The Four Elements of Effective Call to Action Buttons

The Four Elements of Effective Call to Action Buttons

Getting website visitors to buy a product, download a program, or register an account requires an effective call to action (CTA). CTA buttons should use a combination of good design to tell visitors where to click, and good copy to tell them why they should click. A button’s color, copy, size, and position can significantly affect how visitors interact with them.


Choosing the right color can make a CTA button stand out from the rest of the page. Use a color that contrasts with the page’s background and other design elements.

A good way to see if a button’s color will draw visitors’ attention effectively is to perform a “squint test”. Create a mock-up of the page, take a few steps back, and squint to see if the button still stands out.


Many website owners and designers mistakenly believe that visitors don’t pay much attention to button copy, and fall back on generic text like “click here” or “submit”. The truth is, a visitor’s decision to click or not is often based on what a button’s copy says. The most effective CTA buttons have copy that:

Focuses on value: A button should tell visitors what to expect when they click on it. Create copy that emphasizes what they will get in return for performing the required action.

Conveys relevance: Button copy should also show the action’s relevance to the visitors’ current situation or state of mind. A case study conducted by copywriter Michael Aagaard shows that changing a generic button copy (“Get your membership”) to copy that conveys relevance (“Find your gym & get membership”) can increase conversions by as much as 68%.

Shows how easy the action is to perform: Visitors will hesitate if they’re not sure how difficult or costly the action will be. Use button copy to assure them that a service or product is free, or that the action can be accomplished in a single click.

Provides a sense of urgency: Use copy that tells visitors to take immediate action and avoid missing an opportunity. Bold, commanding words like “now” can give CTA buttons a better sense of urgency.

Don’t limit call to action copy to one or two words. The best copy can sometimes be too wordy from a designer’s perspective, but the copy’s length shouldn’t matter if it results in better conversions.


The size of a CTA button indicates how important it is. Make primary calls to action larger than secondary ones to let visitors know what to do first.

It’s also important to keep mobile users in mind when deciding how large CTA buttons should be. Navigation buttons for responsive web designs need to be at least 44 x 44 points square in size to accommodate the average fingertip, and the same rule applies for calls to action. Making these buttons too small makes them difficult for mobile users to tap.


A great CTA button will go to waste if it’s not positioned properly. CTA buttons should be placed in prominent, above-the-fold locations on a page for visitors to notice them immediately.

Most websites have CTA buttons at the top-left portion of each page, but placing them in the middle of a minimalistic layout also works. No matter where the buttons are placed, make sure there is enough whitespace surrounding them. This helps them stand out on pages with multiple design and navigation elements.

There is no “universal” CTA button that works for every website. Your web page’s design and the button’s context will determine what works best for your CTA. Talk to us to find out how our web designers and copywriters can create buttons and copy that drive your visitors to action.

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