This guest post is by Richard Adams
Whilst it’s easy to get excited about crafting your latest blog post it’s far less likely you’ll be kept awake at night thinking about your blog’s Contact page. Indeed many bloggers don’t even bother to add a Contact page to their blog at all—but this can be a big mistake. As you’re about to discover, when contact pages are done right, they can become one of the most important parts of your entire blog…
The importance of your contact page
A key blogging concept that sets it apart from running a standard static website is the “community” element. Blogs are built for discussion and networking and any blog worth its salt will have a group of like-minded subscribers reading and contributing on a regular basis.
In the same vein, your Contact page is just one more way to interact with your blog visitors. Here are just a few of the many types of email you might get as a result of having a contact page—just take a look at all these benefits.
Spelling mistakes. Grammatical errors. Broken links. Strange page alignments. Despite your best efforts sooner or later a few issues are likely to creep into your blog, either because you failed to proofread your writing before publishing, or because of changes to old posts that you haven’t noticed (such as the removal of photos you’ve linked to, affiliate programs closing down, or linked websites changing their site structure).
Sure, it can be both a little frustrating and embarrassing when someone contacts you to say that something isn’t quite right on your site but would you rather resolve the issue or leave the problem to run for the foreseeable future?
Making it easy to contact you allows your visitors to report any problems they are having with your site. That enables you to not only quickly resolve these, but to really take care of your readers by responding to thank them for the heads-up, apologizing for the situation, and telling them what you’ve done to resolve their problem.
Product review requests
Anyone releasing new products—from publishers to manufacturers—likes to get feedback on new products. It not only helps them make their product the very best it can be, but can also help to make their latest release more visible to potential consumers.
A highly-visible blog written by someone who clearly knows what are talking about can be an ideal avenue for this. It’s not uncommon for the blogger to be contacted in person and offered free products to look at that closely relate to the subject of their blog.
Without a Contact page, you make it very difficult for anyone to offer these to you. You miss out on potentially interesting and unique content, and freebies too!
Affiliate program invitations
The most profitable affiliate campaign I have ever run was as a result of being approached through the Contact form on one of my blogs. The gentleman who contacted me was one of the founders of a well-known online company who had since sold it and was setting up a new venture. He’d tweaked his sales process to within an inch of its life and was looking for a few beta testers.
That one affiliate program replaced my full-time income the day I added the links to my site.
And it was all because I ran a visible blog and was easy to contact. Without my Contact form, I’d never have been invited to join this “private” affiliate program and would be literally tens of thousands of dollars worse off.
Ever wonder what your blog visitors really want to read about? Ever spend hours working on a post only for it to get little or no response from your subscribers?
Actually getting out there and surrounding yourself with your readers is one of the very best ways to create a uniquely tailored blog that’s perfectly in line with the interests and expectations of your audience.
And one ideal way to understand your visitors better is quite simply to pay attention to the questions you get asked. Look for common themes that you’re asked about on a regular basis and construct blog posts that specifically target these.
A friend of mine with a small travel blog recently got contacted by an online advertising company which offered her a monthly advertising deal that, by itself, is equivalent to around 50% of the salary from her job. And all she has to do is paste a few adverts into her blog—a job that will take a few hours at most.
A 50% pay rise just for being easy to contact? Yes, contact pages really can bring in some amazing opportunities.
The media constantly needs “experts”—for interviewing, fact-checking, raising awareness, consultancy and so on—and a visible and easily-contactable blogger makes a perfect target for these media professionals.
All these benefits from having a contact page on your blog that’s easy to find and encourages feedback? Hopefully you’re starting to see why you need to overhaul your Contact page! But what should you do to make the most of all these opportunities?
Contact page best practices
Make it easy to find
The first step with publishing a Contact page is to make it easy to find. Ensure that anyone who wants to contact you can quickly and easily find your Contact page.
A great service for helping you understand how easy your website is to use is UserTesting, where real visitors who have never been to your website are set assignments (such as “Find my Contact page”). They carry out these challenges on video while describing their thoughts so you can exactly how real-life visitors view your site, and how easy it is to navigate.
A well-designed Contact page doesn’t just provide information on how to get in touch with you—it actively encourages anyone reading your page to drop you a line. Let it be known that you love to hear from your readers, that you’re a real person and that you genuinely value their feedback.
Set realistic expectations
What should your visitors expect when they contact you? Try to improve the whole experience for your readers by giving advice on how long it normally takes you to respond to different types of queries, what type of contact you encourage (and what you simply don’t have the time to respond to), and so on.
Even consider giving tips on how you like to be contacted. For example do you prefer email, phone, Twitter, or Facebook? Do you prefer detailed messages, or short, to-the-point contacts? Are there any essential elements that your visitors need to ensure they include in their message to you?
List your social media profiles
Too many contact pages simply provide an email address on which you can be contacted. However, if you’re a blogger you’re probably involved in social media in a variety of ways, so your Contact page is another great place to list these profiles, thus offering more opportunities for interaction and growing your social network.
Add a Contact form
There are two problems with simply providing an email address on your Contact page. The first is that there is a risk your email address will be harvested by spammers who will then bombard you with junk email. The other is quite simply that you make it more difficult for people to contact you—and as a result you will reduce the number of messages you receive.
While it seems like a tiny thing having a Contact form that readers can fill in and send straight from your Contact page will make life significantly easier for your visitors and so encourage them to contact you.
Does your blog have a contact page? Has it helped you connect with your readers, the media, and others? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Visit Richard Adams’ lifestyle design blog for tips on building an online business around your passions.