If you run a community website, you will get spammers – it is inevitable. Indeed, I am often amazed how some spammers manage to find new websites before the search engines! Spammers can ruin a community website – it is essential that you keep on top of them and prevent them from having a negative impact on your site.
Why fighting spam is essential
Forums covered in spam affect your website’s credibility. If your forum is overrun with spam, it sends the signal that you are not actively maintaining the website – hardly the right image you want to portray in order to attract new members.
Spammers can not only ruin your site’s reputation, they can also post links to ‘undesirable content’ such as porn and viruses. It is your responsibility to protect your members by removing spam messages as soon as you find them.
How to combat forum spam
There are many hacks and plugins available for all the popular pieces of forum software – just do some research and you will find what you are looking for. It often pays to install a couple of the hacks in order to reduce spam as much as possible.
It also pays to keep an eye on new member signups – you can often tell when new members are spammers from their profiles; tell tale signs include the use of email addresses you will soon learn to associate with spammers, the links placed in their profiles and often their usernames.
The real key to preventing spam affecting your forum is to visit it regularly and take action if you come across spam. You should be visiting your forum at least daily anyway – during this time keep a look out for spam and take immediate action when you find it. Delete the post and delete the user.
It is essential to keep on top of spam – it portrays a negative image of your website and can be a danger for your members. Remember the importance of your site’s brand – keep on top of spam and you will be another step closer to running a successful online community.