How to Remove Website URL Field from WordPress Comment Form

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to remove the Website URL Field which appears by default in the WordPress comment form.

As you might be aware, spam comments are a big issue for any WordPress Blog. The biggest reason you get spam comments as well is for people to get a backlink to their website using the Website URL field that appears in the comment form by default.

Since most of the spam is generated by automated bots, you can combat this with free tools and plugins. The trickiest part is to discourage spam comments submitted by real people. These are generally comments submitted by actual users are tend to either be off-topic, irrelevant, but also add no value to the discussion of the post. A good tool for this is Akismet along with removing the URL field from the comment form.

We are going to show you two ways to remove the Website URL Field; first one being with custom code and the second with the use of a plugin.

How to Manually Remove the Website URL Field From WordPress Comment Form

We always supply the manual removal first, as if you can get away without adding additional plugins to your website, it’s always better. What you need to do is actually quite simple; simply add the below code to your functions.php file and jobs a good’n.


add_filter('comment_form_default_fields', 'unset_url_field');
function unset_url_field($fields){
    if(isset($fields['url']))
       unset($fields['url']);
       return $fields;
}

What this does is simply removes the Website URL field from your WordPress comment form.

How to Remove the Website URL Field From WordPress Comment Form With A Plugin

If you want to go ahead with the plugin method, again, this is very simple. All you need to do is install and activate the Comment Link Remove and Other Comment Tools plugin

First, you need to install and activate the Comment Link Remove and Comment Tools plugin. For detailed instructions, please follow our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once activated, you will see a new menu item called QC CLR Settings in the left sidebar of your WordPress Dashboard. Clicking on this will take you to the plugins settings page as shown below:

The main option to select is the “Remove WEBSITE Field from Comment Form” option, then simply scroll down and click “Save Changes”.

Now to check, log out of WordPress and view any of your posts and you will see the field is now removed.

Do note, the comments that are already approved will still have their author names linked to their website URL.

To remove them, you need to go back to the settings page of this plugin and check the box next to the “Remove hyperlink from comment AUTHOR Bio” option.

Once you save the changes, the links from the existing comments will be removed as well.

Conclusion

We hope this tutorial has helped you in removing the website URL field from the WordPress comment form.

In relation to spam, you might also want to check out the following blog post:

How to stop spam emails coming from WordPress’ Contact Form 7

If this has helped, feel free to leave a comment below!

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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How to stop spam emails coming from WordPress’ Contact Form 7

Receiving lots of spam emails from contact forms on WordPress websites is always a big issue. The most commonly used plugin for WordPress is Contact Form 7, and this is highly targetted by spammers. Spam from contact forms can be a big issue for sites that get a lot of traffic and so, it results in receiving hundreds of spam emails every day. These are inconvenient and it makes it very difficult to spot the genuine messages in between all the spam.

Not only can you receive spam emails, if you have a WordPress Blog, but it will also be quite often the comments within your posts get bombarded with junk as well. Today, we will show you six different methods to reduce/remove spam coming from your WordPress website.

Note; – We don’t recommend using ALL of the methods we are going to list as WordPress websites should be kept clean and shouldn’t be overloaded with several unnecessary plugins. We recommend trialling one or two of the below methods and monitor how much spam you receive after they have been implemented. If one method doesn’t work for you, try another method until you are happy. We would recommend installing Akismet from being with.

1. Using Contact Form 7’s in-built anti-spam measures

You’ll find a lot of articles recommending CAPTCHA and quiz plugins that work with Contact Form 7. Most of these are unnecessary as it’s better to use the features already built into the Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin.

Quiz

Simple quizzes are becoming a popular way to combat contact form spam. They work by asking the user a simple question such as “Which is bigger, 2 or 8?”. Fortunately, bots can’t answer this question and as a result, only people who enter the correct response can submit the contact form.

To add a quiz, edit your contact form and click the Generate Tag dropdown. Paste the shortcode that appears below into your contact form. It will look something like this:


[quiz capital-quiz "Which is bigger, 2 or 8?|8"]

2. Minimum character count

Sometimes a lot of spam can come from bots that enter text with just 2 digits in a field, usually a number. If all of your spam messages follow an obvious pattern, you can block them by setting up your contact form to block messages that meet the pattern. In this case, we used Maximum and Minimum options in Contact Form 7 to require messages to be more than 20 characters long. Genuine enquires will usually provide more than 20 characters, so this blocks bots without frustrating real users.

The WordPress website featured in this article received a lot of spam contact forms with 2-digit messages – usually a number. I have no idea what they were trying to achieve, but it’s obviously a popular type of spam at the moment.

The Message/Comments field will look something like this:


[textarea* your-message minlength:20 maxlength:500]

Akismet

Akismet has a great reputation as being one of the best WordPress anti-spam plugins. Not everyone knows that it works with Contact Form 7 as well as blog comments.

Once you have activated the plugin and followed the on-screen instructions to add your API key (free for a non-profit-making website or a small monthly fee for business sites), you need to do a bit of extra config to make it talk to Contact Form 7 which you can read more about here.

In my tests, Akismet stopped about 70% of the Contact Form 7 spam but not all of it. It worked well in conjunction with some of the other solutions mentioned in this article. We no longer received any spam comments within the blog once this was activated as well.

4. Contact Form 7 Honeypot

Contact Form 7 Honeypot is a WordPress plugin that adds a hidden field to your contact form. Real users won’t complete it because the field is invisible. However, bots won’t know this and will fill it in. This allows the plugin to recognise them as bots and block their submission, clever right?

After you have installed and activated the plugin, use the Generate Tag option to create a honeypot shortcode to insert into your contact form. Note; this can be inserted anywhere within the contact form. It will look something like this:-


[honeypot honeypot-401]

5. reCAPTCHA v3

reCAPTCHA v3 returns a score for each request without user friction. The score is based on interactions with your site and enables you to take appropriate action for your site.

To set this up, you will first have to register your site on your Google Developers account. For full instructions, you can follow the guide here.

Then on your WordPress site, you can go to Contact –> Integrations, all you need to do from here is enter your Site Key and Secret Key provided from your developer account.

6. Really Simple CAPTCHA

The Really Simple CAPTCHA WordPress plugin was created by the developer of Contact Form 7 so they work together seamlessly. The plugin allows you to add a CAPTCHA to your contact form. It’s designed to prevent bots from submitting forms on your WordPress website.

Once you have installed and activated Really Simple CAPTCHA, insert a CAPTCHA tag into your Contact Form 7 form. (Click the Generate Tag dropdown to see the available options and create a customised tag to paste into your form.) It will look something like this:


[captchac captcha-14]

You can find further instructions about this here.

Do note though that CAPTCHAs are becoming slightly old fashioned and are not great for user experience. They also require particular features to be enabled on your server, which may not be in place for your WordPress website.

We would recommend adding a quiz first (see point 1.), and only trying CAPTCHA if this doesn’t work. The two methods basically do the same thing. They prevent automated bots from submitting your website contact form – so you shouldn’t need both.

Conclusion

All WordPress websites receive spam in slightly different ways. What works for one website may not work for another.

When I had to stop Contact Form 7 spam on a WordPress website, we immediately achieved a huge reduction in spam simply by installing Akismet.

We fixed the problem completely by combining Akismet with the Contact Form 7 Honeypot plugin, a quiz and a minimum character count.

If you just want to add one method to reduce Contact Form 7 spam, then we recommend Akismet. This is the best standalone solution as it’s so powerful and comprehensive. You can use it whether you’re a WordPress expert or a beginner. It can make a real difference to your WordPress contact form spam.

If you still receive spam, try the Contact Form 7 Honeypot in conjunction with this, trust us, it will definitely help!

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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How to Disavow Links – The Ultimate Guide

As we know, in modern times, backlinks are one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO. In this tutorial, we are not talking about acquiring backlinks, but removing them. Why would we remove them? Well, not all links are good backlinks, bad backlinks come with a spam score which gives you a negative score or a spam score. This is why it is good to use the disavow tool to remove unwanted backlinks.

Unlike some other topics, Google has been quite forthcoming on their backlink disavowal views and its place in your search engine optimisation toolbox. Let’s look as to why you may want to disavow a link and how we go about using the tool.

Why Should We Disavow Links?

If your spam score is increasing or poor backlinks are having a negative effect on your SEO, then the disavow tool is what you should be using. If you receive a message from Google in your Webmaster Tools about having ‘Unnatural Links’, you are being penalised whether you are knowingly complicit or not.

An important role for any SEO export is addressing any Google penalties that may arise. It’s not an issue if you stick to white hat SEO, but knowing how to keep a clean backlink profile for your website is vital when it comes to your SEO strategy.

Another great tool you can use to monitor negative backlinks is Moz Domain Analysis tool. This will provide you with metrics for your PA (Page Authority), DA (Domain Authority) and a Spam Score which is all ranked between a value of 1-100. However, I am going to mention here that if we disavow links in Google’s Disavow Tool, it will not take effect on Moz. We are simply using this tool to check which links we could potentially disavow. Unfortunately, Moz doesn’t have any access as to which links have been disavowed from Google, so just within Moz; it won’t reduce your spam score.

We, unfortunately, will not detect that a link has been disavowed, this isn’t something we were able to include in the old or new DA models. Since disavowing links doesn’t actually remove a link, it just signals to Google that the links aren’t important, our crawler will continue to find the link. We are working on having something like that built into Link Explorer, where if you disavow a link in Google, you can also mark it as disavowed in Moz, but I’m afraid that option isn’t available yet.

So, what constitutes a healthy backlink profile?

In general, the majority of organic backlinks can be classified as ‘good backlinks’. They represent the ideal Internet that Google is looking for. One where the website has great content is referenced frequently, naturally and freely. A single backlink won’t really have a big impact on your website, but they will slowly be building a reputation for your website and acknowledge your website to be a trustworthy and authoritative source.

On the other hand, ‘bad backlinks’ are mostly non-organic (with few exceptions). Two of the biggest offenders of this are where people decide to purchase backlinks in a mass order from shady websites. This, and intentional backlink schemes which utilise a private backlink network (PBN). You can read more about this in this article: What do I need to know about buying backlinks in 2020?.

It is also possible to gain ‘organic’ links from spammy websites that are just lists of products and links with no real content. The link was most likely generated by a script/robot, and it is certainly not benefitting your site, in which case, these are the ones we want to be removing.

Negative SEO Attack

Just to add here, with disavowing backlinks, you have to be really careful. It is a serious action. that can significantly impact your search ranking, whether it’s for the better or worse, so be very careful with the links you wish to disavow.

Google considers it a pretty last-resort option. You can find this in Webmaster Tools > Advanced and there are 3 warning screens you have to click through before you can upload a disavowal file.

In general, you should only disavow a link that you know for sure is bringing you down. Check the Google Quality Guidelines for a more exhaustive list.

Note that a link from a low-traffic or low domain authority site is not a bad link. It probably won’t contribute much individually, but every link is a vote of confidence in your site that Google takes into account. Obviously high ranking PA / DA websites will increase your score quicker, but a thousand low-quality PA / DA websites linking to your website is also helping you as well.

So, What Happens When You Disavow a Backlink?

Essentially, this is a request for Google to ignore those links to your domain. If the link disavow is successful, it won’t be counted for or against you when determining ranking in the search results.

Do note, Google is not obligated to honour your request to disavow the links. If you have a look in their documentation, you will see that it is only a suggestion to disavow the links that you are requesting. Also, this can take up to 48 hours before it takes effect on your websites search ranking.

Is it possible to undo a link disavow?

It is indeed. You are always able to download your current disavow file and edit it to your requirements. I wouldn’t edit it too frequently, you really want to be sure that the links in which you want to disavow are the right ones and the ones you wish to stick with.

How to do I Disavow Links in Google Search Console?

If you have a Google Analytics tracking tag on your website then you will also have access to Google’s Search Console tool.

Within the Google Console, you can conduct a link audit from the Link Report page. Just click the Export External Links button on the top right of the screen then select the More Sample Links option. You can export this file if you wish as well.

Once you have determined which links you are sure you wish to disavow, you will need to create a text file (*.txt) which you can upload to the Google Disavow Tool. With this, you need to follow a specific format but it’s really simple. The format goes as follows:

  • Each entry has to be on a different link
  • Each entry needs to begin with domain:
  • You can name the filename of the text file as anything you like

Following these rules, here is an example of how you can block either a complete domain or just a specific page:


# Pages to disavow
https://spam-website.com/this-is-a-bad-link
https://spammy-website.com/oh-damn-another-bad-link

# Domains to disavow
domain:spam-website.com
domain:super-spammy.org

Blacklisting the entire domain will save you quite some time over blocking just a specific URL. However, there are few instances in which you would want to disavow a single link from a site but still allow other links from that domain, but that’s why the option is available.

Head over to the Google Disavow Tool, select your domain and click through all of the warnings prompts until you reach the dialogue box that allows you to browse your folders and choose a file to upload. Select the disavow file you already created, and select Open to upload it to the disavow tool.

Within the next day or so, Google will no longer take the listed domains into account when determining your pages’ ranking.

Conclusion

Disavowing links can be intimidating if you don’t know what to do, so be sure you know what you are doing before adding a list of domains/pages. You can potentially ruin your SEO if you abuse disavowing, so it’s crucial to get it right.

We think every site owner needs to know about disavowing. It can mean the difference between a clean link profile and a spammy one. Plus, there are so many benefits to disavowing links correctly. Why? Well, your website will most likely get a book in ranking which will result in a higher ranking and more traffic to your website.

As already mentioned though, you don’t want to disavow links if you can help it; a manual removal is always preferable.

Only disavow links when you have no other choice. In this case, don’t be afraid to use the Disavow Tool, at the end of the day, that’s why it’s readily available.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of why you should disavow links and when you should do it. It can be a bit of a daunting task, but once you get used to it, it’s super easy.

Has the disavow tool ever helped you in the past? How much did it improve your rankings? Let us know! 🙂

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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