The Case for Contact Forms

contact meWithout doubt bloggers are communicators and community builders. Blogs are focused on discussion but are comment boxes the only way for your visitors to make contact with you?  Do you post contact information on your blog? If you do, does it take the form of an email address and/or a phone number? Or do you use a contact form? 

Spammers use robots that crawl over all the pages they can reach on the Internet (more or less like search engine web spiders do). The robots scan for mailto: tags or whatever looks like something@something. Any email address published on a web page, blog, forum, etc. risks being collected and used as a target for mass mailing.  —10 Ways to Protect Against Email Spam

The best way to avoid receiving spam is not getting on spammers’ lists in the first place. Why post your email address on your site when you can provide a contact form?

A contact form is an alternative to displaying your email address as a link. Contact forms allow visitors to send bloggers emails without exposing their email address to potential spammers.

Registering contacts or customer’s email addresses for a wide range of purposes such as subscriptions for newsletters or product notifications by email is awkward and clumsy.  In contrast the ease of set up, use, surety of delivery, anonymity, and protection from spam contact forms provide makes the choice a no brainer.

contact form

Contact forms are easy to set up and each one can be easily customized to fit your needs. Feedback sent through your contact form is emailed to you and is also in your feedback management area.

Contact forms are easy to use because the prompts for pertinent details create a structure for keeping messaging on track.  Using a contact form assures you the recipient will not loose your feedback to standard email spam filtering techniques/vagaries.

Read more about why contact form is an essential feature for a blog in Contact Form Additional Info.

Read why I don’t have a contact form posted on this blog in Blogging, Time Management and Contact Form Use

Discussion

How do you manage “off-the-blog” contact form requests on your blog(s)?

Do you post contact information on your blog?

If you do, does it take the form of an email address and/or a phone number? Or do you use a contact form?

31 thoughts on “The Case for Contact Forms

  1. I put a Contact Form on my Contact Page. When I logged out (from WordPress) then checked it, (from my desktop) everything appeared okay (the fields were empty) so they could be filled in. But Everytime I pull up my blog (without logging in to WP) from my iPhone, the fields have my information in them (URL, email address, etc.) and have to be deleted with the Backspace key first to type in info). Why is this?

    Thanks, Joe

    1. I answer this question frequently in the support forums.

      WordPress.com uses cookies to keep track of commenters so if someone makes a comment on your blog, the next time they come to your blog, unless they have cleared their cookies, WordPress.com will recognize them and complete the details for them. No one else will be able to view those details in comment boxes or in contact forms. The next person who comments will see blank fields. Commenters will not see each others details.

      If you see it on your iphone when you are not logged in then post to the support forums http://en.forums.wordpress.com and type modlook into the tags in the sidebar of the thread to get Staff attention.

      Also note the Admin [edit] link for your posts and pages is only for your convenience and the convenience of you and your Editors if you have any, only you and your Editors can see it and use it while logged in to WordPress.com.

  2. I have been in two minds about activating my current Contact form plugin, after doing some research and hearing of so many security vulnerabilities with that plugin (quite well known).

    So, on the one hand we wish to gain greater interaction with those who visit our sites, and may have genuine questions or concerns, and on the other hand there are those security issues that may outweigh any benefits a Contact form may offer…..

    Currently, I have noticed spammers go the extra mile, and actually subscribe to Newsletters, etc…it’s like spamming 2.0…..

    1. I have far less concern about posting a contact form than I do about posting an email address. Without doubt spammers do go the extra mile by hiring people to do that work for them.

  3. hello,
    hope you can help me..

    can i set a forum in my wordpress.com blog, in which visitors can create their own posts..

    for example
    i create 3 forums- Facebook Trick, Windows Trick and Software Trick
    -if the visitor have any doubt, he can create a new post and when second user come, he can also create an another post in same forum

    means- visitors can create their own themes as they like..

    is it possible madam…?

    Thanks

  4. Hi im not trying to be difficult i just really need the help again, its been really problematic since i tried to create my blog and its just getting worse at first i saw improvement after doing what you said and reading the instructions over ive followed the instructions word for word and its now clear to me that there is a technical error or hackers its defibately one of the two.

    I tried to log in to find my blog completely gone as you can see it deleted my gravatar image and details also, and posts are gone. Is there anyway to recover my blog at all? any tech that reviews the site and the blogs etc,Im not tech savvy so it was so disappointing that all my work has gone randomly.

    Its a shame if i leave as i like to blog about photos etc but its been so much hassle if i cant get this sorted im just going to go i think. thanks for the help you have previously given, if you could help me with this i would appreciate it.

    1. If Staff cannot assist you with recovering your content then you can copy and paste from Google’s cache of your indexed content into new posts. If you subscribe to your own RSS feed and do provide a full text feed then that’s another way you can access copies of your content and copy and paste it into new posts.

  5. Im not trying to be difficult i have done all you have said but im trying to get help because there is an evident technical problem with my site which is why things that should show on my page are not showing as they should and i have followed the instructions correctly.

    I would really appreciate the help, i then went to log in to find all my posts erased, which was odd, so im thinking its been deliberately hacked by someone? my web page was also chaged back to an old webpage and i cant get it back so maybe its stolen.

    Is there any technical help on this site? and is there not a straight forward direct email or phone nummber.
    thanks for reading this.as its been so problematic im thinking it may not be worth the bother. :-/

    1. It sounds like your log-in formation was available to others. Go to your email program and change the password to a very difficult one because that’s how many hackers gain access to blogs
      Read > http://en.support.wordpress.com/security/

      1. If you can log-in go here > Users > All Users and delete any user that does not belong there.

      2. Disable post by email > http://en.support.wordpress.com/post-by-email/

      3. Disable post by voice > http://en.support.wordpress.com/post-by-voice/

      4. Change your blog password to a very difficult one > http://en.support.wordpress.com/passwords/#change-your-password

      5. Use a secure, encrypted connection to connect to your Dashboard. Under Users → Personal Settings, check the box that says “Always use HTTPS when visiting administration pages, and click Save Changes.

      6. email Staff support@wordpress.com

  6. Hi TT! I have tried having a contact form and felt it placed me under a sort of obligation over and above answering comments on the blog. It tended to be used by people wanting all sorts of info, one person asking me about areas to live in my home city, one person asking me to get in contact on their behalf with an author etc. I find it hard to say no to polite requests so I always respond – but they do take up a lot of time that I didn’t anticipate so I have removed the contact form for the time being. I too love your new header :)

    1. Hi Joanna,
      I hear you. Having a contact form does create an obligation to respond to what one received. Comments are easier to respond to because they are relevant to the posts they are submitted to. However, providing a contact form can result in receiving requests that aren’t blog post related and aren’t even blog related at all. I love blogging and receiving comments and answering them too but all of that takes so much time and I’m so very busy. That’s why I surely will not fault any blogger who chooses not to post one.

      P.S. Thanks for the header compliment. I have received several and they made me wonder: “which one?” That’s because I have 5 images that are on random display right now. Soon I’m be creating another set. I’m so glad you like my choices.

  7. @jaklumen
    I’m asking for your cooperation in an up front and clear cut way. (tee hee) Relevance and brevity are key to having comments you submit to my blog approved in the future ;) (you’re next one is short) :D

    1. I understand. I have trouble with this, but I’ll keep trying. I appreciate your articles. They are helping me a lot to be more effective in my blogging.

  8. I came to blogging by way of gated and semi-gated communities, such as LiveJournal and VOX. Most of my readers are people that know me personally or there is some level of online acquaintance.

    I had a request for a Contact Form once, from someone from one of those communities, as many of us migrated to WordPress. Ultimately, I’ve chosen to stick with WP’s moderation controls which indicate e-mail addresses, and I reply by e-mail if I wish to contact readers privately. (I do sometimes wish WordPress provided e-mail service, however, for such communications. I understand, however, that WP would be getting into “social network” aspects to do so.) Don’t get me wrong– Contact Forms seem great to open blogs more outside the “gated community” and to allow an author to interact with the public more generally.

    I appreciate David’s comment and your follow-up reply concerning privacy. That is a concern of mine. I do understand the importance of “throwaway” e-mail addresses although I do not feel compelled to use such at this time. I am curious as to your choice to use Yahoo, though; for me, personally, Yahoo has had an underbelly that I’ve never been able to fully escape.

  9. Hi! I used a contact form on my main blog. Can you please tell me how to use a contact form on P2 theme because there seems no way of adding pages. This post is very informative but the screenshot is blurry.

    1. Hi there,
      That theme is strictly for twitter-like communications. I’m not surprised you find it deficient. I an sorry I can’t help your with it. Sorry about the screenshot. Click to enlarge and it’s a little better.

  10. I use a contact form. That’s sufficient for my needs since it’s a personal blog. If I ran a business, I would give a business email.

    1. Hi Jean,
      Email addresses and contact forms serve different purposes and target different audiences. When one is in business they are expected to provide an email address but most also use contact forms too. That said, managing any email list is cumbersome. It’s by far easier to manage a group through contact forum use.

  11. Good article.

    On one of my sites, I have disabled comments completely. I write there to please myself and just to get it ‘on paper’.

    On our sites that have lots of images, the enquiries we get via the contact form are almost always about licensing one of the images. So a contact form is valuable for us.

    When I want to make an enquiry, I appreciate being able to use a contact form. For example, I might want to give someone a ‘heads up’ about a problem on their site and I wouldn’t want to make a public comment about that.

    When there is no comment form, I have asked website owners to feel free to delete my comment when it is not intended for public viewing, but not all sites make clear whether their comments are moderated, so there’s a risk that the comment will appear and will sit there for a while for everyone to see.

    1. Hi David,
      I was prompted to publish this post because I have met bloggers who seem to by mystified about how spammers get their email addresses, when they are providing it all over the internet. I’m an advocate for throwaway email addresses and/or contact forms.

      You’re quillcard site is filled with such stunning photos and inspiration cards http://quillcards.com/categories/inspiration I notice you placed the link to the contact form there on the About us page, rather than including it in the menu bar http://quillcards.com/contact-us I also did noticed that you have a contact form on http://www.photographworks.com/

      You raised an important point about contact form use and that’s privacy. As you point out there may be times we want to communicate something we don’t want posted to a blog. If we are commenting on a blog that has only first post moderation in effect our comment would be immediately published, so access to a contact form is a boon in such situations.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment.

  12. That sounds great except some people don’t want to give their email addresses.
    On another note how do you stop ‘spam’ on the reader? I have The Good Men Project’ and ‘Red Alexander’ on my reader and I can’t get rid of them. I don’t want them and they do so many posts it’s annoying to have to scroll past them all the time. I did ask on the forum ages ago but no one answered. I don’t know how they got on my reader as I am not a follower and can’t unfollow them either.
    thanks Judy

    1. Hi Judy,
      I don’t provide my personal email address to anyone other than close friends and family members. For my blogs I have yahoo addresses. Though I could be wrong I think many bloggers choose to use a throwaway email address and keep their personal address for private use only.

      You ought to be able to click the X next to any blog you are following here http://wordpress.com/#!/read/edit/ and unfollow it. If that doesn’t work then to get assistance on the forum click this link and state exactly what the URLs of the two blogs you no longer want to follow are. Type modlook into the tags in the sidebar of the forum thread and subscribe to the RSS feed of the thread. Then you will know when Staff respond and they will remove them for you. http://en.forums.wordpress.com/?new=1

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