Add a Clickable Phone Number to Your WordPress Navigation Menu

Mobile devices are driving web traffic and having the ability to add your phone number as a clickable navigation menu option is a nice touch.

The process to add a clickable phone number to your nav bar is remarkably simple. WordPress has the ability to perform this natively within the application; however, it is possible that some themes do not allow this. You’ll need to verify if your own instance will work.

Adding a Clickable Phone Number to My Navigation Menu

Clickable phone number in navigation menu.From the WordPress Dashboard, go to Appearance. From Appearance, select Menus. Within the menus section, you’ll want to scroll down to the Custom Link option.

When you open the Custom Link option, you will see a place to enter a URL and Link Text. Simply remove the existing http:// from the URL field and enter “tel:” followed by your phone number including the area code. For example, the field should display “tel:123-456-0000” to work properly.

The key to your success here is the replacing the http:// with the tel: prefix in the URL field.

Next, add the link text that you prefer to display in the menu… and that’s it. You now have a fully clickable phone option within your navigation menu.

reCAPTCHA is the Next Generation of Transaction Security

Who doesn’t despise CAPTCHA images? Honestly, the sight of the poorly rendered graphic security images creates an instantly poor user experience. While tools such as CAPTCHAs are a necessary evil, many people have wondered if there is a better way to address website transaction security. This is where reCAPTCHA comes into the picture (see below).

Use reCAPTCHA to halt spammers from creating fake user accounts in wordpress.

CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) are tools used to help websites identify between actual humans and automated bots. The bots rely on the predictable nature of standardized forms to blow through thousands of sites in an attempt to gain access, deposit spam, or insert malicious code. CAPTCHAs throw a curve ball at the bots and block most of them from causing any harm.

While CAPTCHAs historically provided needed security to customer transactions, they also provided a negative experience to those that have to deal with them. People have been willing to deal with the downside so long as the protections remained effective. Unfortunately, those protections are starting to fall off.

There are companies that have been touting the success of custom image-reading software that is capable of cracking CAPTCHA’s.

The Next Generation of CAPTCHAs

Advances in technology have driven creative minds to devise the next generation of CAPTCHA. Search giant Google has create a software program that they use for their online map generation that is capable of cracking CAPTCHAs with near 100% accuracy. This drove them to rethink the whole concept.

Google next developed their own version of the security feature, called no CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA. Google essentially threw the whole concept out the window with this next generation solution. Bots have reached a point of sophistication where they are now able to crack most CAPTCHAs so rather than make them even harder for humans to read, they took a different approach.

What is No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA

Google’s no CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA takes a unique approach to how they ensure transactional security. Rather than rely on reading difficult images, they take a more intelligent route. Google’s software instead evaluates a number of factors when an individual clicks on the “I am not a robot” button in their browser.

To achieve their objective, the no CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA looks at a range of factors to evaluate risk. It looks at everything from the IP address the user is logged in from, to the timing it took for the user to click the “not a robot” checkbox. It looks at web navigation history just prior to visiting the current web page as well as actions taken immediately following the page. Everything from how the cursor moved on the page prior to clicking the button, to which part of the checkbox was clicked, is taken into consideration.

The No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA is truly a next generation of transaction security.

If you’re looking to boost security on your WordPress site, implementing a reCAPTCHA may be the right move for you. There are several plugins available to get the job done. Check one out and get started right away!

How to Stop WordPress Spammers From Making Fake User Accounts

Fake user accounts created by spammers in WordPress can be a real nuisance. At a minimum, they’re a hassle to clean up. At worst, they represent a legitimate security threat to your site. So what’s an administrator to do – do you just throw your hands up and unplug the hosting servers?

What Impact Can Spammers Have on My Site?

A spammer can hit you in one of several different ways, and it’s not always obvious that you’ve been hit.

What Impact Can Spammers Have on My Site?Inserting Unwanted Spam Comments

Spammers have twisted the use of comments from the first day it was known that backlinks help with search engine rankings. They insert comments that often read like gibberish and include a backlink to their own page. These pages typically maintain a very poor ranking and in turn can hurt your site if not dealt with promptly.

Spammers Can Bloat Your Website

All the junk that spammers can insert into your site have the effect of increasing the size of your database. If they add enough garbage into your database, it will degrade the performance of your genuine site visitors.

Generate Email Spam Using Your Servers

Spammers can insert code into your servers that allows them to send thousands or even hundreds of thousands of emails from your server. If left unchecked, it will result in your IP address getting flagged for inappropriate email usage and create significant problems when you try to send legitimate emails.

Hack Your Site & Steal Valuable Content

Many spammers have a much more sinister intent behind their actions. Their purpose is to seek out vulnerabilities in your web design and exploit them to gain access. If able to gain access, they can take complete control of your site, the content seen on the web, and access valuable customer information within your database records.

How Spammers Gain Access to Your WordPress Site

This is going to be hard to hear; but the default installation of WordPress leaves the door wide open for spammers to create user accounts on your website. What’s worse, is that these accounts can be created via automated spambot programs that spend all day surfing IP address after IP address looking for sites just like yours.

You see, WordPress has a default function installed that permits the creation of user accounts by simply visiting the URL yoursite.com/wp-login.php?action=register. When a spambot hits one of these URLs that are left unsecured, it moves forward with the creation of a User ID.

Fear not, you can take control of this situation!

How to Stop Spam User Registrations in WordPress

There are few basic recommended steps you can take to improve the security of your website. And the good news is that none of them require advanced knowledge of programming!

Define Your Default Role for New User Accounts

Taking this step will help to ensure that anyone that slips through the cracks is limited in the damage they can inflict.

Go to Setting » General. From here, confirm your settings are appropriate. If your site does not allow for any users, then uncheck the Membership box. This will stop all future registration. If however, you do require registrations for entering comments or making online payments, and then be sure to set the level as low as possible to ensure they have no access to the Dashboard.

Beef Up Your User Registration Steps

Spambots rely on the predictability of the default WordPress registration forms. A great way to short circuit the bots is to implement a custom form.

There are many custom form options on the market; but WPForms (over 100,000 installs) is probably one of the more common options available. Simply install their User Registration Addon to add more security to your registration process. Custom registration forms will allow you to add a CAPTCHA. They can also help by providing an email activation step.

Again, you don’t have to go with WPForms. Other options such as Formidable Pro (over 300,000 installs) also provides User Registration customization.

Block IP Addresses Directly

Another effective technique for halting spammers is to outright block their IPs ability to access your website. Security programs such as Wordfence provide several layers of protection. They will let you block an individual IP address, an entire network, and even entire countries. Each step along the way provides a higher level of protection. For example, blocking an individual IP address will help with someone that is a spamming nuisance. However, more aggressive spammers may use a range of IP addresses. This makes blocking a network more effective. And finally, if your business only targets local customers and business within North American, then country blocking may be ideal for you. Just be sure you get educated on the features before you implement any security software. The last thing you want to to is accidentally block a Google or Bing crawler…

Use a CAPTCHA to Block Spambots

CAPTCHAs provide another great method for halting spambots. Additionally, their design has come a long way in recent years and the days of hard to read images are behind us, for the most part. Google even introduced their reCAPTCHA which has simplified the process even further. Users simply need to check a box that says “I am not a robot”.

Use reCAPTCHA to halt spammers from creating fake user accounts in wordpress.

Time to Block Spammers for Good

Dealing with spammers can be frustrating – we get it. But you have the ability to influence how much of a nuisance the problem really is. By following through on several of these recommendations, you will regain control of your WordPress site.

Now go block some spammers!

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What You Need to Know about Google’s Duplicate Content Policy

There are few things in online marketing more misunderstood than the concept of duplicate content and how Google handles it. I’m specifically talking about content where a quote was taken from another site, where content has been republished via syndication, or other similar concepts.

If we’re going to explain the policy, then we need to clarify what the term means.

Duplicate Content: Google explains that they view duplicate content as “substantive blocks” of material. That content can come from within the same website domain or it can come from another domain altogether.

Google Search

Duplicate content does not have to be a 100% copy from the original; but could simply include “appreciably” similar material.

Duplicate Content is Not Assumed to be Plagiarized

Just because you have duplicate content, it isn’t assumed that your intent was to plagiarize another author. There are plenty of reasons or circumstances where content is reused.

  • Print-versions of a webpage.
  • Retail store items.
  • Sites that use both regular and mobile domains to present content.

Google recommends you take the following steps in the event you have duplicate content.

  • Use a 301 redirect. This is especially important if you have reorganized your website.
  • Manage your syndicated content. Be certain to have a link on any syndicated content pointing back to the original. This is easy with all the tools available in platforms such as WordPress. Also be sure syndicated content is set to ‘noindex’ on pages where you’ve republished it.
  • Cut down on repetitive text. Having the same disclaimer or legal statement on every page should be avoided. Simply use a brief summary with a link pointing to your complete statement. This will also help your user experience.
  • Don’t publish “coming soon” pages. They’re a big NO NO and a terrible user experience anyway.
  • Focus on reducing redundant content. Think long and hard before you produce two pages with content that largely matches. If two pages are that close together, then you may be better suited to merge them together or to find ways to differentiate them better.
  • Use the <Blockquote> element where appropriate. While this is not explicitly called out in the Google Duplicate Content policy, it is a good business practice to blockquote a sentence you directly pull from another page.

Guidance if Your Content is Stolen

Google openly acknowledges that there are businesses that will take your content. If you find yourself in that position, they have the following recommendation:

In rare situations, our algorithm may select a URL from an external site that is hosting your content without your permission. If you believe that another site is duplicating your content in violation of copyright law, you may contact the site’s host to request removal. In addition, you can request that Google remove the infringing page from our search results by filing a request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

But I’ve Been Told Duplicate Content is a Non-Issue

Google Duplicate Content Search

Sadly, there are first page Google search results that inform readers that there is no risk of taking content directly from another website. We simply don’t agree with this unethical business practice and strongly recommend you stay away from such a blatant brand-damaging move.

Is Re-Posting a Guest Blog Bad News

Re-Posting an article you write for a website onto your own site is acceptable. This topic is not included in the Google Duplicate Policy; however, HTML structure accounts for it in a manner that addresses those concerns.

By using the “canonical” tag within your articles you can show web crawlers that you acknowledge this is not original content and even show where you obtained the content. Virtually all popular WordPress themes allow for the use of canonical content.

Not sure how any of this works and you want someone to give you a hand? Give us a call and we can help!