Random Blog Tip – Contact Options
Contrary to what you see in the movies, most bloggers don’t operate out of a dark, gloomy basement, surrounded by candy bar wrappers and diet Pepsi cans. They may enjoy working alone but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy interacting with other humans. That’s why I find it so surprising that more of them don’t include contact options on their blog. What if someone wants to tell them a secret?
I can’t tell you the number of blogs and websites I’ve visited that don’t have a prominent link to their contact information – if they’re even publicizing their contact information. They use these teeny tiny, nearly invisible links all the way down in the footer – if they use a link at all.
Your Opt-In Form Is Not A Contact Form
I know when I first started blogging it never even crossed my mind that one of my readers would want to send me a personal email. I just assumed that if they had something to say they’d either leave a comment or reply to one of my emails. I also didn’t understand how my email list worked and I thought it could be used for back-and-forth communication.
But some of your readers will want to speak with you confidentially or one-on-one. You can’t do that in the comments and it’s difficult and confusing to try to carry on a conversation through your email service provider. Sometimes you can’t even reply to those emails.
Make It Easy For People To Contact You
Set up a Contact Page so it appears prominently in your navigation bar so everyone can easily find it.
At the very least you should include your email address. But if that’s all you include then your readers are going to have to leave your blog to contact you. If you turn your email address into a text link using your email address it will pop-up a Microsoft Outlook email box and your reader can automatically contact you.
However, the Outlook option only works if your reader has configured his computer to use it, and most people don’t. Everyone has their own favorite email provider and it’s usually not Outlook. To make it even easier for your visitor, go one step further and install a contact form directly on your Contact page.
There are several WordPress plug-ins for contact forms. Contact Form 7 is very easy to use and you can even change the settings to include an answer-back and and upload button.
A contact form makes it extremely easy for anyone to contact you. It’s right there on your Contact page and they don’t have to copy and paste anything. All they have to do is fill in the blanks and submit. In most cases, this is all you’ll need on your blog, as long as you make it easy for people to find it.
However, you may want to provide other options, too. For example, a freelance writer I know has a Skype button on her contact page. When visitors click the button it immediately connects on Skype. Sometimes it’s easier to define her client’s needs in an online chat instead of going back and forth with emails.
She also configured her Contact form to allow uploads for those clients who want to send her files of research information or images. That way, everything’s attached to one email.
You may want to include information so people can connect with you through Google or Facebook chat. Depending on your business, you might even want to include a snail mail address or a phone number.
My point is: Make it easy for anyone who wants to contact you to find your contact information and make it as easy as possible for them to connect with you. If you anticipate the necessity of file transfers or lengthy chats, then plan for it before it happens and prominently display the information.
Why You Should Make It Easy To Contact You
Your readers aren’t the only people who’ll want to get in touch with you. Other bloggers may want to approach you for a guest blogging opportunity, or to offer you a blogging position, or present a business proposal. Advertisers will contact you with promotion opportunities, maybe even to offer you free products in exchange for a review. Media outlets and A-list bloggers might even want to interview you.
The list of good reasons that people will want to contact you far outweighs the list of bad, so if you’re avoiding publishing your contact information, don’t. Make it easy for everyone and offer them some contact options. People want to talk to you.