Make it easy for people, not spam engines, to send you email

(file: hh5-maillink.htm)

This is a sub-page in some information about getting started with publishing material on the web (beyond making a post to a social media site!)

It addresses putting things on your page(s) to help people contact you, should they wish to.

Be careful what you wish for! If you just put your email address online "the obvious" way, there are computer programs out there that scan, at computer speeds, web-pages looking for such things... and then those email addresses are sold to spam mailing lists!

Pages for pages

Before I address "how to do it", here's a thought...

I hope your web presence will grow. I once had only one page. Now I have hundreds, I would guess.

If you put "All about how to contact the author" on each page, and your contact details change, you will kick yourself!

Far better to create one small page with your "how to contact the author" details, and then put links to that on any page where you think a reader might want the information. In my case, I merely put 'How to contact author' on pages, as necessary. If you click on that, you will be taken to the relevant page. If you then close the window or tab that came up in, you will be back here. That behavior is due to the "target="_blank" part in...

<a href="http://sheepdogguides.com/ctact.htm"
target="_blank">'How to contact author'</a>

So... that's a little tip about WHERE to put your "Contact me" information. How do you do it!..."


Mail-to links

For the following examples, assume that your eddress (email address) is "MyEmail@gmail.com".

You could, but it would be unwise, because of the email harvesting programs, just put your eddress in the text of your webpage, e.g....

You can email me at MyEmail@gmail.com

That would also be inconvenient for your users, as they would have to copy the eddress from your page to their email client.

Actually, I don't mind introducing a little "nuisance" for my readers. If they don't want to write badly enough to copy my eddress, maybe their "need" isn't so great that I want to spend time dealing with it?

If you, too, are happy to introduce a slight "how much do you want to write?" barrier, here's a simple answer which also blocks spam trawlers...

"You can reach me via...

That was achieved with...

<p>You can reach me via....</p>

<img src="hh5-maillink-eddress.jpg" alt="-" width="50%" border=0>

... plus one trivial "extra bit"... you have to have a .jpg which shows the eddress in the same folder as the page with the above code; it has to be called "hh5-maillink-eddress.jpg". (That name suits my purposes, here, because it links it to the page that's using it. If you called your "how to contact me" page "MyContactDetails.htm", you might call the image "MyContact-eddress.jpg")

(If you don't have a way to create a graphic from text: Type your eddress into a wordprocessor. Make it "pretty". Make it mostly fill the screen. Do ctrl-PrintScreen. Open almost any image editor... I like IrfanView... and do ctrl-v. (Or use "edit/paste"). The text should appear. Save it... but as you are in an image editor, you will get an image file.)

Getting "fancy"

There other ways to publish you eddress.... (and an even more clever answer... "contact forms"... will be explained later!)

If you put...

You can <a href="mailto:MyEmail@gmail.com">email this page's editor</a>.

... in a page, clicking on the link in the resulting text will, if the user's system is set up as many people's is, start an email from the user to MyEmail@gmail.com

(By the way, it is deemed "poor design" to create "Click here" links. Just so you know, if you are a "rule keeper".)

NB: You cannot test this sort of line without being online.

Alternatively, if you want to make things easy for your readers, if you are ready for it, the following may an alternative way of fooling the spam engines, while leaving things easy for your readers. (I must admit that this is a very old bit of my webpage, and describes something I haven't used personally!)

Put the following in the <head> / </head> section of your page...

<script  language="javascript"type="text/javascript">
    Function mailto(domain,user){
       document.location.href = "mailto:" + user + "@" + domain;

...and then you can use...

<a  href="javascript:mailto('gmail.com',
     'MyAddress');">Mail Me Here</a>

... anywhere you want to create a link which will pop up a started email to you if the user clicks on the link you've made for them. (My thanks to a kind reader from http://www.gibnet.com/ who sent the javascript answer in to me. His page is an unofficial guide to the Rock of Gibraltar... and has been online for a very long time! Still there at 9/17.)

N.B. : Javascript is NOT the same thing as Java. And it is also not anything to do with the sometimes scorned Adobe Flash.

Fanciest answer...

Depending on who your hosts your page for you, and what "package" you have from them, you may find that you have "CGI scripts" or similar available from them to provide "contact forms". Check the webpage of your hosting service. (If your host provides contact forms, you will just add a bit of "stuff" to your web page, and "the stuff" will be explained by your host.)

I'm told that "the old way" (CGI scripts) is "insecure", and that it is being phased out. I haven't investigated replacements.

Good luck! Enjoy!

Click here to go to my page about starting a web presence, which is probably where you came from to reach this page.

Click here to go to the site's main page

Looking for email, domain registration, or web site hosting? I've been very happy with 1and1.com (and 1and1.co.uk) for over a decade. They host my website, and I wouldn't put this link up for them if I wasn't happy with their service. They offer things for the beginner and the corporation.

Ad from page's editor: Yes.. I do enjoy compiling these things for you. I hope they are helpful. However... this doesn't pay my bills!!! Sheepdog Software (tm) is supposed to help do that, so if you found this stuff useful, (and you run a Windows or MS-DOS PC) please visit my freeware and shareware page, download something, and circulate it for me? Links on your page to this page would also be appreciated!
Click here to visit editor's freeware, shareware page.

How to email or write this page's editor, Tom Boyd

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Page tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at validator.w3.org

Why does this page cause a script to run? Because of the Google panels, and the code for the search button. Also, I have my web-traffic monitored for me by eXTReMe tracker. They offer a free tracker. If you want to try one, check out their site. Why do I mention the script? Be sure you know all you need to about spyware.

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