When planning your website it’s important to consider what details you want on your contact page. Of course, you want your phone number, probably your address, a map might be handy and your email address… right? Well, maybe not! It depends on how you do it and how you feel about email spam.
Do I need to show my email address?
Why not just have a contact form? They’re good aren’t they?
Opinions vary about whether or not displaying your email address is a good idea. Some of the views expressed by website users are;
- If there’s no email address visible, they must be hiding something!
- Contact forms look more professional than an email link.
- I just want to email them quickly, I hate forms!
- I emailed them but they kept emailing me back asking for more details – if there was a contact form, they can tell me what they need to know!
Clearly, you can’t please everyone, every time. There are pros and cons to using either an email link or a contact form. For the website owner, simple email links can be annoying for a few reasons;
- They tend to attract spam
- They get emails with stupid questions or not enough information to be able to answer properly
- They often don’t contain a phone number so a lengthy email dialogue ensues
- They are more likely to be from tyre-kickers who aren’t serious and want to remain anonymous
- Users who don’t use email software can’t use email links anyway
The advantage in using an email link is that it will attract more email enquiries than a form but as shown above, they will tend to be more casual and more time-consuming enquiries. I tend to think that if someone is a serious potential customer, they will either phone or use a contact form. However, I can also relate to the user who just wants to flick off a quick email by clicking on a link.
Contact forms can be built to force the user to enter details like their phone number or their location, which can save a lot of time later emailing back and forth to get the information you need. Online forms can also require the user to enter a code to send the email. This is to prevent automated spam software from filling in your contact form with rubbish. Just make sure the code is easy enough to read!
There is a compromise, and that is to use a graphic to display your email. This will avoid the issue of automated spam software grabbing your email address from your web page and still gives the user your email address if they want to pop off a quick email. The only difference is that they can’t just click on it as a link.
Which is best for you?
If you’re not concerned about how much spam you get or how many enquiries you receive, regardless of quality, then an email link on your contact page will be ok for you. However, if you’re not a fan of email enquiries or hate spam, a detailed contact form that requires the user to enter information such as their phone number or specific details you might need to reply to an enquiry, will weed out all the tyre kickers and offers of generic love-life assistance drugs!