There are plenty of things about the Internet that annoy people, but spam is near the top of the list. Spam refers to any unwanted and unsolicited message that is sent out in bulk. It’s something that first began way back in 1978 when the foundations of the Internet were still evolving, but it really exploded in the 1990s when the Internet became widely accessible to most households. Just about everybody who has ever had an email address or been onto the comments section of a website is probably familiar with spam, and while it has gotten easier to filter out or ignore unwanted messages, they can still become a serious headache for anyone who relies on a commercial website for their livelihood. Fortunately, there are things that you can do in 2020 to eliminate spam on your business’s website. There may still be a few messages that get through as hackers’ methods evolve, but these tips should keep these annoying and occasionally malicious messages to a minimum.
If you’re really worried about website spam in the comments section of your blog, you can always simply disable the comments. That will stop any spam and malware from getting through. This might be a good idea if you have the kind of website that doesn’t rely too much on comments, but you’re still robbing yourself of a valuable feature and a means of communicating with prospective clients. Comments can give you an idea of what visitors to your site think about your content and your brand. That in itself is valuable, but they also allow you to reach out to visitors and address compliments and complaints directly. It would be a shame to lose that just because of a few spammy posts.
Then again, if your comments section is almost nothing but spam, you might want to shut everything down after all. That’s become something of a trend for news sites that were burdened with spam and offensive language. If you find that monitoring your comments is more trouble than its worth, disable comments and encourage visitors to go to your business’s social media accounts or send an email if they want to engage with you directly.
Invest in a Spam Filter
If you don’t want to shut down your comments section yet you feel that monitoring it closely is too much work, you can always invest in a spam filter to keep the worst unwanted comments out. These applications are available as plugins for certain platforms, third-party services or from Host MFP, and they can monitor incoming comments to make sure that they are legitimate and not from a bot or a malicious hacker. If something looks too much like spam or comes from a common spam source, it won’t make it onto your website. You will have to update these programs regularly to make sure that they keep catching any new spam that comes through, but it can be well worth the investment if you want a spam-free site.
Block Problematic IP Addresses
As you maintain your site and keep tabs on any spam that you receive, you might notice that much of it comes from the same IP addresses. If this is the case, you can invest in services that will block these addresses and stops much of the spam you receive at the source. If you’re not sure where much of the spam you’re receiving is coming from, there are services that keep databases of common spammers and their addresses, so you can always check them out and stop spam before it’s ever sent to you.
Pay Attention to Geography
A lot of spam may come from certain IP addresses, but some of it comes from certain regions. For example, about a third of website spam comes from China. It might seem extreme to block an entire country from accessing your website, but you might want to consider this if your content isn’t relevant to a Chinese audience. Russia and Ukraine are also major sources of Internet spam and malware, so you might want to consider blocking them if you have a serious problem with spammers.
Be Careful with Email
Email is a great way for your clients and visitors to reach you, but it’s also an easy avenue for spammers. Anyone who has a spam folder in their own email account can attest to that. As with shutting down comments sections, simply not sharing your email address will stop spam from reaching your inbox, but it will also prevent clients from getting ahold of you.
If you want to allow clients and associates to reach you through a business email, it’s best to keep it locked down as much as you can. Set up a spam filter that prevents unwanted messages, or set up a CAPTCHA on your “Contact Us” page of your site. A CAPTCHA requires anyone who wants to send you a message to complete a simple puzzle first. This puzzle isn’t complicated – many of them are as simple as checking off a box – but they can only be completed by a human. That will ensure that the emails you receive will be real messages from real people.
Don’t Get Complacent
While there are plenty of ways to cut down on website spam, no one strategy is perfect. There will always be some spam getting through, especially if you don’t update your filters and firewalls regularly. Spam is a billion-dollar business that isn’t going away anytime soon, so you shouldn’t expect any site on the Internet to be spam-free no matter what kind of security measures you employ. Keep monitoring your site and your security measures, and don’t forget to contact Studio MFP if you want a reliable firewall or filter in place. We can work with you to make sure that all of your security measures are up to date in 2020. As difficult as it is to keep out spam, it isn’t the losing battle that you think it is.