May I be so blunt as to officially pronounce the contact form deceased? This may all be my perception but I usually have a good handle on these matters. As our submissions come in for this year’s Call for Entries, filmmakers often supply a website to learn more about them and/or their project. Having visited countless websites of this nature, I’ve come to the decision that an e-mail address is far more appealing than a contact form.
Contact forms are a neat, streamlined and professional way to allow your website users to get in touch with you. But is it the best way? I say no. I say they are cold as ice! I see a contact form and I run in the other direction. Had I wanted to ask that person a question or send a message of some kind, the desire escapes me immediately. Reasons being:
1. I’ve somehow gotten it into my head that the recipient never receives or answers form submissions.
2. I’m scared to spend time filling out the form, only to find a page error waiting for me on the next page.
3. When individuals or small businesses use contact forms, it creates distance between you and your visitors.
All of those reasons can be a major turn-off for your users. Most people implement the contact form in an effort to avoid spam. It’s 2010 – spam is smarter than your silly little contact form any day.
My conclusion and whole-hearted recommendation to webmasters: list your e-mail address on your contact page. Use Gmail to avoid heavy spamming. This will prevent you from coming off as cold or unapproachable. Interaction with your user-base is priceless – don’t turn them away from it, encourage it!