AskPat 48 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? This is Pat Flynn and welcome to Episode 48 of AskPat.
Today's resource is Gravity Forms which you can find at GravityForms.com. These are forms for your WordPress site that you could put in that are really . . . You can customize them. They are good at getting rid of spam. They're just the highest-quality forms that you could put on your site. There are free contact form plugins that you put on your site but there's nothing like Gravity Forms. So, at least just check it out and see what it's about. I've used it before on several of my sites.
Now today's question is from Linda, which has to do with spam and contact forms and things like that. So, let's hear from Linda right now.
Linda: Hey, Pat. I love your show. I watch it, or I listen to it all of the time. You're very, very helpful in everything that I try to do. I have a couple blogs but I have a question about the contact forms. My name is Linda, first of all. Sorry about that. I have a couple questions about the contact forms. I use WordPress, and despite the different types of plugins that I use, people sort of maliciously go in and type in anything. They type in random—just letters from the keypad and I get a lot of spam. Can you recommend any plugin or anything that I can use to kind of keep people from sending me these notices or whatever? I think it's just malicious but what they do is they type in a bunch of gobble-de-guck on my contact form and send it to me and I get kind of tired of having to delete these things. Anyway, I hope you can help. Thanks a lot. Love you and what you do and keep up the good work.
Pat Flynn: Linda, thank you so much for your question and I'm so sorry to hear about your spam issues. That is just, that's just the worst. I mean, and I don't know why they do it, right? I mean, it doesn't work. It just makes us upset. I mean, common sense would say that when you do that, especially when it's just random gibberish, that it doesn't do anything.
Now Linda, you might have a special case where you have certain individuals on your site who just, for whatever reason, are targeting you and would be individually typing those things, which is why those plugins and things aren't working. And I'll mention those plug-ins in a second for everybody else out there or to you as well, Linda, in case you haven't tried any of these. But if you find that they are specific individuals who just for whatever reason are targeting your site, this is what I would do: I would take their IP address which you can get on the back end of WordPress in your comments section, take their IP address and their email, and put that in the blacklist area in WordPress. Which means that whatever you put in this blacklist form, which you can find it in WordPress, Settings, and then Discussion, there's a form if you scroll down where you can put in any IP address, any email addresses, and you'll never hear from those people again. They won't be able to leave comments on your site.
Now if you don't like those people even more, and I've had to do this in the past with trolls and things like that, you can block their IP from your complete server. So, they wouldn't even be able to access your site and to do that you'd have to go through your host. If you're in BlueHost, if you go in the back end there's IP blocking or IP security. You can just put in the IP address there, which you get, again, from the comments in WordPress, and you'll never have to hear from those people again.
It's your blog. You can do whatever you want. Those types of people shouldn't be ruining the experience other people have on your site. So just, you know, if there's a few individuals taking the time to do that manually for each and every one of those, you'll start to weed them out and you won't have to deal with them anymore.
Now there are plugins out there for helping with spammers and the first one I want to mention is the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. Weird name but Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. It's G-A-S-P, GASP, for short and what this does, is it gets rid of all of the comments, all of the spam comments from bots. So, there are programs out there people, there are programs that people buy to just spam the hell out of every site that is out there in the world and it's ridiculous. So, they type in something they want spammed out and they hit send, and it gets put out on comment sections. It just looks for blogs with comments and fills them in automatically without doing any work. Again, ridiculous, totally the scum of the earth, but that's what they do. However, this plugin, what it does it adds a little button or a little check mark that people have to check before it can be submitted and these bots, they can't do that. They can't see this check mark that they have to click. So, this gets rid of all those automatic comments that are coming from spambots. Again, that's Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. Just really quick, and its not that hard for your audience to just click a button. You know, it's not very invasive as far as that process is concerned so you don't have to worry about upsetting people with that. So, that's the first thing.
The next thing is Akismet which is the spam sort of plugin or service that comes with WordPress and that works okay. I mean, for me I have, I'm a little biased against it because sometimes it works too well and people's comments aren't getting shown that should be shown. Sometimes my own comments are getting put in the spam bucket because of Akismet so I have mixed feeling about it but it does work. It does get rid of a ton of comments that are spam as well. You can also install a commenting system like Disqus. There's also Livefyre. Those will have spam-battling capabilities and it just, you know . . . The sort of con against those is people will have to sign in to that particular service or through or with their Twitter account or Facebook account or Linkedin profile or whatever to be able to then leave a comment. It's not just as easy as a name, email, and then your comment. So, it's a little bit tougher but I use Disqus on SmartPassiveIncome.com. I've been doing that for the last six months. It's been working out really, really well actually. So, that's another plugin/third-party commenting system you can use.
The resource I mentioned at the top of the show is a contact form plugin or tool that you can use, GravityForms.com. And what this does is it adds a nice high-quality customizable form for your site for what ever the needs might be, just contacting you or collecting orders, whatever the case may be. But they have a really good spam, sort of capture system. They use Captcha system and you could do it with the little—it shows you the picture of the numbers and letters and you have to put those in or you could just say like . . . Again this gets rid of those spambots and the people who are just maybe in other countries who shouldn't be on your site who are just there for spamming purposes. You know, you could say like nine plus five equals question mark and people have to put in the answer. So, that gets rid of a ton of spam as well and like I said, getting spammers who are individuals who just might be targeting you, putting them into the WordPress settings discussion blacklist area would help or banning their IP.
So, Linda I hope that helps you. I wish you all the best and you know, I'd love to hear a follow-up on how these plugins or these methods worked for you in decreasing spam. I think it'd be helpful for all of us and hopefully for those of you out there who are suffering from spam, I wish you all the best because it's terrible and trust me I know because I get a ton of spam. And there will be one or two that gets through, that falls through the cracks every once in a while but it's not as bad as 10,000 things I have to delete everyday.
So, Linda thank you so much. Oh, one more thing that just popped in my head, I didn't write this down actually, was in the blacklist form in the WordPress discussion settings area, you can also type in specific words that if people comment and use those words, they won't show that comment. Meaning the comments gets put in the spam bucket. And so you could put words in there like, I have all the swear words in there, most of the swear words because I just don't want any swearing in my comments. But beyond that I have things like Viagra and Cialis and designer heels and Coach and Louis Vuitton and other things that I've seen spam come in for before. I put them in there and I don't have to worry about them every again. So, that's another thing you could do.
Well anyway, thank you so much Linda. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way. I can't wait to see what it looks like. And for those of you who have a question, if you go to AskPat.com, feel free to leave a question using the SpeakPipe widget there. And lastly, I just want to end with a quote, as I always do. And this was a quote from, I don't know where this quote comes from, but it's very pertinent. It's not one of those inspirational ones, it's just kind of funny. “There are two kinds of spam in this world. The one you eat and the one you delete.”
So anyway, hopefully this episode was helpful to you. Thanks and take care and I'll see you the next episode.
Customizable forms for your WordPress site (and are great for eliminating spam).