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Creating Effective Call to Action Buttons

Posted on 2.06.2011

It's time to get serious - about your buttons... your call to action buttons.

"Calls to action" are the requests for those visiting your website to perform some specific action. That request could be to complete a sale, fill out a form, or share information with friends or colleagues - whatever it is that ultimately meets the objective of the page the user is currently visiting. So what is a good call to action and how can you as a Web professional increase the likelihood the visitor acts upon your requset? 

Here are a few guidelines for creating an effective (serious) call to action button: 

- Take the Wording Seriously: It is not uncommon for Web designers to guide the button creation, and hence the wording of those buttons, during development. As you might imagine that is a pretty big mistake. It is important to express a benefit or positive result, use active verbs (learn, add, submit, modify, etc.), and to use wording that is consistent throughout the site and which leads the user to pages which reflect that specific call to action. 

- Seriously, Placement Matters: You would not hide the register at a brick and mortar store, so you should not hide the call to action buttons on your website. Placement matters (seriously) so make calls to action the logical conclusion to the content on the page and in what is referred to as the "eye path".

- Seriously Focus on Button Quality: If you look on a heatmap it is the one area of a page which generates the most attention/heat - it's the call to action button. For this reason it must be instantly recognizable, consistent across the entire site, and visually charged (easy to locate with 3d effects or drop shadows). As a support mechanism consider adding mouseover effects to secure a users attention. 

Just a few thoughts on creating strong calls to action with buttons. Any advice for other WM readers?

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