Your blog can have the best design imaginable, great content, good inbound links and even great traffic but still do almost no good whatsoever. No matter how great your site is, all of your work can go to waste if you don’t have a way to convert those visitors into something that is useful to you and your goals, whatever they may be.
Whether you want them to come back later, tell their friends about your site or even become a customer, a visitor that reads your content and leaves does little more than move your hit counter. While that can be somewhat useful if you’re selling ad space, an engaged visitor is much more valuable in every way, no matter how trivial that interaction is.
That’s why your site needs a good call to action, something to tell your visitors what you want them do to help you and your site. This is a crucial step that haunted attraction websites, generally, do very well but blogs do not .
If your site is missing a clear, concise call to action it’s time to review what you want from your visitors and, more importantly, how you can ask for it. Failure to do so is not only limiting your site’s growth, but likely costing new fans, customers or subscribers every single day.
Why You Need a Call to Action
Let’s say I’m visiting your site and I really enjoy what I’m reading. I landed on a post you wrote via a Google search and loved what I read and even stuck around to check out a few other things. I’m really happy with my experience but I’m done reading for now and ready to leave.
What should I do now?
If the answer is to simply leave, there’s a good chance that I’ll never be back. How will I remember your site? What will prompt me to return? After all, your site, as good as it is, will probably be one of a dozen that I visit today and enjoy, most of those I’ll never come back to, at least not intentionally.
So, even though you’ve put the work in to design a visually appealing site, write great content I enjoy, build good SEO to attract me as a visitor and manage to keep me on your site for at least a few minutes, I’m going to leave without coming back or doing anything that can help you, the webmaster, in any way.
For all intents and purposes, I might as well have not been there at all because, other than moving the visitor counter up one, I’ve been completely useless.
So how do you turn your new visitors into recurring visitors, customers or clients? You ask them to do so.
How to Write a Call to Action
First, you need to decide what your call to action is and should be. Do you want your readers to like you on Facebook? To subscribe to your newsletter? Share your post online? How can an individual reader help your site the most?
Then it comes time to craft the actual call to action. On that front, if there are two words that describe a good call to action, they are “simple” and “clear”.
Simple just means your call to action should be something that they can do easily, preferably with just the click of a mouse. The easier it is for them to execute the call to action, the more likely, you will succeed in getting them to do it.
Clear simply means that there should be no question as to what you are asking them to do. Use as few words as possible to both get their attention and spell out what you want them to do.
For example, “Enjoy this post? Like us on Facebook!” with a link to your Facebook page is a solid call to action as it gets the readers intentions and gives them simple instructions that are trivial to follow.
Likewise, “Enjoy this post? Share it via Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus” is less useful as it forces the reader to make a choice. Ideally, your call to action should be an instruction, not a decision as the reader may decide to do nothing at all
Finally, “We really hope you liked this post and will consider subscribing to our site or sharing it with your friends” is an even worse one as it is too long as it is unclear as to what you actually want them to do.
In short, a good call to action gives the reader one task, makes that task easy to do and does as much of the work as possible for them. The easier and clearer your call to action is, the more likely it will be executed.
That being said, some call to actions can be more complicated, such as buying an ebook or getting a free quote on consulting services, but those are situations where fewer people will fulfill the call to action, but those who do are more valuable than those who would complete another action.
It’s important to weigh these trade offs carefully and, possibly, experiment with multiple actions to see which is of the greatest benefit to you.
If your site lacks a clear call to action, you’re most likely wasting many of your readers. Simply put, many people who visit your site, no matter how much they enjoy it or how useful they find it, will not lift a finger to help you unless you ask for it.
This isn’t because your readers are bad, lazy or apathetic people, it’s because they don’t know what to do and they need you, or someone else, to explain it to them.
If you can do that and make your message clear, concise and easy to follow, you’ll likely be surprised just how many people take the time to help you out.
The reason is simple, people generally want to support success and, if you give them a way to, especially a small and easy way, they will likely do it.
If you don’t, however, they will likely just shrug their shoulders, hit the “back” button and never return again.