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by Webnme on Sep 5th 2011

Contact Information and CommunicationsContact Forms

Most web site offer visitors a contact form rather than an email address to avoid spam being sent to the web site’s owner.   Typically a contact form will request a name, address, and a comment.  Data collected will then be sent by email to the site owner for a response.  This avoids publishing an email address that can be harvested by spammers and added to spam distribution lists.

Depending on the site, the contact form may include other fields.  If the form is for troubleshooting, it may include a request to provide information on the visitor’s operating system, computer, connection speed, etc.

Be aware that if you collect and store data submitted by children under the age of 13, that data is subject to the COPPA (see, previous pages).  Your form may need to be in two parts where the first part determines the age of the sender and if they are under 13 a response message stating that they must obtain parental consent to submit a comment or question. 

Domain Related Email

We all have our preferred, personal email addresses, but people expect that mail concerning a web site will have the site’s address in the email.  Otherwise they tend to wonder whether it is legit or spam.  Most hosts offer the option of creating email accounts and typically you should anticipate having several email addresses.

Here are some of the addresses that are more commonly used by web sites with the site’s domain name.

There are others that you may want depending on your needs, but this list can server as a starting point.

Email is typically managed via a web interface and does not require a desktop client, although you can forward it to your primary email account for ease of use.  You just will want to login to the official account to send messages to customers when it is appropriate.

Mailing Address and Telephone Numbers

If you are operating a business site for a brick and mortar type business, you will want to make sure that your business address is displayed on each page so that people can find your place of business easily.     You may also want to link your business address to a map that displays the location of your business and offers driving directions.  Google Maps does a great job of this.

Depending on whether you have adequate staff to answer telephone calls from web visitors, you may also want to display your telephone number on each page of your site.  This is particularly critical, if your ordering process is primarily telephonic.   (If you do list your telephone number, it may be helpful to have a scripted greeting and questions to be used by your personnel to collect all of the information you need to process an order.)

 

About Webnme

The developer's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before attending law school and becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites including a family of websites for a non-profit corporation that gets over five million page views monthly. This is his developer website. The opinions expressed are his own.

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