Stop Posting Your Email Address Online. Use A Contact Form.

200452424-001Using a contact form on your website has many advantages over simply publishing your email address or creating an email link on your website.  You can use a contact form to collect valuable data from your site visitors that can make slogging through email easier and more efficient.

You can also create contact forms for specific purposes such as a booking form, questionnaire or even a contest.

Advertised Email Address Risks:

Publishing your email address on a website can be dangerous to your privacy in the same way that publishing your phone number  in the newspaper, might cause unwanted attention.   An email address can also be used in conjunction with other private information for internet stalking and/or identity fraud and theft.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Exposed email addresses are often harvested from websites by malicious programs and bots.  Spammers often buy these lists of email addresses and will begin sending you lots and lots of SPAM as well as spoof emails that try to trick you into giving out more personal info.
  2. A click-able Email address does not work for everybody.  When you click on an email link, your web browsers will  try to open the default email client set up on your computer (e.g. Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, etc.) and open a new message window. This isn’t a big deal for folks who use an email client, but those who don’t use a mail client (i.e. Hotmail, Gmail or HostBaby’s webmail etc.) clicking an email link simply opens a program that they don’t use. Confusing your visitors is never a good thing.

So what’s a better option? Fortunately there is a way to have folks Email you without exposing your Email address or requiring folks to have a mail client, or even an Email address! Use contact forms.

Contact Forms for Ease and Safety:

A contact form is exactly as the name indicates; it’s a form you can create and place on your site to enable visitors to contact you. The form itself can be set to send any filled out responses to an Email address of your choice. Not only that, your Email address is hidden from Spammers which in the long run will greatly reduce the junk email you receive.

Another benefit of a contact form is that you can control what kind of messages you receive, and the destination to which they’re sent.  For example, you can set a contact form for only booking events and have the completed forms sent to booking@yourdomain.com. Or, you can set one up for mail orders alone, and have messages sent to orders@yourdomain.com. Basically, you can customize different forms to gather very specific information, and you can organize those messages more easily.

Finally, contact forms make it easy for visitors to send you messages without needing to fire up their own email accounts. If they are not at their own computer (e.g. at an internet cafe, a friend’s house, traveling, etc.), they can send you a message without needing to open or log into a program.

How do I get one?

Fortunately, our in-house website builder (The Wizard) has it’s own contact form creator! For you wizard account holders reading this, we’ve created a great wiki that discusses how to create a contact form. For those of us that aren’t wizard account holders, there’s a number of form creators online that you use for free! For the more technically savvy, you can always create a form like this by hand. In the end, what’s important is to have a contact form instead of leaving your Email address exposed on your website.

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