There is something very human about displaying your business email address on your website. If someone is looking to purchase your service or product, they might have additional questions for you. They will likely scroll down to your footer to find your email address so that they can email you with their questions and concerns. Putting a “Contact us” or “About us” tab can also be very helpful in making a sale, as they can contact you more easily.
If they head on to the “Contact us” page, they might get disappointed if they see a contact form. This adds a level of formality to the process, and it might be a turn off for some. If they have to fill in a form, without any knowledge when they will hear back from you, they might not feel appreciated enough. You need to make sure your customers know that their emails are more than welcome.
Yet, leaving your email address on your website is also an invitation for a bunch of not so welcome emails. You know the drill personally – you left your email somewhere for free something, and now you can’t get rid of their newsletter. Even worse, you ended up receiving emails from some website you never signed up for! What’s up with that?
There is quite a variety of reasons why you keep receiving those emails. Each of these is more annoying the previous one, but the basic intention behind each is to get your money. It could be either by tricking you or offering you to buy something you never actually thought you needed.
It could be the basic spam – your great uncle you never knew you had, from some exotic country, has passed and has left you quite an inheritance. They just need your bank account numbers to forward the money to you. Also known as phishing, especially if they are looking for some personal information which can lead up to identity theft.
Or, they could have stepped up the game and went straight to spoofing. You receive an email from your bank or from PayPal! They tend to send emails disguised as a known and trusted sender. Another annoyance, which can cause a bunch of other problems if followed through.
It could also be an email from a company offering their product to you. Direct marketing is a craze and it can be quite effective. Not so effective if you never asked for it, though.
You might be thinking that you are not the one to fall for these – and you probably aren’t. However, scammers sending them don’t expect all sent emails to bear fruition. They are sent in bulk. It only takes a couple of people to fall for it to make it worth their while. Unfortunately, some people still do. As a result, your inbox, or your spam folder is filled with these unsolicited emails, and while you are pressing delete, you might be wondering “How on Earth did they get my email address?”.
You don’t see them and you can’t hear them, but they are slowly doing their jobs – harvesting emails. These bots crawl around the internet, looking for, and collecting, email addresses. Getting a harvesting bot up and collecting emails is an easy task. It is fairly simple for these harvesting bots to collect emails, thanks to the formatting of email addresses and the use of “mailto” scheme.
Collecting, or also known as scraping emails, is straight out illegal in some countries. However, as long as there are people paying for these emails, the scrapers will scrape. Scammers are usually residents of countries without this law, so it could be a nice amount of money for them and they don’t really have to worry or care about consequences.
You do care, though. You want people to be able to contact you, yet, displaying your email address could be troublesome. Just think about all the emails you don’t want clogging your inbox and making you miss the important, real ones! Even if you don’t care about your inbox, we are pretty sure you don’t want your website to be “that website that sold my email!”. If you do, you can say goodbye to your potential client.
How do I keep those bots away?
Unfortunately, you can’t. They will keep crawling on your WordPress website, that is for sure. Still, you can make sure they crawl away empty-handed, and we are going to show you how.
If you have a WordPress website, you might have thought: “There must be a plugin for that”, and you would be completely right. We have two, very simple and straightforward plugins to show you. From there, it is only a matter of personal preference!
1. WP Mailto Links
WP Mailto Links is probably one of the simplest plugins that will get the job done for you. It is created specifically for the purpose of protecting your email on your WordPress website.
What can I do with WP Mailto Links?
Not much, but it can do exactly what you installed it to do – To make sure that those harvesting bots say “Nothing for us here” once they land on your website!
- Automatic mailto links Protection – The best part about this plugin is that it will protect your email automatically, without you having to lift a finger! Just download and activate it – and you are all set! The only checkbox you need to click is already clicked.
- Got plain email addresses? – Use this plugin to convert them to mailto links. As such, they will be automatically protected as all other mailto links are.
- Keep plain email – You can still protect them even if you are not into turning them into mailto links. Simply set protection text, and you are good to go!
- Protect the RSS feed – Don’t know what RSS feed is? No need to Google and learn. With this plugin, RSS feed is automatically protected, too.
- Icons – You can also set icons for your mailto addresses. Use images, or you can use Dashicons, the WordPress native icons.
- Support for Font Awesome Icons – If you are familiar with Font Awesome, and you want to use their icons, go ahead! This plugin supports them, out-of-the-box!
- Shortcode support – If you are looking to add the protected email address to your posts, simply copy and paste the shortcode to wherever you want it to be.
- Simple template tag – this feature allows you to add the protected email into your template.
This plugin is by far, the simplest solution out there. All it takes is installing it and activating it. It will take care of your emails on its own from there. It combines the best protection methods, so you don’t have to worry that just because it is simple, it won’t do its job right.
Considering it only takes two clicks to protect your emails and be able to sleep tight without dreaming those bots, you might want to make those clicks as soon as possible! Set yourself free from all potential spam, and make sure that you are not “that guy” without thinking about it too much.
2. Email Encoder
Another excellent WordPress plugin that will shoo those harvesting bots away empty-handed, Email Encoder is our other solution.
What can I do with Email Encoder?
This plugin is as efficient as the previous one, but it also covers other aspects which some users could very much appreciate.
- Automatic mailto protection – If you were worried that more clicking will be required, you can relax. Email Encoder also requires two clicks, one on Install, and the other on Activate.
- Additional protection – Worried about your phone number? You can use this plugin to protect it too, and pretty much all other content.
- RSS feed protection – This plugin will make sure that your RSS feeds are protected, too. We all know how important that is, right?
- Special characters – Very important if your language is using some specific characters, especially if you have posted in any non-alphabetic languages.
- Manually create – Feel free to use the available encoder form if you are looking to manually create encoded scripts.
- Choose the type of protection you need – With three different types and clear explanations, you can pick the one that fits you the best.
It is easy to see that if you want your email free of spam, all you have to do is make a couple of clicks. It is as easy as liking your friend’s picture on Facebook. Once you have installed and activated this plugin, just like the previous one, it will do the rest for you.
If you would like to add additional twists and tweaks, you can do so. Don’t expect the ability to turn your WordPress website into a rocket, as it is designed to keep your mind at ease and your inbox clean.
All in all
These two plugins are the perfect solution to all of your existing or potential spam problems. Without you having to do virtually anything, except installing and activating it, you can keep your inbox clean and your customers’ emails protected.
While the first plugin is perfect if you are looking to add some icons to your emails the second is the one pick if you present address or phone number on your website. Either way, your contact information is safe and harvesting bots have nothing to show for their efforts.
While Nigerian princes looking for help with transferring money from a foreign bank account can be amusing, you probably don’t have time for that. Choose one of these, activate it, and present your email address to your customers! Your email should be right there, and very much visible so that they can ask the right questions and leave their money with you!