How many times have you been visiting a website and had trouble
finding what you wanted? Have you found a broken link? Did a
product description lack important information? There are many
reasons a visitor may need to contact a webmaster or customer
service agent, and if they can't, they may never visit your
I get several email messages a day - and the occasional phone
call - about questions and problems from visitors to my website.
Those people are more valuable visitors and potential customers
because they care enough to ask their question rather than
simply taking their business elsewhere. Are you losing them to
Contact information is more important when your visitors can't
see you in person, such as on your website. A real address,
phone number and email address establishes credibility and
reassures people that there is a real person behind the website
that can help them if they have difficulties using the website
or the products they purchase.
If they can't contact you, many people just won't do business
with you. Yahoo! has recognized this and now refuses to list
business websites without contact information, including a
You must include your physical address (preferably NOT a PO Box)
and an email address. I recommend you also include your phone
number and a fax number, if you have one. To look truly
professional, and encourage more people to call, your phone
number should be a toll-free number.
NOTE: If you have a toll-free number with an "888", "877" or
other area code not widely recognized as toll-free, include the
words "toll- free" nearby and it will work as well as an "800"
Let me tell you from personal experience, it is extremely
frustrating to get to a website without a method to contact a
*real person*. Sometimes, websites (especially the corporate
variety) are designed to answer frequently asked questions, but
not unusual ones.
A short time ago, I was in need of an antivirus program for an
NT server. Many antivirus programs are designed to work with NT
workstations, but not servers. I learned that the hard way - by
buying the software and being unable to install it. (I later
discovered they all have "corporate" versions of their websites
offering their server software, but there is no link to the
corporate websites from their consumer-oriented websites.)
It took me weeks to get through to any of the major antivirus
software vendors to ask them about NT server software. With
Symantec, I was completely unable to find an email address at
which I could contact a real person. Their menus excluded my
question for their feedback forms. Neither was I able to find a
phone number on their website - I had to search software manuals
from products I had bought previously.
If one antivirus vendor had gotten back with a straight answer
to my question in a day or two, I probably would have purchased
their product before the others responded.
Needless to say, it left me with a very sour opinion of
Symantec. I will probably never buy another Symantec product for
my own business, nor recommend them to others.
Don't let this happen to you! Offer as much contact information
as possible on your website, and have real people respond to it
in a reasonable period of time.
About the author:
Dawn Gray has been a website marketing specialist for the last
two years. Get her free report, "Seven Deadly Website Design
Sins"! Just send a blank email to: