A little over a year ago, we shared some tips with you about how to make a Contact page that connects with your users. Hooray for tips! Everybody needs a good Contact page, given that getting people to reach out to you is one of the fundamental tasks of most websites.
However, we’re still seeing contact pages out there that don’t quite hit the mark, and so today we return with the flipside — some common Contact page mistakes that you should definitely avoid.
You Have A Contact Page, Right?
The first and most obvious Contact page mistake is pretty simple — not having one. This seems like it would be a no-brainer, but I stumble across sites making this mistake all the time! Usually, this is because people are working under the erroneous assumption that social media links (usually in icon form) will be enough for people who are looking to get in touch. Not so!
Sure, social media links are great for people looking to connect with you, especially in a casual way, but for those who don’t engage in those particular networks, or who are in need of direct contact to solve a troubleshooting issue or get answers to pre-purchase questions, they are relatively useless.
So, if you don’t have Contact page, get one. You need one, no matter what you think.
Don’t Hide You Contact Page
Oh, you say you do have a Contact page after all, I just didn’t see it. Well that’s on you, bub! I shouldn’t have to spend precious time figuring out where you decided to secret your Contact page away. If it’s not immediately obvious to me where your Contact page is, it might as well not exist. Stick that link in your main navigation unless you absolutely can’t for some reason.
Contact Forms Should be Juuuuuust Right
Think three bears porridge. Add too many fields to your form and people will bounce off of it like a wren hitting a patio door. Add too little, and they won’t be able to tell you what they need. What you need to do is hit the butter zone between those two — include only fields that people need to communicate with you, without leaving anything crucial out.
Don’t Ignore Responses
There are two parts to this mistake. The first is pretty obvious…don’t forget to reply to people who contact you. Period. Even if that response is super short, it’s critical in letting people you are corresponding with that you received their message. Consider setting up automated replies that at least let people know they’re in the system, but don’t neglect the power of a personal response.
The second part of this mistake is more subtle…don’t forget to adjust your form based on the submissions you are receiving. People will usually indicate if they have an issue with your form, and even if they don’t the type of messages they send you can help inform edits to the form.
The Lonely Form
Sure, forms are fantastic ways to facilitate communication, but they aren’t always the best way for everyone. Make sure you offer alternative ways to contact you if they exist. If you have a public phone number, include it. If you don’t, consider alternatives like linking directly to your email, or offering a live chat interface. Social network links make sense here too.
CAPTCHA’s are annoying. They used to be one of the only defenses against spammers, but we’ve moved on for the most part, with much less obtrusive and much more accessible solutions. Don’t CAPTCHA, unless you’re buried in spam and you’ve tried all the solutions first.
Fire & Forget
Just because your from was working when you set it up doesn’t mean it’s still working now. Plugin updates and other gremlins may have caused it to stop working at some point, so make sure that you periodically test all of your contact forms to make sure that they are still functioning as planned, including any automated interactions that should happen after the message is received.
Want to work with folks that cares about getting the little details right? Give the Solamar design team a shout!