A call-to-action is a button, phrase or link that tells your website’s visitors what to do next. That ‘Buy Now‘ button, those ‘Click here to read more‘ links, that ‘Register for a free trial‘ banner… they’re all calls-to-action.
Your website needs calls-to-action (abbreviated: CTA) to help turn visitors into customers. Internet users rarely take the time to thoroughly read text or contemplate a website’s purpose – they are used to surfing quickly and with purpose.
It’s therefore very important that you make it instantly evident what you want your website’s visitors to do when they come to your site. Do you want them to buy a product? Tell them. Do you want them to subscribe to your newsletter? Make it clear.
Here are some tips for effective calls-to-action:
- Short and concise - make it instantly clear what the action is you want a user to perform. Don’t elaborate too much but get to the point.
- Self-evident - a CTA that makes a user think is a bad CTA. Users need to know instantly what is required of them, so make sure your CTA is totally self-evident.
- Bigger is better - I’m not encouraging you to turn your whole web page into one big red CLICK HERE button, but don’t be too shy using big buttons either. Often webdesigners err on the side of caution, so don’t be afraid to try bigger buttons.
- Contrasting colours - Blue buttons on a blue background don’t really stand out much. Use contrasting colours, like bright red, neon green, or eyebleeding orange. This makes buttons and links stand out more from the regular content.
- Persuade - What works better: “Buy Now” or “Buy Now and get a 10% Discount”? That’s right, the 10% discount. Spice up your CTAs with extra benefits such as discounts, free samples, bonuses or limited time offers.
- Above the Fold - if you put your CTAs low on your webpage, changes are most users won’t see it as they have to scroll down the page to get there. Make sure you have a strong CTA high up on the page so visitors see it right away, then repeat the CTA lower on the page for those users who do take the time to read on and scroll down.
- Experiment - don’t be afraid to try out different CTAs on different pages on your website to see which one works best. You can also run tests with services like Google Website Optimizer to find the best call-to-action. As with many things on the web, continuous testing results in continuous improvement.
Implement strong calls-to-action throughout your website and you’ll have a more effective site that converts more visitors into customers.
If you want to read more about effective CTAs, read this great article from Smashing Magazine: Call to Action buttons: Examples and Best Practices