We’ve all seen them: the grid of images that may or may not contain a fire hydrant, a row of distorted letters and numbers, or just a simple box that makes you promise you are “not a robot.” These small tests are called CAPTCHAs and are used to differentiate between genuine users and fake users or bots that could have a negative impact on your website and business.
To understand more about CAPTCHAs and if they are right for your website, Markentum is looking at the pros and cons of these tests and how they could help or harm your business objectives.
What is a CAPTCHA?
CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. While the tests of identifying letters or fire hydrants may seem silly to us, they are difficult for computers or bots to perform, effective in removing them from spamming websites.
CAPTCHA tests work by providing random information that a user is expected to interpret. The reason that humans can identify these distorted letters or images is that we have the ability to draw on context and experience, such as identifying different handwriting or fonts. Bots, however, are only able to follow set patterns or enter randomized characters, making it nearly impossible for them to pass a CAPTCHA.
Why Should You Use CAPTCHA?
CAPTCHAs are an almost foolproof method to deter spammers from submitting forms or comments on your site. Some of the reasons to consider using CAPTCHA tests on your senior living website include:
Prevent Comment Spam
Malicious bots like to spam websites with unwanted or inappropriate messages and advertisements, sometimes even posting thousands at a time and potentially damaging a website. If your website has an element that allows for comments such as a blog, submission form, or message board, implementing a CAPTCHA can save you a lot of trouble.
Limit Fake Registrations
Some businesses use online forms to sell their services and allow users to register for events or other signups. Bots can target these forms by filling the fields with clutter and fake accounts. CAPTCHAS can typically block bots from spamming these registration forms.
Maintain Accurate User Data
Many businesses and senior living communities rely on accurate information about their customers to further their business goals. Contact forms and submissions can help provide a better understanding of who their users are, and fake submissions from spammers and bots can skew this valuable data. Furthermore, too many spam emails and form submissions can make it harder to find genuine responses that could lead to conversions.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using CAPTCHA?
While implementing CAPTCHA tests on your website to prevent spam may seem like a no-brainer, there are a few cons to these tests that you want to consider.
Disruptive to User Experience
It seems that CAPTCHAs are getting increasingly complicated and can become frustrating or annoying for users. Some may not even think it’s worth filling out the form if they have to spend over 30 seconds on text and image identification.
Not Completely Foolproof Against Bots
While CAPTCHAs are highly effective in thwarting bots and spammers, they are not 100% foolproof. Some experts have suggested that more advanced bots can easily exploit text-based CAPTCHAs.
One of CAPTCHAs biggest criticisms, however, is they are not accessible to those who use screen readers or assistive devices. The majority of CAPTCHA tests require the user to be able to see and, in some cases, hear. Typically, the number of people who use assistive technologies and screen readers increases with age, and this audience is the target for many senior living websites.
To CAPTCHA or Not To CAPTCHA?
Whether or not you want to include CAPTCHA on your website depends on several factors, including what type of forms you have, how vital user data is to you, how important security is to you, and whether or not you have public comment spaces. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your company, as you can decide where your priorities lie and what will result in the most qualified leads and conversions.
Here at Markentum, we work with our partners to decide if adding CAPTCHAs on their senior living website is right for them. We offer other digital marketing services that work together to establish a comprehensive and effective marketing plan.
If you’re wondering whether CAPTCHAs are suitable for your community, or if you have questions about our service in general, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation!