Why Contact Forms are a Good Idea
Why Contact Forms are a Good Idea avatar

Submit!I am surprised how often I wind up on a website requiring me to download and print a simple form – then fill it out and fax or mail it back – just to send a bit of information.

Don’t get me wrong – I think PDF documents are great, and I use them all the time.  But Web forms provide a simple, effective and immediate mechanism for getting information from visitors to a website administrator or owner. 

Web forms provide the website owner the ability to manage the flow of information.  It’s possible to specify a specific range of responses using check boxes or drop-down selection lists, OR visitors can be given the freedom to say what they want with a simple text area box where multiple lines of text can be added.

Web forms can be dead simple – requesting just an email address, or very complex – allowing website administrators to gather detailed information from visitors. 

Web forms are typically set up to be sent via email to an administrative email address.   Alternately, form data can be saved to a database on the web hosting server in spreadsheet file format.  The website administrator can then export the file and import it into a program such as Excel.

If you decide to use a Web form to accept information from website visitors, make sure the form is secure and that it prevents automated submission by robots.  A poorly built form will allow any data – including potentially harmful code – to be submitted that could compromise the security of your website. Check with your Web Developer to ensure the form was designed to filter out potentially harmful data.

It’s also a really good idea to prevent robots from submitting your forms.  Similar to spam harvesting robots (see the previous post: Ever wonder why there is so much spam in your inbox?) spammers make use of automated programs that roam the Internet looking for, filling out and submitting website forms.

It’s likely you have come across CAPTCHA filters – the little boxes containing distorted letters and numbers that you’re required to type into an input box. Unlike humans, robots have a hard time seeing and interpreting images.  CAPTCHA forces you to prove you’re not a robot by reading and typing out the characters displayed in the image.  These filters can be annoying – but they are a very effective tool in stopping automated form submission and reducing spam.

For this very reason, some Web administrators prefer using a contact form rather than an email link in order to cut down on spam.

So – why are Web forms a good idea?

Web forms:

  • make it easy for visitors to get in touch with you
  • provide a simple and effective way for you to gather data from visitors
  • are flexible – they can be as long/short, and as simple/complex as you require
  • can help you manage the scope of data being collected via different form fields 
  • enable immediate feedback
  • can reduce the amount of spam you receive
  • are cost effective – no printing or postage required!

Need a form?  Contact us to talk about ideas and options for adding a contact or feedback form to your site.  We can be reached by email at or by phone at 705-927-2308.