Some business owners can’t have enough of these colorful buttons. Others lie sleepless at night trying to select a single call to action to star on their homepage.
Neither approach is good because it’s not about a number. There is no definite answer here that will work for every website.
Yet, it is possible to find out how many CTA buttons you should put on your homepage to lure your prospects deeper into your sales funnel, and I’ll share it with you in a minute.
But first, let’s take one step back and answer this question:
How to decide how many call-to-action buttons to put on any page
“You should always design your pages around one call to action”.
If you’ve heard (and followed) this piece of advice before, I came to tell you to forget it.
Sure, some pages should be designed around one call to action. But some pages definitely shouldn’t.
Here’s how to tell them apart.
When to use a single call to action*:
* – We’ll count multiple CTA buttons that prompt your visitors to do one and the same thing as a single call to action.
If you can fit everything your visitors need to know about your offer to take that action on one page – meaning the chances they will be convinced without having to read other pages are high – go for a single CTA.
- “Landing pages” aka “lead capturing pages” that present a single offer and prompt the visitors to buy this product, register for that webinar, download this ebook etc. It can be a stand alone page you guide your prospects to from a campaign on social media as well as a page you link from your navigation that is dedicated to your free ebook.
- Contact page (because the only thing you want people to do there is to contact you).
- A particular service page (because the only thing you want people to do there is to send an inquiry).
A possible example here is also your About page if your offer is straightforward and easy to grasp (for ex., if you’re a freelancer). Your single CTA could be “Contact me”, “View services”, “Download my ebook”, “Sign up to my list”, etc.
When to use multiple calls to action:
Can’t possibly fit all the info your differently motivated visitors need to sign up, buy from you, or hire you? That page of yours needs multiple CTAs.
The obvious examples: Shop page, Services page, Courses page, etc.
A not so obvious example: Your homepage.
Your homepage is a corridor
Your homepage shouldn’t be a porch of your house aka website with only one door. It should be more of a corridor that has multiple clearly labeled doors, each of them leading your visitors further inside your house based on their current needs. And unless the vast majority of your visitors come to you with one and the same specific goal** , you need multiple doors.
** – And by specific goal I mean “register for a webinar” or “learn more about this person” and not “find a copywriter”.
It certainly shouldn’t be every door (aka CTA button) to every possible room (aka page) you have on your website. Your visitors would be overwhelmed with the options and would run out of this crazy house of yours.
But how many doors does your corridor need? Follow these 4 easy steps to decide.
4 steps to help you decide how many CTAs to put on your homepage (and what they should be)
Step 1: Brainstorm the possible CTAs
Write down all possible call to actions you think will make sense on your homepage . Don’t focus on the perfect CTA copy and just state what the action should be (for ex., “Check out my About page”, “Check out my services”, etc.).
You should tell your visitors right there what you do, for whom, and what’s the benefit. But beyond that, think about what else your visitors need to know to get from where they are right now…
(for example, wondering if you have a solution to their problem, if you offer the services they need, if they can trust you)
…to the place where they need to be to be ready to open their wallets.
Step 2: Sort CTAs by commitment
Color the CTAs you came up with in Step 1 red, yellow or green based on how difficult you think it will be to persuade your visitors to take that action (i.e. based on the level of commitment).
For example, to buy something from you or to send you an inquiry are actions of high commitment, whereas to click a button to read the latest blog posts is a low commitment action.
Step 3: Sort CTAs by value
Arrange your CTAs from top to bottom based on their value to you. For example, a click to view your services is more valuable than a click to read a blog post.
Obviously, the more valuable an action is to you, the higher commitment it requires from your visitors. But there still can be a difference in the value between the CTAs of the same commitment level.
Step 4: Decide what CTAs to keep
Decide which CTAs to add, which not to add and where to place them on your homepage based on the following rules of thumb:
2 rules of thumbs that help you place your CTAs on your homepage
No more than one CTA button should be visible simultaneously on the screen of your visitors (unless it’s products or services CTAs):
❌ “Contact me”, “View services”
✔️ “Learn more” (about service one), “Learn more” (about service two)
The higher is the level of commitment an action requires, the more compelling your copy needs to be.
Your visitors aren’t going to hire you because of your pretty eyes. You need to provide enough information (and often social proof) to persuade them to take an action that requires them to spend money or even get on your email list.
This also means that only a few people will click a “Contact me” button placed in your website header right after the first sentence on your homepage (and those who do are probably suffering from a compulsory button clicking disorder and have no intention to actually contact you).
Even if you have a great value proposition, your prospects may not have enough information just yet to take action. And don’t worry, website visitors do scroll, so they won’t bounce just because you you don’t have any CTA buttons above the fold.
And while you are at it…
… make sure that:
- Your CTA buttons are visually prominent, stand out from the rest of your page and look interactive (i.e. look like buttons and/or elements that change their appearance on mouse hover).
- The copy on your CTA buttons completes a phrase “I’d like you to…” as in “Download your ebook” to clearly communicate what exactly will happen if your prospects click that button and indicates action.
- Your website layout uses enough white space between the CTA buttons to keep individual calls to action from appearing on the same screen view (Exception: Call-to-action buttons that represent different options for the same choice, for ex., different services).
Here’s a possible solution for the homepage in the example above:
What CTAs didn’t make it to the homepage and why
From all the call-to-action buttons that were up for consideration, the following got nixed:
❌ Contact me
A legit inquiry is a holy grail for many knowledge-based businesses. But the level of commitment required from your website visitors to press that magic button is very high.
As we are talking about your homepage and not a single service page, it would be hard to create compelling copy that guides all the audience segments to this call to action and not blow up the size of the page.
❌ Check out case studies
For the sake of this example, let’s say you want to do less one-on-one projects but sell more digital products. This means you’d rather have people sign up to you list (so that you can market your products to them later) or buy directly.
So, you decide not to mention the case studies on the homepage to reduce the number of CTA buttons. Because the fewer the buttons you have, the higher are the changes that an individual button gets clicked, and you’d rather have your website visitors focus on your lead magnet and a paid course.
It does make sense to link to the relevant case studies from the separate services pages though. Presented in a specific context to a visitor who’s already interested in that service, they are more likely to get attention and impress.
❌ Check out About page
You decide to introduce yourself early on the page so that your website visitors can better connect with you and what you’re saying. But adding this CTA early on the page will interrupt the conversation and take them to your About page before you get to tell them about your offer.
So, you decide not to tempt people to jump to another page too early. Whoever wants to learn more about you than you tell on the homepage directly can use the navigation menu.
You may decide differently on what CTAs to keep because your offer is different. Maybe you don’t offer digital products or free ebooks and just want your prospects to send you an inquiry. Then “Contact me” is your friend (just don’t put it too early on the page).
Final words of wisdom
Bad news: When it comes to creating a successful website that drives client inquiries and sales, there is almost never a definite answer that works for everyone.
Good news: There is almost always a clear process to help you get to the answer that works best for you, and this article is an example of that.
And when in doubt, you can always ask me to help.