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Creating effective calls to action that actually work

Call to action

Calls to action are important as it gives a goal to your website, this could be any action such as making a purchase, signing up to a newsletter, trying a demo or getting in contact. This commonly takes the form of a button or an icon with some text to really grab the attention.

  1. Only have one call to action per page
    The number one piece of advice has to be only have one call to action per page. As tempting as it may be, do not add additional information, links and other click-able items which do not relate to the main purpose of the page. To get the best results the page needs to be laser focused on the call to action, not giving any other options except to follow the call to action. Sometimes it is necessary to have a secondary call to action for example to download a trial and to purchase as well. Use colours to differentiate, selecting a bolder, brighter colour to prioritise the main required action.
  2. Make your call to action stand out
    Try to keep your page clear and to the point, ensuring there is no excess of text or images that do not add anything to the main call of action. Use contrasting colours to make your button really stand out. By using icons that relate to the call to action this help to make it really stand out and to clarify the meaning, however ensure they do not cause confusion. Typical examples would be envelopes for contact us, shopping trolleys for purchasing items and arrows for downloading items.
  3. Use negative space
    Another way to make you call to action stand out is to use negative space. By Calls to action are important as it gives a goal to your website, this could be any action such as making a purchase, signing up to a newsletter, trying a demo or getting in contact. This commonly takes the form of a button with some excellent examples coming from Firefox and Chrome.
  4. Only have one call to action per page
    The number one piece of advice has to be only have one call to action per page. As tempting as it may be, do not add additional information, links and other clickable items which do not relate to the main purpose of the page. To get the best results the page needs to be laser focused on the call to action, not giving any other options except to follow the call to action. Sometimes it is necessary to have a secondary call to action for example to download a trial and to purchase as well. Use colours to differentiate, selecting a bolder, brighter colour to prioritise the main required action.
  5. Make your call to action stand out
    Try to keep your page clear and to the point, ensuring there is no excess of text or images that do not add anything to the main call of action. Use contrasting colours to make your button really stand out. By using icons that relate to the call to action this help to make it really stand out and to clarify the meaning, however ensure they do not cause confusion. Typical examples would be envelopes for contact us, shopping trolleys for purchasing items and arrows for downloading items. Finally make it big - in this case big is better!
  6. Use negative space
    Another way to make you call to action stand out is to use negative space. By surrounding your buttons by lots of blank space it really stand out and grabs attention. Negative space can actually help to get your message across more effectively than trying to cram in too much information.
  7. Carefully choose the wording for your call to action
    Keep the text sharp and straight to the point. Think about what the call to action should be doing for example, the lazy way is to use the words "Add to cart" where as a much more effective "Buy it now" would increase your returns. Make sure you use a large clear font and that you are asking for clear action.
  8. Add extra information to your call to action
    To make the call to action even clearer you can add extra information, for example on a "Buy it now" button you may want to include the price, or for a download it is common to include the file size. What ever it is make sure it does not distract from the actual call to action, so use a smaller font or a different colour so the call to action still stands out. Don't be afraid to increase the size of the button to include the extra information as this adds to the effect and makes it stand even more.

By following these steps you will have a big, bold and clear call to action that everyone will be able to see and know exactly what to do.


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