Website Design Best Practices: Calls to Action

A Call to Action is nothing new, they’ve been a vital element of advertising for many years. But, with a ┬áproliferation of marketing channels and increase in advertising messages, they’re in danger of getting lost amongst the crowd and overlooked during website design if not part of the brief and tied into the website goals.

What is a Call to Action

A Call to Action (CTA) is a button or link that you place on your website to drive website visitors to perform an action, often described as a website goal.

Examples of CTA:

  1. Download free e-book
  2. Start a free trial
  3. Make an appointment
  4. Add to cart
  5. Download brochure
  6. Arrange a free consultation

Primary and secondary CTA’s

The primary CTA is the action you ideally want web visitors to take, whilst a secondary CTA provides another option and is featured less prominently than your primary CTA. It can be a great way to further engage and capture people who may not be ready to take your most desired action.

The secondary CTA often provides a longer route round, let’s call it the scenic route, to where you want your visitors to go. For example, your primary CTA may be for visitors to request a free trial and your secondary CTA may be for them to subscribe to an email, which will provide you with the opportunity to put forward your primary CTA again.

Both primary and secondary CTA’s should be specified within your website design brief and consideration given to their shape, colour and style.

10 best practices for compelling CTA’s

  1. Use a bright colour on all CTA buttons and only use this colour for CTA’s. Green and orange are found to work well.
  2. Use action orientated verbs that compel people to click i.e. download our whitepaper. Avoid boring words like ‘submit’ and ‘enter’.
  3. Try first person speech. Michael Aagaard published a case study which showed that by changing a CTA to first person ‘Get my 30 day free trial’ as opposed to ‘Get your 30 day free trial’ on a landing page, a 90% increase in conversions was achieved.
  4. Create a sense of urgency with phrases like ‘buy now’, avoid disappointment’ and ‘get 20% off today only’.
  5. The website design needs to make CTA’s highly visible on the page.
  6. Go large, make it stand out, although don’t get too carried away! Your web page still needs to look beautiful.
  7. Repeat CTA’s multiple times at the top, middle and bottom of the web page.
  8. Try different shaped buttons and see which converts more.
  9. Add fancy graphics to your buttons, such as an arrow that points to the link.
  10. Test, test and test again. Testing is vital to optimising your website for maximum conversion. You’ve probably invested a lot of time and money in getting potential customers to your website, as well as into the initial website design and development. Just as much effort should go into ongoing testing and refining your website to make it work for you. Test CTA button placement, colour, shape, style and text.