What Makes a Good WordPress Contact Page? Breaking It Down
The contact page is a critical part of every WordPress site. Sure, you could place social media links in a top sticky bar, include a live chat down below, and embed a contact form on relevant pages. But visitors know that, if there is a means by which you can reach the company in person or in the digital space, that information can be found there.
Contact pages aren’t just a place for contact forms either. You can publish anything you want there, so long as it gives visitors an answer to the question they visited the page for in the first place.
There are some very nicely done contact pages you’ll encounter around the web–some of which I’m going to show you below and which you most certainly can use as inspiration in your own design work. But, first, let’s dig into what makes for a good WordPress contact page.
What Makes a Good WordPress Contact Page?
The contact page is often assumed not to require much effort on the part of a WordPress developer. After all, there’s really nothing to write for the page since it’s just a collection of contact information. And big design choices don’t really come into play as these pages tend to be shorter and simpler than others on the site. So, in a sense, that seeming effortlessness is true.
But the highly simplistic nature of the WordPress contact page doesn’t make it any less important than other pages on your site… especially since it directly connects you (or whoever is behind the website) to visitors. And giving visitors a way to engage with websites is part of what you aim for as a WordPress developer. Even though a contact page doesn’t generate sales, it does create opportunities that may lead to them.
So, what makes for a good WordPress contact page then? The answer to this isn’t all that straightforward as different websites have different contact channels, so it’s usually not enough to just place a contact form on the page and say it’s good to go.
When planning for a contact page on your WordPress site, consider whether or not you need the following elements:
1. Navigation Link
Before we even talk about the contact page, let’s first look at the matter of the navigation link.
As I bounced around the web looking for awesome examples of contact pages, I actually found that a lot of companies don’t place a “Contact” link in the navigation anymore. Now, it’s usually buried somewhere in the footer or even in a secondary footer bar.
If you’re debating the merits of Contact link placement, consider what the addition of it to the main menu does to everything else there. For instance, if you’ve built an ecommerce site with a robust offering of products and services, it’s probably best to treat the Contact link as a secondary element and put it at the bottom of the site.
However, if the site’s offering is simple (e.g. “we specialize in this one very specific thing”), then leave it up top. Your visitors probably weren’t planning to spend a lot of time browsing through countless pages, so make it easy for them to connect.
PeopleMetrics has a neat example of this:
The main navigation is actually tucked away under a hamburger menu while the Contact Us button is:
- Left out in the open.
- Encapsulated by an orange border.
- Ever-present (even as you scroll, the button remains stuck to the top).
It’s clear that this is the primary action they want visitors to take.
2. Page Name
The name of the contact page isn’t something you necessarily have to put much energy into. After all, how many different ways are there to say “Contact Us” that are succinct and will fit it the navigation nicely?
That said, does “Contact” accurately sum up what the page does? Do you want it to have a more personal and welcoming vibe with “Contact Us”? Is it more accurate to say “Customer Service” or “Support”?
As with everything else on a WordPress site, just make sure the label of the page clearly communicates what visitors will get from it.
For the most part, contact pages don’t really have much to say since the rest of the website has said it all. But you should still think about what sort of parting words you want to leave your visitors with before they get in touch with a real person.
You could thank them for taking the time to read through your site or blog and encourage them to leave a note or submit questions. You can use this space to provide suggestions on why they might want to reach out if there are a variety of routes they may pursue. Or you could leave this off completely and just get right down to it. Again, it’s what you believe will add to the experience.
What I really like about the WordCamp Central contact page is that there’s no question as to what they want you to do: fill out this form:
However, the note at the top is a nice touch as it lets organizers know there’s a special contact area of the site for them.
4. Audience Segmentation
If you’ve ever built a website for dual audiences, you know how difficult it can be. You can’t usually address both at once, which means creating a clear division between which content is meant for them. The same then has to apply to the contact page.
As for how to do this, you will need to decide if you want completely separate contact pages/portals based on who the user is or if you want to provide all of the information–clearly defined, of course–on the same page. I would say that if the contact options aren’t cumbersome (maybe an email, phone, and address), you can keep them all on one page. If you have two or three specific end users or departments, go ahead and give them their own dedicated page.
This may also come in the form of location segmentation as not every business has one geographic location they work out of. If you have offices scattered around the globe with contact points for each–or even just physical addresses you want to publish for each–there can be a breakout of this on your contact page.
Here is an example from Hootsuite:
Right from the get-go, they’ve chosen to segment their contact page based on who the end user is. This will lead to a better experience for both the user as well as the person at Hootsuite who has to field the call, email, or contact form ticket. No bouncing around to the wrong channels. No accidentally emailing the wrong person. No time wasted or frustration created. Just straight to the point.
5. Physical Address
For many websites, your client will have physical locations (like a restaurant) they want to publish details for. Flour Bakery does a nice job breaking out each of their locations and corresponding websites and online ordering:
Not every website has a real-life counterpart to point visitors to. I mean, of course, there is someone behind the website, working from a small home office in Chicago, IL or something like that. But you’re not going to give out that sort of information, especially when it’s not relevant.
But I’ve also had clients in the past insist that a physical address is important to have, even if their business is all digital and they believe that a P.O. Box will suffice. But does it? Unless you intend on receiving letters and postcards from customers, what purpose does this serve? It gives you a reason to publish a Google Maps on your site? And if you publish a P.O. Box address, isn’t it clear then that the company is home-based (which is probably what a P.O. Box is trying to hide)?
If your site doesn’t intend on connecting with a local audience in the real world, this isn’t really a necessity. However, if you still want a local audience to find your site, you can instead use local SEO tips to draw them in.
6. Google Map
If #5 applies to you and you’ve decided to include an address on the Contact page, then you definitely need to have a map to go along with it. Just use the Google Maps Plugin and integration of a beautiful, user-friendly map will be a cinch to get in place.
I think what I like most about the Scribd contact page is how they’ve used their map in place of a banner image up top.
Also, the map includes so many pins for businesses in the San Francisco area that it almost gives Scribd major street cred for being located in such a bustling spot.
7. Hours of Operation
Hours of operation is a contact page element you’ll need if there is a corresponding brick-and-mortar location customers or clients will visit in person. You can also publish them on websites with dedicated customer service and support. Even though the WordPress site is up 24/7, that doesn’t mean the support team is, and so it’s important to provide this information to the public so they don’t get frustrated when they’re unable to reach someone in real time.
FreshBooks is an example of a website that includes this:
Even though FreshBooks is an accounting software provider and most likely never meets clients in persons, they’ve published their hours of operation on the contact page. They’ve also included a live ticker that lets customers know what time it currently is in their time zone to ensure they reach out when someone is actually around.
8. Phone Number
A phone number might not be necessary for someone like a freelance WordPress developer (or even information you’d want to have out there), but it is something a business entity needs to put on a site. Even if customers prefer to stick to digital communications, it’s important to at least show that you have all the bases covered. An older crowd will appreciate it, too.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to publishing a phone number. For instance:
- Do you want to share a number with a local area code or will it look more professional to have an 800-number?
- Which departments of the company would benefit from having their numbers published here? Technical support definitely would. But what about something like HR?
- Are there individual contacts at the various business locations or should all calls be sent through one centralized point of contact?
9. Email Address
While a contact form provides the same kind of function as an email address, there’s more flexibility you’re allowing visitors by giving them your email. There isn’t a specific prompt they have to fill out and you’re showing them exactly who the message is going to, which will make follow-up easier (in case they don’t hear back right away). Then again, some visitors may prefer the contact form since it takes much of the work out of it. So, your best bet is to include both.
10. Contact Form
For the most part, this is the one element that nearly every good contact page has in common: the contact form. As I mentioned, it’s much like giving visitors an email address, except it’s a more convenient method of communication.
That said, some visitors may be apprehensive about using a contact form in the case that:
- It’s broken and they only discover this after filling it out.
- It’s broken and they never discover it because there’s no error message.
- There’s no one really connected to the other end of the contact form and so their message goes unread and unresponded to.
- It’s unsafe and any details they give away about themselves within it are hacked.
- It’s unnecessarily labor intensive and they’d rather just shoot off an email and get it over with.
There are many ways the experience of using a contact form (or even the thought of using one) can go south in the minds of your visitors. So, you have to make sure you do this right when you add one to your contact page.
Next, brush up on these tips for building the perfect contact form. These include:
- Perfect the alignment and placement of your form.
- Include only the most relevant fields.
- Simplify input for a faster user experience.
- Use clear descriptions and directions.
- Keep all fields clear.
- Design buttons for more click-throughs.
And, of course, don’t forget to test your contact form to make sure it works properly. It would be a shame to set this up as the pivotal piece of your contact page, only to find that no one received any of the messages.
I would also suggest you take a look at how WPMU DEV handles their contact form:
From the main contact page, there is a drop-down menu that allows users to select what type of contact they want to make with WPMU DEV. Based on the response, they’re then either given a specific contact form or relevant page of information.
11. Thank You Page
There’s also the Thank You page to consider to round out the contact form experience.
The default contact form response in WordPress is usually something like, “Thank you for contacting us. We will be in touch soon.”
But you’ve already done so much to make your visitors feel like there’s a real human on the other side of the website. So, after they fill out the contact form, give them a Thank You page they’ll be taken to. If you can create a custom response based on the kind of question they asked or specific department they reached out to, that’s even better.
Now, let’s get into the non-requirements of a contact page, but elements which you may nonetheless find some use for:
12. Social Media Links
If your brand is active on social media, the contact page is a great place to post links to each of your accounts. With so many social media platforms now serving businesses and helping them make stronger, one-on-one connections with customers, it would be great if you can add these to your list of contact options. Specifically, consider links to:
- Facebook (your business page)
- LinkedIn (your business page)
- Instagram (for e-commerce companies or others that have lots of original photography to promote)
If you’ve opted to take the minimalist approach with the rest of the contact page, you probably shouldn’t worry about using photos. Sometimes a large Google map is really all you need to add visual balance to the contact page.
However, if your contact page is on the lengthier side, or if you think it would benefit from adding a personal touch, consider using some photos to complement the various contact modules.
The one thing I would definitely suggest is to stay away from stock photos. This is your time to connect with visitors and customers, not to shallowly promote some idea or service. If you throw fake faces and smiles onto the contact page, what are you telling them about the kind of customer service or support they’re about to receive?
Campaign Monitor has actually done something really interesting with this:
The contact page form is comprised of a form on the left and a photo on the right. It almost looks like a stock photo at first glance, until you notice the name and company next to the guy’s picture. That is actually the CEO of Jaybird and that is his testimonial for Campaign Monitor. Interesting touch, right?
Of course, images aren’t a requirement on a contact page. However, if you have a photo of your team (especially if they’re the people that will be reached through this contact method) or a photo of your leadership (the actual “faces” of the company), it would be a nice touch to use them here.
FAQ pages and other self-support options are becoming more and more common these days. As businesses are able to anticipate what kinds of questions visitors have, they can be proactive in answering them before they even get to the point of reaching out. It’s a great way to relieve internal staff of having to field the same questions over and over again.
Because of this, we’re starting to see more websites include mini-FAQs within the contact page. It’s almost like a last-ditch effort to say, “Hey, are you sure your question hasn’t already been answered?”
If your site doesn’t have a need for FAQs, feel free to skip this step. If it does and you find that the same line of questioning comes in day in and day out from that contact page, place some of the most popular ones there and see if that cuts down on your messages.
15. Live Chat
A live chat module isn’t necessarily something you would embed on a contact page or even link to alongside more traditional contact methods. However, if the rest of your site has a live chat enabled, it should be present on the contact page as well.
Even though Hubspot is filled to the brim with contact options–a sales phone number, global department numbers, a support portal, physical addresses, and even a fax number–the live chat is always there, waiting to be activated.
Live chat is a great option if you know it would be beneficial for customers to speak to someone in real time, rather than wait for a response by email or sit on the phone stuck in a queue.
As you can see, a lot of what goes into making a good WordPress contact page is subjective. For some websites, you’re not going to need much more than a welcome message, contact form, and Thank You page. For others, you may need to create a page just as robust as any other on your site.
The important thing to remember is that if you want it to be a good WordPress contact page, anything you include within it needs to be relevant and necessary. This isn’t the time to try and sell visitors on anything or distract them with crazy animations. Give them the information they want, don’t try and make it flowery, and don’t leave anything out. This isn’t the kind of page they should spend time pondering over; let them take action quickly.