If you’ve been a long-time visitor, you’ve probably noticed the significant changes I’ve made to the site. My last theme was outdated and the company disappeared that supported it so I installed a new theme and have been iterating through migrating all of the customizations.
Simultaneously, I’ve also been working on improving the site’s speed to improve the visitor experience and increase the site speed. Ultimately, both should lead to improved search rankings and revenue from the ads and affiliate offerings on the site.
A fantastic partner in this endeavor has been Ezoic, a monetization platform for publishers. Their platform analyzes your site for performance issues and provides alternative solutions. A few of the issues that I had were directly attributable to the form solution I was using:
- Gravity Forms was loading extraneous script and styling on every page whether or not there was a form on it. I upgraded my site to Formidable Forms because it offered its solution with the option of only loading those additional assets on a page with an actual form.
- Google Fonts were loading on site despite me not using them in my theme and even having disabled them. While I could have used site inspection tools through my browser developer tools to figure them out, I instead happened across this Google Fonts Checker. It immediately showed me that the Google fonts were being loaded via Google reCAPTCHA on my forms.
What is CAPTCHA?
CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, a type of security measure known as challenge-response authentication.
Forms are a huge target for bots and form spam can be really frustrating. While I don’t like the user experience of a CAPTCHA, it’s pretty much a necessity nowadays if you’re looking to stop bots from just spamming the crap out of the forms on your site.
You can probably recognize this methodology as it’s integrated at the end of almost every form on the web to try and thwart form spam from bots. It looks like this in its simplest form… where a user simply checks the box:
When I looked at the advanced settings of Formidable Forms, they offered a second CAPTCHA integration from hCaptcha. I’d not heard of the solution before – so I did some digging and was surprised at what I found. There are actually articles out on the web on how Google’s reCAPTCHA doesn’t just slow down your site, it also provides a gateway for Google to capture visitor information… ugh!
hCaptcha is a platform that’s not only intelligent and private, it even offers the opportunity to drive revenue back to its users, offering the following features:
- Privacy Focused – Ad networks see your visitors as the product. We only care whether a visit is good or bad. hCaptcha complies with GDPR, CCPA, LGPD, PIPL, and other global data laws.
- Security First – Protect your services from scraping, account takeovers, credential stuffing, and spam with their advanced machine learning and humanity verification.
- Better User Experience (UX) – Minimizing friction for real users is important. hCaptcha uses simple tasks and takes less time for most users while stopping more bot traffic.
The Captcha platform not only has a free option, but it also offers the opportunity for your CAPTCHA to present information that users pay to have humans test. You need not participate in this if you don’t want to. The free version offers pretty much everything you need to include an intelligent CAPTCHA on your site… but there are also both paid and enterprise versions that offer a lot more sophistication and reporting.
So, not only am I providing a better user experience with improved privacy protection, I now have a CAPTCHA on my forms that has helped with site speed and I may even make a few bucks off of it in the long run.
Disclosure: Martech Zone is an affiliate of hCaptcha and is using an affiliate link in this article.