, akismet doesn’t catch them. I have to still moderate it and mark as spam! And I don’t run Growmap yet. Will try it…

June 20th, 2014 | 2:00 AM

Use the Comment Blacklist. The comment blacklist is one of the most underused features of WordPress; despite it being available in every WordPress website. It allows you to blacklist the IP addresses of spammers who are persistently attacking you. You can also blacklist commenters by URL, email address, name and/or content. Blacklisting someone is a good way of discouraging people who are submitting spam manually.
yusri recently posted…Jawatan Kosong Di Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan MAIWPMy Profile

June 20th, 2014 | 12:39 PM

You know yusri, after reading your comment I was saying to myself “hey, I wrote that in the post”, then went to verify that and noticed that it was missing. I know I wrote it because it was my 5th recommendation, but I remember that when I first went to save the post there was a hiccup with it and it looks like it got rid of my last point; the blankety-blank! So now I’ve had to go and change the number to 4 ways and yes, fully agree with your recommendation since it didn’t show up.

June 21st, 2014 | 12:18 AM

Spam is the one thing which almost all web masters and bloggers are fed up off. Now thinking in other way this spam situation or problem is caused by ourselves. If we take proper precautions we can easily eradicate this spam issue
completely.

Using moderation or optimization to our blog is a good way for reducing spam. I think approving only after moderation of comments on article is better that turning off comments in a blog. The above post has also given some other steps on how we can reduce spam on your blog.

Thank you for sharing.
Sagar recently posted…How the Science of Human Emotion works in MarketingMy Profile

June 23rd, 2014 | 2:56 AM

A couple of things Sagar.

One, I’m not sure that moderation is eradicating spam; it’s just giving people more to do on the back end sometimes. Even people who use captcha find that spam sometimes finds a way to bypass their supposed protections.

Two, personally I hate moderation, and I hate being moderated. I don’t moderate anyone on this blog intentionally; there are some comments, like yours, that show up in the spam filter and I have no idea how it happens except for this bug with some browsers people use. I catch the majority with what I posted here and what I posted previously; I’m fairly satisfied with that.

June 23rd, 2014 | 10:27 PM
sarika:

Hey thanks for sharing the tips. I am going to add the images on my blog now in a complete different way from your guidance by using plugin. Lets hope it will reduce some spam.

June 25th, 2014 | 6:10 AM

Good luck to you with those tips; it should work wonders.

June 25th, 2014 | 10:58 PM
Before you leave a reply; please see the comment policy if this is your first visit. This blog doesn't accept keyword names. I need a real first name or a legitimate nickname that you're known for. If your name has more than 3 words or the email address begins with "info" or "admin", the comment automatically goes to the spam filter; same if there are any links in the comment or if you don't have a gravatar. If your comment goes to spam for any of these reasons, or any other reason listed in this post, it may never show up on the blog (I do forgive the link issue if you've commented on the blog previously and I'll forgive the gravatar thing for first time visitors). If it goes there for any other reason (and I know some do), I'll pull it out as I don't intentionally moderate any comments on this blog.

One last thing; if your link is an affiliate link or goes back to a strange website or webpage I don't like, if I keep your comment I'll remove your link. That's why I have CommentLuv for blogs; if you have a legitimate business just leave that link & no sub-links. Trust me, it's best to read the comment policy if you don't get it, or never see your comments showing up here.

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