A Call to Action is often seen as a marketing thing — sellers want visitors to buy something. But every website owner should think about their Call to Action.
Perhaps you’d like visitors to sign up for a newsletter or to join up as a volunteer?
What’s your website’s purpose?
You should already know what your website is for, what it’s supposed to achieve.
Is it to raise awareness? That’s great, but what should people do with their increased awareness? Do you want them to buy local produce? Save the whales? Stop smoking? Be kinder to others?
Provide next steps
Make sure your website explicitly offers next steps and actions. In fact, make sure every page invites readers to take an appropriate action.
Tell readers how to proceed: visit another page, another website, sign up, join in, change behaviour.
Don’t leave it to their imagination or assume they’ll take an action.
Help the readers be sharers
Is your website there to publicise an event? Suggest ways readers can pass on the information they’ve learned. Give them banner images and words, photos or videos and explicitly ask them to share. Suggest places where they can share: Twitter, Facebook, other networks, both online and offline.
Be active not passive
Don’t just dangle information and resources in front of website visitors. Think about what visitors can do, how they can help or change or join in or recruit. Then ask them to take action and give them the help they need to do it.
Ask questions, suggest actions, prompt readers:
- What’s your opinion of this issue? Leave a comment on the blog.
- Tell a friend about our event.
- Post this news item to Twitter.
- Buy this book.
- Take a look at our other books and pamphlets.
- Sign this petition.
- Check your house for heat leaks now.
- Share your stories in our confidential forum.
There are hundreds of possible actions, depending on the purpose of your site and who its visitors are.
Stop, think, act
Try it now: look at one page on your website and think about what readers should do next. Then tell them or invite them to take action.
What do you think about this? Leave a comment below.
Photo by looking4poetry under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.
Written by Miraz Jordan for, and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, June 2010. This article has been modified for publication here.