Throughout January we will be running our 31 Day Blog Challenge: 31 days to clean up, grow and improve your blog. What better time than the start of a new year to get things sorted and ready to go for a brand new year of blogging?
We'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to get things in order and make blogging easier. This is Day 26.
Spam comments can be the bane of your existence as a blogger. They're annoying garbage that takes up too much of our time. So how do you deal with them?
If you're using WordPress, the answer is one word: Akismet. Akismet is an anti-spam plug-in that comes packaged with WordPress - you just need to activate it. You can do this by visiting the Akismet site and getting what's called an "API Key". Once you have your key, copy and paste it into the API key field in WordPress and boom... you're good to go.
Akismet does a great job of collecting spam - probably about 99% of it will get filtered. It holds it in a spam filter that you can review if you like. It does occasionally make a mistake and filter a genuine comment but it's rare. The beauty? You don't get email notifications for all the comments - Akismet just holds them all in a folder for you.
***make sure you empty your Akismet spam folder regularly! It can easily accumulate into the thousands and tens of thousands very quickly. All that spam is taking up space on your server.
You can delete your spam by clicking on the link circled above (usually shown at the top of your WordPress dashboard). It will take you to your spam folder, where you can click on the empty spam button:
That's it! Aksimet does have a monthly cost which varies on the type of plan you have but trust me, it is well worth it! As you can see in the first screen shot - it's filtered out over 300,000 spam comments for my personal blog. I'm happy to pay $5/month to not have 300K email notifications in my inbox!
Other ways you can combat spam with WordPress are to check your Discussion settings (under the Settings menu in your Dashboard). Here you can tell WordPress to hold all comments with links for moderation by you or you can set it to approve comments by people who have already legitimately commented on your blog.
Unfortunately, Blogger's not quite so simple. As best we can find, your options are limited.
You can hold all comments for moderation - which means you'll get an email notification for every comment. If you get a lot of spam, this can be a lot of daily notifications, which can clog up your email and just be... well... annoying.
Your other option is to use a Captcha option, where readers must type in a code they're presented with to prove they're a real person. Captchas work very well but, they're very annoying to readers, especially on mobile devices on tablets. They can actually discourage commenting.
While researching this article, we couldn't find any other options for Blogger but if you have found one that works for you, please, share in the comments! Our Blogger users will thank you profusely!
Typepad users, on January 23rd, 2014, Typepad announced a new anti-spam fighter for their bloggers. We haven't had a chance to take a good look at it but, it sounds very simple to implement and like it will do the trick! If you've tried it, let us know how it's working!
Squarespace also has a built in anti-spam checker that should block most of your spam comments - they boast a 99.5% block rate which is comparable to Akismet's anti-spam abilities and that of most commercial email spam blockers.