Mailto Vs FormMail - Which Website Feedback Method Is Best?
Surfing along the web, I may come
across your website and feel that I wanted to contact the owner (that's you). Looking
through the website I may come across an image or text link entitled 'Contact Us' or 'Email
Me'. Normally this link would link to "mailto:email@example.com", which
is normally called a mailto link. And we are going to discuss the disadvantages of the
mailto link and an alternative solution.
What good webmasters do when they make a
website, is to check the behavior of the website in different browsers, different
mailto link with a mail program (ex. Eudora, Outlook) and without it.
If I had a mail program on my computer and I clicked
the link, my mail program would open and create a new message that I can send to you. What
I dislike about this is that firstly, my mail program takes time to load and secondly, if I
could email InterNIC, Microsoft or Netscape from their websites, why can't I email you from your website.
Now let's say I don't have a mail program on my
computer and I click the link. In Internet Explorer a dialog box pops up saying "Cannot
send mail. No mail program is set up to send mail using Internet shortcuts". What
does this mean to me (your website visitor)? Well it means that I can't email you, but if I
had an online email (ex. Hotmail.com, Usa.net), I could login and then compose a letter to
you. But if you think about it, how many people (that includes me) would go through all
that, just to email you (very few, believe me).
So you might want to ask me now, "What can be
done about this problem, because I want all my visitors to be able to send me email
whether or not they have a mailing program on their computer." You can setup a
formmail form (sometimes known as a feedback form) for your website, which is a simple form
that will send an email directly from the form to your email. Believe me, you will receive
more emails and this will make your website more interactive.
A formmail form can be made in less than 5 minutes
but you also need a cgi-script to email the information to your email. For individuals who
have access to a cgi-bin, you can download a free formmail cgi-script from any free
cgi-script website. For individuals who don't, you can join a free cgi-service website
(they will provide you with a free formmail cgi-script which runs from their website).
As I have explained above, everyone can add this
simple, but necessary feature, to their website. I have included links below for free
formmail cgi-script as well as free formmail cgi-service websites.
Free formmail cgi-script
Free formmail cgi-service websites