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What should go in a call-to-action link?

We all know that every web page needs to include a call-to-action. Get people to do what you want them to do next; if they’re not guided, they may choose to leave. But a good call-to-action link should explain what they’re going to get. The most common advice, and rightly so, is to make it descriptive. Why have a link or button saying: “Click here!” when it could say “Read the brochure”? (And please, ‘read’, not ‘download’ – your PDF document has been readable in most browsers for about 10 years).

However, you should also think about all the ways in which your call-to-action exhortation might be misinterpreted. For example, “Contact us now” might have been provided as a link to the contact details page, giving the visitor various options. But for someone who just wants the email address, it could be off-putting. What’s the button going to do? Will it fire off a phone call or a live chat, perhaps? It doesn’t say. Similarly, I’ve seen links to a data sheet labelled “Find out more”. Is this going to show me the data sheet or do something I don’t want, like automatically fire off an email? If the link is to another page, say so, but in an encouraging way. And don’t be a slave to snappy button slogans. There’s nothing wrong with text links, like “We’d love to tell you more. Here’s a list of ways to get in touch with us“.