By: Samantha Seligsohn

Contact forms help companies gather feedback, new ideas, and suggestions. But most importantly contact forms allow potential customers to reach companies they want to work with. When creating a contact form for your website, it’s essential to follow these best practice tips.

Each designer uses his or her own approach when creating a contact form. This post outlines best practices and new trends for creating contact forms.

Keep it Simple-

Make sure your contact form is short and to the point. If the form asks the customer to fill out too many questions it can push them away. The most common fields include: first and last name, email address and phone number. Add a comments or message field in case the potential customer wants to give more background information.

It’s also important to keep the submit button above the fold. Having it below could give the impression that the form is longer than it is. Keep the end in sight!

Placement-

Make sure your contact form is easy to find. You don’t want your customers to have to search to find this, make it easy for them find or “stumble upon”. Several websites place the contact form in the right side navigation. This capitalizes on how readers view a page, in a Z-shape from left to right. Include contact forms in the side navigation on all pages where the logical next step is to communicate with the potential customer.

Some websites also place a contact button on the top of the page. This button leads potential customers to another page with the contact form on it. If you opt to have a contact page, use that page as an opportunity to share some extra information with them. Link to your company’s newsletter, blog, press releases, case studies, whitepapers or social media networks. Having a graphic to add visual interest is usually a good idea too. Just be tasteful and don’t overdo it.

Most businesses list their physical address on their contact page. Adding a map or a map plug-in is a good way to direct potential customers to your location. Google maps and Bing maps both provide nice clean maps that most customers recognize as valid.

Where does the information go?

After submitting the contact form you can direct the information submitted by the potential customer to a few places. For example, you could send notice emails with the submitted information to the management team or to human resources. Auctori saves submitted files into a CSV document, which saves all of the data and allows you to see everything that has been entered in Microsoft Excel.

Finally, create a thank you page.

Sending the customer to a thank you page is a great way to let the customer know that you received the message. This would be another great opportunity to lead the customer back to your website. Linking them to the homepage, case studies, press releases and more.

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