Website Must-Have: Call to Action (CTA)

If you have a website, or are looking to have a website built, it’s important that it delivers results.  Tools like Google Analytics can help you monitor the traffic to your website, and traffic is important. But just because you have traffic, that doesn’t mean ...

Getting Started, Marketing

call to action

Kyle Van Deusen

OGAL Web Design owner and WordPress educator helping businesses succeed with design, development, and marketing since 2003.

Filed Under: Getting Started, Marketing

If you have a website, or are looking to have a website built, it’s important that it delivers results.  Tools like Google Analytics can help you monitor the traffic to your website, and traffic is important.

But just because you have traffic, that doesn’t mean you’ll see results. You need visitors to be more than window shoppers, you need them to take action.

There are some very easy techniques that will help encourage customers to contact you, join your mailing list or buy your product… and in this article, we’re going to discuss how to make that happen.

What is a ‘Call to Action’ or ‘CTA’?

A call to action (or CTA for short) is content on your website that encourages or directs visitors to take a desired action.

Typically a CTA inspires immediate action from the viewer, helping your website convert more visitors into prospects or even customers. Most often a CTA is in a button, or a link that takes the visitor to the page on our website that makes that conversion possible (like a shopping cart, contact page or a part of your sales funnel).

You probably recognize calls to action like this:

  • Buy Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Start Your Trial
  • Sign Up Today
  • Join Our E-club
  • Add To Cart
  • Create Account

Calls to action make it clear and easily recognizable for the viewer to know exactly what step to take next. You can guide them in this process, helping you achieve the action that’s best for your business.

Why is a Call to Action important?

The internet is full of noise, and people don’t have the time or desire to read through every word on your website. What they want is clear direction on what to do next.

This is why calls to action can be so effective. Users don’t have to guess on what step to take, you’re giving them direction and pushing them toward your desired goal. This simplifies the decision making process and increases the chances of converting a visitor into a prospect.

Calls to action aren’t just used on website, we use them in our day-to-day lives in normal conversation. We ask a friend to call us, we tell our partner to pick up something from the store, we tell our kids to clean their room. You think their room will be clean if we don’t give them that direction? Not in my house!

If you want something done you need to ask. No one can read your mind, and no matter how obvious you may think the next step is, it’s always easier when you tell someone exactly what you want.

Making an effective CTA

Calls to action can vary tremendously depending on your business. You want to start out with the most important action you’d like a visitor to take, but keep in mind that there must be an incentive for them to take action.

There are some basic fundamentals that work on most calls to action.

1. Make it Enticing

Free trails are a great incentive. (seen on

An effective CTA has some sort of incentive. This can be an exclusive offer, a promise to help solve their problem or just the easiest way to contact you— but it must provide a benefit.

Most of the time a call to action will be proceeded by information that describes a problem your visitor can relate to, and demonstrates how your product or service can solve that problem.

2. Make it Extremely Clear

There is no guessing game— they want you to shop. (seen on

At this point, you don’t want to have your visitor guessing. Make sure your call to action is extremely clear in what you are wanting them to do, and what they get. Remember, the CTA is there to direct the visitor, not confuse them.

3. Make it Stand Out

Notice the “buy” button the only bright color (seen on

A typical call to action uses a contrasting color and stands out from the other information on your page. You don’t want to bury your CTA in a wall of text. Part of it being clear is making it easy to find on the page. The use of a contrasting color helps the visitor recognize and understand what to do next.

4. Make it Consistent

Too many competing elements (seen on

Again, we’re trying to be extremely clear— you don’t want multiple calls to action competing on your website. A good rule of thumb is to only have 1 call to action on each page. You can use that same call to action multiple times, but don’t confuse the reader by offering too many choices on a single page.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action!

Now that you know some of the basics of making a call to action, it’s time to evaluate your website and see how many of these rules you can put into practice. Remember to take time in planning your call to action. Make it enticing, make it extremely clear, make it stand out, and don’t make it compete for attention on your page. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I want my visitors to do?
  2. What will make that enticing for them?
  3. Is it consistent with the page’s content?
  4. Will it help increase conversions?
  5. Does it stand out?

Not only will your page make more sense to the visitor, but it will help you clearly define your website’s goals. It’s important that your website provides a return on investment, and helping your users take the desired action that’s best to convert them into prospects and ultimately customers will help you start seeing returns.

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