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Website Workout: First, Contact

– Posted in: Design

megaphoneYour contact information is crucial, and it needs to be easily found. Whether you have a contact page or not, the most common means of contact–such as an e-mail address or a customer service number–should be on every page. Typical locations are the footer or sidebar, but some business will put their phone number prominently in the header.

Be sure that if you list it in the footer, the information isn’t so small that it is hard to see. If you have a contact page, include a link to that there as well, again making sure it is clearly visible.

 

 Should You Have a Contact Page?

Many websites have a dedicated page for contact information, but it’s not always needed. You should have a contact page if:

  • You have a lot of information to provide
  • You plan to use a contact form
  • You want a central reference point

If you simply have an e-mail address and phone number, or even a street address, you may just want to display them as noted above. If you don’t have a contact page, also put that information in the text on the About page.

Let’s look at the reasons for having a contact page.

Having Lots of Information

If you are a large business with separate phone numbers for different departments, and maybe even separate addresses for different uses (or multiple locations), you definitely need a contact page for all that information. This is too much for the footer alone.

Even if you are a small business, you might have separate phone numbers (or at least extensions) and e-mails for each employee, and might want to list them so that people can reach the exact person they need.

Using a Contact Form

If you use a contact form, you definitely need a page to put it on. Having a contact form has specific benefits. It lets users e-mail you without needing to use an e-mail program. It may make some users more comfortable.

For you, you can add fields to get additional information you might need, such as a subject or a model number. You could limit the amount of text if you’d like, and assure that there are no attachments if that is a concern. You can also use an undisclosed e-mail address the form gets sent to, so you don’t have to list an e-mail address on the website (but consider the negative impact that will have on visitors’ confidence).

Wanting a Central Reference Point

Even if you don’t have much contact information, even if it is all there in the footer or sidebar of every page, you may still want a contact page just because people are inclined to look for one. Some people won’t notice the footer, or won’t pay attention to it.

Linking to Your Contact Information

If you have a contact page, provide a link to it in the footer, in the main navigation menu, in any menu of pages, and whenever you say something in your text such as “Contact us for more information.” Make “contact us” a link.

Even if you don’t have a contact page, you may want to create a link in the main menu, as people do tend to look there to learn how to reach you. You could create a link to an anchor point in the footer, or to that same info on the About page.

People want to have confidence in the companies or people they buy from or whose services they use. In the often anonymous online world, one thing that creates such confidence is for a business to be easily reachable. Make contact information prominent.

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