Your web site should have a purpose supported by goals. You will want your visitors to take some action. These goals may be to generate leads, buy products, click on ads or even just subscribe to a newsletter or an RSS feed.
A call-to-action (CTA) is the copy or graphic you use to entice and persuade your readers to take that action. Well-designed calls to action can dramatically increase a site's rate of conversion to its goal.
So what's a well-designed call to action? Based on testing conducted on many different and varies we sites, and here are what is suggested as the 7 most important best practices to follow.
Position, Position, Position
Just as with Real Estate - positioning of your CTA can be critical to its success. Calls to action "above the fold" on a page (in the first screen viewable on a page without scrolling down) do very well. Calls to action in a sidebar don't perform as well as those in the central content area of a page. Put the call to action where the rest of the page will naturally lead a viewer's eyes.
Be Specific by Using Numbers
Digits including prices make the action very specific for the visitor and in nearly every case test very well.
Use discrete measurements of time in your CTA with phrases like "click now" or "try our software today". This will give the visitor an appreciation for how easy and immediate the action will be.
Clear Instruction on Action
Make your call to action as specific as possible - crystal clear instruction telling the visitor exactly what you want them to do and how. Avoid vague generalities and instead tell them to click, sign up, contact us or download.
It often helps to direct a user's attention to a call to action by placing a stock photo of a person looking directly at that call to action. Be mindful when using images with actors looking directly at the user as this tends to distract them.
Make Your CTA Clickable
Make sure your call to action uses the accepted web conventions of clickability. If it's a text link, use consistent styling for clickable links throughout your site. Buttons should have a 3-d effect that simulates the buttons found in web and desktop interfaces, and both buttons and links should change the default cursor when the user hovers over them to the pointer hand.
Strong or Contrasting Colors for Attention Grabbing
Strong or contrasting colours will draw the user's eye to the action you want them to take. If your site is cool blue and gray, use a red or orange graphic.
Written by: Greg Tomkins