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Call to action buttons are design elements that are typically placed on the web with a particular objective: to get the visitor to go further into the conversion channel by taking a specific action.

These little elements are essential since they often draw the line between websites that make money and those that never convert. They are the virtual signposts and cues that give your prospects the necessary guidance to continue moving towards conversion. Some examples include:

  • Download buttons
  • Add to cart buttons
  • Go buttons
  • Free trial sign-up buttons

Unfortunately, most businesses reduce their CTAs into just any button, putting little thought behind their features and objectives. As a result, calls to action components are frequently poorly designed and misplaced. Even worse, some businesses omit these crucial elements altogether.

When the CTA buttons on your site and other online platforms are inefficient or non-existent, most of your visitors will end up confused and wander away from your conversion funnel for better user experience. Today, we will take a quick look at some of the most important ways to create compelling CTA buttons that drive traffic and lead to successful conversions.

Designing call-to-action buttons that work

1. Pick compelling colours to make your CTA buttons stand out

How Colors Affect Purchases

Graphic by Neil Patel

From a design point of view, your CTAs should be easily distinguishable from all other content. This boils down to the colour of your buttons, which matters a lot. Generally, go with a colour intensity that contrasts with the background and is easy to see on the slide to make it pop.

If you cannot pick a colour even if your life depended on it, you can take the highly complex squint test to see the most appealing combinations. However, the only way to be sure is by testing your CTA buttons with real users on your page. If it works, you can keep it, if it does not, make some changes!

When you get a chance, take a look at this exciting colour psychology infographic by Kiss Metrics, it helps with picking the proper colours.

2. Maintain consistency

The CTAs throughout your web pages and other online platforms should stay consistent and easy to recognize concerning design. Changing from buttons to links and radical changes in colour and shape leads to confusion and may knock your prospects off the sales funnel.

3. Make use of descriptive and action-packed phrases

Call-to-action buttons should contain striking phrases that help the user move forward down the correct path. Phrases such as “Learn more”, “Get started,” “Try our free trial” are more positive and compelling compared to boring options such as “enter,” or “submit”.

Lastly, remember that your action phrase should go along with some specific text that describes the offer, such as:

  • “Download free pdf.”
  • “Reserve your spot.”
  • “Take this course.”
  • “Book an event”
Udemy Call To Action

Udemy CTA invites readers to “Start teaching today”

4. Include design elements insinuating forward progress

A CTA button indicates the advancement from one stage to another, from information to conversion. Including design elements such as arrows in your CTAs correctly signifies direction, momentum and progress. It helps the user feel that they are making progress and getting closer to solving a painful problem.

5. Place CTA buttons on every page

After a visitor skims your site, they generally want to know where to go next. Ensure that they head where you intend them to go by placing prominent CTAs strategically on every slide and page. Moreover, not all your visitors will discover your site via the homepage. Noticeable CTAs help to orient and guide prospects who join the conversion funnel at different stages.

In the same breath, if your pages contain a lot of content, make sure you have multiple CTA buttons. Users do not have to hunt CTAs down once they are ready for the next step.

6. Keep it simple

Humans love choices, but when the options become too many, our fragile brains max out, and we become incapable of making a decision. For instance, in this study by Columbia University, the participants who were asked to choose one chocolate from a box of six were more content and happy with their decisions compared to the other group who picked chocolate from a box of 30.

The moral of the story is: give your visitors an easy time by keeping the choice of buttons as few as possible.

In case you must include more than two button choices, give one of them more emphasis to help funnel more users towards a particular path. However, the critical point is that users simply want to be pointed in the right direction.

7. Bonus tip: Make that white space bigger and test your CTAs

Surround your CTA buttons with a healthy chunk of white space. White space helps to grab the user’s attention and makes the colours of your buttons pop.

Moreover, conduct multiple tests, including A/B testing to see how changing different elements of your CTA buttons affects clicking rates and conversion rates.


It is extraordinary how a seemingly small and insignificant design element can make or break an online business. It would be such a shame to spend a lot of time and money to optimize your online content just to fail when it matters most, that is, when the customer is ready to buy. By implementing the tips above, you can start seeing significant improvement in your conversion rates.

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