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Let's be honest, in a respect, every single link on your site is a call to action.
In the early days of the web, we had pages of text and links to other pages of text. Since then, links have only solidified their place as the threads that bind the Web together.
Of course, as search engines like Google have taught us, not all links are created equal .
With this knowledge in mind, it's important to help your most important links stand out. Your most important links, of course, are your Call to Action (CTA) links -- the ones that send people to Landing Pages, pages with forms where you capture visitor information (leads) and begin the process of turning your visitors into customers.
So we have certain pages that we want users to visit and we have certain links that we want people to click.
Here are nine tips to make sure that your links are optimized for maximum attention and clickthroughs .
NOTE: These tips are presented in the context of on-page web optimization, but they also apply to email marketing.
1. Links Should Always Be Underlined
I know this may sound simple and there are web developers out there pitching a fit for design reasons, but people are still comfortable with links being underlined. Make sure that yours are underlined because your site "isn't about you." You want people to click on links, so make sure that they stand out from regular content. You will notice that this point is common in a few of these tips.
2. Make Links a Different Color
Similar to #1, when people think about links they tend to think of blue for not visited and purple for visited (most of the time). I'm not saying that your links all have to be blue and purple, but they should definitely be a different color.
3. Use Descriptive Link Text, i.e. not "Click Here"
There is nothing worse than getting to the end of a sentence about product X and finding a "click here" link. Save the extra text and turn that great descriptive sentence into the link. Also enjoy the SEO benefits of descriptive keywords in the anchor text.
4. Make Links Bold
Hopefully this is where I'm starting to get you thinking. I did some email A/B testing a while back and noticed that links got a 20% higher clickthrough rate when they were bold . I'm not saying your results are always going to be this high, but it's worth testing.
5. Use Images to Help Your Calls to Action Stand Out
Now that we have the link mostly right, maybe you can add a picture to help draw the visitor's attention to your CTA? Remember a picture is worth a thousand words . Also make sure that you have alt text on that picture for those search engines and other blind users.
6. Use an Image With Descriptive Text Below the Image
So we've figured out a picture and descriptive text. Now let's combine the two and make them both links. I also did some email A/B testing with this and noticed a 100% higher clickthrough rate when the image was actually a link along with the text.
7. Keep Your CTA Above the Fold
People are lazy. If you want their attention, you have to catch it quickly. If people have to scroll down page, chances are that they will not see your call to action. Keep it closer to the top!
8. Links Pointing to External Sites Should Open in New Windows
This is usually done by adding the target="_blank" attribute to a link, but there are many schools of thought on this one . Let me give you the marketing reason to do it: A visitor is on your site and they click on a link to take them to another site ... they are gone. Oh wait, that link popped up in a new window (or tab). At some point they will get tired of surfing that window, close it and right then and there your site is back in front of them. It might not work for every visitor, but some of those visitors will continue to surf your site at that point.
9. Always Be Testing
Seriously. Keep testing. Now that you've optimized around the other eight tips, maybe you can swap out the most important content, or offer a different mix to your call to action to drive attention. How about that descriptive text link, maybe it could be more enticing?
So what are you waiting for? You have work to do, go optimize your links!
But ... since you're still reading, how about some feedback?Do you know any tips that I might have left out or have any strategy that you use? Please share!