For the majority of our web design projects we stress to our clients that every page on their website should be a contact page. Their phone number, address and often email address should feature on each page. Typically this means showing the phone number towards the top of each page and the address in the footer. We also recommend strong calls to action on every site page to ‘Contact Us’. This is particularly true if the website has been designed as a lead generation website.
One of the best ways to build credibility with a new site visitor is to let them know you are happy to be contacted and that you are not trying to hide behind a faceless website. In addition to this, once someone decides they want to speak with you it is absolutely in your best interest to make the process as quick and easy as possible.
When the time comes to contact you, many site visitors will elect to visit your contact page (even if you have published contact information clearly on every page). By performing a number of website design experiments using Google Website Optimizer it is clear that not all contact pages are created equally. Some contact pages turn visitors into leads far more effectively than others (this is known as conversion optimisation). Often, there are subtleties that are industry or site specific but the following rules typically apply to most websites.
Different visitors at different times of the day will want to contact you using different methods. Make sure you provide as many of these methods as possible within a web design. Aside from a phone number, physical address, email address and contact form you should also consider alternative communication methods like live chat and Skype depending on how your prospective clients like to communicate.
If you have clients outside of your location you should consider getting a free call number of some description. Aside from the financial considerations for clients, these numbers cut down on the potential confusion of area codes as well as the chance that some clients may not want to do business with a supplier outside of their location (as this is an objection that can often be overcome in the sales process).
Embedding a Google Map on your contact page is really simple – and a really effective way of showing a site visitor exactly where you are located and how to get directions to visit you. Integrating such is one of many steps in a search engine optimisation campaign. Most people feel more comfortable doing business with a website that is happy to disclose its physical location. Including a Google Map on your contact page can also assist your search engine optimisation efforts.
If you are busy on Twitter, Facebook or any other social marketing websites don’t forget to include links to these sites on your contact page. One word of advice though – if your Twitter or Facebook pages are unimpressive then don’t frustrate site visitors by linking to them.
Contact forms are a great addition to a contact page, particularly if you clearly think through the sort of information you would like to collect from visitors of your website. Be careful not to ask for so much information that some site visitors may be turned off completing the form itself. Also, if you are using a captcha tool which forces users to enter a number of characters before submitting the form, then take care to make sure this is not so complex that it decreases the number of total submissions.
Your contact page is possibly the most important sales page on your website! This is a really important point. Many people on the contact page of your website are on the cusp of contacting you… but they may still need a little nudge in the right direction. If you’ve followed all of the above points then you’ve included all the basics. However, don’t forget to use positive and friendly language to make them understand you want to hear from them and that you are a friendly and welcoming bunch of people! Most importantly - state the obvious and ask them to contact you and let them know how quickly you will respond to their important request.
You need to make sure your contact page is as effective as possible for your website – this is a crucial part of web design and designing an effective website. Why not review your contact page today to see if there are any possible improvements you could make? You might be surprised by the benefits such changes can deliver to your business.
Revised Slightly: 09/06/2012
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