Why You Should Have a Contact Page (Instead of Kicking Users to Email)

Keyboard with Contact Us Key

See if this sounds familiar:

You’re on a website for, let’s say, a company that makes cakes.  You like their homepage enough to check out some of the cakes they’ve made.  You’re starting to get that sugar itch so you briefly check out their blog.  You start to wonder where they’re located so you click on “Contact” in the navigation at the top of the site.

Before you know it, your computer is launching an email client and asking you to set up an account.  But you don’t want to set up a mail account.  You want to know where you can get a sugar fix.

If you surf the internet regularly, you’ve likely come across a website that launches a pre-addressed email instead of having a Contact page.  I feel your pain.  If you’re creating a website, here are a few reasons you may want to have a Contact page instead of kicking users straight to email.

Won’t Interrupt Information Gathering

As in the above scenario, users often expect a link to a Contact page to open a new page, not an email.  Your user may not be at the point where they want to reach out to you.  They may be looking for your address or your phone number.  They could still be gathering information and deciding whether or not they want to reach out.  Forcing a user to reach out before they’re ready often elicits the “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” response, which usually results in someone leaving your website.

Gives Your User Contact Options

Some people love talking on the phone whereas others prefer email.  Many may want to fill out a contact form and a select few may want to swing by your shop and check you out (depending of course on what type of organization you run).  Your contact page should cater to as many types of visitors as possible.  You don’t want to lose someone that’s interested in connecting with you because you don’t have the contact option they prefer.  Instead of forcing them to email you, it could be beneficial to let your visitor decide what’s best for them.

More Integrated With Your Website

It’s hard enough to get interested people to your website in the first place.  The last thing you need to do is send them away frustrated.

Having a Contact page can seriously reduce frustration, which is always a good thing.  Using a contact form is even better since users will be able to get in touch from within your website.  That way, when they’re done reaching out, they can continue to peruse your site.

More Complete Tracking With Analytics

If you’ve installed an analytics tool on your website, you can get a lot of information by looking at how visitors interact with your Contact page.  Maybe a lot of people visit your Contact page but end up exiting your site instead of getting in touch.  Or maybe users are leaving your Contact page and going to other pages on your site instead of reaching out.

If your contact link opens an email, the most you can calculate is how often someone that clicks the link actually sends an email.

Put an Email Link on Your Contact Page

I’m not saying you should never have a link that opens an email.  Some people may opt to use such a link.  Just put it on your Contact page.  That way it’s there for those that want it but isn’t forced upon anyone.

Have you come across a deceptive Contact link that opens an email?  Do you usually end up sending an email?  Or do you leave?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Related Reads

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3 Mistakes Web Programmers Need to Stop Making

David Hartstein is one of the co-founders at Wired Impact and spends most of his time helping nonprofits tell their story in a way that'll inspire action. He used to teach elementary school and often walks around barefoot. You can catch up with David on Twitter at @davharts.

7 Comments on “Why You Should Have a Contact Page (Instead of Kicking Users to Email)

  1. 1 Nell February 15, 2012

    POP UP EMAIL FORMS ARE TERRIBLE. Thank you for being a voice of reason, JGVisual.

  2. 2 Andy May 22, 2013

    This article was very good. I am currently working on my contact page. This is how i came about this site. Looking to what I should put on such a page.

    When you think about it. Its not nice to be instantly hit with a form to fill out. Or an email client opining up. One Feels you will end up waiting days or weeks to here from the person you wish to talk with. Personally, I prefer an old school phone number. Especially when i am buying something.
    However, I am not 100% comfortable with leaving my number for all the world to see. Especially with all the cyber fraud going on from Russia and China. World wide in fact.

    In conclusion. My site will harbor both a form like i am currently writing in. and a clickable email link. I would like to add a phone number too. Any thoughts on that.

    Andy

    1. 3 David Hartstein May 22, 2013

      Hey Andy. I think you’re right on with choosing what feels best to you given your situation. The key I’d say is to figure out some way to measure what you do to see what’s the most effective.

      In addition to website analytics, perhaps it’s something as simple as asking callers how they found out about you. Or having a phone number unique to the website. Giving visitors options when it comes to reaching out can help boost the likelihood they’ll actually do so.

  3. 4 Gilberto August 23, 2016

    Oops… now in english (I had translate mode on, sorry!) so:

    leaving your email address published or a “mailto” ling is an horrible practice. You’ll soon have your email box filled with every kind of spam mail An ideal contact page should have:
    – location map (if you’re a company: exact location and address, if it’s a personal website aproximated area like your city map or something);
    – phone number from a land line (proof of phisical existance/office) and fax (some people still use it, right?!) if you’re a company. For a personal website I would not recommend leaving a phone number published around…
    – contact form, without forgeting the anti-spam so you can avoid the auto fill from bots;
    – socialmedia profiles links – they’re a great way to get in touch with your prospects;

    to receive your contac forms I would advise an external service like Gmail, Outllok or Yahoo. you can then configure an alias and respond from your own @domain.tld after validating the contact.

    (now you hav a bilingual comment, eheh)
    Regards.

    1. 5 David Hartstein August 24, 2016

      Hi Gilberto. Thanks a lot for the comment. I can certainly understand including a mailto link directly on the website and how that can lead to issues with spam. Some of the organizations we work with still like to do so in an effort to reach visitors that may prefer email, but more and more we’re working with organizations that are fine with just a contact form that sends to their email. We often build spam reduction directly into the forms (such as honeypots or filtering known spam bots) which helps a lot as well.

      Thanks for also including the list of items to include on a typical contact page. I think that’s a great start for folks to customize based on their unique situation.

  4. 6 bilal aftab November 13, 2017

    Do bloggers need a ‘contact us’ page? is it good for seo?

    1. 7 David Hartstein November 20, 2017

      Thanks for the comment Bilal. A Contact Us page most likely won’t have much impact on your SEO efforts, but if you’d like to give your readers a chance to reach out to you directly (as opposed to just leaving comments on individual posts), a Contact Us page would be a nice way of doing so.

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