How should people contact you through your website?

When maintaining a presence on the Internet, it’s important to have a way for people to contact you. Especially for a small business or organization, a point of contact is vital — many would-be customers might want to ask a few questions before making a purchasing decision. Because of this, it’s important to get the contact page on your website right, and there are several factors to consider.

Displaying an email address on your website is a really bad idea

Many people take the “easy” way out and simply post a contact email address online. However, this is an extremely risky idea. Many spammers simply scan websites for email addresses, and posting your email address on your site makes it easy for them to find you, resulting in an inbox filled with spam.

To counteract this, sometimes people will instead allude to their email address, writing something like “myemail (AT) mywebsite (DOT) com.” However, this isn’t user-friendly at all, as it requires your users to take several unnecessary steps to contact you. It also makes it easy for someone to get lost along the way, as a typo or misunderstanding would keep a potential customer from getting in touch. You’d never know someone tried to reach you, and the user would wonder why they never got a response. The flawed email address could also result in a bounce back, creating confusion for your potential customer.

Social media links aren’t enough

Instead of going the email route, other website owners post links to their social media sites online. While this is a good idea, it shouldn’t be the only means your customers have to contact you. It takes too many steps to get in touch, and while it’s a safe bet that most of your site’s viewers will use the same social media channels you do, it’s far from a guarantee.

Using a contact form

Perhaps the best way to get in touch with visitors to your site is a contact form. It uses email but it doesn’t expose your address to the world like typing it into your site does. And because you can add a CAPTCHA, it’s difficult to spam. For example, our website’s contact form includes a simple math problem at the bottom to prevent spam.

If you’re using WordPress, many themes have a built-in contact module. Customize a few settings — for example, adding your email address is an obvious essential step — and you’ll be good to go.

If your theme doesn’t offer a contact module, many plugins are fit for the task. With over a million installed users, Contact Form 7 is a popular choice. It allows you to create forms and embed them anywhere in your site with a shortcode. For more information on using Contact Form 7, visit their website.

While any of the three options above will get the job done, the first two have significant drawbacks. A contact form is a good way to establish communication with your site’s visitors while avoiding those drawbacks.