6 Variables To Test On Your Call-To-Action Buttons

by Sherice Jacob

Last updated on March 5th, 2018

We’ve talked about several ways to use images to improve conversion rates before, but perhaps no image is quite as significant in boosting clicks and conversions like the call-to-action button.

Done right, the call-to-action button can act as a visual attention-getter that, when paired with a compelling offer, gets people eager to act. But some users are finding that how they create that call-to-action button – and even the text they use – can have a serious impact on click-throughs.

Here are six variables to test on your call-to-action buttons – no matter what you’re selling.

1 – Button Size

The more noticeable you can make your button, the more likely people will be to click it.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need a garish, neon green animated button – but you do need to make it large enough so that it can easily be seen among the other elements on your page.

2 – Color

In addition to using size effectively, you’ll also want to use contrasting colors so that your button and the area around it don’t blend in too much with the background.
Shopping Cart Buttons Blended into the Background
Too much of a good thing — these shopping cart buttons blend in too well with their corresponding backgrounds

3 – Text

People buy with emotion, but follow it up with logic.

That’s why buttons which convey urgency are a great way to encourage impulse shoppers.

Button text should clearly communicate what will happen if the button is clicked.  This is no time to be clever or confusing.

For example, less web-savvy users have a tendency not to act when confronted with “Buy Now” buttons, simply because they believe that by clicking the button – their credit card will be charged immediately.

In many cases this call-to-action button might convert better if the text stated “Add to Cart”, “Download Now” or “Add to Shopping Bag”.  This also subconsciously references the fact that you can remove the item later.

The most common call-to-action button text used by online retailers
Appsumo Buy Page
This Buy Now button on Appsumo may give customers the impression that their order will be placed immediately

4 – Special Effects

Not all buttons are created equally.  Your call-to-action button might perform better with some special graphical effects to make them more interactive.  These include features like:

  • Rounded corners
  • Beveled edges (to make the button appear to be raised off the page)
  • Gradients
  • Drop shadows
  • Arrows or other small icons
  • Credit card/Paypal logos (to build credibility and security)
  • A hover effect that changes the button’s color when the mouse moves over it

5- Position

One of the most popular variables to test is the location of the call-to-action button on the page.

Typically the call-to-action button appears above the fold, a newspaper term referring to part of the page a site visitor sees without scrolling down.  However, many sales pages will convert better when the call-to-action button is positioned below content that is needed to explain the offer.

StereoPill’s ‘Try it Fee’ button in the top screen likely gets more attention than the lower-positioned “Learn More”

6- Whitespace

Reducing clutter and adding some whitespace around your call-to-action buttons can have an effect on your conversion rates.

When a web page attempts to do too much, it often does nothing.

Too many elements on the page distract the user’s attention on Pitney Bowes postage landing page

Action Steps

Getting the most out of your call-to-action buttons is easy!  Follow these steps for best results:

  • Choose contrasting colors and size your call-to-action button accordingly to help set it apart from other visual elements on your pages
  • Choose your text carefully – Communicate what the site visitor can expect if they push the button
  • If offering two call-to-action choices (such as a Sign Up button and a Free Trial), make the buttons color-coded according to the most important action you want users to take first.
  • Always be testing!  Call-to-action buttons are just one of the many aspects of your site you can put to the test with good A/B split testing software.

Have you noticed a change in your conversion rates after testing your call-to-action button? What were the results?  Share your thoughts and comments below!



Get updates on new articles, webinars and other opportunities:

Sherice Jacob

Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve conversion rates with custom design, copywriting and website reviews.  Get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up by visiting iElectrify.com.


Comment Policy

Please join the conversation! We like long and thoughtful communication.
Abrupt comments and gibberish will not be approved. Please, only use your real name, not your business name or keywords. We rarely allow links in your comment.
Finally, please use your favorite personal social media profile for the website field.


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Chris Kilbourn says:
    July 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I wonder if Appsumo has tested their Buy Now button. Maybe they get higher conversions- given that their target market is an online savvy group.

    • Russ Henneberry says:
      July 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

      I would imagine that AppSumo does quite a bit of testing.

  2. Stacey Herbert says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Wow, thank you. What a mine field of information. I am in the process of putting up sales pages and have been tempted to try and be original with the text, but seeing this data has changed my mind completly.

    • Russ Henneberry says:
      July 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Thanks Stacey — yes, sometimes it does NOT pay to be clever.

  3. Sherice Jacob says:
    July 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Hi Ken – it’s interesting how buttons seem to be one of the last things anyone thinks about, but yet they’re so vital to the whole purpose of conversion. If done right, they can send a compelling message and get people interacting with the page at the same time. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Ken E Baker says:
    July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks. I think a lot of people focus on form over function, and their buttons can be lost in the detail. I definitely approve of the ‘less is more approach’. Cleaner websites tell me it is made (or commissioned) by someone who has good taste – and lends more of a trust element. Of course, if you have a page with 5000 buttons, chances are that I’m not going to bother clicking on any…

  5. Sherice Jacob says:
    July 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Amir — I agree with the yellow/orange color…I’m partial to it myself! Green and teal also work very well, but again, it depends on the color scheme of the website. Appreciate your thoughts!

  6. Amir @ Blue Mile Media says:
    July 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I think always testing new things especially with your CTA is important and it’s always fun to test things around to see what works or not.

    In my experience, a yellow/orange color has always worked on most color themes that I’ve used on different sites.


Show Me My Heatmap

Playing around w/ @CrazyEgg and like it so far. Quick, nice and simple. Also easily implementable with #googletagmanager built-in tag.

Brandon K. Lee


What makes people leave your website?