Which buttons on a website should be a Call to Action (CTA)?

Which buttons on a website should be a Call to Action (CTA)?


The best way to answer that question is to decide whether you’re going to track a customer action and what the purpose is. The attraction of keeping every button as a CTA is that it captures some form of engagement. But when the signals mean little, there is no point in collecting the information.

Too many CTAs can add to the loading time of pages because they contain tracking codes. If there isn’t a specific need to capture that information, it is another pile up of data that serves no useful purpose.

On a landing page, the CTA has a definite purpose because it leads to a customer action and response. On the regular website page, however, the number of buttons can add up without adding to a better understanding of customer requirements.

The temptation to make all buttons on a website trackable is high. But plan and deploy CTAs at the point where you see prospects move from one buying stage to another

On news websites, there is often a ‘Read More’ button after the first couple of paragraphs. That provides some information of how deep into the article the reader is going – and it is a useful metric for news websites to track reader interest in stories. While it is good to have clear points of engagement, mapping them out in customer journeys to track them may be the better option.

How should buttons be structured?

Any time you want to track conversions, especially when you are running a campaign, using a CTA will provide the additional insight you need.

In other words, use CTAs on high conversion pages, where you have active campaigns, or when you're doing A/B testing - otherwise, a button should suffice.

With a tool like Hotjar, it becomes easy to see heatmaps of user activity. They are often more helpful for improving the UX than using a CTA for the same purpose. Or else, you can use Google Tag Manager to add the script, and it will have a minimal impact on your page speed. It's quick and easy to add to the pages where you need it.

CTA buttons should be visually distinct from other elements on the page or application to draw the user's attention. This can be achieved through the use of color, size, and placement.

Use a standard button for secondary actions: Buttons are best used for secondary actions that are not the primary focus of the page or application. For example, a "Cancel" button or a "Learn More" button might be appropriate uses of a standard button.


Focus on the language used to guide or explain

Use clear and actionable language: Both buttons and CTA buttons should use clear and actionable language to communicate what the user can expect to happen when they click the button. Avoid vague or ambiguous language, and focus on action-oriented verbs like "Download," "Sign Up," or "Subscribe."

See if your CTAs are sized right for mobiles and the desktop. Positioning and checking the results is equally important

Test and iterate: As with all aspects of user interface design, it's important to test and iterate on your button and CTA button designs. A/B testing can help you determine which button designs and language are most effective in driving user engagement and conversion.

Build from there. If you haven’t decided which of the buttons should be tracked, there’s no point in adding to the load. At the top level, every conversion point, or when users are providing information are important for CTAs. Lower down the line, stick with standard buttons to help users navigate. 

Or use the process in reverse, if you aren’t sure. Make all the buttons CTA’s and then track which of them are clicked most often and what they lead to. If the end result is not worth tracking, change those to standard buttons.

This may seem like much ado about buttons but differentiating between data that will be useful or useless over the long-term help cut time when analysis is done. Otherwise, it’s just another metric with little value.

Fancy or plain CTAs – avoid confusion

At the first level, ensure that users know which buttons are clickable and which ones aren’t. Utility must rule over design. These days, with highlighted text breaking into the flow of a design, some confusion is bound to be there.

The other aspect to seriously consider is whether the steps to a CTA are well thought through. At what point are people most likely to take action or provide the required information? There are tough questions and experimentation is inevitable.

One way to do this – provide most of the information but keep the detailed aspects and some key differences for the ebook or the collateral that people feel they shouldn’t miss out on. It helps to keep a particular reader in mind – someone who is searching for the information you provide.

New call-to-action

Then, having the CTA placed at the point where they feel an exchange of an email for the information they are looking for is a fair bargain. It is another matter that the ebook should fulfil expectations to build credibility.

It is an established fact that Call to Action(CTA)  buttons which are colorful work better. Orange and green are the ones that get the best results. But that is probably the icing on the cake. The lead up to the CTA must be just as effective and prepare the prospect.

At Blueoshan, our experience in building websites for a wide range of clients on HubSpot has given us insights into what needs to be done. The client is the best source of information and they understand their business well. Then, we can deploy our knowledge to create an advantage for you.

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About The Author

Venu Gopal Nair
Venu Gopal Nair

Advertising and Branding Specialist, CEO - Ideascape Communications, A professional journey through the tumultuous years of advertising and communication, starting in 1984. Started out in the age of print, saw the changes with the entry of satellite TV and the momentous transition to digital. Advertising and branding today is vastly different from its practices in the 20th century and the last two decades have seen dramatic changes with smartphone domination. As a Creative Director turned CEO, making the transition personally and professionally has been a tremendous experience.

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