Call-to-action (CTA) buttons serve as a reminder that size – or amount – isn’t always what’s most important. In a few short words, a compelling CTA button punctuates the case your website has been making for your brand by getting users to click and convert. Because it’s an instruction – an easy, direct action to take – a CTA must clearly link to your conversion goal. Because it has to outcompete thousands of other websites with similar strategies and goals, a CTA button is a site component you can’t afford for your visitors to not notice.
Where lies this point between concise, captivating, and clear? And how do you engineer CTAs without starting to overanalyze, remembering that, for all that goes into it, a CTA’s success depends on its message being quick and simple. There are all kinds of strategies, so we like to parse things out through three broad buckets: what you write, where it goes on your site, and which visual choices you make. Where you go from there comes down to your business goals, your website, and your visiting users.
CTA Button Best Practices: The Text
Higher CTA conversions have never come from CTA text that was 10 words long. The ideal length is and has always been 2-5 words. Given that the average user spends about 54 seconds on a website, there’s no time for CTA text to be long and unclear. A short and clear direction will help your user further engage with your business without losing their attention.
Speaking of action-oriented, when did you last get fired up by a verb like submit or enter? Your website’s CTAs should make visitors want to take action. Verbs that are active and exciting place the user in the driver’s seat. By refining your CTA text into something that someone can do, rather than something that can happen to them, you focus your website user’s attention on actions to take with your business, which keeps them on your site longer and increases your conversion rate.
Data indicates that using first-person language in your text can lead to far higher CTA conversions. The same goes for imbuing your CTA button with a sense of urgency. Whether you announce a sale or call on the end of a special offer, positioning users so they feel they should make a decision quickly increases your odds of engagement. This sense of urgency can often go hand in hand with your value proposition, the advantage you offer that your competitors can’t. Whatever it is – a free product, month of service, or discounted subscription price – couching your value proposition in urgent, time-oriented terms compels visiting users. Who among us isn’t at least a little susceptible to FOMO?
CTA Button Best Practices: The Location
There is a holy rule when it comes to CTA button placement. Never make a user backtrack in order to find and engage with your CTA buttons. You’ve got one shot for website visitors to see your call-to-action. Therefore, the ideal CTA button is always prominently placed, easy to see, and in tune with the natural flow of a user’s experience.
A common practice for CTA button placement is to put it “above the fold.” In website terms, this means the section of the page that loads first once a user enters the URL. By setting the CTA above the fold, you remove your prospect needing to scroll and find it and, instead, ensure it’s one of the first things they see. On the other hand, on some website pages, it wouldn’t make sense to make the request that early in the page – which is why you’ll often see a CTA section towards the bottom on a homepage or other page where user’s need to experience more information before being asked to take action. Go a step further by keeping space around the button, which will draw eyes to it once your page loads.
As you integrate CTA buttons with website page text, understanding user experience is key. Western readers read text top to bottom and left to right. Adjoining buttons that lie to the right and at the bottom of text perform better to capture users’ attention and drive higher CTA conversions. Similarly, if a specific page needs more than one CTA button, strategize your layout based on a top-down hierarchy. It will make most sense to your users to interact with CTA buttons that appear on screen by degree of importance.
CTA Button Best Practices: The Visuals
The single-most important decision you can make regarding your CTA button may be its color. Although green and orange reign as industry standards, what’s most important is choosing a color that smartly both flows with and stands out from your website design. The right choice will draw visitors’ eyes straight to your CTA button when they visit. Iterate with several colors before making a final choice so that you get a true sense of what stands out best.
It’s instinctive to think that CTA buttons need to have a larger text size, and this is true, but only to a degree. CTA button text can, in fact, be too large. Past a certain size, large text has been shown to have a negative subconscious effect on users. Something similar can be said for icons and graphics. Icons and/or graphics that do clear, purposeful work for your CTA button can have a big impact on its click-through-rates. However, you can over-iterate and wind up with a visual that distracts from your button. No matter how sophisticated, you never want a graphic that could confuse your user out of a conversion.
CTA Button Best Practices: Conclusion
If you’re looking for ways to drive more conversions on your website, consider these three strategic buckets as ways to kickstart your calls-to-action in gear. Above all else, remember that you’re meant to customize these insights to your specific situation. There is never a black-and-white approach to designing a CTA button. Instead, use these strategies as guidelines to create and repeatedly test CTA buttons that take your website from a pretty display to a business-driving machine.