Perfect your calls to action with the right words
Words are hugely powerful. They are what mostly make up the Web. Without copy the Web would be nothing. Yet in many design projects words are seen as an afterthought when they should be the focus from the off. Jason Fired of 37 Signals fame says that “It was always you design this page and then you just pour the copy in later, and it never felt right to me.” Instead, good content should be what we apply our design skills to. When you mix great copy and great design magical things can happen. Great design comes from great use of words.
Calls to action
Every single site on the Web should have strong calls to action. In a e‑commerce store the most likely call to action is “add that product into the shopping cart and subsequently buy it.” Even sites with less apparent success metrics can use calls to action. It could be as simple as to read more content or sign up to a newsletter. Calls to action should happen on every page of the site. There can be altered calls on different pages and some sites may have dozens of varying calls to action scattered throughout their pages. Strong calls to action can mean the difference between success and failure.
That penny dropping moment
The $300 million button
There is the famous example of an e‑commerce store firm that made an extra $300 million by simply removing a button. It was found that registering for the site put many users off from purchasing. Sometimes the best copy is no copy at all (or at least a different kind of copy). It shows again that relatively small changes in a site can yield incredible results. In GitHub’s FAQ pages they have a lovely button which is labelled “Contact a human.” This is a great design element, as it not only describes exactly what to do, if the user is still unsure about their problem the button adds a personal touch at a frustrating moment. This is comforting and nurturing to the user. Resume Baking’s main call to action has a strong shape and good use of colour. The sub description will also help conversion. What I would test there is something like “Create My Resume Now” Which would add urgency to it. In an example from the Google Analytics blog huge increases can be seen by changing the copy on the calls to action buttons. “Sign up” is very plain and although it describes what the call to action does, there isn’t much in it from a user perspective. “Learn more” is a lot more enticing to the user yielding a massive almost 20% rise on conversion. That button test may have won Obama the 2008 election.
Words are crucial to design and if you have the wrong wording it can hurt your site and business badly. All sites should have strong calls to action on each and every page. That call to action may be to encourage users to view more content on the site or something more tangible as to buy now on an e‑commerce store. As we have seen small changes in wording can make huge differences when dealing with calls to action and success metrics. There is no magic bullet however, you need to test your designs and web pages with hunches that you and your team may have. Featured image/thumbnail, writing image via Shutterstock.