The Little Gray Box on Your Website

red phone on gray box

There’s a little gray box that should be easy to find on your website.

Actually, it doesn’t need to be gray. It can be a teal box…or a red circle…or a pink watermelon-shaped button with a word in it. But regardless of what it looks like, you need to have one.

I’m referring to the link on your website that takes visitors to your contact page.

The best contact page for your website

The best contact page is the page that can be found easily. More often than I like, I find myself digging into the footer of a website to locate contact information. While there may be legitimate reasons to do this, for most businesses a contact page should be a loud shout instead of a little murmur.

We have found through user testing that the best place to place your contact page link is directly into the top level of your main menu.

Making that “gray box” work

So how do you make your contact page great? There are two things that every contact page should have: A phone number, and a contact form. If you operate from a location that’s publicly accessible (and you’re wearing pants) then you should also add your physical address with a map.

When we first started ThirdSide, we only published our email address. Although we received a few email leads, much of our time was spent filtering spam. We also discovered that people didn’t always know what to say when they were given an open box. We received inquiries like, “I need a new website,” or “Do you fix computers?” My favorite one was, “What’s your phone number?”

A solid contact form fixed these issues. We still have an open box for comments and questions, but before you get there you can check boxes for the types of services you’re looking for. This makes getting in touch with us very simple.

Do I need to use a captcha to reduce spam?

This is one of the questions we get most often. The traditional captcha (where you have to type in words, solve a math problem, or click pictures) is an effective way to stop bots from spamming your form, but for humans it’s challenging to use and acts as a barrier to submission. For people with vision problems, captchas are a serious obstacle. We have found that the most effective way to avoid spam without a captcha is to use something called a honeypot.

A honeypot is a technique where a fake question is inserted into the form, but is made invisible to humans. A bot that’s crawling for forms to spam will still see the fake question and answer it. As soon as that happens, the form submission is rejected as spam. We’ve been using honeypots with over a 99% success rate on every site we’ve built for the last four years.

We’ve said that your website is your front door. Is your “front door” easy to find?