8 Common Mistakes Designers Make When It Comes to CTAs

Web designers are human, like anyone else. Keeping up with rapidly changing technology and shifts in consumer behavior is a full-time job. It’s easy to miss an element here or there and kill your conversion rates.

One survey shows there are more than 261 million unique domain names on the internet. The number of websites rises and falls, but excellent design never goes out of style. Whether you’re working on a well-established site or creating one from scratch, certain principles lead to higher conversions and more success for your clients.

The calls-to-action (CTAs) working for one site might not perform as well on another. You might be making some errors and not even realize it. Check for these eight common CTA design mistakes.

1. Forgetting About Mobile

Designers typically work on computers, so it’s easy to forget you must also design for mobile devices with much smaller screens. If page elements aren’t responsive to the user’s view, you wind up with a version so large or small it becomes unreadable. Consumers will have a hard time interacting with clickable elements.

Fix this issue by testing everything on both desktop and mobile screens. While it’s not necessary to create two separate sites, you should make sure your coding allows for resizing and the images scale correctly.

Spotify invites people to take part in their listen parties by sharing playlists with family and friends. Note how the mobile and the desktop versions look alike. The mobile CTA button scales down but is still readable and clickable. The focus on the button with little else on the page is a perfect example of a site responsive to mobile browsers.

2. Asking Too Soon

People first landing on your site may have never heard of the company before. You wouldn’t ask someone you met two minutes ago to be your best friend.

When you place a CTA on a page, you’re requesting a relationship with the consumer. You must first present the reasons why they should do business with you. Don’t focus so much on the action that you forget to convince them to take it in the first place. Your conversion rates will suffer if you don’t offer enough proof for why they should click.

3. Not Knowing Your Audience

You’ve likely heard the advice that you must know your target audience. User experience (UX) design dictates knowing who your user is and how they’ll respond to different options. However, many designers stick with a template for their CTAs and never think about the end-user. They put the button in the same spot or use a specific color. However, the buyer persona for one company may be quite different than for another.

Note how Best Overhead Door uses several CTAs to meet the various needs of their users. They know two types of customers land on their site — those wanting a new door and those needing repairs. At the top of the page, they offer CTAs reflecting this with “Request Estimate” and “Request Service.” The hero slider also showcases the potential types of clients landing on their page. They offer more information for homeowners or commercial locations.

4. Using the Same Wording

If you use the same wording on every CTA, your viewers will begin to ignore them, and they will lose any power they have to convince people to click. If you keep seeing the phrase “Read More,” you likely do the same thing.

Just because the wording on one CTA button converts high doesn’t mean you should use the same phrase on 15 other landing pages. Think about the specific buyer for each page and adjust your wording to match their interests and behaviors. Vary what you say, and people are more likely to listen.

5. Cluttering Things Up

It’s tempting to add every little bit of information a user needs to make a decision, but doing so may create a cluttered look. Too many elements on a page draw the attention away from the CTA. The user may feel overwhelmed and not even know where to find the next step in the journey. Make sure you keep enough white space around elements so that users can scan your page and find them easily.

My Better Normal is a digital time capsule where you can send a note to yourself in the future about things you’re experiencing now or goals you hope to accomplish. When you land on their page, there is very little to distract from the purpose, which is getting started on your message. Even the colors are basic black and white.

6. Designing Ugly Buttons

Design today is more streamlined. Clunky button graphics looking like a kindergartener cut them out of a magazine won’t work. Your buttons should blend nicely with elements on the page while contrasting with the other colors. Stay away from shadows and rounded corners unless they create a modern look or have a transparent background.

7. Ignoring Other Elements

Images and graphics can help point the way to your CTA and increase conversions. An arrow pointed toward a CTA draws users’ attention and guides consumers on where to travel next on your page. A photo of a person looking toward the CTA draws the eye down. Use the different elements on your page to push the user toward the action you want them to take.

Gucci has a mascara hunt game on their website. Their goal for the landing page is getting you to click on “Play.” They use animated graphics to draw user attention. Notice how the mascara wands and bottles come up and point toward the CTA as they go past. The user immediately notices the button upon page load.

8. Sizing Down Your Button

You don’t want to make your button too obnoxiously large, but you also don’t want the button so small that it fades away. There is a happy balance between the size of the button and drawing user attention. If you aren’t sure which size to use, conduct split testing and see which performs best with your users.

CTAs Are the Gateways to Sales

Think of your CTA buttons as a gateway to converting people into leads. The other elements on your page must highlight the next step of the journey. Test your CTAs to find the perfect combination for your users. As a result, your conversion rates will thank you.

Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.