The Contact page seems like such a simple little thing, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t think that certain death was even a possibility. Well! Aren’t you glad you read IttyBiz? Let’s discuss.
We’ll start with the basics.
Do you have a website?
If so, does it have a Contact page?
If so, please go to your Contact page now and read it.
Go. Now. This will wait. The internet lasts forever. I will quietly hum in your absence.
Ok. You’re back. Good.
Now, I want you to think of the most exciting person or entity that could ever visit your website.
Perhaps it’s the New York Times.
Perhaps it’s a certain publishing house.
Perhaps it’s a famous movie director, or a magazine, or an author.
Ok. Now. Imagine that person or entity came to your website, and that they wanted to contact you.
Could they do that?
This seems like a silly question, but it bears thoughtful consideration.
In order for them to contact you, a few things need to be in place.
First, you need to have a Contact page. Don’t laugh. You’d be surprised.
Second, it has to be called Contact. (If you fancy yourself a creative type, I’ll make a few allowances. You could go a little crazy and call it Contact Us, Contact Me, or even something truly off the wall like Get In Touch.)
Third, this page must be visible above the fold. That means I can see it as soon as the page loads, without scrolling.
Fourth, all critical information must be available in text format. If you took B-School and they told you they’d put you in the stocks if you didn’t have a video on every page of your site, fine. Go ahead. But remember the when not to use video rules? “When you are transmitting critical information, you cannot do it exclusively by video.” You can have a video. You just can’t only have a video.
Fifth, there must be at least two ways to contact you privately. You need two in case one doesn’t work. Most people choose email and a contact box.
And they must be private. The editor at Little, Brown doesn’t want to send you a public @ reply on Twitter. Add Twitter on there if you feel possessed, give a shout out to your Instagram homies, cram a picture of your third grade teacher on there if you want, I don’t care. But I want two private ways to get in touch with you. Two. Private.
Six, there must be a general way to contact you that does not fit in a preassigned box. If you have a techie supporty kind of site, it is very en vogue to have a button for new support tickets and another for existing support tickets. And that’s it. Nothing else. The idea is, they don’t want to be overrun by annoying customers asking annoying questions via annoying email when there is a perfectly valid system in place for that.
Lovely. Great. But unless you also have a button for “I’d like to offer your founder a three book deal” and another for “We’d like to put you on the front page of the Technology section” and another for “It turns out you’re the only living relation of a Botswanian bunny farm mogul”, you must have a way to get in touch for reasons not predicted. An email address would be a nice choice here.
Ok. Let’s recap. Contact page rules in 137 characters:
1. Dedicated page.
2. Called something obvious.
3. No scrolling.
4. In text.
5. Two private methods.
6. Option for unpredictable contact.
Make sense? Awesome. Now go fix anything that needs fixing.