What is a Call to Action (CTA)?

By September 3, 2014 February 17th, 2015 Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Suggestions, Website Design

This guideline will teach you the basics of Calls to Action (CTAs) and the best ways to promote them on your website.

What is a CTA (Call-to-Action)?

A CTA, or Call to Action, is a link, graphic, or button placed on a web page with the sole purpose to drive leads or visitor awareness. The common misconception is that all CTAs need to drive the user to a form, however, this is not always true. While the vast majority of CTAs are used to drive a user to a simple form, CTAs can also be used to drive a user to information, phone conversation, online chat, or an action that will eventually lead to a customer/business contact.

CTAs can use all kinds of action text but they will generally look like the following…

– Download now
– FREE ….
– Click Here
– Make Appointment
– Contact Us Today
– Sign Up Now
– Save 50%
– Register Now
– etc.

CTA Best Practices

When creating or placing a CTA, there are some general rules to consider. These include…


Color Contrast

Always try to add some contrast in the CTA. This contrast will usually allow the CTA to become a focal point. Contrast can be used by using a different color or a slightly varied graphical styling.


Always try to keep the branding in mind. If the site is a flat layout, use a flat inspired design for the CTA.


While creativity and wit can not be taught, an open discussion amongst co-workers can spark an idea

CTA Text

The idea is to offer an incentive or a command to the visitor. Always try to include an action word like “Click Here”, “Save” or “Download Now” The end message should be clear and concise while raising a hint of desire.


The placement of a CTA can often be as important as the look of the Call-to-Action. Some general rules to follow would be to have the CTA placed withing the main body or header of the website (main CTAs will often appear above the “fold”). I find placing the CTA within the main body content can usually yield the best result.


While this seems like a no-brainer, this simple rule is often looked over. Be sure to include ample negative space around the CTA- this will allow the CTA have more contrast(read above).


Decide what size fits best. The CTA should be obvious without being intrusive.

Simplicity of Options

Do not overload a page with too many CTAs pushing for contact. We have all dealt with an annoying or over-achieving salesperson that is too overbearing. We do not want that emulated on our websites; remember how annoying pop-ups used to be 10+ years ago?


Always test you links. Also decide whether opening a new tab, a white box or a standard link will work best. If the CTA is meant for a simple form fill, I would generally push for a whitebox effect(traffic can be tracked through clicks).


Remember the visitor

They are the main focus of any & all web marketing initiatives. If you keep your desired market in mind, the market will reward you with contact. Be sure to design the Call-to-Action for your market.

With a deeper knowledge of CTAs, I urge you follow these simple rules and reap the benefits.