Does your website have a GREAT call-to-action?

A call-to-action is the primary reason those of us in business have websites. Sure we want to inform people about our products or services but ultimately we want people to buy what we are offering. Of course the sale doesn’t always occur on the website, often the purpose of a website is to “generate leads”, but still the visitor must fill out a form or call you, both are call-to-action.

Every type of website you can think of has, or should have, a call-to-action.

Calls-to-action , when done well, provides focus and direction to your visitors. It makes it very clear to them just what you would ultimately like them to do.  Examples of a call-to-action include:

  • Make a donation
  • Request an appointment
  • Purchase a product
  • Complete an information form
  • Register for an event or program
  • Subscribe to a newsletter or Blog
  • Call the office
  • Request a quote

Creating a GREAT call-to-action

While every website and business is different there are some general guidelines you can follow when making your call-to-action Remember you should continually test whether your calls-to-action can be improved. Google has some excellent free tools available that will help. Their analytics tool will tell you what people are looking at on your website, while their website optimizer can help you test different combinations of calls-to-action in order to see which works best.

Writing your call-to-action

Words matter. Some words encourage, motivate and even compel people to take action while others don’t. With that in mind, here are some tips for writing effective calls-to-action:

  • Building Desire – Before someone will follow one of your calls-to-action, they first must have a desire for what it is you are offering. By explaining the BENEFITS they will experience by taking that action you are asking them to take you will help give them the motivation to actually do so.
  • Use action-oriented words – Words like “click here” are action words they suggest taking and action and while “click here” is a start you may find the that other approaches will work even better. For example- “Enjoy what you see? Click here to subscribe to our blog for free updates!” is ok while “Enjoy what you see? Subscribe to our blog for free updates!”  Notice the difference? The second one has the desired action contained within the link text.
  • Every page should have a call-to-action– You should include at least one call-to-action within the content on every page of your website – no page should be a dead-end. Ending your content with a call-to-action tells visitors what the next step is and keeps them moving through your website.
  • Avoid confusion –Too many calls-to-action on can be confusing for your visitors. Limit yourself to only a few, and keep them distinct so visitors know what the primary call-to-action is, as well as what you want them to do first.
  • Simple and clear – More people fill out clear short form than long tedious forms. Only ask for absolutely essential information on the initial form. You can always request more info in a follow-up email.

Designing your call-to-action

There has been a tremendous amount of research done on calls-to-action. Here’s some of the Best Practices :

  • Above the fold and in the Eye Path – Your call-to-action must be seen. This means keep it high on the page and prominent enough to not get lost in the surrounding content.
  • Images will draw the eye – Images or icons get people’s attention, they get noticed by your eyes before written content does. Buttons do the same thing and are great to use because they stand out against text and imply action by their very nature.
  • Stand out –There is no “best color” for buttons. The basic rule to use a button color that stands out from the rest of the site.
  • White space – White space around your call-to-action will help it stand out and the eyes of your visitors will naturally be drawn to it. If your call-to-action is squeezed into the surrounding content it will be less effective.
  • Bigger is often better – Those who test and study website conversion analytics often find that increasing the size of a button will increase its effectiveness.Here’s an example of different button colors and content form my presentation on Website Conversion Improvement

Creating effective calls-to-action can have HUGE impact on the effectiveness of your website and the profitability of your business so I hope you found this information helpful and that you will use it to objectively examine your website and its current calls-to-action. Of course I’m always available if you have any questions or if you would like an objective outside opinion.

Have you had any particular success working with calls-to-action on your website or on a website you’ve done for a client? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts and experiences!