We host a wide array of websites that are completely different from one another yet there is one thing connects them all.
In September 2019, spam accounted for 54% of all email traffic.
Whether it’s unwanted emails sent directly to our clients’ email addresses or unsolicited contact form submissions – they’re all the same.
We don’t want them, our customers don’t want them and they are a complete waste of everyone’s time.
Now and then, we see a rise in spam to each of our clients contact forms.
It’s almost as if these bots or human spammers think their tactics will work.
Luckily, we have a great solution if you are using WordPress that will block spammers, bots and outreach emails from “SEO’s” and “web designers” looking to poach your clients.
The Basic Steps To Blocking Contact Form Spam
We’re only recommending free plugins. Anything that requires a membership just isn’t worth suggesting when there are simple, free alternatives to hand.
Honestly, we looked at paid for options but they we could not justify even mentioning them.
1) Set Up A Honeypot
Bots are designed to read a form, fill out required fields and submit it’s content to you.
A honeypot is a hidden field that a bot will complete not knowing it is hidden and should be ignored.
Once it tries to submit the form it will not send.
Bots could be trained to read CSS and JS to look out for honeypot fields so this is a very basic step in spam prevention.
2) Recaptcha Fields
Recaptcha is a great way to prevent spammers.
V2 and V3 of Google’s Recaptcha is quite groundbreaking technology.
Unfortunately, this is never a 100% proof method.
Captcha Farmers get paid to break or pass Recaptcha fields and human spammers or marketers will pass a bot test if they wanted to send you an email.
3) Pagination Prevents Spam
We host some huge websites. Some have tens of thousands of products that generate millions of visitors per month.
As you can imagine, the high volume of spam that comes through the form is infuriating.
We reduced the amount of spam with one simple trick.
We gave their customers the option to choose two options. Call us or submit a form.
Either a contact form or their telephone number would then be presented depending on what they chose.
This reduced bot spam by around 60%. Unfortunately pagination can be manipulated if the bot has been trained correctly so some still trickle through.
Blocking Words Or Phrases Being Sent Within A Contact Form
In this example, we are using Caldera Forms 1.88.
All you need to do is set up Conditions and Processors and block keywords and phrases.
This is the ultimate way to stop contact form spam.
This technique has eradicated contact form spam for every one of our clients.
It’s so effective we have actually stopped using the other techniques because of it’s success rate.
Setting Up A Condition To Warn Spammers
This bit doesn’t stop spam. It warns them.
We do this to prevent genuine enquiries being blocked.
Firstly, create a New HTML Field and call it Warning. Then write your warning text as HTML.
Next: In your Caldera Form settings simply click:
– Conditions >
– Add Conditional Group >
– (Give It A Name: i.e Block Spam).
– Select the dropdown Type > Show >
– Select “Warning” that’s located under the Applied Fields section.
Now you can set up the actual condition(s).
– Click on Add Condition Line >
– Select if [your field] >
– Contains >
– Enter your keyword or phrase you want to ban
You can add other Conditional Lines to include more keywords you want to ignore.
These forbidden phrases are case sensitive in Caldera Forms so you don’t have to enter different variations.
Try This Example Contact Form
Enter the keywords we have blocked to see how quickly the form reacts to banned phrases or keywords.
Completely Block Spam Messages Using Processors
We’ve shown you how to warn spammers, now it’s time to block them completely.
For this step to work, you just need to create a Form Processor.
– Click on Use Processor when selecting Conditional Recipient >
– Enter an email address for these spam emails to go to (we send ours to firstname.lastname@example.org)
– Make sure to check “Remove Default” to ensure this doesn’t go to your clients’ email address.
– Next click on the Conditions tab
– Select “Use”
– Set up an IF statement like we did when setting up a warning
– Save your form
That’s the exact steps that we took to reduce spam.
Following this method reduces spam rates by up to 99% and takes just minutes to set up.
You can use this method to not only reduce the high amount of spam your clients receive but you’re also stopping them from getting marketers promising them the world and in-turn poaching your clients.
Let us know in the comments how you prevent spam through contact forms.