Your blog contact form is (hopefully!) one of the ways you invite your audience to contact you about the products and services you offer in your small business.
I’ve used contact forms in my blogs for a number of years and want to share what I have learnt and help you get the most out of your form.
Here are 5 key rules that I believe will help you to improve your contact form:
1) Set up your contact form!
Of course, the first thing to do is set up your form. There are lots of different types of online form to choose from, and most are available with basic features free of charge. If you use WordPress, you’ll find forms within each theme.
Try out some of the forms to see which one works best for you. Now is a good time to experiment, before you build up a lot of traffic to your blog.
I have used WPForms for the last couple of years and have generally found it to be reliable. I originally used the free version and when I wanted to access more features, I upgraded to the next level.
2) Only ask what you need to know
Asking too many questions upfront on your contact form can put your audience off. Aim instead to make the experience of using your form as easy and as painless as possible to encourage your audience to complete the form.
A basic form could include the following fields:
- Name (first and last)
- Telephone number
Only ask for the information you need. The person filling in the form may not know much about you and may be reluctant to share anything more than basic information with you, such as their name and email address, until you have gained their trust. If the purpose of your form is to get them to sign up for your newsletter, you really don’t need to ask for much more than their name and email address.
But depending on your business, you may need to ask for more details. On one of my blogs, I provide an out of hours service. One of the additional questions I’ve included in that blog form is: ‘Best time to call?’. The interesting thing is, all those who submit a form on that blog always fill in that field.
3) Regularly revise the fields in your form
Make a point of regularly checking over your form to make sure it is as good and as relevant as should be.
For example, do you need to add one or more new fields? Or do you need to remove any fields that are no longer relevant or used?
One feature to check on your form is the compulsory answer feature. This is where you mark a field so that a form can not be submitted unless that particular field has been filled in.
I would recommend keeping compulsory fields to a minimum, for example name and email address. Then leave the other fields as optional, depending on your business. If you need to know more details from a client prospect so that you can offer them a more targeted service, include a free text field in your form and make it compulsory so that they have to provide that information.
4) Use your form to communicate with your audience
The form page on your blog is an ideal place to share information with your audience. But make sure it’s relevant information. You could include other ways for your audience to contact you, such as email or phone. You could also use your contact page to reassure your audience that you are maintaining your form and dealing with the information being submitted on the form.
Start by letting your audience know when they can expect a response from you and what to do if you don’t contact them within the timeframe you’ve stated. Or you might want to supply an out-of-hours number for them to reach you on, in case of emergencies, if this is relevant to your business.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think back to when you’ve tried to contact a business. What examples of contact forms have you seen and liked? One instant way to communicate positively with your audience is to make sure that your form displays a confirmation message as soon as someone has clicked the submit button. The message should confirm that the form has been received and that you will be in touch.
5) Block spam immediately
Spam is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of everyday online life, and online forms are particularly vulnerable. Form spam can include garbled random content and, even worse, spam links.
To protect your blog (and also any data your clients add to the form they submit), you must have spam protection. This will eradicate as much spam as possible. I use Akismet to protect my blogs and it keeps my blogs spam free for a small monthly outlay.
>>> Have you set up a form on your blog yet?