Web Design & UX

What is a CTA?

When you decide to build a website there are certain goals that it has to achieve. Ultimately, for a business the purpose of a website is conversion. Your website should take someone on a journey from being interested in what you are offering to engaging in a meaningful way.

For some websites this could mean getting in contact either by calling a number on the website or filling in the contact form and submitting an enquiry. For other sites this could be purchasing a product from your online store, registering for an event or even signing up for a membership.

These conversions are what make investing in a website worthwhile and eventually pay for itself. The key with any website is making sure that the journey from visitor to customer is effective. The question is, how do you convert visitors and reach your goals?

How do you get people to move through a site and convert?

When people are browsing the internet or interacting with a website or social media they are taking in a lot of information. If they read a blog post on your website, what happens when they reach the bottom of the page? Without clear instructions or guides they are very likely to leave the site at that point. With some instruction, you give the visitor an idea of what they need to do next to engage with you.

If someone walked into a coffee shop they are likely to go straight to the counter and order what they want. Before that, they had to see the sign, get an idea of if they liked the look of the place and then the prices even before purchasing. The person serving them might even say “would you like a pastry with that?” to promote a product or just encourage them to take some action.

There are many ways to encourage conversions and they very much depend on what your specific goal is. If your shop has a popular product but you would like to promote a better or more profitable alternative you might want to promote an up-sell on the checkout.

If your website is a membership site then you might promote special offers or discounts for long-term commitment.

Using a CTA to encourage a response/action without human interaction

These incentives are really important but the most common form of conversion technique is the call to action or CTA. How do you get someone to the contact form on your site or to make that phone call to your office?

Want to learn more about how you can improve conversion? Contact us!

Here is a classic call to action. You pose a question and provide an action in response to it. You’re asking if the visitor is interested in what they’re reading to then do something about it. Usually this will be in the form of a button that could dial a number on mobile, visit the contact form or contact page so that an enquiry is submitted.

Some examples of call to actions:

  • Read more
  • Signup to our newsletter
  • Enquire about a related service
  • Purchase a related product

On a shop your call to actions might be:

  • A buy button
  • Add item to wishlist
  • Add an item to your cart

Good ideas for Call to Actions

So how do you make a great call to action?


Use strong colours that pop out and grab attention easily. The key here is to contrast the background – not to blind someone. Keep it on brand, nothing brash or too exciting; if it doesn’t fit with your brand colours then it’s too obvious and can make it look like you’re desperately trying to grab their attention – too much. 😉 


Write your call to action in a way that can be actioned. This encourages a response and when you pair this with a button that provides a positive solution to the action you immediately allow them to resolve this. The example above does just this. Use verbs like ‘call’, ‘click’, ‘give us a shout’ or ‘buy now’.

Be concise

You want to try and avoid long lines of text. The idea is to create a quick, simple and actionable idea to create as little resistance to taking action as possible.

Promote benefits and incentives

A really great way to bring people to commit to your service is to provide a solution to doubts they may have. Your call to action might mention a freebie included with a sale, a trial period or just that by clicking they aren’t signing away their life.

Optimising CTAs with split testing

The purpose of a CTA is to convert and perform. No one method is guaranteed to work on every site. Each solution will be different because you are targeting different demographics with each site.

The best way to know that a call to action is working is to see it as a work in progress. Come up with your initial idea and implement it alongside A/B testing. The idea here is that you will present two versions of the call to action to different visitors and test the response. Over a period of time you collect this information so you can see which version gets the best result. You could even test if no CTA really does lead to fewer conversions.

With this information you can then decide to use the best CTA or perform further tests with the knowledge you’ve gained. Your website is never finished and embracing these techniques of adding CTAs and testing them with visitors will allow you to make the most out of the website you have available to you.