In a recent article in Web Marketing Today, Todd Follansbee makes a number of great points highly relevant to nonprofit web sites.
Read the article. But here are a few excerpted points:
* Use consistent wording. “Contact us” and “Contact us via e-mail” are two different calls to action.
* Begin each call to action with an active verb: learn, place, add, submit, get, modify, edit, etc.
* Place the call to action where your eye path ends up as you look at the page.
* Make a call-to-action button instantly recognizable as a call to action.Â AndÂ place it to be visible at first glance. It should be obvious even if you move far enough away from the screen so you cannot even read the body text of the site (the “5 foot rule”).
* Make buttons “jump.” Done well, graphic calls to action employ 3D effects which make the buttons visually jump off the page and stand out.
* Do not ignore text hyperlink calls to action. Worded clearly and in the right place, they can be as effective as graphic calls to action.
* Use clear, easy-to-read fonts. For example, use Arial, not Times New Roman or Courier. Don’t use unusual fonts which stand out solely by their inappropriate look.
* Use mouseover effects to increase awareness. However, if site visitors have moved the cursor to your call to action, you have already gained their attention.
Follansbee goes on to discuss assessing effectiveness. Read his points, but also consider asking someone unfamiliar with your site to “test drive it”. Do they go where you want them to? Do they know where they are, where they’re going? And how to get back? All the basic web design questions well developed in a book that should be on your shelf: Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think.