June 19, 2012 Aaron Carpenter

What is a Call to Action?

So, What is a call to action? A call to action is a statement, graphic, or otherwise loud attention grabbing ‘thing’ that asks the user to accomplish a goal. The goal should be something that the business or web application owner ultimately desires of the user. Goals are often e-mail address forms, trial sign-ups, program or media downloads, donation requests, registrations, or something of that nature.

Call to Action Buttons


In the above example, the call to action is a clean, neat, sexy button that comes in three different colors. The goal of the button is to entice the user to ultimately start the sign up process for a service. The call to action in this case needs some sort of hook. The hook can be something similar to an offer for a free eBook PDF, or service, on the subject of something the user will find interesting, and ultimately be willing to give their valid e-mail address info for.

Buttons work great for a Call to Action because their color because they can be customized for a website, designed with the same look and feel, and added above the fold where the user will see it immediately when the website or web application loads.

Location and Placement of a Call to Action

Content above the fold of websites and web applications is most important for a couple reasons. The first, and arguably the most important, concerns the behaviors of users. Most users will bounce right back off of a webpage to return to search results or the page they linked in from if they do not like what they see. In other words, they will not take the time to scroll down your page to find your call to action and offer if they do not like what they see initially. Typically this will give you only a few seconds to grab their attention and offer something that they want in order to get something in return from them. Again, this includes the use of a hook, which the user will want and be willing to trade information for.

Above the Fold

“Above the fold’ refers to the top third (or so) of the website or web application. This is more specifically defined as the portion of the web page that loads before needing to scroll to see more. Of course, this varies from device to device, and even with the most ninja of coders, the application’s fold will vary slightly depending on the device and browser that is viewing it. Still, it is important to place your call to action well within this area so that your user can see it, process it, and choose to act upon it without any additional roadblocks impeding their conversion.

Examples of Great ‘Call to Action’ Techniques

You don’t have to look far to find excellent examples of great call to actions. Just take a look at the websites of some of the large corporations or trendy internet services (like spotify, pandora, facebook, etc) and you’re bound to find a call to action right on the landing page, above the fold… and if you don’t already have an account with them, you’ll be asking yourself why you don’t. Why? Because these companies spend a lot of time, money, and effort on these landing pages specifically, to get these conversions. In fact, the whole page is typically dedicated just to focus your attention on becoming a conversion and feeling like you’re a more awesome human being for it.

Spotify Call to Action

Spotify Call to ACtion

Facebook Call to Action

Facebook Call to Action

Chrome Call to Action

Chrome Call to Action

Quickbooks Call to Action

Quickbooks Call to Action

Do You Have a Call to Action?

So, do you have a call to action or are you missing out on the action? A call to action is necessary to any website that is in the business of serving the end user with a product or service. It might be fine if you don’t have a call to action on your blog. If your a business though, you need to get on it!

About the Author

Aaron Carpenter My name is Aaron Carpenter and I've been building web applications since 2002. Helping shape internet experiences for people to best match what their users are looking for, and creating web applications that become online tools to help manage businesses is what I love to do most.

View all posts by Aaron Carpenter

GET YOUR LION'S SHARE OF THE WEB!

Building websites and web applications since 2010.