Contact Form vs. Email Link: Which is Better?

Dear Rich,

Do I need a contact form on my website or can I get by with just an email link for people to contact me? What are the benefits of a contact form?

Wondering in Windham

Dear Wondering,

A contact form is the right tool for online lead generation. There are a number of advantages that a contact form gives you over a simple email link:

  • Better contact information capture: with an email link you're at the mercy of the sender to share the pertinent information you need to evaluate the lead. With a contact form you can encourage or even require the visitor to provide the information you need, from name and phone number to the time frame for a buying decision.
  • Better conversion tracking: when someone completes your contact form they are directed to a thank you or landing page. If you're measuring conversion rates on your website (as you should be), this makes it easy to track when a visitor becomes a prospect on your website, and helps you track where your best traffic is coming from…Google, an ad campaign, your blog, etc.
  • Easier data entry to a contact database: At flyte we have our website contact forms automatically populate our online contact database, saving time and reducing errors that occur when you have to copy and paste new leads into your contact database.
  • Reduced spam: When you put your email address on your website, you attract email harvesters–programs that scrape email addresses off the web for spammers to use. The best way to reduce the spam you get is to make sure your email address never gets put on your website, either visibly or hidden in the code of the page.

And maybe this is just web developer snobbery, but personally I find that a contact form is more professional than an email link on a website…maybe because I know it's slightly more complex to add a contact form to a site. (Yeah, that's probably just snobbery.)

Rich Brooks
Maine Web Developer