Call your Website Visitors to Action

Click here buttonHow many times have you asked a supporter where they first heard about you? And how many times have they replied that they were just searching for a charity to support, and decided on you.

How do you think they found you?

For many, the answer is the Internet. It’s the first place that we look for new music, restaurant recommendations, and even charities to support. And their first port of call is your website.

But are you passing up chances to convert casual visitors like them into active supporters, the people who will join you in making the change you exist to seek?

Let’s face it – most of us skim-read websites. We only have so much time. Supporters want to use their limited time make a difference – do charities actually consider this when designing their websites?

I think that many organisations, my own included, use their website simply as an online brochure of their activities and services. Links along the side and the top detail what they do, where they operate, and who they benefit. This is all important information, but I also want to know what you want me to do.

What you want them to do will depend on what type of charity you are. If you are a campaigning charity, perhaps you want a visitor to send an email to their MP about a crucial issue. Maybe you need the visitor to make a donation and become a committed supporter. Or maybe you have one particular service that you want visitors to use.

Make taking that action as simple and as quick as possible by drawing their attention to the link that makes them do it – make the text large, or the button stand out.

Services such as Unbounce provide a quick and easy to use web design template for what’s known as landing pages, the first page that a visitor sees on your website when they type in your home page URL. Their templates are sufficiently varied to cater for all needs, including big text summarising the organisation in a sentence and an attractive call to action button.

So what is the one action you want your visitors to take for your charity, and are you making it easy enough for them to do so?

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4 Responses to “Call your Website Visitors to Action”

  1. Rochelle Dancel 06/02/2011 at 10:48 am #

    Smashing Magazine did a great usability review of a number of charity websites last year, including CTA features. You can find it at
    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/26/usability-review-of-charity-websites-taking-the-lead/

    I think people are so bogged down with making sure that every single little detail about their organisation is on each page that they forget to ask one crucial question – ‘What do we want people to do on this page?’ Sometimes they’ll put a CTA on there, but it’s so buried, or people are so distracted by all the other stuff that’s on there that it renders it useless.

  2. Ross 06/02/2011 at 11:02 am #

    As a web developer and someone trying to help small charities and local businesses this is something I’ve got really keen on lately. Clients are probably getting bored of me asking “Who are your visitors?”, “What have they come to do?”, “What do you want them to do?” and “How can we make their lives as easy as possible”.

    It’s a real challenge getting people to think about their website not from the organisation’s point of view, but from the user/visitor’s point of view.

  3. Madeleine 06/02/2011 at 11:14 am #

    Great post. So many organisations still do the brochure-ware rather than thinking about action. If your site makes people have to think / search / decode content to find what they are looking you’re creating barriers to action.

    Even if sites do it well, they don’t take advantage of opportunity windows. Someone who has already taken action (signed up for a newsletter / made a comment / made a donation) is easier to persuade to do something else in support. So give them other things they could do at the ‘thank you’ stage.

    I’ve written more about the power of influence in this slideshow. Examples of good and practice start about slide 85. http://slidesha.re/aMsDkU

  4. orlando department of education jobs 08/10/2013 at 6:15 pm #

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