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Should you use CAPTCHAs on your website’s online forms?

If you want to attract enquiries through your website, it would be a good idea to implement a web form on it rather than simply specify an email address. One reason why is that you could track where the lead came from, such as a PPC ad or a Google search.

You could also potentially add a CAPTCHA to that form in order to guard against an influx of spammy traffic. However, would inserting a CAPTCHA really be warranted in 2022? 

What is a CAPTCHA?

Chances are that you already have at least a decent idea of what it is, perhaps from bitter experience of having needed to repeatedly tap on images of traffic lights just to prove that you are ‘not a robot’. Also, in case you are wondering, yes, ‘CAPTCHA’ is an acronym…

It stands for ‘completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart’, which is obviously a bit of a mouthful. You might have also occasionally come across CAPTCHAs that require you to type out text pictured in a deliberately distorted form in an attempt to fool spam software. 

Are CAPTCHAs genuinely effective at filtering out spam?

Alas, over time, web spammers have wisened to CAPTCHAs and made progress in adapting to them. Some robotic software is now sophisticated enough to bypass image-based CAPTCHAs, leaving them less than 100% effective at blocking dubious messages. 

Theoretically, CAPTCHAs could still help you to stop attempts at fraud or abuse in their tracks. For example, CAPTCHAs can prevent people from posting dodgy comments and links on those parts of your site that invite comments from users. 

You could also be tempted to integrate CAPTCHAs with your online store as a security-strengthening measure. If you will be building this store from scratch or revamping an existing one, keep in mind that we are adept at designing e-commerce websites

Why CAPTCHAs can be counterproductive  

CAPTCHAs are now so commonplace that they have become the butt of jokes for coming across as primitive or not particularly user-friendly. This hints at one of the big drawbacks of CAPTCHAs from a marketing standpoint: they could actually put people off enquiring with or buying from you.

When someone hits the ‘submit’ link on one of your site’s online forms only for the instantly recognisable interface of a CAPTCHA to subsequently appear, the user could decide there and then to look for another site that they hope won’t include a CAPTCHA. 

So, should you actually include CAPTCHAs on your site?

It’s ultimately your decision, and we can make it easier for you to weigh up the pros and cons when you contact our web marketing experts

It could comfort you that Apple is set to bake CAPTCHA-bypassing functionality into software updates for iPhones, iPads and Macs later this year. The feature would work by letting the device itself verify that the user is indeed ‘not a robot’.

You could also strike some kind of balance by including CAPTCHAs that are relatively quick and easy for your well-meaning human customers to complete.

Should you use CAPTCHAs on your website’s online forms
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