Providing contact information on your website is essential for building trust with your visitors. It may also be a legal requirement in your country too. Here are the best ways to do it.
I don’t know about you, but I really dislike websites that do not tell you who is behind them. They provide no information as to who is writing posts on the site, who created the site, where they are based, and so on. It makes me wonder what they are trying to hide. It is suspicious. It is possible to think of scenarios where you might want to hide your identity, such as if you write about mental illness and have suffered yourself, but don’t want your friends or employer to know.
For most people it is essential to show contact information to build trust and this is especially true if you are selling goods or services, or have a membership site and so on. You cannot expect people to click Buy buttons or hand over personal information on a registration or email form to an anonymous person located who knows where.
At least show your email address and if you sell products or services, show your postal address too.
Where to show contact information
- On your About page: This is an essential page that all websites should have.
- On a Contact page: It may be useful to have a page dedicated to contact information and you can then simplify your About page.
- In the footer: Most WordPress themes have a footer area where you can put information like contact details, links to privacy and terms of service, disclaimers and so on. Put contact information directly in the footer or link to your About or Contact page.
Where to get an email account
You should not use your one and only personal email address for the contact information on your site. Keep that private. Many web hosting services provide not only a website, but also email too.
In the web hosting admin (not WordPress admin) is often an option to create one or more email addresses. Having an email address that uses your domain name looks professional and business-like.
Another email provider could be used, like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! and so on, but it does not look as professional. However, what you can do is either automatically forward emails from your site to your Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo! account, or configure your email account to fetch messages from your site’s email account. You can even create rules to automatically move emails from your site into a folder, or to add a label to separate it from your personal email.
Show your email address on your site
It is important to show an email address on your web site. It is not because people want to email you, it is because they like to have the option to contact you. It may even be the law where you live. This is especially important if you sell anything, even if you just sell affiliate items. People need to know that if something goes wrong, they have a way to contact you. It makes them more confident in clicking buttons or links to purchase items, to register with a membership site, or even to just sign up for an email newsletter.
One problem with putting your email address on your website is that spammers use automated tools to scour websites for them and this can lead to them spamming you.
You must disguise your email address in some way so spam bots cannot read it. This is called email obfuscation. One way is to use words instead of characters, like this:
A person can read this quite easily once you explain to them that it is to stop spam and dumb spam bots will not see it as an email address. However, some are clever enough to see through this.
Cloudflare is a service that speeds up websites by caching them – keeping a copy of pages on super-fast servers. Free and paid accounts are available and they are useful for reducing the load time of your website’s pages. This site uses a free account for example.
There are other benefits of using Cloudflare and one of them is email obfuscation. Any email addresses on web pages are automatically turned into code that is unreadable by spam bots looking for them. However, web browsers automatically turn the code back into the email address when showing it on the page to visitors.
Here is how Cloudflare email obfuscation works. With it, you don’t need to worry about putting an email address on your website. Go ahead and show it.
Another simple method of hiding your email address from spammers is to create an image. Open a word processor, type your email address, screenshot it, crop it to just show your email, and then insert it into your Contact or About page.
That email above is an image, as you will see if you try to select the text, and it will fool many spam bots. However, it will also cause problems for people with poor sight who use screen readers to read out loud the text on web pages. You need to think about accessibility on your site.
Use a Contact Form
A contact form can be a useful addition to the ways that people can contact you and some people find it preferable to sending an email. You place a form on a page, one called Contact for example, and people can fill in the form to send you the message. It arrives in your email inbox like regular mail.
A plugin is needed to enable the form to be created and sent, but they are fairly straightforward and contact forms are among the simplest type of form. There are many WordPress plugins and the most popular is Contact Form 7 with 5 million active installations according to the WordPress plugins directory.
Contact Form by WPForms is another popular plugin with 2 million installations and Ninja Forms has 1 million installations. There are many more and you can browse them at the WordPress site by searching for ‘contact form’.
Here is a guide showing how to Create a contact form to enable feedback from website visitors.
Some people find that contact forms are used by spammers to send them junk messages. If this happens, you need an anti-spam plugin like Cleantalk, there are others, which stops contact form spam along with comment spam.
Show social media accounts
Social media accounts are a great way to interact with people like readers, followers and customers of your website or blog. You may belong to Facebook, Twitter account, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest boards, Minds and MeWe. If you don’t, you should sign up immediately.
You should list all your social accounts somewhere on your site and they should be on your About or Contact page, or in the sidebar. Some people may prefer to send you a Facebook or Twitter message instead of an email and you could link to your Facebook page or Twitter account.
In addition to providing a way to contact you, social media links also help build social followers. Here is a series of articles showing the Secrets to successful social media promotion.
Show your post address
Should you show your post address? A straightforward and basic blog or website does not need to show a physical address. People do not need to know where you live and are unlikely to want to post letters or parcels.
However, if your website is a business that sells products or services, then an address is essential. In fact, it may be the law where you live. Even if people never use it, seeing a real post address builds trust and makes them feel safer when purchasing items.
People are not going to be turning up at your address and knocking on the door because the internet is global and you are probably hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Seeing an address just makes people feel good.
If you have email subscribers you must include a post address in every email. It’s the law in many places and it is designed to reduce spamming, so you will not find many bulk email providers that don’t force you to include an address.
This is fine if you are a business with offices, but it presents a problem to the solo blogger and anyone working from home. Do you want to put your home address on your website or in emails? Probably not, although I have not heard of anyone having any problems with this.
The solution that many people use is a PO Box. A Post Office Box is an address that people can post mail to. No-one can tell your home address from a PO box, which is just a number and a town or city.
It is physically located at some office, store or mail depot and is often run by the country’s postal services, but other companies provide PO box services, too. Some will forward mail to you, but mostly you choose a convenient location in a nearby town and you visit once a week and pick up any mail.
PO boxes are charged monthly and are not free. Just type ‘get a po box’ into Google to see a list of providers in your country. Prices vary, so shop around and look at several different providers.
A virtual business address is a similar service and for a monthly fee, you can have a physical office where mail can be sent. Mail can simply be stored until you pick it up, it can be forwarded, or even opened, scanned, and a PDF emailed to you. Anything is possible. Google ‘virtual business address’ to find providers in your area.
- Put your email address on your website or blog and give people a way to contact you. Obfuscate it to avoid spammers finding it.
- Create a Contact page with all the ways to contact you.
- Add a Contact Form, but don’t forget an anti-spam plugin.
- Add your social media accounts so people can message you.
- If you run a business, put your business address on your About or Contact page. Use a PO Box if you work from home.