Contact pages can make or break any business, especially businesses that rely on digital leads as their primary revenue source. Unfortunately, documentation on the web is pretty sparse when you research what you should include (and perhaps also what you should omit) when it comes to your site’s contact page.
While we’ll do a deeper dive throughout the article and take a look at some great samples and inspiration, first we’ll go over the basics that every contact page should include. Ideally, you should set up a test WordPress site before getting started, since we’ll be making some modifications in this article! However, if you’re feeling lucky, you may want to edit directly on your WordPress site.
If that’s the case, at the minimum, you’ll need to set up a WordPress backup plugin before proceeding any further. This ensures that you’ll be able to restore your site’s functionality in case anything happens.
What should a contact page include?
In no particular order, here are five must-haves when it comes to designing your WordPress site’s “Contact Us” page:
- No Annoying Sidebars! – Sorry, that came out a little too strong… Unfortunately, a series of User Experience (UX) studies back up what many web users have thought all along: sidebars are really, really annoying. These are those fixed elements that usually contain shameless plugs and social media share icons for your site. Don’t get us wrong; share icons are totally fine, as long as they’re placed thoughtfully throughout your WordPress site!
- Choose Form Fields Carefully – If you simply use a “default template” to make your form, chances are your customers won’t be having it. That’s because, to be honest, about half of each contact page is filled with useless fields. For example, let’s say you’re solely a digital eCommerce company, and someone is asking about a product. If you’re using a form that asks for a home address, your site will appear really fishy to the average user.
- Make Aesthetics Priority – Yes, the aesthetics of every page of your site should be carefully examined. However, multiple UX studies have demonstrated that the “Contact Us” page is perhaps the most important one to have extra airbrushed. Because of how SEO ranking works, many visitors looking for products will land straight on your page allowing user contact. As we all know, first impressions mean everything, so make sure you have a positive one.
- Be (Very) Verbose – This isn’t the time to skimp on words! Remember, visitors aren’t familiar with what your maybe oddly-named fields actually mean. Even something as simple as “Name” with no further explanation could be confusing. Are you asking for just a first name or a full name? If it’s a full name, is there really any reason to be asking for it in the first place? It’s critical to get the verbiage just right. This is an area where paying new users to test it out and give honest opinions could really pay off.
- Use Professional Plugins – The business of creating professional, succinct, and pretty “Contact Us” pages isn’t trivial. If you’re trying to stay on the modern end of WordPress technology, you might want to consider an efficient and customizable theme. Further, an extension pack like Kadence Blocks allows you to edit WordPress stuff natively in the newest rendition of the Gutenberg editor, including contact pages!
A few brief warnings
Before we go on, there are a few disclaimers we thought were particularly important!
- One of the leading web security threats are “unsanitized” forms. These are forms with fields that are read by your server before removing potentially malicious code input by users. While no security product can stop every threat, prudently selecting a quality WordPress security plugin can help mitigate potential threats.
- One trade-off to consider is the level of captcha security you want on your forms. If you select the most “aggressive” captcha, expect visitors to get frustrated with your page and leave. On the other hand, leaving your page out with minimal or no captcha security is an invitation for spammers, so choose wisely. The target demographic of your site is a very important consideration in this arena.
- Remember that creating this type of page is both a science and an art. Sure, there are fancy studies that tell us what elements people generally look for. Just as any seasoned webmaster knows, there’s no such thing as a website in a vacuum. Only those most intimately familiar with a WordPress site will know how to best structure the page.
How should a “contact us” page look?
While it’s true that there aren’t many “hard and fast” rules when it comes to contact form design, there are a few tried and true pieces of advice on generally how these pages should look.
First, ensure that all of your own contact information is displayed in a friendly manner. Keep in mind that different demographics value different methods of contact over others. For example, we see in studies that older generations value direct customer service over the phone. On the other hand, younger generations typically find online chat to be the easiest method.
Second, you should always have the user select a category of inquiry. Never use just one generic mailbox to receive this content, even though it’ll be quite tempting to do.
Third, the general look of the page must “click” with the rest of your site. Some newer webmasters make the mistake of creating a page that doesn’t have the same menus as the rest of their WordPress sites. This is typically the result of using a template and not being careful about it. Although this page is often one of the last to be created and the last to be revamped, it often ends up being one of the most important pieces of your WordPress site.
How do I make a “contact us” page?
Remember, using an extension pack that hooks into the new Gutenberg editor like Kadence Blocks is a great way to go. Though you’ll still need to utilize WordPress forms plugins to manage the actual content within your forms. However, using a graphical editor can provide valuable, time-saving insights.
We’ll go over how to craft a very basic rendition of a “Contact Us” page for a generic WordPress site. This is not an example of an excellent and refined work of art! This is simply to get you started in the right direction.
1. Pick Your Plugin!
Yes, you could make your own form using native Gutenberg elements with no extensions. Before you go for that idea, consider the complexity behind this type of form. The aesthetics are pretty simple. However, beyond those, you must make sure that the form is submitted in a safe manner. You then have to route and sort what’s put into it. Most contact forms require some type of captcha. The list goes on, but you get the idea: there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.
2. Install Your Plugin
Once you’ve researched plugins and found one that works with your budget, it’s time to install it. Head to Plugins -> Add New on your WordPress dashboard. Find the plugin you want through the search option and install it on your WordPress server to make it available for use on your site.
As part of this step, also make sure that you’ve activated the plugin on your WordPress site after installation.
3. Select a Template
Pretty much every mainstream forms plugin for WordPress has a set of predefined templates. It’s almost unheard of for these to not have one specifically as a “Contact Us” form. Remember, these are never meant to be a “pick and forget” option. Rather, you should select a template that most resembles what you’re going for and customize it until it’s as close to perfect as possible.
4. Set Up Email Forwarding
The way to actually execute this step will vary depending on the plugin you select. However, in any case, you’ll need to create the mailboxes you want to hold the form information. We recommend always having a separate mailbox for at least each major category of form.
Remember, you can always select a third-party mail viewer to see all inboxes at once. This method of organization keeps your site scalable. In other words, this helps to future-proof your site by ensuring that it can grow with your userbase.
5. Drop the Widget In
Our fifth and final step is to simply drop the widget into the page you’d like to use it on. Remember, if you’re using a native Gutenberg editing plugin, you’ll have created a native item that you can essentially drag and drop wherever you want.
Though it’s likely you’ll only need to have it in one place, this helps to keep your WordPress site more modular.
How do I optimize a “contact us” page?
This is the area where it starts to get a tad dicey. In part, this is due to the fact that “optimization” can mean a billion different things. We’ll focus on the technical definition of the word as we address this question.
Second, always get outside input on your contact forms. While we’re sure you can make a killer page, everyone usually has a slight oversight at minimum when creating a “Contact Us” page. Getting ideas from a diverse group of people is usually the best way to preemptively save your WordPress site from a less-than-ideally done page!
Third, make that page less confusing! So many contact pages have either conflicting information or too much contact information. For example, if you’re a web hosting company, chances are that visitors can live without seeing that Google Maps widget hogging half their bandwidth to show them exactly where your physical business is located.
7 contact page best practices
We’ve highlighted seven of the most important “best practices” when creating your new “Contact Us” form. While these are in an ordered list, the order is not indicative of importance or priority; it’s random.
1. Keep it simple
Get rid of any fields that don’t provide direct value or that aren’t of high importance. At a minimum, ensure that such fields are optional, especially if they pertain to information most people don’t want to share with the world, like a mobile phone number.
2. Give a reason
Provide a good rationale for why users need to contact you. Remember, using WordPress “Contact Us” forms isn’t a hobby for most people. Giving them a good reason, like a discount or other promise, shows you value your visitors’ time and engagement on your blog.
3. Have more than one way
“There can be only one” should only be the cry of the Highlander. You want to have other contact mechanisms available in case either your form just isn’t available or isn’t working, or a visitor simply prefers to use another popular method of contact.
4. Make it easy
As the user enters and submits information, provide feedback to let the user know that things are working as they should. For example, all fields should be validated; if you request an email address, tell the user right away whether what they entered in your “email” field will suffice. As soon as the form is submitted, tell the user whether it was successful and, if so, how long they should expect to wait for a personal reply.
5. Automate when possible
Explanations that make sense with your business and business model. For more tech-savvy businesses, this could take the form of a few FAQs tailored to the type of inquiry the user is sending through the form. For other businesses, perhaps it could simply be a link to your information and help library; this cuts down on unnecessary contacts. (You’ll notice the examples how some companies combine FAQ pages with contact pages).
6. Make the most of the lead
Maximize conversion potential by showing visitors some of your top content once they submit the form. Again, something like a coupon for your store is a great idea, too. Anything that adds value to the experience rather than just an empty “Thanks for contacting us!” is likely to keep new visitors coming back to your WordPress site.
7. Make it human
It is all about making connections that will grow up into relationships – because it is all about the relationships. Have a way to add faces to the usernames and names on your site. When people see exactly with whom they’re talking, they’re more likely to behave respectfully and see the person as a human, not just a robot.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to best practices for those “Contact Us” pages. Unfortunately, these pages are notorious in UX evaluation circles because of how much experts diverge in their opinions of how these should be run. You absolutely need to test drive a contact page before putting it out there to the general public!
When you connect with your visitors, you set a foundation for growing up your business success.
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3 successful contact page examples
Let’s take a look at three particularly powerful contact forms and why they’re awesome!
Morroni offers a gem of a “Contact Us” page. As you can see, they stick to their brand quite well. The page begins with a pretty large statement saying that visitors are free to call them if they prefer to, offering them alternative contact options. It’s clear which fields are mandatory and which are simply preferred; there’s also instant validation before the form is submitted. Each field is very clearly defined, yet creative interpretive room is left for more artsy users.
3. The Weifield Group
This is the most fully-fledged form on our list. To eliminate unnecessary contact form submissions, it first includes all relevant information for secondary contact methods. This is particularly important for multi-site businesses. It even has a disclaimer after you scroll down, indicating that those looking for employment should not fill out the form; informal filters like this will cut down on unnecessary submissions. The site utilizes asynchronous loading so that elements that the browser can’t see aren’t even rendered, saving maximum bandwidth and space. Finally, trust is built mutually by showing the client exactly where the business is.
Inspiration and ideas for contact page design
Before we go, we wanted to provide you with seven of our favorite great examples of contact forms. Unlike our above list, we won’t tell you why they’re great; we’re hoping that at this point, that will be self-evident! Again, this list is in no particular order of supremacy.
We hope this has been an enjoyable and informative deep dive into how the best “Contact Us” forms are made. This may seem like a jumble of information right now, and don’t feel pressured to memorize all of our best practices. Like any art, the best pages are simply made by trial and error after the initial skill is learned!
Kathryn Lang believes it is simple, and as an award-winning author and natural-born hopesmith, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a dash of twisted encouragement.