Recently I reached out to several writing groups and RWA chapters, or rather I tried to reach out to them. I wanted to offer newsletter content for them–something that in my experience as part of a writing group most chapters love to have. Since I teach classes, I also wanted to introduce myself to them and see about doing some virtual workshops. However, much to my dismay many of these groups didn’t have a contact option on their website!
I understand not wanting to put an email address on your website. Unless it’s obscured, there’s a good chance that “bots” (programs that scan websites) will snatch up the email address and start sending spam. And I was shocked to see that many organizations not just put a contact email address on their site, but also forwarders for all the officers. This would allow all those addresses to be harvested.
Note: You may be wondering why my email is at the top of this website. The reason why I use my support system email is that the company has very sophisticated methods to weed out spam, so there isn’t that trouble. Most domain hosts and even free email accounts don’t do that good of a job of weeding out spam, though Gmail is probably the best among those.
A contact form is much better. With a contact form individuals can still reach out to you, but you can put measures in place such as a captcha to prevent spam.
I thought time and time again how would people new to the area or looking for this exact organization be able to reach out to them to find out information. Many of these orgs didn’t have meeting information on their websites, and even then, it’s very awkward to suddenly show up and be a stranger at a meeting without contacting them first.
If you don’t have a way for readers to contact you, then you are missing out. You’re missing out on questions and interactions from your readers, something that’s pretty golden to building a community. You’re missing out on opportunities. You may even be missing out on review notifications.
Bottom line, you’re missing out on information that’s vital to your career.
And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a contact form. Jetpack has one built in, and there are numerous form plugins. One of my favorites is Ninja Forms. Having your readers be able to contact you is priceless. So if you aren’t sure how to put a contact form on your website, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at the address above. I’d love to help!