How to Create a Winning CTA

Nina Livelo

Jun 17 2019

Think about the last time you subscribed to a web page, downloaded an app, or started a free trial. There’s a good chance that you did those things because of a compelling call to action.

A call to action, or CTA, is one of the most important features of any website. The effectiveness of your CTAs impacts your conversion rate and determines the overall success of your website. Without them, your visitors would have no idea what to do with the information you’ve given them.

So, what is a CTA?

A call to action is a short, targeted phrase that encourages users to make a decision on a website. Most of the time, they appear as clickable text, buttons, or even images. “Click to subscribe” and “join us” are two call to action examples you’ve likely seen countless times before. They are explicit, direct, and prompt immediate action. After buttering up users with informative and enjoyable content, the CTA is what seals the deal.

Bloggers, retailers, local businesses, whomever – every website owner can benefit from integrating CTAs. But know that it’s more complicated than just adding a link that says “click here.” Use this article as a guide to building a killer CTA strategy that will take your site to the next level.

what is a call to action

Why Use a Call to Action?

For a website’s audience, a call to action is what unlocks the value that a business or individual is offering. It may be a download, a purchase, a membership, a trial, or access to more information or resources. But as beneficial as it may be to visitors, website owners actually stand to gain much more from this tool.

Here’s what adding a CTA button to your website can do to streamline success:

  • Drive organic traffic – By adding a CTA button that links to another page on your site, you boost organic traffic on your website.
  • Increase sales – Rather than adding a button prompting users to purchase something right away, use curiosity to increase sales. This means enticing potential customers with interesting downloadable content, such as case studies, or veering them toward an infographic. You may also give them a preview or a demo of a purchasable service.
  • Generate leads – Collect valuable data about potential clients by using a call to action like “Subscribe,” that prompts users to fill out a form. Collect as many email addresses as you can – they’re like gold for growing a following.
  • Boost your conversion rate – Not only do CTAs help you convert visitors into leads, but they also help convert leads into customers. For example, online retailers often lose customers due to the problem of too many choices. They can use the call to action “Shop the gift guide” to present a condensed store and increase sales.
  • Make your small business accessible – One of the most effective ways to drive customers to your small business is to create an actionable website. “Call now,” “get directions,” and “download the menu” are a few call to action examples that get consistently good results.


What to Consider Before Designing Your CTAs

Every design choice you make for your calls to action, from color to wording to punctuation should serve a purpose. So, to come up with the most effective design, you need to know what the goal of your website is. In fact, the first step of the CTA design process should be defining your goals.

What purpose does the website serve, and what do you hope to achieve with it? Acknowledge the answers to these questions and transform them into CTAs.

For example, imagine you are a locally practicing nutritionist. Your website might serve to provide information about yourself, booking consultations, and the location of your office. Your goal is to book appointments with new and existing clients. In this case, you would want to create separate pages for each of these actions and add relevant CTA buttons.

You should also consider how your website visitors are most likely to access your site. Users have different behavior when browsing on a laptop or tablet than they do on their smartphones. Smartphones, for instance, are used mostly for quick research, while laptops are more likely to be used for making purchases.

One way you can utilize this insight is to create call-centric ads for pages that are more likely to be consulted via smartphone. Likewise, form-centric calls to action should be saved for pages users are more likely to consult by laptop.

Tips for Designing an Effective Call to Action

call to action

For a call to action to be successful, the user needs to follow it rather than scrolling past it. This is much easier said than done. To accomplish this feat, your CTA needs to be both visible and highly convincing. Here are some tips for getting the job done:


When designing the call to action button, choose a color that matches the site but still stands out. It may be helpful to define thematic colors ahead of time using a color palette generator like Coolors.


The size of a call to action should reflect how important it is. Important actions like “Sign up” should take up more space. Meanwhile, a less important call to action like “Return Policy” should not take up much space.


Size is not the only aspect that affects visibility. You should also make sure your call to action is in a location that is free of clutter. Your CTA button should be surrounded by ample white space so that the user’s eyes are drawn only to it. It should also be away from any other competing calls to action. If the user is faced with too many instructions, they will get confused and not follow any CTAs.


Keep it short and don’t worry about it being boring. While it’s definitely possible to make a call to action both short and clever, your priority should be clarity. There is plenty of space in the body to show off your quick wit.


Use action words to entice the user to click. This kind of language puts emphasis on the user and builds their confidence to follow the CTA. Don’t feel guilty about being commanding – users won’t know what to do otherwise.


Make sure the call to action matches the tone of the body. An inconsistent tone will lower the user’s trust in the site and decrease their likelihood of clicking. You might also try inciting a sense of urgency to further influence your website audience. Adding a countdown, or mentioning a time-sensitive promotion makes users act more quickly.

Put Your Knowledge to the Test

Use the insight you’ve gained from this article to start testing calls to action on your website. But remember, there is no exact formula for success. Audiences, like websites, are unique, and it takes testing and measuring to find the strategy that works for yours.

Luckily, certain website builders like Squarespace and Weebly come with built-in CTA options. Consider these services if you are unconfident in your design skills or just don’t want to spend time on it.

In either case, don’t get so wrapped up in your CTAs that you neglect the rest of the site. Calls to action may be important, but they only work if the rest of the site encourages action as well.

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