As an online business owner, I run many websites. Most of them are either blogs or online magazines. Running the sites is fun, but managing the back-end can be very challenging.
One of my biggest problems in the back-end system is spam. I have at least one form on every site I own – typically a contact form – and thwarting spam coming through my contact forms is a real headache.
Human spammers are more reasonable; not that their spam are acceptable, but at least they show some effort in communicating what they want. The way bigger issue is spambots.
Spambots are software which automatically “harvests” your email address and access to contact forms, and the people behind the software instruct it to blast spam messages – often in the thousands.
How do I know? Well, I have dozens of email addresses and managing hundreds of spam messages is a no joke. Many of them use the same templates, indicating that a single program – or a single spammer – is responsible for the junk.
There are measures I try to implement on my sites. Adding captcha – the random characters you see when you are sending a form online for verification purpose – is not that effective anymore; it thwarts some spambots; unfortunately, it also thwarts real people who have a good intention in contacting you. Not good.
Recommendation: Use third-party online form tools
The best solution so far for me is using hosted services to handle my forms. The online services store the forms for me – and more.
I have tried many contact form solutions, and would like to recommend you 123ContactForm.
There are some reasons why you should consider this web tool:
1. Fight spam – securely
123ContactForm helps you fight spam with a security package running on the back-end, which includes Captcha, McAfee, and SSL. What’s more, your forms are stored securely online. Access to forms is secured by SSL technology, which means that data is transferred over the web securely.
2. Spam no longer drains your website hosting’s resources
Every time someone accesses your contact forms, he/she uses your web hosting resources – 10 contacts a day is not a big deal, but 1,000 messages a day is pretty significant, especially when 90% of those is spam messages. Especially on shared hosting, this will result in suspension of your account due to excessive resource usage (if you are running a site on a shared hosting, you must have understood how it feels!)
123ContactForm comes as a solution as the app hosts the forms on your behalf. The number of forms and form access won’t impact the availability of resources required to run your website 24/7.
3. Upgrade/downgrade anytime
123ContactForm comes as a solution as you can host your forms for free. However, you might need to upgrade if you process plenty of forms on a daily basis.
There are paid plans you can choose for more perks and resources, and they are flexible: You can upgrade/downgrade any time you want according to the volume of contact form access you have.
4. No coding knowledge necessary
You can build a form easily, with no coding experience required. If you want to add a field into your form, just click on a specific field type, make some edits to your field, and add it to the form.
I can code, but creating a contact form easily without the need for me to code anything is a real time-saver.
5. Third-party app integration
123ContactForm is playing nice with several popular third-party app, such as payment processors (yes, you can take Paypal payment from your forms,) social media management platform (e.g. HootSuite) and so on.
123ContactForm’s basic plan is always free – no strings attached. I suggest you to give it a try and see whether it can help you manage your forms better:
Your forms are crucial to your business in many ways. Questions, complaints, feedback and opportunities come from your business websites’ contact forms. To get the most out of your forms, you need to secure them well, as well-secured forms shout “trust” – and as we all know, trust is THE key success factor in any industries, especially online.
Third-party online form building and management tools like 123ContactForm can help you to gain trust, as well as managing your messages better.