Calls to action on charity websites
This article is about making your website better.
The starting point is you thinking about what that means. Ask yourself ‘what would it look like for my website to perform better’?
We mainly work with Charities. Charities want to change the world for the better but to do this they want certain things to happen:
- More donations
- More volunteering
- More job applications (good ones)
- More newsletter sign-ups
It goes without saying that success for any organisation comes from doing a whole bunch of complex and interrelated stuff well. One of those things is 'calls to action'. If your website does not provoke action you have probably failed, at least in part, to achieve your core objectives.
What is a call to action?
Calls to action are your main tool to direct the user journey of the people using your website. You need to use them strategically.
A few examples
Amazon – a whole panel of calls to action (note the hierarchies and options).
Macmillan Cancer Support - note the attention grabbing question and selection of solutions.
Amnesty International – a broader approach pushing varied ways to get involved.
Oxfam - if you are familiar with their offline campaigns you will note the consistency here.
NSPCC – not bashful about hammering home one consistent call to action.
Some people are looking for something specific. These kind of users want a clear well structured navigation system. Other people will be less focussed and open to distraction. These less-focussed people are the targets of your calls to action.
...click, read, click, read, click, click....
Strong calls to action can capture the rhythm and momentum of the less-focussed website user. Grab them and take them with you.
This is one reason why it is important to look at your whole site map when planning the positioning of your calls to action. You should also always remember that many of your visitors may find you through a search engine and the landing page (the page a user hits first) will therefore not always be the homepage.
How to get it right
To get it right, follow these simple steps:
- Decide what your calls to action are and how to prioritise them.
- Make your calls to action stand out visually.
- Give them context (don’t make them stand out too much). Don’t treat your user as stupid. Even though you are distracting them down your own path they still need to be inspired by content or have their curiosity piqued.
- Keep them consistent. This helps with multi-page user journeys. Users are often happy to be led along sensible paths. There is nothing worse than waving your cursor around a webpage trying to figure out what to click on.
- Use active verbs (like ‘subscribe’, ‘follow’, ‘get involved’, ‘share your story’).
This is the subject of an intended future blog post. Suffice it to say for now that measuring the success of your website becomes much easier with clear calls to action.