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How to Create Effective CTAs

A “Call-to-Action” (CTA) is a word or phrase that urges a website visitor to take an immediate action (e.g. buy now, call now or create account). In essence, it is the primary action you want a visitor to take after reading your message. A CTA can be in the form of a text link or a button.

The button "Create Account” is a CTA.

The button “Create Account” is a CTA.


The text link “Get help now” is a CTA.

The text link “Get help now” is a CTA.

Before creating a CTA for your webpage you should analyze each of your pages and decide what is the main objective for each, or what action you want the visitor to take. Keep in mind that not all CTAs are meant for purchasing or downloading. You’ll want some to be informational, like the “Get help now” example, and others will be more direct.

When creating the CTA on your page, there are many things to consider, such as size, placement and color.  We look at these factors in order to create an effective call to action.

1.  Consider its placement
Visitors on your website will be in different stages of the buying process, meaning that some users are “just browsing” while others might be more ready to purchase. Therefore, the right CTA should be put on the right page. For example “Buy Now” buttons would not be appropriate on a homepage, but would work on a product page. Homepage CTA. Homepage CTA.


ASOS Product Page CTA product page CTA.

Make sure to also place your CTA above the fold. Although the majority of visitors to your web page will scroll, having a CTA higher up the page will be more visible and therefore likely to get more clicks. You should also consider the flow of the page and the path of your visitors’ eyes (where they tend to look, usually close to the left side of the page).

2. Make it stand out
There are various ways of making your CTAs standout; a large button or font, a bright contrasting color or by bolding the text. The color of your CTAs should stand out but should also work well with your website color palette.

For example a purple button on a blue background will not stand out as much as a pink CTA on a blue background.

Contrasting colors

Contrasting colors

The size of your buttons do not have to be huge, it is recommended that a good button size is around 225px wide and 45px high.

3.  Make it actionable
CTAs should include verbs so it is obvious what you would like a visitor to do. For example: “Buy Now” or “Download Now.”

Ideally, you should test different CTA wording to see which converts better for you or gets the most clicks. For example “Get started today” vs. “Sign up now.”  CTAs with the word “free” also tend to convert better, again this should be tested with your audience.

Remember to also be honest and accurate with your CTAs, avoid claims like “the best ever” as users may view these as untrue and may become disengaged. Your website’s credibility is important. Concentrate on making your CTA simple, clear and actionable so they are as effective as possible.

This post is focused on website call-to-actions, but, remember, CTAs should be included in all marketing activities, such as direct mail, email campaigns, paid search, on your blog, social media, presentations, videos and even your email signature!