by Charles Oropallo | Dec 15, 2020 | Do-It-Yourself, Internet, Security, Technical Help, The CW Corner, Website Development, WordPress
Akismet provides a convenient and free way to protect your personal WordPress site or blog from spam.
Many times we’d like to allow comments to be left on our WordPress site. The hassle with this can be the tremendous amounts of spam that come through the forms on websites.
Akismet is a compact WordPress plugin that filters the incoming comments. It is pretty straightforward to use and pretty easy to set up as well.
Install the Akismet plugin
The first step in this process is to ensure that the Akismet plugin is installed in your WordPress website:
- Log into your WordPress website’s dashboard as an administrator
- Click on Plugins in the left dashboard navigation column
- Look and see if Akismet is listed – if it is – and it is not activated you can proceed to the Akismet Setup step below – otherwise
- Click on Add New under Plugins in the dashboard navigation column
- If you don’t see Akismet in the plugins, then in the text box to the right of the work Keyword in the row starting with Featured type in Akismet – then click on its Install Now button. Do not activate it yet.
Perform the Akismet Setup
To set up Akismet in your website, you will need an API code from the Akismet site. The first step in that process is to navigate to:
This (as of the time of this writing) brings you to a page that should look similar to the screenshot below.
Akismet offering pricing page
To get the free version of Akismet comment spam protection, you will need to click on the Get Personal button on the above page.
Once you’ve done that, you should see a page similar to the one below. Before attempting to fill out anything on this page, we need to set that $36 / YEAR to $0 / YEAR. Click on the $36 / YEAR box and drag it to the left.
Akismet Default $36 per year page
Dragging that $36 / YEAR box to the left should change the page to display something like the one below showing 0$ / YEAR. You can also see that the information to fill in has changed.
Akismet $0 per year page
Akismet $0 per year page
Now fill in the information completely. Note that you need to be able to check all three checkboxes indicating the following:
- you don’t have ads on your site
- you don’t sell products/services on your site
- you don’t promote a business on your site
If these are the case, then you will qualify for a free, personal plan.
All you have to do once you have gotten this far is follow the directions on the page below.
Akismet signup complete page
Finally, it is suggested that while on that settings page in Akismet, you can choose to show the number of approved comments beside each comment author and choose whether to show a privacy notice or not. Then just click the Save Changes button and you are on your way!
by Charles Oropallo | Oct 16, 2020 | Internet, SEO
Almost all businesses get the usual spam SEO (Search Engine Optimization) phone calls.
Recently, one of my web clients took one. As a result of such calls, she emailed me. She expressed a lot of concern about having been told very negative things about her web traffic and website operation. It sounded like he was trying to get her to spend money. Money she’d never see a return on her investment for.
High-pressure sales tactics are something I have instructed staff in all our years in business to avoid. CharlesWorks policy forbids selling clients anything they don’t need. The difficulty is that there are so many spammers and scammers out there sending the same messages that people believe them. You can tell the same lie a thousand times and it’s still a lie.
Among the thousands of websites we’ve handled, her particular business is very unique – especially during the COVID-19 epidemic. Her classes are limited regarding how many people she can have in them at any given time. I told her that she is the one who knows best what should be on her website. And she is the one who knows best what she has to offer and when she can offer it.
The nature of her business, it seemed to me, is based more on a following she has developed over time. And she is limited as to how many people at a time she can physically handle. And – much as I hate to say this – COVID is going to remain a thought in many people’s minds – at least through this upcoming winter season. Things will change when a vaccine is widely available. However, common sense dictates it will be a while before everyone generally has access to it.
I suggested she shouldn’t spend more than she absolutely has to – to just keep her business operational. Those small business owners who can stay in business through this pandemic will be the ones who do great once they reach the other side of this.
It’s troubling that someone had pressured her enough to do work on her site that she became stressed over it. Sales people who proceed with such a hard sell attitude are clearly desperate for work. Desperate people are not working with their customer’s best interest in mind. My advise is to not talk to these people.
My suggestions for dealing with these really hard line sales calls are:
- “Remove me from your calling list.” Tell them to remove you from their calling list. Once you say those words, they are supposed to do so by law. I regularly tell spammers this, and they generally don’t bother to call back.
- Block their phone number. Block their number through whatever mechanism your telephone carrier has set up to do that. I do this on a pretty regular basis with the robocalls (which are actually illegal in most cases) and take a few minutes to report them at the https://www.donotcall.gov/report.html site.
- Visit the National Do Not Call Registry. Go to https://www.donotcall.gov where you can put your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Mine have been on this for many years.
While these suggestions don’t stop all the spam calls you’ll get, they do stop many.
Every small business owner can and should review their website. They should ensure that everything is up to date for offerings and schedules. That only costs them a few minutes. Because CharlesWorks charges for changes by the minute, those kinds of changes only incur those minutes of charges.
I hope this is helpful to you!
by Charles Oropallo | May 13, 2020 | Email, Internet, Monadnock Shopper News, Security, Shopper News, The CW Corner
The pandemic we are dealing with doesn’t always bring out the best in human nature. Such times are when scammers are more apt to take advantage of people. Many people are feeling anxious and helpless. Add economic issues and it’s clearly a recipe for depression and uncertainty.
Most small business owners have heard of PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loans. These are to help businesses stay alive and keep people employed during this pandemic. There are incredible numbers of scams involving PPP loans.
Most scams come through email. They also happen over the phone. Unbelievably, calls and email are great mediums for scammers. Emails trick people into loading viruses onto their computers. Both manipulate people into volunteering personal information! The result is identity fraud and/or account thefts.
Internet and telephone scams have one important factor in common: instill a sense of urgency in the mark. If the scammer can make you think you need to act on this right away, you probably will.
I suggest you:
1) Deal with bankers/lenders at respected institutions you actually know. Use the drive-through window if you must to set up an appointment.
2) Call your banker/lender if you get an email or phone call offering their help with the PPP loan – even if the email or phone call appears to be from a legitimate source.
3) Understand that emails and phone numbers can be spoofed – made to look like they’re from a legitimate source.
Be cautious and you won’t have to regret the unimaginable headaches that those who have suffered identity theft and other losses have experienced.
by Charles Oropallo | Oct 30, 2019 | Email, Internet, Monadnock Shopper News, Shopper News, The CW Corner
It’s Halloween time again so I thought I’d mention Halloween Spoofs! Well, actually email spoofing happens year round.
An example of spoofing is when emails are sent that are addressed from you (and maybe to you) but you didn’t send them. In that case your address has been “spoofed”.
Spammers and scammers alike do this. There are a couple reasons it’s done.
Sometimes it is malicious. Let’s say someone goes onto numerous websites to sign up for information as XYZ Company. So a ton of spam is sent to XYZ. XYZ finds itself barraged with email and phone spam – wasting lots of their time.
More often XYZ is spoofed to appear to be the sender of spam. Folks local to XYZ are more likely to open the spoofed emails. The spam really isn’t from XYZ – just made to look like it is. So recipients think XYZ is spamming them. They’re annoyed with XYZ and report them as spammers and complain and so on.
Fortunately, spoofing doesn’t account for most Internet issues. It just makes life miserable for XYZ – the target – for a while.
The good news is that usually spoofing usually only lasts a few days. The actual sending server is identified and blocked or shut down.
Always report these issues to your email administrator. Early intervention saves lots of headaches in the long term.
by Charles Oropallo | Sep 18, 2019 | Internet, Monadnock Shopper News, Shopper News, The CW Corner
When working in the web world as I do, Internet scams appear to be everywhere.
Phishing is defined as the act of attempting to trick the recipient of a malicious email into opening and engaging with it.
It’s amazing how people fall for phishing scams. They fall for them mostly because the emails are designed to appear like the writer isn’t too bright. So immediately the recipient thinks they have the upper hand. Many count on the recipient’s greed – believing they’ll get something for nothing.
The bad guys that develop these schemes are experts. All they do is work scams – day and night. They wouldn’t continue if it didn’t pay off in the long run.
I read someplace that billions of dollars annually are conned out of people through the various scams out there on the Internet. For the most part – I hate to say – they can’t be stopped. They are sent from all types of email addresses, all types of servers, from all over the world.
Bottom line is that you should keep deleting them. The best course of action is to stop responding to them and opening them. Report them as spam or report them as phishing attempts. Your email provider may provide insight with how to do this. They will ultimately stop coming.
Remember that if the bad guys can’t trick you into parting with your money they will focus on someone else – until they find someone who does. Just don’t be that someone.