Why Your Website CTA Is More Important Than You Think

Conversion Rate Optimization, User Experience, Web Design

A website without a call to action is like a birthday without cake. Sure it’s still a website, and it’s still your birthday, but it’s 100% missing something. Your call to action (CTA) is perhaps the single most important element of your website. If you are looking to grow your inbound marketing leads, sell your products, increase your followers on social media, or want your visitors to do anything on your site, you need a clear and compelling call to action.

What’s the one thing all high-converting websites have in common? A killer CTA.

Sure… websites need to be well designed, mobile-friendly, fast, have excellent content, be easy to navigate, and have a strategy for being found online. But the one thing that actually turns clicks into customers is a great call to action.

In this blog, you’ll learn the importance of website CTAs, the most common types, and how you can optimize your CTAs to improve conversions.

What is a Website CTA?

A website call to action (CTA) is some form of text, banner, button, image, or other elements that instructs a website visitor to take immediate action in a compelling way. It is often the next step you want your audience to take on a web page. For websites, this specific action can be to submit a contact form, subscribe to an email list, purchase a product, or view another piece of content.

The goal of CTAs is to prompt your reader to take action at the right moment on the right page. They need to be well written, well placed, and well designed in order to be successful and push customers from the consideration stage into the decision-making stage.

Why is a CTA Important?

CTA’s are extremely important in telling your readers or site visitor what to do next. Depending on the type of website, and what your desired action is, the call to action can be different. Here are a few examples of common CTA’s.

10 Examples of Website Call to Actions

  1. Learn More – Use this one when you want your visitor to keep reading or learning about your product, service, or offer.
learn more cta button example
  1. Shop Now – Often used on ecommerce sites to instruct visitors to start shopping or browse a product collection.
shop now button cta
  1. Subscribe – This action verb is commonly used in pop-ups and in website footers to get users to subscribe to email newsletters.
subscribe website cta
  1. Book Now – For services, classes, trips, and events with scheduled times, this is great to have as a call to action button.
book now website call to action
  1. Get in Touch – This is the text you should use for your contact form. It’s much better than a button that just says “Submit”.
get in touch website cta
  1. Download Now – For additional content, downloadable guides, and unique resources, this is the CTA you’ll want.
download now website call to action banner
  1. Get Started – One of the most common CTAs, this one can be used for just about anything, prompting users to take action.
get started website cta
  1. Sign Up – Commonly used with subscription-based services, this CTA is great for events, courses, and free trials. 
sign up for marketing tips website call to action
  1. Try for Free – Some of the best CTA’s contain the word “free”. If you are able to offer a free trial, this button text can really help conversions.
try for free website call to action
  1. Join us – This is a great action word to get people involved in an event, to be a part of a group, or to join your online community.
join us website cta banner

CTA Placement

Websites can have multiple CTAs. Where you place your primary CTA and secondary CTA is almost as important as what you say in it. CTA’s are delicate. There’s a fine line between ushering users to take the next step and bothering them to do so. If your call to action copy is compelling, and users see the value in your offer, they will take the next step. But shoving a pop up in their face asking them to sign up for a newsletter when this is their first time on your site and they’ve only been there for 2 seconds… is only going to annoy them.

While there is no single best place to put a call to action, there are some best practices. It’s important to consider where a call to action button will be placed when designing a website. Map out how a potential customer will flow through your content and pages, then you can figure out where the best place to put a successful CTA is. Ultimately A/B testing your call to action phrase is the best way to find what works and can be great for trying out different ad copy, design ideas, colors, fonts, and placements.

Here are some CTA best practices for buttons, banners, pop ups, and anchor text.

CTA Buttons

Button call to actions can go just about anywhere. Button CTAs work best when there is an offer description or compelling CTA around the button that leads users to want to click it. It’s best to educate your readers or offer something of value, just before asking them to click a button.

Match what you are offering to users with what’s on the next page. The goal in the below CTA copy is to get users interested in what lies behind the button, to make them curious enough to want to click it to visit the next page. You want to tempt readers with what lies behind the button.

digital marketing cta button

CTA Button Design

The design of your CTA button depends on the design of your website. Usually, you want a consistent CTA button size and color across your site. It’s best to find a color that will stand out on the page, while still working with your overall color scheme.

While there is no one size fits all for CTA buttons, there are a few colors that are better than others. Red, orange, yellow , and green are the most common colors used for CTA buttons while white, black, brown and grey are the least common.

More important than button color is contrast. You want your button to stand out on the page. While at the same time, you don’t want it to stand out and look bad. A blue background with red buttons is just too much for our human eyes. Maybe don’t go for the complete opposite color on the color wheel. Color pallet generators are great for finding contrasting colors within the same palette. 

Effective CTA Buttons

The most effective call to action buttons are ones that leverage human psychology. The color, size, shape, button text, and placement all need to be considered and work well together. Here are a few tips for effective CTA buttons:

  • Colors that contrast will stand out to the eye.
  • Use colors that will evoke emotion:
    • Red evokes passion, excitement, and urgency
    • Orange encourages immediate action
    • Yellow grabs attention and is optimistic
    • Green means “go” and is easy for our brains to process
    • Blue creates trust and sense of security
    • Purple is calming and soothing
    • Pink is romantic and seen as feminine
    • Black is sleek and used for luxury
  • Buttons need to be big enough and clickable for both desktop and mobile.
  • Adding white space around a button will make it stand out more
  • Use rounded edges for your buttons instead of square. Our brains are wired to avoid pointy things
  • Using 1st person language can improve conversions by 90%
  • Adding CTAs “above the fold” enhances the chances of users seeing it
  • A/B test your buttons to find what works. Only test one variable at a time though.
  • Too many buttons are bad UX. One well placed CTA button is better than having multiple CTA buttons competing with each other.

Optimizing your CTA buttons is critical to improving your website conversions. Whether you have an ecommerce website and are looking to improve sales, have a landing page up and running to increase leads, or run a successful blog with mostly mobile traffic, optimizing and testing your CTAs is essential.

CTA Banners

Call to action banners have much of the same design principles as buttons. Color, copy, and placement are all still important. The main difference between a call to action button and banner is the size and placement. CTA banners are usually placed at the bottom or top of a landing page and span the full width of the page.

Website banners are excellent for calling out news, updates, notices, sales, or promotions. For example, it’s common to see a banner at the top of ecommerce websites offering “free shipping.” Lately (at the time of writing this) it’s common to see banners outlining a businesses response to the coronavirus, with companies adding a small notice to the top of the landing page, linking to their response. Here are a few examples:

free shipping cta banner
covid-19 website cta banner

For conversions purposes, CTA banners are a useful tool for grabbing the attention of the reader, offering them a unique value proposition, and incentivizing them to take the next step.

Anchor Text CTAs

Anchor text CTAs are often overlooked in favor of big, flashy, button and banner CTAs, but can actually be more effective at drawing clicks out of viewers. Banner Blindness is when users are so accustomed to seeing banners and pop-ups telling them where to click, that they eventually grow immune to it. Customers are so used to seeing and ignoring ads, that banner CTAs can often look like them, so they tend to ignore them.

Anchor text solves this problem by using regular text to call a user to action. The fact that they blend in well with the text may be the reason they are so effective. In fact, HubSpot found that between 47% and 93% of all their blog post leads came from anchor text CTAs. 

For blog pages in particular, including text with a hyperlink is a great way to send readers to another landing page to view more content, download a useful resource, or get in contact with a company. Anchor text often appears more genuine to readers and may be one of the reasons it performs better than image CTAs for blog posts.

Here are 3 examples of anchor text CTAs for our digital marketing checklist:

Including anchor text CTAs throughout your blog post, particularly towards the top, and right at the end, is the best way to utilize this strategy. It’s best to include the CTA immediately after teaching your reader about something. Hit them with some valuable information, then offer them a resource to learn more about that topic.

Include an anchor text CTA about 150-200 words into your blog post, then include a similar CTA at the bottom. For some readers your intro may be enough for them to click, for others, they’ll want to read the entirety of the blog before taking more action.

Are your CTA’s Optimized? Or Are you Leaving Clicks on the Table?

If you’ve read the entirety of THIS blog and are looking to take action there are a few ways you can do so. Reach out to us if you need help improving your web conversions, learn more about our Web Design, SEO, and PPC services, or read some related content here:

About the Author

Max Allegro

Max Allegro is a seasoned Senior Digital Strategist & SEO Team Lead at Intuitive Digital with over 5 years of experience in the field. Max's expertise lies in helping businesses optimize their online presence through strategic content planning, technical SEO, and web migrations. When not at work, Max enjoys watching soccer and baking cakes.

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