It’s often difficult to decide whether you should add copy protection measures to your website. No one likes to have their content stolen and used for the profit of others. But, on the other hand, sharing is an essential part of how the Web functions and is necessary for getting as wide an audience as possible.
Measures that restrict copying can also make it difficult for people to share. Sharers often want to include their own choice of quotation, and if you add one of the plugins we’re going to discuss below to your site, they will be unable to copy and paste.
Putting watermarks on your images makes them much less desirable for sharers on social networks like Pinterest and Google+, where image quality is important. That means you will lose shares that would ordinarily have brought people to your site – potential clients and customers.
Additionally, these plugins will only deter the most casual of content copiers. Anyone who knows how to view the source of a page will be able to find the text and the URLs of images and take what they want from there. These plugins will also do little to prevent bots from scraping the content of your site.
The decision to protect your content in the way we’re about to show involves a careful balancing of the desire to prevent others from benefiting from your content, and the lost traffic that reduced sharing will incur.
WP-CopyProtect is the nuclear option. With it you can disable the selection of text, which will prevent copying and pasting of text, and disable right-clicking, which means that people will not be able to access the contextual right-click menu while viewing your site.
This will certainly prevent people from casual replication of your content, but at the risk of annoying them. Many useful utilities are included in the right-click menu. For example, we’re sure you often find yourself selecting text, right-clicking, and then selecting the “Search Google” option. Your visitors will not be able to do this if you implement either of the options this plugin allows, potentially degrading the user experience.
This (very literally named) plugin, is a less radical option than WP-CopyProtect. As the name suggests, it only prevents people from right-clicking on images, stopping visitors from choosing to download and save them.
This is a comprehensive image watermarking utility. With it you can create customizable watermarks that will be placed on the various sizes of images your WordPress site displays. The paid version comes with some useful extras, like the ability to control watermark opacity.
CopyLink is a rather more friendly option and doesn’t impact so much on your site’s users. CopyLink automatically inserts a customizable link into any text that is copied and pasted from your site.
Your readers may appreciate that you have saved them the time it takes to add an attribution when they quote you in a blog or share your content on social media.
What are your preferred methods of protecting your content? Do you think that the damage to the user experience some of these measures bring with them is worth the added protection? Let us know in the comments.
Graeme works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog, http://blog.nexcess.net/.