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Creating an effective call to action

Creating an effective call to action

A call to action is any element such as a graphic, text or most commonly a button on a website that is meant to request immediate action from your web site user. In this article, we’ll take a look at some best practices to apply to your web site using a call to action so you can have higher conversion rates.

When there is a call to action, it’s often bland and unhelpful, such as “Click here” or “Learn more.” A good call to action compels people to act with an enticing offer. The entire purpose of a call to action is to get your web site users to the next step of the process you’re trying to get them to follow. Don’t try to sell your product right out of the gate, just try to sell the next step.


Get a clear goal

Before even thinking about what to put on a website, you have to first figure out what it is you want the users to your website to do. If you define a clear objective per page, you will be able to more effectively create a better call to action. Do not skip this step.


This page has two clear call to actions. One is to play the video and the other is to sign up for the newsletter.

 Effective call to action

Keep it Simple

Too many options are scary for a user. Make it clear to them what the next step for them should be. A page can have many calls to action; sometimes a good approach is to place a second call to convince the user what the next appropriate step is. Dropbox has an excellent example of two calls to action:

Dropbox Call to Action

Google’s Chrome browser download is as simple as you can get. The goal is clear and it’s easy for the user to make a decision.


Follow some simple design principles you can apply for a more effective Call to Action button:

  • Proximity – how close is your call to action to other objects on the page?
  • Contrast – does your call to action stand out or blend in?
  • Size- Is it too small? Too big? Size is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another. This is the best way to draw attention.


Have you seen any call to action crimes? What call-to-action crimes have you committed?

Written by Steve

Steve is a freelance web designer, technologist, educator, Adobe Certified Expert and friend from the San Francisco bay area. He is a incessant seeker of knowledge and tirelessly thinks about how he can make things better. You can learn more about him on his website, or by following him on Twitter: @scribblesteve

  • Stephen

    I made a call to Action crime by leaving off the button on a web page once 😀
    I made it look fabulous and enticing, but left the button off and was trying to work out why my conversion rate was only 0.0% lol