Akismet Configuration

Limit the Spam your Blog Attracts the Right Way

by Ed Gately on January 30, 2010 · 4 comments

in Setting Up Wordpress,Wordpress General Tips

In a previous article, I wrote about why you might consider CAPTCHA to be a bad method of protecting your blog from Spam. I’m not going to go into depth on that topic again, I’ve linked to it if you want to read it. The general theory is if you value your visitors communication then you should not make it harder for them to communicate in an attempt to block Spam. Instead there are many other ways to prevent it behind the scenes.

So the first method I would do, and always do on every blog I create whether it’s for a client or for myself, is install Akismet. WordPress comes with it, it’s very light weight, powerful and effective. Since WordPress already comes with it installing it is just a matter of going to your plugins and clicking “Activate”. There is one additional step and that is for you to go to WordPress.com register a username only, and get your API Key.

Once you have your API Key, just enter it into your Akismet settings and you are all finished.

You’ll find Akismet is very effective. I don’t see it miss very much spam, and I rarely see a false positive. When you log into your Admin from now on, right there on the dashboard you’ll see your site stats and a link to your comment Spam. With one click you can delete it all. And it is very easy to scroll through it looking for false positives.

One thing to note though, spammers are crafty. They’ll add comments about how correct the post was and how beneficial it was to them and that they are going to bookmark it for all eternity. But if you look their name will be Viagra, and their web address will be something selling viagra. It’s all just a ploy to try and get that comment approved and get some kind of link to their site. Make sure you watch for real posts from real people that have something real to say.

Protecting email addresses and contact forms.

The next piece you should be aware of is that just by being online you are going to be subjected to spam. So as a rule of thumb I never put email addresses on a website. Spiders, and spam bots come along scraping the web of email addresses. The only reason to put your email address out there in my opinion is if you really are out of Viagra and you haven’t gotten any emails from sources you can buy it from lately.

But keep in mind it is important to make it easy for visitors to contact you. Instead of posting your email address it can be just as effective to just put up a contact form. In my opinion it is even more effective. By putting a link to your email there are many visitors that can’t click it to send you an email. By clicking it their computer will try to open the default email client and send you mail. What if they use webmail? The link won’t work, they’ll need to copy and paste. What if they are at a friends computer or coffee shop? Well I guess if they don’t use webmail they’ll need to remember you website or your email address and email you when they get home.

Having a contact form means that without leaving your site they can just type in an email and hit submit and off it goes. They just sent you an email. This is a much better form of providing a point a contact in my opinion.

It is very important to use the proper contact form. The contact form can’t allow header injection, it should check the referrer of the form post to see if the post came from your own site. These are just basic programming aspects, and if they are in place they will ensure that even if you get the occasional spam from the form it was probably manually submitted because a spammer was looking for a hole, chances are they won’t find one and they’ll move on to easier targets.

A nice Contact Form that is well programmed and secure that I use on many of my sites is produced by Dagon Design.  And naturally, in my opinion you should turn the CAPTCHA off.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that with just a little bit of work you can block or make it much easier to deal with the majority of Spam coming through your website. And this is the way it should be. YOU should be dealing with the spam, your VISITORS should NOT be having to jump through hoops just to communicate. Let me know what you guys think.

Related posts:

  1. Does CAPTCHA Hurt Your Blog?
  2. Five Core Plugins every WordPress Needs
  3. Is your Blog Content an online asset, or just part of the problem?
About The Author: Hi, I'm Ed Gately and I write Wordpress Master to help bloggers get started in building a successful online blog using Wordpress. Prior to writing on this blog I spent over 16 years working in Corporate IT and have been spreading my wings on the web for 3 years. To learn more about this website and me visit About Wordpress Master.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

glasnost March 20, 2010 at 12:08 am

Well Done! I Like it!


Ed Gately April 28, 2010 at 6:26 am

@glasnost – thank you for the kind words!


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: