Looking back about ten years or so it was generally pretty rare to find someone who had their own website. But these days it’s almost impossible to talk to someone who doesn’t have their own website or blog. Typically when I’m having a discussion with other web developers or bloggers we often talk about how to increase website traffic, or about how to increase website ranking. But not many people that I have talked with mention anything about how their visitors contact them. Making sure that you make a simple and clean line of communication available for your visitors as a publisher should be a priority during site development. Not allowing yourself to be available to the people that visit your site in any capacity could cost you a visitor that may return again in the future if you had or worse; you could miss out on a potential customer and the chance to make some money. If your website doesn’t currently have a means of communication so that visitors can contact you it’s never too late to add mailing through your website.
Most sites that I look at either list a contact email or use the simple mailto: function. Both methods are acceptable ways to make yourself available to visitors, but both are pretty outdated; and it could reflect poorly on your site. Just listing an email address looks pretty sloppy, and on top of that the user needs to go through the trouble of logging into their email service, then copy and pasting your email. The mailto: html function is a pain as well in my opinion and requires that a default mailing program is setup such as outlook. I don’t know this for a fact, but it if I was a betting man I’d feel pretty safe in saying that more people do not use outlook than do. So if listing your email and mailto: are not good to use what do I propose as an alternative means of communication?
The Answer: A server side webmail system that’s hosted on your website.
If you are unfamiliar and it sounds complex, and like it’s going to be a big project don’t worry because it’s really easy to setup. As long as your webserver supports PHP (most web hosting services support PHP today) you will be good to go. The script is simple enough to write and there are many tutorials available on the internet and YouTube that could show you how to set this up. But what this does is allow visitors to fill out their information in a form on your site and mails you their information directly from the website. Since the information is being sent directly from the site, users are not inconvenienced by needing to sign into to their personal email services.
Overall, developing a service like this is easy to setup, convenient for visitors to use, and reflects positively on your site. This was just a introductory discussion of website mailing implementation, but hopefully it’s been helpful and bring your site one step closer to google page one.