Is Spam Wasting Hours of Your Work Week?
Are you frustrated by spam sent to your business email address? Is it getting worse? Do you ever wonder how they got your address? Including your email address on a website makes it possible for automated scraper bots that, sooner or later, will crawl the site to harvest your email address. On some business websites the email address of every staff member can be found on the staff or contact pages. Once they’re harvested they’re sold to spammers that will flood your inbox with unwanted offers or, even worse, attachments with malicious code that will compromise your computer.
Protect Your Business Email Address
There are a number of ways to protect your email address from scraper bots. One of the easiest to implement is to replace email addresses with contact forms. They hide your email address behind a script that processes the form. As part of the form you should include a CAPTCHA – a simple task that humans can complete but bots can’t. CAPTCHAs can be a simple series of numbers or letters shown on the screen, or a simple math problem, that must be entered into one of the form fields before it can be submitted.
Keep Your Contact Forms Simple
Ease of use is important. Keep your form simple so it doesn’t discourage visitors to your site from contacting you. Too many required fields will turn some visitors off. When setting up your form consider the following:
- When possible, only require a name and email address.
- Allow plenty of space in the comment/question field.
- Set expectations by telling them what will happen after they submit the form. For example, “If requested, we’ll contact you the next business day,” or “We respond to all inquiries within 48 hours.”
- Set up an autoresponder that emails a recap of the information submitted to the visitor. (Note: When done correctly, an autoresponder can be the first step in developing a relationship with your new contact that leads to a sale. Want to know more? Contact us.)
Once you’ve been contacted by a legitimate visitor you can continue the conversation as you normally would through regular email.
An Additional Advantage – Visitor Intelligence
Contact forms can be set up to tell you what page it was submitted from. It may be useful to know if your “Contact Us” page or a product or service page is driving visitor inquiries. On a WordPress site a contact form can be added to a sidebar or footer so it appears on all pages.
Contact forms won’t eliminate all spam, but they’re an effective way to protect your business email address from automated scrapers.
If you need help setting up forms on your business website, please drop us a note using our contact form.
Rave Communications offers complete web design services.