There is an old joke in web development and it goes like this:
If web design was left to the online marketing team, the site would be one big button that read, Buy Now!
We’ll deny it of course, but if you look at some of the web design that was present five or ten years ago, clearly someone was lobbying for flashing buttons, calls to action screaming, ‘Click Here’ or ‘Buy Now’ and lots of exclamation points. While the calls to action have calmed down a bit, there is still a fair amount of clutter, confusion and attempts to ‘fill the empty space’…another design mistake.
Today we decided to take a quick look at overuse of calls to action versus clean and simple calls to action, and why the latter is almost certainly more effective. First, let’s take a look at a site with lots of calls to action…and since we’re not trying to shame anyone, let’s call them Domain Company 1. For sake of storytelling, let’s look at a blurred version first. How many calls to action can you spot?
There are six in orange, one in green, and if you’re in a hurry (online interactions tend to be fast), the six orange calls to action are less than half of the orange items above the fold. So what can we learn from this? First, there are lots of calls to action, second, they aren’t called out particularly well, or more precisely, lots of things are called out, only some of which are calls to action. Here is an un-blurred version of the landing page.
Now let’s turn to another company we can call Domain Company 2.
As you can see, not only is there only one main call to action, but they have repeated it thematically throughout the home page in the same place using the same colors. Users don’t have to look all over to find what they are looking for, or what a green button means on this site. It always means the same thing. You may be thinking, ‘Wait, Domain Company 1 offers more services, so they need more calls to action’.
While the first part of the statement is true, they may be doing more harm than good with all the calls to action because studies show time and again that trying to sell all your products or services on the home page confuses users and they aren’t likely to perform the actions you want. The home page should state what the site is about and if there are lots of products or services, help users find their way to sub-pages for secondary services.
A home page isn’t a conglomeration of all the content on the site; it should be a starting point for multi-page visits and ultimately, conversions. If you’re wondering how your site stacks up, or are thinking of making a change you’d like some input on, get in touch, we’d be happy to help.