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Source: Adriano Gasparri

Source: Adriano Gasparri

Spam is a pain in the butt, but we bloggers have to deal with it on a daily basis. WordPress is as bad about spam as any other CMS, but there are a variety of options to help weed out the spammy nuisance. The most popular plug-in is Akismet, which most WordPress bloggers already take advantage of, but it doesn’t do near as much as most of us would like.

Instead of relying on Akismet, it is best to have a multifaceted defense that helps keep spam of all sorts out of the picture. Cats Who Code recently shared a list of snippets and “hacks” all aimed specifically at erasing spam management from your WordPress responsibilities. I’m sharing the different ways you can deal with the spam issue that have been highlighted in their article, but if you want the code for a specific solution, they are all available on their blog.

One method involves targeting any and all comments with extra long urls. If you haven’t noticed, most spam comments come with super long urls, which make them easy targets once you know what you’re looking for. But, there is a code you can paste into your functions.php file that marks any comment with a url over 50 characters as spam.

Similarly, you may also notice that most legitimate commenters are perfectly happy to not include any url at all. They are there to join the conversation, not sell their own site after all. This means you can fight spam simply by removing the url field from your comment form. Some commenters won’t be too excited about the change, as it is nice to get an added boost to your site simply by sharing your expertise on other blogs, but most won’t be too hurt by the decision.

Spammers are very predictable, and the most common trick they use is targeting specific keywords. As such, creating a keyword blacklist that uses the most frequently targeted keywords for spam will allow you to mark any comments using a mess of the target keywords as spam. It is a more focused approach than those above, but it can also affect commenters who just happen to use important keywords in their responses.

You have many more options when it comes to fighting spam, but it is best to take a look at the spam you’ve already been dealing with, so that you will know exactly what you’re dealing with before you start blocking tons of comments for every spammy tactic. You don’t want to accidentally weed out legitimate commenters while you’re on your anti-spam war path.

If you read many blogs, it is easy to notice how rampant content scraping is. For the lucky few out there who haven’t run into it yet, content scraping is stealing content from a site to display it on someone else’s blog, usually with Adsense ads to make money off of your hard work.

Thankfully for all the bloggers out there, experienced coders have been fighting off these content scrapers for years and they are happy to share their latest tricks to keep their content from appearing on other sites. Given, this battle is similar to the ongoing battles against copyright infringers and hackers, in that while these solutions may work for the moment, scammers and scrapers are already at work to find a way around the defenses.

None-the-less, it is better to put up a fight rather than giving up when it comes to these content bandits. Jean-Baptiste Jung, co-founder of Cats Who Code, has offered snippets you can use in WordPress to help fend off exactly these types of content thieves, each with their own unique solution.

One common way scrapers steal content is by displaying your blog within a frame on their page, with the ads in another frame so that they will always be shown, and thus earn the scrapers money. Jung’s first snippet breaks out of these frames so that your blog covers the entire window, effectively blocking the scraper site from being seen.

The single most frequent content scraper method is to simply use your RSS feed, and display it on their site so that they also get to take advantage of your original (or paid for) images, as well as not using their own bandwidth. To solve this problem, Jung disabled hotlinking to images so that every time someone tries to use your pictures on their site, they instead see an image informing viewers the content is stolen from your website. It is pretty entertaining to see the results he shared from one such website.

Source: Cats Who Code

Source: Cats Who Code

Obviously, most content scrapers are using tools that do all the work for them, and these tools normally steal the title as well as the content of your post. The solution here is a simple snippet that adds a link automatically to your post titles that directs back to your original post.

To get the snippets, you’ll have to head over to Jung’s article, which also offers a couple more solutions to content thiefs. If you haven’t been bothered by scrapers yet, you are either very lucky, or not paying enough attention. The bandits may eventually figure out how to thwart these defenses, but at least your content will be safe for a while.

Every designer or developer wants to find ways to make their life easier. That’s why we are always on the lookout for new great tools. This is why Cats Who Code writer Jean-Baptiste Jung compiled a list of all of his favorite tools for front-end development.

Almost every tool he lists is free, more than anything they will make your job easier and quicker to accomplish. One of my favorites made the list, as Colllor helps any designer out with color associations and creating beautiful color palettes becomes really easy.

I won’t waste your time walking you through each one, but I advise checking out at least some of the tools. Unless you like your work being difficult, that is.