"Contact Us" Pages
What It Is
Having a Contact Us page is a best practice for managing your agency's website. It should be called "Contact Us" or "Contact (organization name)" and linked on every page of your website, usually in the header or footer. If that's not feasible, at least provide a link from your homepage and every major entry point.
Why It's Important
Citizens should be able to easily contact their government to ask questions, get information, or report problems.
The OMB Policies for Federal Public Websites reference providing an easy means for the public to contact your agency and providing certain contact information:
- Section IA: "disseminate information to the public in a timely, equitable, efficient and appropriate manner,"
- Section 3F: "identify mandatory links and post (or link to) the following information on their principal website and any known major entry points to their sites: …. information made available under the Freedom of Information Act …. the agency point of contact for small businesses as required by the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002"
- Section 4A: "establish and maintain communications with members of the public and with State and local governments to ensure your agency creates information dissemination products meeting their respective needs."
The Open Government Directive of 2009 requires agencies to "implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration," so many agencies use third–party social media tools to increase public engagement and transparency.
- OMB Memorandum 10–23, Guidance for Agency Use of Third–Party Websites and Applications (PDF, 9 pages, 103 KB, June 2010), outlines how agencies can safely use social media to engage with customers
- Make the link title and the page title match. For example, if you call the link "Contact Us," the page to which you link should also be titled "Contact Us."
- At a minimum, include the following pieces of information on your "Contact Us" or "Contact (organization name)" page:
- Primary organization mailing address
- Street addresses for any regional or local customer service offices
- Phone number(s), including numbers for any regional or local offices, toll-free numbers, and TTY numbers, if available
- Email address(es) or web–based contact form
- Your agency's policy and procedures for responding to email inquiries, including whether you will answer inquiries and the expected response time
- Contact information to report data problems, as required by Information Quality regulations
- Contact information for small businesses, as required by the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act
- Instructions on how to request information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
- Method for reporting evidence of waste, fraud, or abuse to the Inspector General (as required by Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2008)
- Contact information for reporting both technical and content problems with the website, including accessibility problems.
- Include links to the primary social media accounts maintained by your agency.
- Place links to social media accounts so they are prominent and easy to find. Options include:
- Grouping related email and social media accounts together
- Placing social media links/icons in a box, or in the site header/footer
- When linking to third–party social media sites, include a link to your site's linking policy, in accordance with your website style guide
- If TTY lines are not available, your agency can use the Federal Relay Service.
- If you need assistance managing public inquiries, visit the Contact Centers channel on HowTo.gov to learn about email, phone, and publication distribution services offered by GSA.
- The Social Security Administration provides a Contact Us page with ways to call, email, write, or contact the agency in person
- The National Institutes of Health provides various ways to contact the agency and links to other frequent questions
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development lists ways to contact the agency based on the question you need answered
- The Environmental Protection Agency provides a Contact Us page with ways to call, email, or write to the agency and includes information on its regional offices
- Contact Us Page Sample Template (PDF, 44 KB, 2 pages, June 2009)