This week a reader e-mailed me asking my advice on how to protect your blog from spam, especially contact form spam.
I’m sure you read more than a couple spammy comments on your blog or e-mails generated from your blog on a daily basis. It can take up your time trying to combat it, so the most important question is… how do we prevent spam?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to prevent, but you can block it out.
I currently run 4 different blogs and in the last couple weeks I noticed that there has been a huge surge is contact form spam. That is, someone comes across a blog of mine, and posts lines of gibberish that doesn’t even make sense and e-mails it to me. On average, I was receiving about 30 of these messages a day.
If you’re going to spam me, at least try to sell me something and don’t just hit random keys on the keyboard. Silly spammers.
So, how did I combat this? Without wanting to remove the contact form completely, I switched out the plugin. I was using WP-Contact previously, but installed cforms II instead. cforms II provides a CAPTCHA option to put another layer of protection between you and the spammer. Since I installed this, contact form spam has dropped 85%. Akismet takes care of the comment spam, which I don’t even look at and have deleted automatically.
The great thing about cforms II is that you can create multiple forms to use on your blog, as opposed to just a contact form. You can create a form for a contest or a feedback perhaps. You even have the option to allow users to upload material to you directly from your blog.
Below is the control panel for my contact form which has reduced my spam intake considerably.
As you can see in line 7, I have security text enabled so that a user has to input CAPTCHA text when they send me an e-mail. However, there’s an option built-in that recognizes smart users, which makes those frequent visitors to your blog who comment and e-mail you legitimately to bypass the security text. This option can be turned on/off to suit your needs.
Like I said, you can’t completely block out spam — it’s nearly impossible. But you can combat and reduce it to make your life easier. Give cforms II a try if spam is a problem for you.
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