This is Part 3 of my continuing Series on "requisite pages" for your website.
This article goes in depth on what you need to know about creating your "Contact page," why you even need one, & just what content your page should contain. As always, presenting your own personal brand is important here as well, as is showcasing your most important content!
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Why Even Have a Contact Page?
Let's face it... It's pretty obvious what a Contact page is used for... It's so your readers can contact you! Duh!
Many new website owners figure they won't bother with a Contact page because...
Well, it's extra work... Why not just list your email address and be done with it?
There is a very good reason for NOT posting your email address: the internet is NOT a very hospitable place (in case you haven't noticed!)
Unsavory "hackers" invest time in creating "bots" (little automated programs) that scan millions of websites for listed email addresses...
Why -- you may wonder -- do people really spend time doing this? Who knows! ...Possibly to sell these addresses on the "dark web!"
The unfortunate result for you -- as website owner -- is that you will be spammed with junk posting on your website...ranging from public comments to nefarious links back to your website (you know... those ads for Viagra...and illegal drugs...and sex for sale! I'm sure I don't need to describe the devastating damage this can do to your reputation -- not only in the eyes of your readers, but also with Google!
Having a Contact page is simply not an option! You definitely need to invest a few minutes to create a your Contact page...
In the following sections, I'll show you exactly what to put on your Contact page so it helps both you and your readers!
How to Create Your Own "Contact" Page
#1: Your Contact page IS a WordPress page!
Human faces create human connection!
Make the most of this opportunity to showcase you...whether you are flying solo or part of a team!
Now, you're Contact page is off to a great start...
But you're just getting started...
#2: Explain Who the Page is for...
It may seem obvious to you, but you need to explain to your readers exactly who & what this page is for...
Many readers may assume it's only for clients, or only to ask questions, or just to schedule an appointment with you...
Explain briefly who should use this page and why... Remember that we now know why we have a Contact page -- it's for every reader to contact us -- but your reader likely has no such knowledge! Provide suggestions to make them feel confident they are using it for the correct purposes:
These are just some ideas to get you thinking... I'll provide some visual page examples later in this article...
#3: Formatting and the all-important "form"
Your reader will fill out a form to get their "message" to you... This form is attached to your email address. How this works depends on what form tool you are using.
There are many "contact" form plugins, and many of them are free. You can find them at the WordPress "repository" here. I highly recommend you use this official ‘repository’ as your only plugin source — especially while you are still learning — because these plugins have all been vetted by the the WordPress team... Clean code, regularly updated, no viruses or malware, etc.
- Your personal spam policy (example: "We hate spam too. Your name & email will not be shared or sold...ever!)
- Exactly what the contact form is used for (ie: This form will only be used to answer your question." Consider: will it only be used to answer their question/comment, or will it subscribe them to your mailing list as well?)
- And, finally explain how easy it is to unsubscribe (if this is applicable...) NOTE: This is usually added as a legal requirement by most ESP’s (Email Service Providers — like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, etc.)
#4: Form Design and Appearance
Most form plugins handle the design of your form and most give you little choice... So your experience as far as the form itself is concerned is pretty much handled for you.
However, the design of your Contact page itself is controlled by your theme. Some themes include a Contact form template so you can use that as a starting point if one is available to you.
If your theme does not include a template, that may actually be preferable, as you can then design your Contact page using a blank WP page.
Form Fields: What to Include on Your Form
The overarching rule here is only to ask for those absolutely essential pieces of data...Extensive marketing research shows conclusively that the more information is required, the lower the completion rate of any form on your website!
Your own use cases will dictate what information you ask for, however. Relevancy is the key!
If your reader is simply asking a question, all you really need is their email address, even though asking for their first name is almost expected in modern times. However, asking for their birth date, city, telephone number, etc. is simply NOT required to answer a simple question! These types of additional and largely irrelevant questions are likely to stir up privacy concerns for your reader.
On the other hand, if your reader is asking for a consultation of send in a Request for Quote, you will likely need additional information... Again, it must be highly relevant to the nature of their request, not just information you’d like to gather on them!
Ask yourself what the minimum personal data is that you need to complete their request properly. Don’t ask for anything else!
What to include in your Contact page
I already covered some of the obvious elements in the beginning of this article: title (H1), a welcoming introduction, and relevant and personal images.
In addition to the obvious contact form itself, you have an excellent opportunity to engage your readers further...since they are already interested enough to want to reach out to you.
Here are some content recommendations and ideas you may want to include on the page, below the Contact form:
- Your top blog posts or articles
- A welcome video - in the Introduction at the top of the page
- A free download, such as a tip sheet or checklist, offered in exchange for their email address (while your reader is already engaged, they are more likely to want to subscribe!)
- A link to your "Start Here" page if you have one (I'll be covering this important page in another article in this Series)
- Answers to your readers most common questions in a "mini-FAQ" or if you already have an FAQ, link to that
These are just some ideas, and you will certainly think of more... Realize that you do not need to include all of these... That could make your page quite cluttered & quickly overwhelm your reader! Ideally, you want to include 1 or 2 of these elements after (below) your Contact form...
There are several benefits of including these "extras" on your Contact page...
In short, these extras don't take much time to add, and they go a long way to building your reputation as a warm & welcoming -- and helpful -- website and owner!
Contact Page Examples
Example #1: Contact Page from this website
In this example, you'll see a the full contact page from this website for context on overall design & formatting.
TIP: Visit the page on this website by using the Menu item above to see how the Contact Form opens inside a light box! Just click on the dark blue button to see the animation & lightbox in action! (You don't have to fill out the form to see how it works! )
For this and the next example, the page has been cropped to illustrate optional elements you may want to include on your Contact page following the actual form itself. (NOTE: I've included my signature for location reference... This is simply placed at the bottom of the page, between my signature and the footer.)
Example #3: Adding a self-segmentation area
The blue cards in this final example are linked to specific topics (think WordPress 'categories') and when clicked take the reader to those specific content areas on your website...
In the example below, I have shown it added below an FAQ area, but it could just as easily be shown alone or with a list of important articles.
HINT: This is a great way to determine which topics are import to your readers, as the clicks show up in your analytics!
Having an area like this also helps your readers find just what topics they are most interested in reading...something they might not have thought to look for. PLUS...it helps your ranking in Google because it keeps them engaged on your site longer...
One final note...
You may be wondering if you should include some sort of 'opt-in' / signup to your Contact page.
It's really personal preference, but my thinking goes this way: I'd rather keep the Contact page for voluntary reader contact...
By including a second location to "fill out" it could either confuse your reader (especially first-time visitors) or it could seem rather pushy...
I'd leave it off of this page. There are plenty of other pages on your website where you can ask the reader to opt-in to your email list.
Good luck with your Contact page, and if you have any questions, please leave them in the Comments section below.
In Part 4 & future articles in this Series, learn exactly what to include on other critical pages...
I discuss: Home, About, Start Here, FAQ, and more...
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