Every now and then I come across a website that doesn’t list an email address or have a contact form anywhere. Generally these are sites that are a little outdated, which tells me that the owners are people who don’t fully grasp the value or power of having a website. These seem to be the same people who are still buying large ads in the phone book, while I read that a Harris Poll says that 70% of US adults rarely, if ever, use the phone book.
The correlation there is that these people show they don’t know how to leverage their website and are not in touch with how a website should function. Contact information, or at least a link to it, should be prominently displayed. At the very least there should be a clearly labeled contact page link in the main navigation or in a small, top right secondary navigation area. A business phone number and email address in the header or the footer are also useful.
Some people are concerned about spammers getting ahold of their email address if it’s listed on the site. Â In that case you should still list your phone number, but instead of showing an email address you can have a contact form.
One excuse I’ve heard for not listing an email address or contact form on a website is that the business owner would rather someone call than send an email. Â Sometimes it’s because they feel they’ll be able to better convert a lead into business with a phone call, but why lose the chance at a lead? Â You can always require a phone number to submit a contact form and call the person back.
Sometimes it’s because the business owner simply doesn’t check their email very often, if ever. Â The only thing that can be said for that is that you’ve just got to get with the times. Some people prefer to send emails because it’s easy to keep record of their correspondence. Some people just want to send off for some quick information. Some simply just prefer not to talk on the phone.
The point is, if your website does not have an email address or a contact form, you need to add it. With the way people use the internet now there is no valid reason not to.
While I’m on the subject, make sure you’re not using AOL, Bellsouth, Yahoo or Hotmail for your business email account. (You shouldn’t use Gmail either, but that currently has some “cred”, so I suppose it’s acceptable.) If you’ve got your own website then your hosting provider should be able to provide a personalized email address for your business. It’s just more professional. (But that’s an article for another day.)