10 Tips to Design a Brilliant Contact Us Page
Almost every website has one and if they don’t, they should. Done well, they can be a conduit for boosting online sales or support. Done wrongly, they can confuse potential customers enough to send them to a competitor.
The Contact Us page: Something many businesses or webmasters might think is negligible can actually be a lynchpin of a corporate website. With several simple tips, you can ensure your Contact Us page is a valuable resource to web users – especially those interested in your services.
What do you want?
The first way to building an effective Contact Us page is actually to flip the scripts on web users. While they will potentially be contacting you with general queries or questions concerning goods or services, you must first think of what you want them to be asking. Some businesses may prefer only enquiries concerning sales to come through this channel, while others might prefer receiving customer feedback or support queries as well.
Tailoring your Contact Us page to accommodate these specific needs will be necessary, and especially useful if you plan to have different enquiries going to separate email addresses or contacts.
How do you want users to contact you?
While it may be necessary to list all forms of contact for your organisation, you must also consider which will be the most effective and convenient channel, both for yourself and for web users. While some enquiries may require phoning, and some operations may offer services or sales at a physical location, for many web users, the most convenient method will be via email.
What you need on your Contact Us page
Many countries have legislatively mandated requirements on what information must be included on a contact page. For example, in the United Kingdom, websites selling products and/or services must include a physical address and telephone number. In addition, it can be useful to list the postal addresses, phone numbers or emails of specific departments, as well as numbers where documents can be faxed.
Keep in theme with your website
A Contact Us page should never make a user question who the ‘Us’ they’re contacting is. While it may seem obvious, it’s important to maintain a consistent design across web pages and especially on a contact page, so web users who plan to get in touch will be reassured they are knocking on the right door.
Keeping a consistent tone in the content across your website’s always recommended, but it’s especially important to keep a friendly dialogue with your website users through your Contact Us page. In doing so, you encourage users to communicate with your business, knowing they will be offered care and customer service, in turn fostering a positive perception of your brand and products.
Insert a contact form
Contact forms can be helpful both for a business and the site-surfing web user. For a business, a contact form will consolidate all enquiries from one centralised point – whether or not they end up being delivered to separate email addresses. In addition, the alternative of listing private email addresses on your Contact Us page opens up the addresses to scores of spam – and possibly malicious – messages.
For website visitors, a contact form ensures they will not need to make the web-trek over to their webmail client in order to be in contact with your representatives. Alternatively, when displaying email addresses, links will often make a computer’s desktop email client pop up, which many users could find distracting, especially if they haven’t configured their settings.
Add a map
With the widespread availability of mapping services such as Google and Bing Maps, as well as MapQuest, it’s never been easier to embed a map and directions to physical locations. With many services, users will be able to pinpoint the location of your outlets and type directly into the map on your contact page to find directions to your business.
What information do you need from a user?
For many businesses, handling a query will require a decent amount of information about the user, especially a name and email contact for the individual. However, experts advise against getting too specific with the information you require be added to a user’s request for information. Details such as age, geographic location or gender should only be solicited when it will affect the nature of the request, as such demands could easily put off a casual user from contacting you.
Getting the information you need
Getting the information necessary to process a request can be a tricky thing when you’ve only listed email addresses for relevant contacts, so it’s another area where embedding a contact form is recommended. Web developers and designers can tailor a corporate contact form so that a user can only send a query once the required information has been supplied.
Keep spammers at bay
As mentioned previously, Contact Us pages have traditionally made for great places for cyber thugs to collect corporate email addresses to use for their own nefarious purposes. However, there are several ways to prevent your personal email addresses from falling into the wrong hands, or receiving an increased level of spam messages.
First, the contact form in place of email can help tremendously – but some persistent spammers might just deploy bots to abuse this service. Keep them out by requiring all submissions to have an accurately rendered Captcha response. A Captcha image displays obscured numbers and letters it would take the human eye to discern.
If you must display email addresses on your Contact Us page, however, you can safeguard against easy picking by spammers by listing them as: Firstname.Lastname (at) domainname.co.uk.
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