Contact pages: Should I list my email address on my website?
For most types of businesses the contact page is a key destination page a company want their visitors to reach. Here you should include all the contact methods that you have available for customers to make an enquiry. Including your telephone numbers and address is most often a given. A contact form allows you to capture the basic customer details you need in order to assist them. Listing your email address is also a good idea... or is it? Here are the pro's and con's of listing email addresses on your website’s contact page.
Reasons to include your email address on your contact page
- Some internet users do not like contact forms as they might have experienced forms that are too tedious to complete, or they are not certain that their enquiry will be received and responded to. At least by sending an email directly they know their email has been sent.
- The internet user can save the email address to their address book to use later. But is this a good or a bad thing?
Reasons to not include your email address on your contact page
- Spam and junk mail is a huge problem and has been for years. One of the issues with listing your email address on your contact page is that you increase the chances of getting spammed by companies using software to crawl the web harvesting email addresses.
- When someone clicks on your email address to send an email they might not include all the details you need to know. Some might not even include their first name.
Here are some benefits of offering a contact form on your contact page instead:
- Contact forms allow you to ask the user to provide all the basic information you need without having to phone or email them to ask. As an example, take a look at our website quotation request form. Having completed the form, we can most often quote the client right away without having to go back and forth with questions.
- Receiving an enquiry from your website tells you that the enquiry was made by someone using your website and can help you measure the value that your website gives you. Depending on how your contact form is set up you can even determine how the visitor came to visit your website (eg. from a search engine or a link on Facebook).
- Requiring the user to use your contact form instead of emailing you directly encourages them to act there and then, and not later on when they think they'll find the time.
- If you use Google Analytics to monitor your traffic (if you aren't then you should be!), you can set up "goals" in analytics to measure your conversion rate (a percentage of the number of people who made an enquiry vs. the total number of visitors).
A valuable feature of contact forms often overlooked is the "thank you" page. We'll discuss this in another article, so keep your eyes open.
For some the risk of increased spam is acceptable as they want their customers to have the freedom to enquire as and when they like. So the answer is: it's up to you.