It’s important to regularly reappraise your website and online presence – how you are presenting yourself and your business – one of the most important & overlooked pages is your contact page.
How you view and present your contact page says an awful lot about your business – it’s a small but crucial window into your world … get it wrong and you are turning away business.
Don’t be difficult to contact – turning people away is not smart
There is all sorts of advice online about using contact forms to keep spam away or the best way to deter bots and spammers … mostly from anti-spam companies.
Plugins to filter spam and verify real users etc etc or “what is 2+7=?” codes that you can put on your contact page to deter those pesky spammers … this also deters customers.
And often the sites that have contact forms like Fort Knox will also compound the unfriendly feel of their contact page with no visible email address or email address link … fearing a plague of scammers and forgetting the importance of potential customers.
While all these measure may feel like it’s the secure anti-spam thing to do – it also irritates the living hell out of real visitors. All these hurdles are a bigger negative to many real visitors and potential buyers than they are to spammers … put customer experience first.
How did we get to making such unfriendly contact pages ?
Back in the day spammers harvested email addresses visible on website pages so people came up with simple but ugly solutions like email me “abc (at) xyz.com” this worked for a while but then it didn’t (and the spammers had moved on to other things) – contact forms became the next answer (promoted heavily by the makers of contact form software & plugins) until …
Contact forms got spammed even more than just having an email address on your site. Contact forms have become more of a target and continue to get spammed, so now we have reCaptcha and “pick out all the stop signs” and 3+7=? questions etc etc.
These hoops to jump through and the lack of a simple email link on your contact page add up to more barriers for your REAL customers as well as the PERCEIVED hordes of spammers.
Some people do not like filling in contact forms they want to see your email address, they want to be reassured YOU are legit, they also want to be able to keep track of emailing you – Personally I don’t like filling out contact forms, they feel impersonal and I am not alone.
Some people are quite happy to fill out a contact form – but having the Spanish Inquisition on your forms (especially if they are broken) will put off far more customers than spammers.
Spammers be damned – You should be transparent & approachable
You should have BOTH a transparent email address (linking) and an approachable contact form with some friendly copy around it on your contact me page – not just a blank form hidden away out of sight that when finally found shouts out “Go away don’t bother me”.
Make your contact page a conversion opportunity, an informative page that helps gain trust for the customer, even put something in about yourself – not just a clinical contact form.
Your priority should be making the journey for customers on your site as easy and frictionless as possible – A welcoming contact page including something about you including the name of who is incharge or who to contact, even if you have a separate about page (or maybe think about combining them) your linked email address, phone number AND a contact form.
The simple reality in 2020 is that putting your email address on your website in simple plainsight on your contact page is not going to attract a deluge of spammers – but it will increase the number of enquiries and contacts with potential customers.
Don’t be shy, be friendly and accessible
It’s even worth considering putting your email in the footer of all of your pages – the upside of easy navigation and ease in contacting you is you will get more leads, more interaction, more opportunities to create loyal customers and possibilities to grow your business.
Contact forms spam is now way more of a problem than any other form of spam – either way I would rather have occasion spam to deal with AND more engaged customers than have a bit less spam and zero new customers … spammers will always find a way if they want to but with sensible spam filters the problem is really not as big as the scare mongers want you to believe anymore … and it certainly isn’t worth putting off customers who want to engage with you.
If you feel like your don’t want to be contacted via email then you really need to consider if you really want to be running a business – without customers you don’t have a business. In this day and age not having a website that is approachable and customer friendly is turning your back on an ever increasing stream of new customers … the internet is not going away – embrace it.