Your beloved SEO company has done their job and optimised your site completely. Your rankings and traffic are steadily rising. More people are being exposed to your business than ever before. You should be rolling in money, completely flat-tack dealing with enquiries and bugging your suppliers for more stock.
But you’re not.
You’re stumped. The site is pretty, it’s got a great fold and the colours are right. Your products are quality and the price is right. You ship fast. All that quality content on the site has the bounce rate down and time on site up. The only thing not happening is that they are not hitting the trigger and enquiring or signing up or buying or downloading or coming in for free trials.
You need a better call to action.
A call to action is a message on the site that encourages the reader to engage with your business somehow. You know you need a call to action if it’s asking the reader to:
- Add to cart
- Register for Trial
- Learn more
- Sign Up
The design of these buttons (they MUST be buttons, not links) may seem trivial, but it’s big business. Many conversion optimisation studies have shown that seemingly innocuous factors such as colour choice can affect the conversion factor of a page by double digit percentages. I’ll go through some of the most important factors that will help you design an effective call to action in a manner that will guide the design process flow.
First of all, you have to think about where the button will go. This is dependent on the page that the call to action will go on.
- In general, the call to action should be in the content area
- The call to action should be logically placed above the fold
- If the page has no directly relevant content to the action, the call to action should be included in the top right hand corner
- If a page has content that a reader is likely to finish reading, the call to action should be included at the bottom of the page as well
The button size must find a balance. Not too big, not too small. Again, there are a number of criteria to look at:
- It shouldn’t be so small that finding it among the clutter of the page is like finding Wally in a box of candy cane
- At the same time, don’t be that obnoxious guy – we all have a Facebook friend who invites us to events with headlines like “###$$$ AWESOME NW YRS PARTYEVENT!!! 1 TYM ONLY BOOK NW PLS COME TO MY PARTY ITS GONNA BE THE BESTEST!!! ***** ####”
- It should be big enough to fit in all of the text (see below for tips on wording)
The size of the button is affected by the space available. An effective call to action should have enough negative space around it so that it stands out on it’s own from everything else. Make sure that there is blank space between content and the button.
Colours should ideally be from the existing colour palette of your site. See this article for more info on choosing appropriate colours for your site.
- For large buttons, use a colour from the site palette that is less prominent – the size will be enough to get attention without overloading the poor reader with headache inducing colour. Consider using complementary colours – eg a blue background can have purple or green buttons.
- Smaller buttons need a colour that sticks out more – consider using opposing colours – for example, purple buttons on yellow backgrounds.
The last step is definitely not the least – in fact, it’s CRUCIAL. The buttons need to compell the reader to act right away without thinking about it for a split second.
- Set the context in the content so that the button is just asking them to join/buy/register
- Make it punchy – NO ADJECTIVES HERE!
- Being a scrooge with words helps make the message punchy – which ounds better “Try it for Free” or “Free Trial”?
- Add a sense of urgency – consider adding the word “NOW!” to the end of the button or have a remaining stock level/time ticker below the button
- Consider adding more info in smaller text or below the button if requIred – eg a “Download Now!” button would get more clicks if the download size was displayed on or below the button.
What you can do, TODAY!
If you don’t have an fancy web designer handy, fear not. Making an effective call to action button is easy with the know-how above and a bit of simple hacking. Go out and download a free image editing tool like GiMP and use the simple surface designing tools, reflections and gradient fills to make a pretty button that gets you more $$$!