One of the biggest problems with putting your personal and/or business contact details onto your website is being inundated with spam just a few weeks after launching your site. This is due to automated programs trawling the internet and searching the source code of unsuspecting website owners for email addresses.
There are many methods that you can use to try and hide your details from the spammers. Some require just simple changes to your text, whilst others, although a little more advanced, can be equally simple to implement.
The following are a few ideas that you can use to disguise your email address online. These are by no means the only ways but we have found them useful in the past in web design projects. The best method for you does of course depend on your own website requirements …
1. Rewriting Your Email Address
The most simple is probably just to rewrite your email address so that humans can understand it and spam harvesters tend to skip over it. Example:
firstname.lastname@example.org could be rewritten as … email [AT] mydomain dot com.
Unfortunately this method obviously relies on the visitor to your website understanding what you mean and this is not necessarily going to fool all spam harvesters these days.
2. Replace Your Email Address with an Image
If you prefer to have your web page show your actual email address then one simple method is to replace the email text in your source code with an image as shown below:
Hiding text in an image is a good way to stop spam harvesters picking out your email address … not impossible of course but far more tricky!
Whilst the above two methods work and offer lower risk ways of displaying your email address, one big problem is that you cannot use these to add the “mailto:” link. The mailto: link allows your visitor to automatically open their email software with a new blank email already populated with your email address as demonstrated if you click on the link below:
Next week I will cover two more ways of beating the spammers, including one, which allows you to add a “mailto:” link with virtually no risk.