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Should you use your e-mail or a form on your site?

Should you use your e-mail or a form on your site?

Postby admin » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:57 am

A quick survey of websites on the Internet today will show you that email addresses can be found on both business and hobby/personal sites. Likewise, contact forms are now so prevalent that it is not only the hobby sites that have them, many businesses also provide such forms in addition to, or instead of, listing their email addresses.

There are some visitors who will not do business with companies that don't display their email addresses on their site, since it makes them wonder whether the company is a shady one. That is, to these visitors, publishing an email address lends a site legitimacy. Other visitors like forms because it allows them to easily have all elements at their fingertips and in addition, making it makes your site "look more professional". That is, to these other visitors, a feedback form grants a site professionalism.

Seen from a certain perspective, both these sets of comments probably cancel each other out. In other words, neither the listing of an email address or the placement of a contact form per se automatically confers a site an aura of respectability and professionalism. Since both options are so prevalent on the internet, and everyone has had different experiences with sites with either an email address or a contact form, having one or the other is no guarantee that it will make your site look more professional to everybody.

Which is Preferred by Visitors?
Some people who prefer to contact website owners through an email address, because it allows them to send the email from their own email software. The reason is not that they love their email client so much, but that they want to have a copy of the message they sent. If they send it from their email program, they automatically have that without any further work on their part. This may be important if they are, for example, conducting business transactions with you.

Having said that, however, other visitors value a contact form. Forms have a certain amount of convenience and anonymity. This in turns encourages feedback. There are many good people around who, when spotting a problem on your site, such as a spelling error or a broken link, willingly take the trouble to drop you a note. Without a feedback form, the hassle involved in logging into their web mail account or starting up their email software may discourage them from even bothering.
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