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Archive for the ‘Web Design’ Category


4 Secrets to Creating Contact Forms that Convert

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

So you have an excellent product or service to sell online? Well, unfortunately, so does everyone else. Rather than pack it in and give up on a potentially incredible, one-of-kind idea, shift your focus to marketing techniques used by internet entrepreneurs and online marketing professionals from around the world – these techniques will differentiate you from the competition.

One of the most powerful market research and retention techniques for new potential customers is the contact form. Online contact forms were utilized properly back in the day, where interested parties would fill out information about themselves for incentives or because they liked the product or service. Unfortunately, internet scammers ruined the proper use of contact forms, making potential online customers scared of displaying information for unknown parties (although they do this every day on Facebook).

If you want high retention rates from creating contact forms, and eventually want sales conversion, use the principles provided below – four secrets to creating contact forms that convert.

Converting Contact Form Secrets

Simple & Sweet – Consumer attention spans are diminishing rapidly every year and moving more towards non-existent. If you are looking for conversions from contact forms, or even sales pages, make sure you reduce the number of characters and provide a clear picture of what you are attempting to accomplish. By reducing contact forms from eleven fields to four fields of information, many internet entrepreneurs increased conversions by 120%. Keeping the text fields at an absolute minimum, while maximizing relevant information, will yield you more conversions and sales in the future.

Test Your Forms – A/B Split testing is a great way to test your contact form fields – by experimenting you are asking yourself what is important and what is hurting conversions? Be sure to hold everything constant and only test up to two variables at one time, recording the change in conversions (make sure external factors such as season and time of day are measured and consistent). On average, consumers do not like putting phone numbers on contact forms – offering a field for this as an option may or may not hurt you – just make sure you do not make it a requirement as it will significantly lower your desirability for consumers.

Never Use Submit – Back when e-commerce first started to prosper, keywords were not critical. In fact, they didn’t even call them keywords – they were just words used to describe your product or service. However, with a now flooded market, word choice is vital to high sales conversions and user retention. Words can either call someone to action or send them running – “submit” is one of the latter. Multiple studies have shown that “click here” and “go”, along with other comparable synonyms, have excellent conversion rates, compared to contact form pages or sale pages with the word “submit.” Click buttons are the final call to action for a consumer and providing names like submit, download, or register seem to have bad resignation with customers.

Contact Form Don’ts – Never ask for age, job title, yearly salary, home address (unless shipping item), or phone number. Even though you want as much information as possible about your target market, asking too much (and asking the wrong questions) can quickly turn people away. In addition, the more questions you ask, the less consumers will remember why they were there in the first place – ultimately lowering sales. First-time contact form encounters should be nothing but the bare essentials. For online marketing purposes, this is simply a person’s name, date, and email address. You are better off grabbing the email address and name of the potential customer and verifying the email address through an automatic secure password than attempting to grab personal information.

Matthew Hall currently runs his own website in a niche market, and shares some of the things he has discovered about ecommerce through blogs. Another aspect he wants to always stress is making sure you have a safe and secure checkout process, and you can find a platform for such a process by going to www.fastspring.com. You can learn more about Matthew by visiting on Google+.


How To Set Up A Website – The Basics

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

زوار مدونتي اربعون زائر يوميا
Creative Commons License photo credit: علي – ali

With the internet being such a major factor in our lives, every business striving for success may want to consider getting an online presence.  But just what does that involve?  If you don’t know what you need to do to set a website up, then read on for some basic guidelines.

Domain name

Before you’ve even got your website together, you’ll need to think of a domain name, ie, the name of the website.  Important consideration should be given to deciding your domain name, because it should be one that is effective and memorable.  It can help with your marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).  You’ll also need to decide on the suffix of the domain name. .com is the most popular.  Once you’ve found a name that doesn’t already exist, you’ll need to register it, with one of the many domain registers.  You’ll need to pay an annual fee for this.

Hosting

Once you’ve registered your domain name, you may then decide to look into web hosting.  A host is a company that has many computers linked to the internet, and will enable your website to be viewed by others when surfing online.  You’ll need to sign up for an account with your web host.  Choosing a web host can be a minefield, especially if you are new to setting up a website.  There are lots of factors and considerations worth bearing in mind.  Some web hosting is free, but they may not be able to offer all of the services you require.  Ask around for recommendations, do some research and pick what’s right for you.  Once you’ve got your web hosting sorted, you’ll need to point your domain to your web hosting account.

Designing the website

The next stage you’ll be looking at is the actual design of your website.  You have two options here.  Either you do it yourself, or you get someone else to do it for you.  There are a number of factors involved.

If your site is likely to be complex, and you require a content management system (CMS), and you have no prior experience, then you may call in the services of a professional website designer to assist you.  Ask around for recommendations.  Or, look at websites you particularly like and source the designer or agency.  Get a few quotes in, play around with ideas of what you want until you settle on the right person for the job.

However, many people with no design or web-building experience develop sites themselves, so there are lots of tools and resources available to guide you through the process.

Many people use WordPress to design their site, as it is a free CMS.  It is easy to use, allowing you to create a website even if you have no knowledge of HTML.  There is a lot of information on the internet how to use WordPress and install it.  You’ll also need to configure your site.

You can also select free themes, using tools such as Themes to make your site look professional.  This is also useful if you want to add plugins to your site, particularly those that can help with SEO. Getting your website indexed on search engines is important so that people can find your site.

Website testing

As you go along building your website, make sure that you test how it looks in all of the major browsers, so you can check that it works in the way that you want it to.

Crispin Jones is a self-confessed super geek and works for CWCS. He writes about all things that even remotely related to tech. CWCS offer managed hosting solutions with an emphasis on support.


Just What is ‘Information Architecture’, and Why is it Important to Your Business Website?

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

In the world of IT, there are a lot of quite bewildering terms bandied about that to an outsider just seem like business buzz word gibberish. One term a lot of people question the first time they hear it is ‘information architecture’. While it may seem like a needlessly grandiose term for what it is, its meaning is actually quite simple: it describes the process of planning the structure of information on a website or in a computer system. In the most basic terms, it is kind of akin to plotting out your site map in advance, planning which categories you are going to have, what will fall under each of them, and how people will navigate around between them.

So if that is what information architecture is, why is it so important, and more crucially, how do you get started doing it for your own business website?

The Importance of Good Information Architecture

Good information architecture can make or break a user’s experience when they come to your site. No matter how much effort you have put into cultivating a lot of backlinks, keyword optimising your content and creating really good stuff to put on there, if people find navigating around the site frustrating they will leave and never come back, and their impression of your brand will be negative. Even some of the biggest companies have bad information architecture. Have you ever struggled to find the contact number on your bank’s website, or a price list on a business site? In some cases it is intentional, because they don’t really want to make certain things easy to find, but in others it is just bad planning, or a sign that a site has grown organically and things have been tacked on where they don’t logically belong.

How to Do Your Own Information Architecture

If your site is of medium complexity or higher, it is really best to get a specialist to work on your information architecture for you, as it can become quite baffling to the uninitiated and is also something that if done wrong at the start, will lead to endless problems later on as your site expands. However, if your site is simple with clearly defined areas, for example a blog, an ‘About Us’ section and a contacts page, you can probably structure it yourself. Remember that as well as determining what the top level categories should be (the things that will usually appear in a navigation bar on every page), you will probably want to come up with a parent-child type structure for your content, for example arranging your blog posts in an easy to navigate way under headings and subheadings.

Draw all this out on paper or in a drafting app, and play around with it until you have found a logical structure that has a place for everything you are likely to ever want to put on the site (even if you aren’t planning to add it yet – for example, think about where you would put an online catalogue even if that’s not something you’re going to implement until next year).

Adam Livermore is the marketing manager for leading UK web design, SEO and internet marketing consultancy Consult 3. He has a keen interest in helping clients design and structure their websites in a way that gives customers and other site visitors the best possible experience, and reflects positively on the clients’ brands.


Freelance Web Design: Not For The Faint Of Heart

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

After so many years as a full-time employee working for “the man”, there comes a time for many of us where we just decide to take the plunge.  No, not directly off a bridge, although this decision can sometimes feel just as scary.  Despite the allure of working for yourself, the world of freelance web design – when it finally becomes your reality – can be a daunting one!

Flying Ninja Man
Creative Commons License photo credit: Zach Dischner

It’s not that one day you were working for a company and the next day you decided not to.  You’ve been thinking about it for a long time.  By the time you’re ready to officially start the journey, you’ve already put in a lot of thought and planning.  You’re actually more ready than you may realize. There just may be some things you still need to work out. That’s why you’re reading this article right now.

Get just enough of a really good website up

Before you start contacting potential clients, you obviously need a place to send them.  But you don’t need everything. Being a designer, you may want to try to set everything up perfectly, but it’s really not that necessary.  At the start, all you need is just enough.

It may seem too simple, but that’s the point for the beginning.  All you really need is a way to show your potential clients what you do, a few samples, and a way to get in touch with you.  Everything else can come later.  The reason you don’t need more than that is that it’ll really only stop you from moving forward. It feels like work, so in a way you feel productive, but you’ll spend a lot of time and lose a lot of potential income if you do more to your site up front.

Find a few services to take advantage of

When you worked for a company, you didn’t necessarily have to find your own workflow utility, resolution system, or inbound call center.  All of that was paid for and provided by your company. As a freelancer, though, you may find as you start to grow that you need more of these things.

You won’t need them at first, but if you plan to scale your business you will, so start looking around at options now while you have the extra time.  A way for customers to send in help tickets so you can keep track of them and notify them of fixes is probably one of the first tools.  If you don’t have an invoice system, one where you can track payments would be really useful as well.

Develop a self-help system

As you get going and start taking on more clients, a way for them to find the help they need, especially when it’s something they can handle on their own, will be golden.  You can use it to build out content on your site too.  They’ll start contacting you with the same questions over and over. Those are perfect for a FAQ page.  When you have one of those, you won’t spend your time crafting the same answer over and over. Instead, you can send them to your FAQ.  After a while, that can become the first line of defense for your clients before they start looking for email responses from you.

The freelance world can be scary, but it can also be extremely rewarding.  You don’t need to think about everything ahead of time; you’re probably not looking to start a multi-million dollar business tomorrow.  With a little forethought and planning, though, you’ll have a really solid footing once you do step out into this great unknown and start.  It’s totally worth it!

Jess Holmes is a web designer and avid blogger.


Do Design Right (From DFWWP)

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

p>Today RD2 did a presentation at the DFW WordPress monthly meet-up. I was very excited once they started talking because we feel very similar about design and approach as they did. So instead of doing a review of them, I’m mostly going to summarize their presentation with a few of my own thoughts interjected.? This presentation was given either for people planning to work with a design team, or someone who creates blog/website design.

What is the biggest challenge of design?

Design is subjective, its personal. Most people have trouble explaining why they pick a color scheme. What needs to happen is you need to move to an objective place. Colors, for example, maybe they support the mood of the pace, exemplify a fundamental change in the company, convey the message, or just support their branding colors.

Why?

The best way to be objective is to apply the “why” filter. With every design, color, piece of content, we need to ask why? The answer to the question why should line up with one of the following:

  • Overarching reason or purpose
  • Mission
  • Key Summary
  • Core Value System

You need to keep an overall goal in mind. What is the purpose of the website? Is it to put out information, leverage your clients or customers, share knowledge, network or maybe just establish yourself as an expert? Get this well defined.

Steps

  1. Know your goals

We talked a little bit about the why up above. Spend a lot of time defining the goals. Again, just apply the “why” over and over again. Without goals you won’t be able to get anywhere.

2. Identify Your Audience:

Its so important to KNOW your audience. RD2 suggested actually doing full profiles of possible users of the website, including slice of life descriptions. (AKA, how old is the user, where do they live, why are they on the site, what do they do, activities, family, etc.) User profiles can be real people. Feel free to interview the kinds of people who would actually visit the site.

3. Know your competitor.

Visit competitor sites. Pick what you like and don’t like on those sites. What can you use? What can you improve on? Take those elements and decide what would make someone come to this site instead.

4. Research some Inspiration.

Inspiration can be about content or design, it can be cause by competitors or outside influences.

5. Plan Your Content

Its important to know your content before your design Layout pages, text, what you know you want. Have it written down in a flow sheet. Start a layout and plan as much as you can before you ever design anything.

6. Plan Your Features

After you know what you want on the pages and all the content you expect, try to decide what you want the site to do. (Again, looking at competitors might help here.) Do you want to connect to social media? Do you need a contact page? Interaction? Write all those down. Even brainstorm without the web (aka, “if your website could do anything, what would you have it do?”)

7.Outline Your Needs

Once you’ve got your content and features decided on, start wireframing the site. Decide exactly where you want everything to go before you ever start with the art.

But we want to end up on the importance of “Why”. Everything you do must go back to the goals, values and needs of the site itself. Make that your foundation and everything else will fall into place.


A Younger, Sexier Twitter

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Twitter made some subtle design changes recently and I couldn’t help but comment on them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about sleek designs. Except the new bird is kinda weird. But here’s my problem: why is Twitter spending money on a redesign when they could put that cash towards greater/smoother functionality or finding a monetization strategy? Or, you know, adding a “ReTweet” button, like other apps have (TweetDeck, Tweetgrid, so on…). That’d be cool. Hello?? Twitter? Are you listening?

What awesome feature would you have spent Twitter’s money on?

(Also, go rate that video. I lost the password to my YouTube account and I can finally get on it after a year! I need some love.)


Top 10 Ways To Ruin Your Website Summary

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

We have reached the end of our series! Its true, so many little things can ruin your entire website. In the series I tried to touch on each of the most common pages businesses place on their site and then discusses the top ten worst things for each. Here we’ll do a quick summary of those lists.

But what I want you to take away is this: your website is part of your branding. Make sure every page, every line of text exemplifies who you are as a company. That’s the best way to create a great website.

HomePage

  1. Too much text
  2. Unclear navigation
  3. Clutter
  4. Screaming Colors
  5. Forgetting the Bottom Line
  6. No Logo or Branding
  7. Flash
  8. Too Much Scrolling
  9. Ads Taking Up the Top Half of Your Page
  10. Skimping in the Design Department

About

  1. Huge Pictures of Yourself in Classic Realtor Style
  2. Writing for Yourself, Not Your Audience
  3. Removing Distinction Between You & Your Company
  4. Text Overload
  5. Being Boring
  6. Not Optimized
  7. Repetition from Home Page
  8. No Formatting
  9. Failure to Highlight the Important Part
  10. No Purpose

Contact

  1. Wrong Information
  2. No Information
  3. Contact Form Error
  4. Never Hooking Your Email Up to Your Contact Form
  5. Never Checking the Email Connected to Your Contact Form
  6. Requiring Someone’s Birth Certificate Before They can Use Your Form
  7. Making the Form Look Too Long
  8. Hiding Your Phone Number
  9. Excessive Text
  10. TMI

Shopping Cart

  1. Log-In Hell
  2. Not Saving Contact Information
  3. Deleting Everything When There is an Input Error
  4. Not Putting the Cart Front & Center
  5. Not Giving Prices Upfront
  6. Making the Process More than 3 Steps
  7. Long Load Time
  8. No Options
  9. Errors
  10. Charging the Wrong Amount

Blog

  1. Hiding the RSS Feed
  2. Captcha Doesn’t Work to Comment
  3. Requiring a Log-in to Comment
  4. No Structure in Posts
  5. Design doesn’t Mesh with Website
  6. Blog Content Doesn’t Match Goal of Website
  7. 5th Grade Writing Level – Sometimes You Should Pay for Content
  8. Not Using Your Own Work (Or At Least Claiming its Yours When it isn’t)
  9. Not Taking Advantage of Titles
  10. Clutter

Did you enjoy this series? Is there page you think should be added to the list?


Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Blog Page

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Blogging has become an essential part of good online marketing. Most people have either connected a blog to their site or link to one hosted elsewhere. A blog page has many different aspects, which makes it easy to ruin. Here are my top ten:

1. Hiding the RSS feed

No visible RSS feed might be the most frustrating thing ever. If I find a blog that inspires me, I want to subscribe right then. If I search for 5 minutes and can’t find the feed, I’ll probably leave and never come back. If you want to retain readers, keep your RSS feed at the top and bottom of your page. (Also, consider offering email subscription, too.)

2. Captcha doesn’t work to comment

I admit, I am guilty of this one. For two months no one could leave comments on posts because my captcha created impossible to decipher words. Finally someone told me and I fixed the problem. Check your captcha!

3. Requiring a log-in to comment

Most WordPress blogs don’t require a log-in unless you add a plugin for that, but some other blogs do. Sure, this deters spam, but it also deters serious responses. I know I will usually fore-go commenting if I have to take an extra step. Note: this is not because I am lazy, but because I am busy. Forcing people to log-in disrespects their time.

4. No structure in posts

Some blog pages show just part of a post, while others show the entire thing. I don’t really have a preference, but if you show an entire post, make sure to give it structure. (Actually, give it structure anyhow.) By structure I mean paragraph breaks, headings… They call it, letting your writing “breathe.” People except one idea to stop before you begin the next one. Structure helps signify those changes.

5. Design doesn’t mesh with website

Sometimes blogs are embedded into a site, or just linked to the main page from another host. The design of the blog may not match the rest of the site. The clash of designs can range from disjointed branding to omg-my-eyes-are-burning.  Strongly consider integrating your blog; or at least matching your blog with the rest of your site.

6. Blog content doesn’t match goal of website

Your blog should play a part in your marketing. If your blog content is too personal or isn’t useful to clients its not functioning in your favor. Make every post work for you in some way. Sit down and think about the goal of your website and your blog. They should be complimentary.

7. Fifth grade writing skills – sometimes you should pay for content

Not everyone can boast beautiful writing technique. I don’t mean you need an English degree or the best grammar. Just make sure your writing is readable. If you just don’t have good writing skills, consider hiring someone or buying content. Don’t give up on a blog just because you can’t spell, but if you’re not willing to invest the time, pay someone else to.

8. Not using your own work (or at least claiming its yours when it isn’t)

DO. NOT. STEAL. Copying may be the highest form of flattery but its not worth it. If you get caught, imagine how that would destroy your credibility. Plus its just wrong. You can point to other blogs and even quote them, just link back and give credit.

9. Not taking advantage of Titles

Even if you don’t display entire posts on your blog page, readers will at least be able to see titles. Use your titles to keep people clicking! This is a great way to convert a causal browser into a possible client. Your posts may already have good information, but your titles aren’t urging people to click RIGHT NOW!

10. Clutter

It happens far too often. You spend hours adding links to your blogroll. You play with all the fun plugins and options. Its easy to suddenly have a blog just covered in random crap. Live by this rule, only add things you would click on someone else’s blog.

So ends our series on How to Ruin Your Website! Was there any particular page you would have liked to cover? Which page do you struggle with?

Image by Antigone78

Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Shopping Cart

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Not all sites have an e-commerce section, but many do. Today, in our continuation of the Top 10 ways to Ruin your website series, I want to talk a little bit about your “shopping cart”. Any e-commerce site has multiple sections from how products are laid-out to payment options, but I just want to focus on getting through the “cart” area, in other words the process it takes to get from a product to a sale. Not all e-commerce solutions offer flexibility, some are straight-out-of-the-box so to speak. But when you are making the decision, look out for these top ten.

1. Log-in Hell

I understand the need to have customers “log-in” so that you can have their information and contact details. But, this process should be as simple and intuitive as possible. If the log-in frustrates a customer they may give-up and never come back. If you require membership, give your clients an option to sign-up as part of their check-out process.

2. Not saving contact information

Give clients the option to save their information (leave me logged-in, remember my password, that kind of thing). Nowadays we all have 573 passwords we’re supposed to remember. Don’t let the reason you missed a sale be because a customer forgot how to log-in.

3. Deleting everything when there’s an input error

This may be a personal issue but I really hate it when I spend 10 minutes carefully filling out my contact information, my credit card, etc. and then I mistype one number and the page reloads saying: there was an error with your credit card. Then, all the information I painstakingly added, vanishes. I have to do it all over again. This alone has made me give-up and use a different website before.

4. Not making the cart front and center

I don’t see this often, so when I do, it stumps me. Put a link saying “Buy now!” next to every product. There should as many opportunities to click to purchase as possible. This does not mean tricking the client into purchasing, but it means make it easy to get the money.

5. Not giving prices up front

Prices vary for a number of reasons: tax, shipping, bulk ordering. However, simplify the question of cost as much as you can. Let them know if tax will be added. Give them an idea of what shipping costs average. Do not let the final charge completely surprise them. Also, make sure you include prices next to each item in a highly visible way.

6. Making the process more than 3 steps

If it takes more than 3 clicks to get from the product to making the payment, you need to simplify. Places you can cut:

  • consolidate like information (shipping & tax, membership & credit card information)
  • cut out unnecessary personal information requests
  • only ask for approval to bill their credit card once
  • Send an email confirmation instead of a page they can print

7. Long Load time

An e-commerce site may have heavy back-end coding. The reasons vary from lots of products to automated systems. These things can cause a slower load time. This is a hard problem to fix. You may need to find a new program or solution if wait time becomes an issue. Not all shopping carts are created equal. Don’t lose clients because your page won’t load.

8. No options:

The average person excepts your site to cater to them. Make sure to give them options. Marketing used to follow the rule: ask forgiveness, not permission. That philosophy went out with the 90s. Now people want to choose. So be sure to offer choices. You have a newsletter? Let them opt-in or out. Give them the opportunity to save their password, or let the site remember their log-in (or even keep them logged in for a period of time). Do they want an email receipt? Why not ask instead of assuming. These are just a few examples of options you can give your customers.

9. Errors

It happens. One misplaced bracket and it throws off the whole page. Check for coding errors. E-commerce requires multiple facets therefore it require extra time to debug. Don’t be surprised if your web company charges extra to check these things, or be willing to walk through yourself.

10. Charging the wrong amount

The worst glitch that can ever happen is charging someone the wrong amount. If you charge too little, you have to charge a second time. If you charge too much, you have a pissed off customer. Much like site errors, these things sometimes happen. The best I advice I can offer you is deal with it immediately. As soon as the error becomes obvious, fix it.

I hate to add this but I will. Sometimes companies charge the wrong amount on purpose. They add a few cents or charge twice, just to see if the customer double checks. Its wrong. Don’t do it. And if you ever do it and get caught, you’ll be lucky to still have a company, so make sure to be honest.

How about some examples of good shopping experiences. If you spend money online, who do you like to shop with?

Image by Dano

Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Contact Page

Friday, August 21st, 2009

The next important page we’ll deal with in our Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Website series is the Contact page. Most websites have one. Usually a Contact page consists of some kind of form and also a list of other ways to connect with your business. So how does one screw up something so simple? Easy. Let’s discuss the top reasons how.

1. Wrong Information:

Have you ever had this happen? You go to a Contact page, dial the listed number and get that lovely lady’s voice on the other end: I’m sorry, the number you are trying to reach is no longer in service. (She sounds so pleased with herself, doesn’t she?) If you change your number, update your site. There’s no easier way to lose a client.

2. No Information:

Better even than wrong information, is none at all. You’re excited about the company, you’re ready to talk to them but… no contact information. This is particularly annoying when there is a contact form but no one answers your requests.

3. Contact form error:

Check your site. Make sure it works. Click through everything. If your contact form displays an error when they message you (even if the message actually gets through) a possible client can get very frustrated, even if the problem out of your control.

4. Never hooking up your email to your form:

A contact form must be connected to an email address. However, you can set-up a form without linking it to an email. In fact, funny story, we set one up for a client once and he gave us the email he wanted the message forwarded to. The problem was, he didn’t actually have that email set up with his host. Lesson here: you do not magically have an email called info@company.com you can send things to. You set that up or pay a web company to do it for you.

5. Never checking the email connected to your contact form:

This isn’t really a problem with the Contact page its self, but its worth mentioning. Actually I wrote a post just on contact forms a few months ago that talks more about this. If you have a contact form, check the email it goes to. Or connect it to your outlook, or forward it to an email you actually check, but make sure you get those messages! I know people who missed opportunities because they didn’t stay on top of their contact form.

6. Requiring someone’s birth certificate before they can use your form:

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little. But you’ve seen what I mean. The contact form requires certain information (usually denoted with a “*”) before you can hit send. Now, I agree, its a good idea to require some information, like an email or phone number so you can get back in touch with people, but don’t expect people to give you their life story and social security number just to ask one question.

7. Making the form look too long:

This kinda pairs up with #6. You don’t want to scare people away by requiring too much from them. If the form scrolls down two pages I’m probably going to skip it and look for another way to get in touch with you. Most people contact companies through websites to either immediately fill a need or ask basic questions. There should be as few roadblocks as possible to get in touch with you.

8. Hiding your phone number:

Apart from wrong information and no information there is much more sinister: purposefully hidden information. For some reason, certain companies only want feedback through one channel. So they put a phone number up but they hide it at the bottom or it takes two clicks to get to. Or they hide their email, or they hide everything but the sacred contact form. My thoughts are, give people as many ways to contact you as possible, but if you have a preferred method, list it. Or let them know that your response will be via your preferred contact method. AKA, please include you phone number in your email so we can call you back.

9. Excessive Text:

I’m not sure why people feel the need to write an introduction paragraph to their Contact page. But then again, I’m a fan of simplicity. It says (or should say) Contact at the very top of the page, isn’t that enough ? But if you feel you must preface your information, than do so minimally. Get to the point as quickly as possible. Make sure your information or form still shows up on the screen without having to scroll down.

10. TMI (Too Much Information):

I mentioned earlier, you give people as many avenues to contact you as possible. But I want to add a disclaimer. Don’t overwhelm people. Don’t list 7 different phone number with no explanation. Don’t list a bunch of names and then their emails addresses with their department. Make sure not to  overload people, sometimes they just want to send one generic email and be done with it. Give your customers that option.

Note: If you do any trouble-shooting or have a customer service department you Contact page is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT! Everything I say here should be in bold for you.

Do you get contacted through your website? If so, which method do people use most often?

Image by AussieGal