Keep Spam Away from Your Inbox..
One of the first things you’ll notice when you design a website and put it online for all to see is a tremendous increase in your email spam. At Webmaster Course, we face the same problem as you. There are some ways to at least reduce the amount of spam you get. Here are some brief tips to help you prevent email spam on a website and in your inbox!
Why Does Spam Email Increase?
The amount of spam to your email will increase because your website probably contains your email address in many places – maybe even on every page!
Spammers use special software called “email harvesting software” to crawl the web for millions of emails from websites just like yours.
They can grab your email from the HTML source of your web pages easily without your knowing it.
Simple Ways to Prevent Email Spam on Website
Disguise Your Email Address
There are several ways to disguise your email address in such a way to prevent email spam on your website. Disguising it keeps the spammers’ software from finding or recognizing your email address. One way is to make the “@” symbol into a graphic or image instead of an actual “@” symbol.
You can use any graphics program to do this. Just type it into your graphics program and save or export it as a “.gif” file.
Insert the image into your web page code where the “@” would normally go. Keep your email words around the symbol as plain text, but make only the “@” symbol a graphic image (.gif).
Another way to disguise your email address is to write the complete email out as words only (even the dot). Here’s an example:
editor (at) webmaster (dot) com
You can also disguise your email using Java code.
Be Careful about Joining Lists on the Web
Think twice before joining any list online with your main email address. You never know which companies might be selling your email to others!
The best thing to do if you must register at a website is to create a free email account such as with Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, MyMail, or something similar.
Or, you can use the unique “sneaky” emails at places like Sneakemail.com that allow you to create emails and forward them to your regular email.
You can even use a different email for every place you register and find out exactly who’s selling your email to spammers.
Never Reply to Spam Emails
When you reply to a spam email, you’re letting them know that your email is indeed valid. Then they have every reason to sell your email to someone else and to keep spamming you themselves.
Instead of replying, delete all spam or save it for filtering purposes only. But, don’t ever let them know you’re a real person and or that you are really getting their emails. Don’t even use their “unsubscribe” link if one is provided. This can be a trick as well!
Never See a Spam Email Picture Again
Some of the top spammers online are companies that send photos no one would want to pop up unexpectedly!
To prevent seeing images from these spammers, turn off the “HTML” email feature in your email client and leave it off until you need to use it. Select to “read all messages in text format only.” In text format, no images will ever be shown unless you choose to see them by turning HTML back on.
Use Headers to Identify Spammers
You can use the “Headers” feature in your email to view the information about where the spam message came from.
In Outlook Express: Click on the message as if to open it, RIGHT click your mouse and select “Options” or “Properties.” If selecting “Properties” then select the “Details” tab to view the complete headers.
This will show if the company has falsified the sender information. You can see if the email is really coming from who it says or if this information was false.
Use Forms to Prevent Email Spam on Website
Forms can be used on your website for visitors to contact you. You can hide your email within the form code so email harvesting software cannot grab it from your web pages. Many companies do this now to keep control of their inboxes.
Hint: Create one “Contact Us” page and link to that page from all your other pages. Then, if you have to change email addresses, you’ll only have to change it on that one contact page.
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Using Spam Filters to Prevent Email Spam
There are many spam filters including ones provided by your web host that can help you get a hold on spam.
Unfortunately, none of these are perfect, so you have to keep checking to be sure it doesn’t block your “real” emails or customer emails if you own a business. This can cause many headaches!
So, it’s a good idea to do other things like the steps suggested above to keep spam to a minimum so you won’t have to filter your email.
Beware of Certain Types of Tricky Email Spam
If you receive an email asking you to “verify your account” with a company (even one you recognize) – DO NOT click the link to verify your account. Instead, go directly to that company’s website by typing its real web address in your browser. You will likely find out that the email was a fake.
I have received hundreds of these per week before from culprits claiming to be eBay, PayPal, CitiBank Financial, and several other well-known company names – and they are all fakes or “spoof” emails. These are designed to steal your account information at important places on the web. Be careful!
Use the spam tips above to prevent email spam on your website and in your inbox. You should see a reduction in spam in no time. And remember, spam is just a problem you have to work at solving. Don’t let it ruin your day! Design your website to be functional for your visitors, but safe for you.