FREELANCING / SEP. 14, 2014
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Blogging for Pay: Why Identifying and Controlling Spam can Save your Career

There are now an estimated 70 million WordPress blogs in the world, as people utilise online connectivity to share their thoughts, passions and market insights. An estimated 40% of all bloggers consider themselves to be professional, however, meaning that they use their site to generate either primary or passive income.

For these individuals, spamming represents a serious and potentially career-threatening issue. While all bloggers have suffered the consequences of inadvertently publishing farmed content or offensive comments, however, Google’s aggressive attempts to crack-down on web spam now means that some may find their site sanctioned and their livelihood threatened if they cannot safeguard the integrity of their site.

How to Identify and Control Spam on your Blogs

With this in mind, it is imperative that you take practical steps towards safeguarding your blog. By identifying the various types of spam and implementing proactive control measures, you can maintain an engaging site that is capable of generating significant revenue. For example: -

1. Identify the Types of Spam that can Damage your Blogs

Spamming is an increasingly diverse and sophisticated art, and one that has the potential to impact on almost every form of online interaction. Even online gaming is now under threat, with cyber thieves manipulating in-game purchases in a bid to earn an illicit profit. For bloggers, however, the most prominent threats come from external guest posting, comments, trackbacks and pingbacks.

The latter two simply refer to manual and automated connections between independent blog sites, which can generate notifications when content is published and clutter your site with low quality links. While assessing the threat posed by trackbacks and pingbacks can be as simple as following the link that they have originated from, however, it can be harder to review guest posts and user comments. This is because these must not only be considered in terms of their content and quality, but also their relevance to the overall tone of the site. This demands a keen attention to detail and in-depth knowledge of your blogs theme.

2. Take Short-term Control of your Blog Sites

Once these threats have been identified, you can begin to implement short-term control measures as a way of restoring the integrity of your site. The first step should be to disable trackbacks and pingbacks, either through your WordPress setting or an updated plugin. This prevents spammers from infiltrating your site with poor quality links, while eliminating the threat posed by automation and enabling you take immediate control of your site.

On a similar note, if you currently allow user-generated content and automated guest post publication you may also want to withdraw this for a short period of time. This would allow you to put all guest posts through a stringent and manual editing process, so that you can regulate quality without undermining the diversity of your blog. When managing user comments, simply commit to moderating them and deleting any that contradict the tone, nature and rules of your site. You can even empower authors to moderate comments on their posts, so long as they are trusted authors, bloggers or colleagues with an understanding of your goals.

3. Create a Long-term Strategy for Safeguarding your Blog

As a general rule, part-time bloggers or those who operate multiple sites are likely to have limited time for moderation and editing. This means that they are only able to manually manage their blogs for a short period of time, as they must strive to create a more viable long-term plan going forward. While an immediate response may be to eliminate external guest posts and disable commenting, this can create an insular and monotone blog that generates minimal social interaction.

A far more preferable course of action is to integrate third-party tools and plugins into your site, so that you can responsibly automate specific aspects of blog management without compromising the site’s integrity. Disqus provides an excellent example of the former, as it serves as a regimented forum through which registered genuine users can impart comments that are reviewed prior to being published. In terms of robust and reliable plugins, Akismet is probably the most viable as it automatically filters and identifies suspect email addresses or comments while giving you the opportunity to blacklist them.

The Final Word

Once a popular past-time, blogging now represents a professional and lucrative career for many individuals throughout the world. Given the size and scope of blogging of as an industry, however, it seems strange that it should be vulnerable to spamming and its various techniques. Google’s changing algorithms mean that your blog cannot afford to be associated with spamming, so be sure to maintain a proactive attitude and take practical steps towards protecting your site and safeguarding your earnings.

 

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